Tis the season to be...jolly?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

This post was going to be inspired by my new found love of leopard print and the anticipation that it will be big this season however I have since changed tack and found myself falling (just a little) for Christmas.

Dressing in theme is always a bit 'hit and miss' particularly when the theme lasts a whole month (or more in some cases) so I thought I'd show some great ways to do Christmas in style, and hey a lot of them reflect on a lot of lessons from previous blogs - so very unintentionally fitting:


If you like to have a bit of fun try colourblocking as a Christmas statement.  It's bold yet funky and if done with some flair can make a statement that is seriously stylish. 


One day I will buy a silver Christmas tree.  I'm a real silver girl and silver goes with everything.  If you want to steer clear of the traditional green and red colours for the home try finding pieces that go with your homes decor - try whites, pinks, blues and teal in a fresh light decor 

Dressing your home in a monochromatic style - understated yet in the spirit of Christmas - is a great way to have your home feel Christmassy without looking too gimmicky.


There is something ultra modern and stylish about mixing Christmas with some bold prints, colours and shapes that although not necessarily 'Christmas' really add personality into your scheme.  Besides, who wants their houses decorations to look like everyone elses.

A bit of glitter

Lets not forget about a bit of sparkle.  Christmas decorations wouldn't be half as fun without the lights and a bit of sparkle right, so how about what you wear?

Instead of dressing normally for Christmas dinner or lunch why not don your sparkliest ensemble and sparkle as much as the champagne in your glass.  It will put a smile on your face and everyone elses!

Coop sequin dress by Trelise Cooper fashionz.co.nz

I personally love Christmas in all its shades but if you really want to get into it be prepared to put some real effort in and in some cases money into it. 

You can also bet that I'll be going bananas at the Boxing Day sales - specifically on a quest to nab those beautiful decorations that cost a small fortune before the 25th.  Its a slow process of collecting but you'll be so looking forward to your next Christmas that you won't mind waiting!

I hope you have enjoyed our blog this year, and I especially hope you'll be enjoying Christmas and the New Year festivities in the best way you can - for me, thats with my family and friends.

May your days be merry and bright...


5 Fashion and Interior Design Fails

Saturday, 1 December 2012

In our last post we provided you with some tips on what you should do style wise to maximize your best assets for your physical body and for your physical space. This time we thought it would be fun to go over our top 5 style don'ts. There are some surprising crossovers...

1. Taking a theme too far

There is a fine line between acknowledging a trend or style and taking it so far that you look like you’re dressed for a costume party or you own a theme house. Now you can be inspired by a particular theme or style, but be wary of adding too many 'themed' elements. To avoid this tipping point you need to think balance and only introduce some theme inspired pieces, and try not to go over the top.

For example the equestrian look was very hot about two years ago and is still going strong. The look is essentially centered around the great fashion item the riding boot. But if you add too many elements such as the riding jodhpurs and the top hat it could look like you're actually going to ride a horse, probably not a good idea if you're just going to the shops. Image courtesy of Roxanne Parker.

Nicole Richie does the Boho Chic or Hippie look really well. However she is just a precarious beaded handbag and floral headband away from looking like she is going to a 70's costume party. Thankfully she balances it well with sleek black heels and a plain clutch. Image courtesy of Forever Boho.

This Moroccan inspired interior is over the top, but this particular client wanted the fantasy "genie in a bottle" look. So unless you want to have a fantasy theme room in your house or you own a Moroccan restaurant, you can avoid the harem boudoir look by just adding some of these lovely elements such as the Persian rug, colorful throws, or cushions - but not everything! Image courtesy of Modenus.

2. Too matchy matchy

When you love something you can take this love too far. For example I've seen people take their love for something like pink or leopard and go to the extreme. You need to choose your moments and think less is more.

In my opinion this is too much pink, and the heaviness of the drapes make this room feel smaller and closed in. Proves that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Image courtesy of Interior Design 5.

So a teenage girl loves pink, this is how you can introduce it without going over the top and having pink walls, floors and accessories. Instead just a few tasteful colorful accessories that can be changed out when she changes her mind about loving pink so much. Image courtesy of Nicedecors.

I got this pretty image from the lovely ladies at A Beautiful Mess. They've asked the same question about too much of one thing and although this outfit is undeniably pink, its perfectly balanced with white and black accessories. Now if the shoes, sunglasses and cardigan were also pink, it could be too much.

3. It doesn't fit

Just as poorly fitting clothing can look odd, furniture that doesn't fit well in a space will make a room feel awkward and have poor flow. For example an over sized chair in the corner can ruin a perfectly good space by making it seem crammed in. I saw this on the TV show The Block NZ where a contestant just loved a chair and had to have it but didn't take into consideration the size of the room it had to go into. Then she crammed it into a small space which meant the flow of the room was compromised and the room was made to feel smaller than it actually was.

I’m guilty of liking a piece of clothing and not really thinking about how it will fit my body shape and just buying it even though it is not flattering. See below for some other guilty examples.

Ellen Pompeo really doesn't do herself any favors in this tent shaped dress. Poor fit, poor style for her body makes it all wrong. Image courtesy of Fashion.about.com
I'm not sure if this dress could look good on anyone, the poor fit makes her boobs look smaller and her hips look enormous, not traits I think most women go for. Image courtesy of Fashion.about.com

4. Function over form

I've seen this many times, making things look bad for the sake of function, but trust me when I say that there is a middle ground, you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for function. For example a project that my architect husband worked on he recommended for heating in the bedroom they install a gorgeous gas heater, but his client decided to go for a heat pump instead. Yes it did the same job, in fact it also had the ability to cool in the summer, but it really didn't give that luxurious feel in the bedroom, rather they have a massive eyesore in the middle of the room that doesn't give that same romantic feeling a gas fire heater would have.

Imagine the cozy, romantic feeling a fireplace like this creates in a bedroom. Aesthetically pleasing, atmosphere creating and functional. Compared to a heat pump, this option is much better. Image coutesy of Houzz

The best fashion example I can think of to compare is the “Sneans” look. Now I know that that sneakers are a very comfortable shoe, but that is still no excuse to wear them with jeans. The “Sneans” look can be okay if you wear street shoes as opposed to straight up sneakers. Just remember that if comfort was always the number one priority I would leave the house in my sloppy track pants every day and never set foot in anything as impractical as a high heel.

George Lucas committing the classic Sneans crime, his partner is faring much better in bare feet. Mad respect for the guy, afterall he just sold the Star Wars rights for over $4 Billion, not bad, I'm sure he can afford some styling. Image courtesy of Daily Mail UK.

As this bluesteel model demonstrates the Sneans look can be achieved for comfort and aesthetics by going for a more 'street' style shoe, I recommend the classic Converse sneakers. Image courtesy of BlogMeFashion.

5. Exposing what shouldn't be exposed

Some things need to be concealed and shouldn't be exposed. Underwear as outerwear can arguably look good, but most of the time as Britney displays below, it should be put away. 

Visible bra not to mention the visible midriff are two big fashion crimes Britney is committing.  Some things are better not seen. Image courtesy of mamapop.com

Exposed cables are just so ugly and should be hidden behind walls or cord organizers and tidily put away. Interior  design crime! Image courtesy of bomehianhellhole.com.

My final word would be that although these are cliche faux pas, the truth is that wherever there are rules there are always exceptions. As they say, rules are made to be broken, so please take these tips as more or less a guide and not strict rules. So have fun following or totally disregarding this advice.

5 ways - look slimmer & make a room look bigger

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Outfit pic - Kate Winslet in a Stella McCartney dress that creates an incredible optical illusion cutting deep hourglass curves. Image courtesy of Sunii Hendrix
Interior image - All white interiors reflect light and create space. Image courtesy of Design Shuffle

So when you don't have the perfect house or body (and really who does?) we must make the best of what we've got. Even if what we've got is good, there are some simple and easy things we can do to make ourselves and our homes look even better.

So the contrasting objectives of Home vs Her is that generally we want to make ourselves look slimmer, thinner, and taller and often our homes (especially apartment dwellers) look and feel bigger and more spacious. So essentially we need to create optical illusions.

Erena and I have summarized our top five ways of achieving this visual trickery in how you dress yourself and your home.

5 ways to dress your room to look bigger

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting

Tip number one is to get your hands on as much natural light as possible. This is probably the most important element in making a space feel bigger. Check what light you have available from existing windows and ensure curtains and window dressings are pulled back fully, and no furniture obstructs the windows. If possible add windows, or even convert a window into a floor to ceiling slider. If budget allows you could also consider installing a skylight or tubular skylight to draw in all day sunshine.

This room actually ticks a few of the boxes making it a lovely open space. Image courtesy of The Social Home
Skylights can be expensive, but they make a huge impact on that feeling of space and can look beautiful. Image courtesy of Natural Light Inc.

2. Mirror Mirror on the wall

Mirrors help reflect the natural light you have made available. We have a wall of about eight mirrors in a dark hallway in our house to draw that light in. You can also choose a theme for your mirrors for example see the artdeco mirror cluster below.

A wall of mirrors make an eye-catching feature and they also bounce around more light creating the illusion of more space. Image courtesy of Decorators Notebook

This large mirror strategically placed in the darker hallway brings light from the room into this space making it feel brighter, warmer and bigger. Image courtesy of  The Fancy 

3. White, light and bright colors

White or light colored surfaces will reflect more light creating the optical illusion of space. Also having the same color scheme from the floors, walls up to the ceiling creates a seamless illusion of openness.

Floors, walls, ceilings all the same bright white color lets the light come in and reflect everywhere making this quite narrow room appear much more spacious. Image courtesy of Apartments I Like
This small apartment is made to feel spacious with the consistent neutral color palette. Image courtesy of xzqt.

4. Declutter - go on purge

I hate clutter and consistently get rid of stuff that I don't use and feel is a waste of space. The easiest way to make space is to remove everything that you don't need or don't love. This should be done on a regular basis as we all continually collect various bits of crap over the years. So tidy up and donate to charity the things you don't need or use anymore to create more space.

Not sure what to get rid of? Use this quote as your mantra... Image courtesy of getinmyhome.com

5. Accessory choice

Avoid heavy, dark and chunky furniture and accessories. For example a glass coffee table is a great way to get that functionality without seemingly taking up too much room.

Glass coffee tables work well in small living spaces. This one is similar to the popular Noguchi coffee table design. Image courtesy of Room & Board
Not only mirrors on walls but mirrored furniture can also create space and reflect light. Image courtesy of Mix and Chic

5 ways to dress to look slimmer

1. Single color scheme - monochromatic

Dressing in one color from head to toe instantly makes anyone look slimmer and taller. Because one color gives the sense of one consistent and unbroken line that elongates the body. Technically any one color will work given this logic, but see below example from Demi Levato in all black which is also slimming.

So all black head to toe helps to elongate the body, and the pump style heels also lengthen the legs. Generally you should avoid shoes with ankle straps as they cut the visual line and make legs look shorter. She is also young in her early 20s so can pull off this shorter hemline, for 30+ demographic like myself I recommend a classier knee length or just below the knee. Demi Lavato's Image courtesy of posh24.com. I love her style in The X Factor, she looks completely different from episode to episode.

Victoria Beckham, in beige dress and shoes, makes her look longer and taller. She also really knows how to pose to get her best angle. Image courtesy of posh24.com 

2. Balance matters - tight, loose and the importance of proportion

Basically you should try to draw attention away from problem areas and highlight your best assets. Think tight in the right places and loose in the right places. For example if you feel your tummy is a problem area, wear loose and flowing tops over your stomach but balance it out with slimline pants.

Tight and loose in all the right places to flatter her shape, Jessica Simpson works it well - Image courtesy of posh24.com

Balance also matters in terms of proportion, to appear taller and slimmer you should obey the 2/3 - 1/3 rule. This generally means making your legs appear longer (2/3) and your upper body in proportion smaller (1/3) as this magical balance will make you appear perfectly in proportion.

More examples of Victoria Beckham working her petite frame to look taller and also example of the 2/3-1/3 rule where uses a higher waisted figure hugging style to enlongate her lower compared to her upper body giving the great visual aesthetic of excellent proportions. Image courtesy of 40 Plus Style

3. Accessorize

Now belts are a favorite among many stylists as they have the instant ability to draw in the waist to create that cinched in look. Accessories can draw attention to great features and also importantly draw attention away from problem areas. So for example those with a pear shaped body should draw attention away from their lower half by wearing dark bottoms and wearing a brighter top or accessories such as necklaces and scarves to draw the focus upstairs. Then the opposite would be true for those women with large busts - large chunky necklaces will draw even more attention to this area.

If you are petite you should be wary of big and chunky accessories because it can overwhelm you. For example opt for long thin delicate jewelry and fine stiletto heels as opposed to chunky jewelry and platform shoes.

So Kim Kardashian is following two rules - head to toe one color with a waist hugging belt feature accessory that is shiny and draws your attention to her slim waist. She already has a great hourglass figure and really knows how to dress to show it off. Image courtesy of Celeb Boutique
Beyonce accesorized well here with dark colors on the bottom and the bright blue scarf and jacket on top mean that attention is drawn away from her lower body and you can barely tell she is pregnant. Image courtesy of Dollhouse of Style

4. Tailoring

Tailoring or the cut of your clothing is very important. Poorly fitted clothing that doesn't complement your shape will do you no favors and could make you look bigger and shorter than you actually are. So make sure your clothes fit well and ALWAYS TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. Sorry for shouting, but something that looks amazing on the rack may not do you any favors once on your body. I know that this is tricky when buying clothing online, but once you get to know a brand and the cut and styles that works for your body shape you can minimize any bad buys. But if disaster strikes and you get something ill fitting, you can always send it back or resell.

So good tailoring just sits right on your body, look for draping, ruching around problem tummy areas for example. Also consider the right fabrics, nothing too clingy to reveal anything that shouldn't be revealed.

The tailoring in this dress flatters Queen Latifah's voluptuous frame by having that lovely draped fabric ruching around the tummy area. The belt also further defines her waist. Image courtesy of Thicksnational.

This is an excellent shaped and structured dress, tailoring at its best to give these petite women the right proportions. Kelly Osbourne and Rose Byrne - image courtesy of posh24.com

5. Patterns and designs

When looking at prints and patterned fabric you should be quite careful as they can overwhelm. The general rule is that for petite frames opt for small and delicate patterns, and for larger women you can go for larger prints.

Now this is a very large patterned, long flowing dress and on top of it the flower on the shouder. I think even for Christina Hendricks voluptuous frame this style is difficult to pull off, however she still looks great. Image courtesy of http://www.becauseiamfabulous.com
More patterns from Christina, this style with the V neckline is a lot more flattering on her. Image courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk
Smaller pattern suits Nicole Richie's small frame and doesn't overwhelm her. The topknot hairstyle also gives her more height . Image courtesy of cosmopolitan.com.au. 

Another petite celebrity Natalie Portman rocks the pattern with great flowing draping  and a  cinched in waist with this delicate fabric and pattern. Image courtesy of coolspotters.com.

Finally there are color blocking designs that can really give a slimline appearance. The black sides give that cutaway visual illusion making you appear slimmer and gives an hourglass shape.

Kate Winslet does it again, I think I want one in every color too! She pulls off the ankle strapped shoes but to look even taller avoid these leg cutting accessories as a general rule. Image courtesy of Mamania

I hope these tips help and inspire you to step back and take a look at your style choices. Keep some of these tips in mind for your next shopping trip and the better you understand your body shape the better equipped you will be to make the best of your assets.

For the home this topic is quite pertinent to me at the moment as I'm about to move into a much smaller house in a couple of months. We're going from a 3 bedroom house with garage to a 2 bedroom beach bach with virtually no storage space. So I need to take my own advice and try to make the best use of the available space. I'll post some pics on how I've managed to achieve more space in a few months.

50 shades of grey

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Metallic bathroom suite image from pinterest.com and Jessica Alba in grey from denimology.com

I'm a self confessed grey fanatic.  Having had my colours done and being a Winter, grey is definately in my colour palette and it is my go-to for neutral shades.

Actually this post was mainly inspired by my love of metallics - silver in particular!  I recently held a style workshop and I loved how the metallics were quite 'uplifting' and complimentary against skin tones of all ages and also how they give and reflect light in an interior situation so without further ado - here's my tribute to the power of grey and the many shades it offers particularly metallics.

Mirrors in a grey-beige interior - image by trinketsandtreasures.wordpress.com

A dark bathroom has an injection of light with mirrored tiles.  Image by houzz.com

Egyptian lampshades have intricately punched holes to bounce light.  Image by trendir.com

Alwych wallpaper in grey gives a busy print a calming vibe in a room. Image by pinterest.com

Kitchen Aid mixer image by pinterest.com and body jewellery by topshop.com

Embellishing a kitchen or your outfit with metallic accessories can really add a hit of light and interest.  

Armour rings and metallic nail polish adds a touch of edginess and cool - try it with an all black outfit

Lighting up a dark space.  Stair image by inspirationforhome.com and interior pic by indulgy.com

An all grey outfit is very chic and elongates your frame.  Check out these celebs below working the grey.

Kim K goes grey. Image by celeb.buzz.com

Victoria Beckham.  Image by cultureofcute.com

Image by sugarscape.com

Ashley Tisdale dons a grey ensemble and she looks taller than usual - great use of monochromatic tones.  I love the pairing with the bright red tote!

Image by refinery29.com

Grey is a chic option and a nice alternative to black and when worn head to toe it elongates your frame and creates an edgy but soft vibe.  Grey in the home is calming and comfortable and when a metallic is thrown in the mix - even if it just a mirror it will reflect light and add a bit of luminescence and opulence to any room.

I am actually reading 50 shades of grey this Summer (slow I know!) but I've been told it has nothing to do with grey clothing or interiors (haha!)

To end - here's a project that has taken my fancy :)

Candlestick apothecary jars.  Check out the DIY tutorial here

Mere and I will be travelling to Malaysia very soon so expect to see some amazing blog posts from our travels!

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