Malaysia Truly Asia

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Photos from our trip to Malaysia - Myself dressed in a traditional Malaysian outfit and a pic of our historic accommodation in Melaka - The Baba House

Erena and I recently traveled to Malaysia for our friends birthday celebrations and got to experience all the wonderful things the country had to offer. The most memorable part of the trip for me was the fantastic food, in particular being able to experience the original Nonya Chicken dish in its birth place of Melaka. We ate at the Riverine Coffeehouse which I can highly recommend! This seaside port city has an authentically traditional feel and walking the streets you can easily imagine how it would have been a hundred years earlier. Melaka has been colonized by so many different nations (Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese to name a few) that it has resulted in a very unique mix of food, fashion and architecture.

We also spent a lot of time in Kuala Lumpur, by contrast it is a huge and bustling modern city. I found there to be an interesting tension in Malaysia between the incredibly new hi-tech innovation, for example the stainless steel Petronas Towers, and the very traditional and rustic. I enjoyed how the local people easily crossed over between worlds and through dress, food and architecture you could experience it all.

The shopping in Malaysia is fantastic and quite frankly unavoidable. You cannot walk more than a few hundred meters before encountering yet another mall. The mall experience is also necessary as its blissful air conditioning provides crucial relief from the heat and humidity. Erena goes into great detail on Malaysian shopping tips in her blog post, so do go there for fantastic advice before any future shopping expeditions.

Kuala Lumpur Petronas Twin Towers symbolize the countries innovative spirit on a world stage. 
Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers, the beautiful Islamic patterns come through the industrial glass and stainless steel structure
Erena and I having pre-dinner drinks at the Petronas Towers before the birthday party dinner. During the day we went and had our hair washed and blow waved which is a great tourist experience I never knew you needed to have in Malaysia.  
Batu caves - Kuala Lumpur - a great half day trip if you want to do something different from shopping. But a warning that it is very hot (no air conditioning in the caves...) and don't carry food, the monkeys will steal it from you.

Monkey munching on his loot

The Batu caves have an array of wonderfully bright and beautiful statues depicting the many Indian gods and goddesses.

I let the lady in the traditional Melakan clothing store style me as my regular stylist Erena was already in transit back to NZ. I enjoyed letting her decide what she thought I would look best in, apparently pale pink, very girly.
Beautifully intricate wood carved door-frame in our Melaka accommodation
Jonker St Melaka, 
Historic sites in Melaka

Malaysia truly satisfied my travel desires for great food and shopping. I really enjoyed the experience and best of all was getting to share it with friends.

All for the love of Paisley

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I think Paisley is one of those prints that can divide an audience.  You either love it, sit on the fence about it or hate it and clearly I am NOT in the latter so cover your eyes paisley haters!

paisley wood stamp from

I love the intricacy of Paisley. To me it has a real historic and delicate feel to it which I just adore.

Paisley Porcelain by Ralph Lauren from

It makes for a versatile and intriguing aesthetic for instance when it is done in bright tones it can really 'make' a perfect summer outfit pop!

 Bright red paisley lifts this ensemble by

And in lighter spaces in the home it can feel luxurious and add interest to an otherwise neutral space

Like a little black dress a great paisley number never dates

Eternally hip!  A great paisley dress. Image

Here's a tip for the home or the body.  Keep the print to scale.  If you are a petite wee lass go for a small to medium ranged paisley print, larger if you are more voluptuous.  A small interior versus a large space is no different.

Good paisley (large paisley, large interior space)

Paisley Citco 3D Tiles.  Image from

Still good paisley (busy micro-paisley pant for petite person)

Image by

The reasoning behind this is so as not to overwhelm you or your space.

Not so good paisley (Florence I love you but whaaat!)

Image by

Check out these celebs who looove paisley:

Kate Hudson

Eva Mendes

Nicole Richie

Kirsten Dunst

Jessica Alba


If you aren't a big fan try tonal paisley - that is paisley in one colour palette or a barely there type of paisley perhaps for the home a pressed metal paisley.

Top: Jil Sanders 12' and 
Bottom: Jimmy Choo Loafer

No matter how strongly you feel about this beloved print (for or against).  In fashion, as in home - hate is a strong word.  I used to say that about a lot of trends and found myself eating my words so I don't hate!

The idea is to challenge your spaces and your style and paisley prints give a sense of intrigue.  

You can reveal as little or as much as you want of a print.  But it will add a certain jez ne sais quoi in any context.

If you're scared of this print, start small 

Nailing the paisley.  Image

and if you're proud go big 

Jessie J - Paisley all the way.  Image

In style as in life my ethos is to never say never to any trend because everything can be interpreted a different way.  When styling a client I often hear 'I would never have gone for that but I love what you've done with it'

Magazines or shop store windows will tell you one way - you just have to reinterpret it to suit your style. 

Paisley tablecloth.  Image:

And remember Paisley pushers you don't hate paisley you just haven't found your perfect paisley yet.


New Year’s resolutions for your home and wardrobe

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Image courtesy of Chic Little Poor Girl

The New Year is a great time to re-calibrate, wipe the slate clean and for many set new goals and garner some momentum and excitement about what this fresh start can bring. It is also a great time to think about your priorities in life and adjust your belongings to reflect that. I must admit that this post is also inspired by a recent move to a smaller house. Not just a smaller house but a much smaller closet, eeeek! That means that I have to seriously reduce the amount of clothing I own while simultaneously try to increase the storage space we have.

I guess I could store stuff in boxes or vacuum packed bags and put them in the basement, but I actually would prefer to reduce my wardrobe and take more of a minimalist approach to my clothing choices.

I know purging can be very difficult and heart wrenching for some who struggle to let go of stuff, especially if there is some sentimental connection to it. We've done a similar post recently about de-cluttering and if you struggle with letting go of stuff use this mantra "have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

So where to start? For reassessing your closet requirements I've come up with a simple 3 step rhyme to guide the process – prioritize, categorize and minimize.


What are your priorities for your closet? You can think about this in a number of ways. For example, I now try to prioritize quality over quantity, especially now as I approach my mid-30's, cheap and nasty stuff doesn't work so well. Quality doesn't have to mean expensive either, I try to avoid polyester and buy wool or cotton, and natural fabrics wherever I can. So for me now that means having just a few items that are a great fit, quality fabric and fashionably classic so they don’t just last one season, like that fluro striped floral peplum top you may now regret.

For example a priority buy for winter is a quality wool coat. I'm always shocked when I see a very expensive branded coat that is only say 20% wool, when you can buy much higher quality for much less. This Burberry example is probably more pricey than necessary, but as long as it is 100% wool (or in this case mixed with Cashmere) the brand should not be that important. Image courtesy of Burberry.


I work 5 days a week and I go to the gym 5-6 days a week so my wardrobe is rightfully dominated by work and gym clothes. Then there are special occasion outfits, weekend relaxing clothes, casual shopping/movie going wear, etc. These items should take up considerably less space in my closet, but that's not always the case. What I try to do is find clothes that can cross over from work to casual, and from winter to summer. Versatile clothes are very valuable and worth the space they take up in your closet. For example a summer dress can be re-purposed for winter with opaque stockings, boots and a cardigan. Or formalize a casual outfit from the weekend with a blazer and heels for during the working week. 

Here is another great blog post that goes into much more detail about wardrobe categorization and analyzing whether or not your wardrobe fits your lifestyle. It is from one of my favorite bloggers IntoMind and it can help you to become more aware of your clothing needs and figure out whether or not your clothing reflects those needs. For example I personally prefer buying more casual wear but I have to hold myself back because I hardly get the opportunity to wear them at all. So the most important thing to do is categorize your clothing and ensure you have the right allocations per type.

Try to keep this in mind next time you go shopping and only buy new things to fill gaps.

A couple of examples of outfits that can cross over from casual weekend wear to work wear. Image courtesy of

Get more out of your wardrobe and re-purpose a summer dress for winter


Now for the the hardest part, so you understand your priorities and have categorized your wardrobe appropriately, so the next step is to minimize your wardrobe and get rid of everything that you don’t wear. There are some guidelines around minimizing or purging, for example if you haven’t worn it in the last 6 months you should get rid of it. I would say if you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months then definitely get rid of it because if you go a full 4 seasons and it hasn't seen the light of day, then it should hit the road! Give unwanted clothes to charity, or your friends. Again for more insight into a minimalist approach to your wardrobe styling check this post from IntoMind.

Image courtesy of IntoMind

Finally here are a few ideas on how to increase storage space in your home. When you have limited space, you need to get clever and tricky about how you can keep everything away nice and tidy. Another mantra for storage is (without being too obsessive about it) "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Use unused spaces

The inside doors of closets are perfect for hanging hooks for belts, necklaces and scarves, or anything else you can think of!

Use hooks and even towel racks to store accessories behind your closet doors. Image courtesy of
Under beds and on top of wardrobes you can get extra storage space with pretty boxes or drawers. A decorative trunk can also store your winter woollies or linen.

Check out all the great storage ideas from our fifth house and their great post on Clothing Storage Ideas for Small Closet Owners. They also have small closet issues and with four full seasons give great ideas on how to maximize storage space.

Create multipurpose spaces

Seats with drawers included, an ottoman to store linen, secret storage and floating shelves, just some more great ways to get more out of your furniture and spaces.
Brilliant idea to create bench seat storage with two book cases on their sides and foam cushions with baskets in the shelves.  Image and full tutorial courtesy of IHeartOrganizing.

For extra storage hiding places an ottoman can be perfect for extra blankets, toys, and games. Image courtesy of Garnet Hill.
Hidden table storage, cunning idea. Image from

Floating shelves are a great way to display beautiful things, or store less beautiful things in beautiful boxes. Image courtesy of
No garage? Mount your bike on the wall like art, just make sure its clean. Image courtesy of
Storage hooks don't have to be boring, go for something fun and unique, I quite like these slightly creepy vintage doll hands. Image courtesy of

I hope you're inspired to live a simpler life and get your possessions a bit more organized. I promise you will feel better for it, and in my case it's much more of an urgent necessity. Happy New Year and happy organizing!
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