Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Dior Saddle Bag - What I Think of Them?


If you're a fashion lover and a crazy handbag lady like me, you will have heard about the Dior Saddle bag. It is one of the most iconic and recognisable bags of all time. Even more so, recently when Maria Grazia decided to relaunch the Dior Saddle bag in July, and the fashion world went completely crazy. 

The original Dior Saddle bag was first launched in 1999 when John Galliano was at the helm of the House of Dior. It was seen on the arms of many 'It' fashion girls in the late '90s and early 2000. It was also featured in the SATC series, carried by non-other Carrie Bradshaw. 

I was fairly young at that time and wasn't even an income earner. But it was also the time when the handbag monster in me was unleashed. 

Christian Dior is the first luxury brand that I was introduced to and I immediately fell in love with their iconic Lady Dior and Dior Saddle collection. Because of this, I always consider myself as a Dior lady and it is definitely the brand that I have the biggest collection of handbags from. 

The resurgence of the Dior Saddle bag has sparked a healthy debate amongst fashionistas including my circle of friends. Some are unsure about it while others absolutely loved it! To be honest, the Dior Saddle bag is not the most generous in terms of space and size and definitely not the most practical when it comes to functionality due to its shape. Regardless, I absolutely love it. I think as a bold fashion statement piece, the Dior Saddle bag easily wins compared to other brands. It is simply iconic and recognisable in its own right and for the Dior brand. 


I am lucky that the Dior Saddle bag that I own is from the original collection and while in the last 10 years it had mainly sat in the wardrobe not seeing the light of days, I never regretted getting it. Every time I take it out and wonder if I should continue keeping it, the answer is always a YES! I love it that much! 

With the recent reissue making a come bag, I took it out recently. Notwithstanding that I dressed in my usual classic style, carrying the Dior Saddle bag totally elevated the look. It screams 'Look at me' and it was totally all about the Dior Saddle bag. 

Do you have a view on the Dior Saddle bag? What do you think of them? 
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Sunday, 5 August 2018

5.8.18


It's my birthday today!

One of the things I love about my birthday month is the fact that it is in the summer season. Daylight, sunshine, long days - the choices of how I choose to celebrate my special day is endless. This year, in particular, we've been blessed with amazing summer weather in London; I guess it also depends on which camp you're in. I have friends who are absolutely done with this sweltering weather. But for me, I choose to embrace this heat as long as the sky is blue, the sun is shining and most importantly, it's dry! I simply don't cope well when it rains because it's just one big mess!

We do love talking about the weather, don't we? Enough of that, and back to my birthday.

Last year, on my birthday, I posted 10 reflection points and if you fancy a read, it's here. I am not sure if this will be an annual thing, but here are my thoughts as I reflect again on my life, as I get a year older (and hopefully wiser too).

1. I have so much to be grateful for and while my life journey has taken a different path than what I envisioned it to be back in my late teens or early twenties, it is still a life that I am proud of, happy to have and to be at. For example, working and living in London was never part of my life or career plan but I took the plunge in 2006. The move was not simply about leaving family and friends, but also, leaving comfort and familiarity behind for an unchartered territory. It was also a move that detoured me from my career trajectory towards becoming a Partner in one of the Big Four firms. But here I am now, calling London home. Initially, I questioned if I had made the right move. But as the years go by, I learned more about myself, met so many inspiring individuals and over time, my outlook on life changed. The move had proven to me that what I thought I wanted was not the only option available and that the world is the oyster.

2. Quality over quantity. There is something very true about less is more and keep it simple. You don't need rails and rails of clothing. There is no point having boxes and boxes of handbags if you only use a handful of them.

The same is true when it comes to friendship.

Trust me, I am a very social person.

I absolutely love to be out there meeting and surrounding myself with people. I am known to be the glue of my social circles. I have a tendency to bring people together - connecting people for job opportunities or simply getting a group of friends who haven't seen each other for a long time together for a cup of coffee or a dinner party.

But when it comes to friendship I rather spend time with people who are inspiring, not judgemental and those who expand me (not size wise) but rather my mindset, my ambition and my self-belief. Those who believe and encourage me to continue hustling so that I can be the best version of myself - whatever that means as it's personal to each and every one of us.

3. Success is unique and means different thing to different people. Not to mention that the path to success is not necessarily a linear line. If you have set up a plan but you don't feel that you are where you thought you'd be by now, never feel that you've failed. I've learnt that as long as I am moving forward, expanding my skill sets, widening my experience, who is to say that I am on the wrong path. Afterall, there is no such thing as the right path, to begin with. You may well have taken a different route than the one you had envisioned, but if it is a more scenic route or a less travelled one, there is definitely nothing wrong with that.

With that, I wish you a very Happy Sunday. May you have a great week ahead. I am off to get ready for a birthday celebration with my squad! x

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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Summer Spotlight - The Past, The Present and The Future


Hi - I am back! And yes, things were rather quiet in here. But here I am about to share what I had been up to, what are the things that are currently occupying my life and what I have plans for the future.

I was away from mid-June for three weeks to visit the family in Malaysia and to attend a wedding in Adelaide, Australia. Initially, I had every intention of keeping the posts going, but I decided my time is better spent with my loved ones - not that my blog is any less important. I simply decided to prioritise and make the most of my time with my family and friends, especially that I only see them once a year.

The first two weeks of my holiday flew by very very quickly. Totally understandable. I flew Emirates from London with a transit in Dubai before arriving in Kuala Lumpur. Only to repack for Adelaide four days later with a transit in Changi Airport. By the time I arrived in Adelaide, the first week of my holiday was gone!

The wedding in Adelaide was absolutely stunning. Held at the Chateau Tanunda, in Barossa Valley with only 100 guests, it was intimate yet was a fun-filled evening with most guests partying until it was carriage time.

After the wedding, my family and I headed to Adelaide City Centre for a few days before heading back to Malaysia, again via Changi. By the time I arrived back in Kuala Lumpur, my second week of holidays was almost over.

With only just over a week left, it was a rather whirlwind pit stop with so many friends and family to see before I head back to London. I realised that no amount of days and weeks will ever be enough when it comes to spending time friends and family, but it was nothing short of amazing!














Aside from my holiday, I recently finished watching the Season 1 of The Bold Type on Amazon Prime. The series centres around the lives of three friends, working in a magazine publishing company based in NYC. It showcases the trial and tribulations as they navigate their lives in the Big Apple both on personal and professional front. I truly enjoyed it and already on board with Season 2.

I am currently reading Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, upon recommendation from one of my friends. I have to admit that it's not the kind of book that I would personally pick up, but the recommendations were so convincing I thought there is no harm in expanding my reading genre. I started reading it today and I have to say I am progressing well, albeit it's still early days.

In terms of what's next - sadly I have no holidays planned for the second half of the year, which probably needs to be resolved as soon as possible. August is my birthday month, so that'll keep me busy for a bit. And work-wise, the big question is what do I do post my secondment? If you don't know what I am talking about, you can read about it here and here.


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Sunday, 10 June 2018

New In - Valentino Rockstuds Ankle Strap Pump

I know I am super late to the party. Mainly because I never knew that I am a studs kind of girl. However, over the last few months, I have been lusting over the Valentino Rockstuds Ankle Strap Pump.

Even more so after seeing three of my friends chose these beauties as their wedding shoes.

I mean, if they can wear them all day and all night long - from the registry to the photography session to the evening reception, for their first dance and beyond, surely these shoes are comfortable.

So I started mulling over them. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that there is a space for the Valentino Rockstuds in my life.

As though luck was on my side, yesterday, after a beauty treatment in Harrods, I decided I should wander into the Shoes Heaven. And lo and behold, with the UK Summer Sales is on the horizon, I found a pair of the Valentino Rockstuds Ankle Strap Pump which was on a 30% markdown. They are in the shade of pale grey and 10cm in height.

And just like that, I am now a proud owner of the Valentino Rockstuds Ankle Strap Pump and I can't wait to wear them as these babies are definitely coming with me for my upcoming holiday.

The thing about them that attracted me the most is how versatile they can be. I can imagine myself wearing them with jeans to elevate a simple casual look, to add a bit of oomph to a formal work attire and of course, they are perfectly suited to be worn with dresses for a more formal evening look.

What do you think of them?
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Sunday, 3 June 2018

June - General Life Update


Could someone explain to me how is it that it's June already? Didn't we just experience the unexpected 'Beast from the East' in March?

But who am I to complain? The weather has been glorious and it genuinely feels like we are in for a good summer this year. Apart from the occasional rain, I feel like I've had proper sunshine since April, which is a lot to be grateful for when you live in England.

At present, my social life has taken slightly on the back seat because I am observing Ramadan, the holy month in the Islamic calendar. Fasting in the summer month is challenging, to say the least, as the days are long and the weather is hot. It is without a doubt that coffee is the one thing that I miss the most, followed by my cardio classes and my social activities. I still do my pilates classes, I just make sure that I do movements that are relatively easy for my body.

To make up for the lack of social activities, I have been spending more time reading. I've just finished reading 'A good time to be a girl' by Helena Morrisey, who also happens to be one of the Executive Management in the company that I work for. The book challenges how businesses have dealt with diversity in the past i.e. by making women behave like men to get to the top. Instead, it sets out what we could achieve if we embrace the differences which is what diversity is truly about. It is not aimed as a war against men, but look to embrace the differences for the greater good of everyone in the society.

I am currently on my next book 'Gravitas' by Caroline Goyder which focuses on communication with confidence, influence and authority. I am still in the early stages of the book and I am already liking it. It starts with knowing yourself, finding your centre (just like Pilates!) and finding your voice. As you know I am a big believer in self-affirmation so I have a feeling that this book will resonate well with me. Let's hope so.

Aside from reading, I have also been doing some shopping. Most of the stuff are not for me, although a few pieces of items slipped through the net(!). Like this multicoloured striped top, this geometric print dress and this mini dress with pearl beads, all from Zara.

Oh if I haven't mentioned, I will be heading to Kuala Lumpur to see my family from mid-June for three weeks (say what?!). So actually most of the things I have purchased are for them. If you're feeling nosy, I've shared bits and bops that I have purchased below.


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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Bicester Village - A Luxury Designer Outlet Accessible From London

 If you are anything like me - loves shopping and luxury designer goods - chances are you would have already heard of, if not visited Bicester Village, the Designer Shopping Outlet in Oxford, but easily accessible from London. But if for any reasons you haven't, then you are about to be introduced to the wonderful world of shopping for luxury designer goods at a slightly discounted price.

I have been visiting Bicester Village for years and years. I've taken the train and driven there. I've been there on my own as well as with friends, not to mention, taken visitors to the UK for a shopping trip as though Bicester Village is one of the must-visit tourist spots in the UK. Well, it is! If you love shopping and a bargain.

So today, I thought I'd put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and spread the love about Bicester Village. Sharing is after all caring.


Travel
Getting to Bicester Village from London is easy peasy, even if you don't own a car like me. There is a direct train from Marylebone Station which will arrive directly at Bicester Village. The journey is approximately 45 minutes and there are 2 trains per hour. An off-peak same-day return ticket is about £26, which is not cheap but not overly expensive either. On all accounts when I've gone to Bicester Village by train, I simply purchased the ticket from the ticket machine at Marylebone station on the day of travel. So far it hadn't caused me any issues.

However, if you are planning a trip involving 3 or more people, I would suggest considering to drive there. And if you don't own a car, the one day rate of renting a car, if split by the number of people going, would probably make the travel cost per person more economical. But for a solo trip, taking the train is the way to go.

Brands
The list of luxury designer brands continue to evolve, and I suspect it will pretty much dependent on demand, and popularity. I would always check the website for the most up-to-date list of designer shops. Some of the ones that I keep going back to and have somehow managed to find goodies from include Dior, Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Tod's, Max Mara, Celine, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bally, Anya Hindmarch, Reiss etc. Other than fashion designers, I also love going there to score discounted items from The White Company and Le Creuset. Previously, there was a Wedgwood store but it seems to have been closed. In the past, brands coverage also include high street brands such as Coast and Hobbs, but I no longer see these brands during my recent trips. As I said, they do chop and change their brand offerings from time to time.


Expectations
Whenever I take visitors to Bicester Village, I often tell them two things to manage expectations and to avoid any disappointments.

1. Always go with an open mind as the stock availability vary. Not only that, the offer / discounted prices also vary depending on the time of the year. Further discounts on the already discounted items are often offered during the Boxing Day/Christmas/January sales and during holiday seasons i.e. Easter or Summer. Some trips I come home with fairly minimal items and at other times, I came home as a winner. Some of my most memorable purchases include a Classic Lady Dior (Carnage) in Black & Baby Pink (for my sister), a 100% wool Anya Hindmarch winter coat, a pair of knee length winter boots and two pairs of ballerina pumps from Bally, a Celine Boogie, just to name a few. But if you compare the prices at Bicester Village to the original RRP, you will get some savings and the travel costs is pretty much funded by the savings.

2. The prices are not entirely cheap, cheap. What I mean by this is that most of the brand items are sold within the 3 digits price range and some luxury items would be close to the 4 digits range (e.g. cult handbags). So don't expect to get things as cheap as what you pay for from the Next Sales or at Primark. These are after all luxury designer goods and one of the main reasons why they ended up there are because they are off-season, no longer in style or being discontinued.

Food & Drinks
Energy refuelling is an absolute must if you want to keep going with your shopping expedition. Just like the luxury brands, there is nothing short when it comes to food in Bicester Village. There are restaurants for those who prefer a sit-down meal, there are grab and go such as Itsu and Pret and there are also pop-up kiosks throughout the Village in between the outlets for a spot of coffee, ice cream, pastry (including Laduree) and wok noodles and middle eastern wrap.

So if you haven't been to Bicester Village, I would highly recommend to check it out. You might be surprised with the gems you may find there.

I hope you're having a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend and hooray to no work Monday. x
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Sunday, 20 May 2018

NOLA - New Orleans, Louisiana

One of my main highlights from the month of April is the trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. Not only because it was my first time there, but also, a very much needed and welcomed break as I was already at the brink of a burnt out given the last holiday I took was back in October 2017. Yes, I had time off work during Christmas and Easter but I stayed in London during both occasions as there were too much going on the work front.

I didn't know much about New Orleans - my travel buddy wanted to include it as part of our trip and I went along. I went with zero expectations and was completely ready to soak up new experiences that the City has to offer.

The trip definitely improved my prowess of the City. It has so much to offer - a mixture of history, culture, music and food - which is amazing!

If you know anything about New Orleans, you'll know that The French Quarter is one of its famous areas. As the name suggests, it got its name from the historical French ownership. Most of the building was built pre-1800. I was completely smitten and obsessed with the French-influenced architecture within the area. Intricately designed cast iron balcony was everywhere and they simply took my breath away.

New Orleans is also known as the birthplace of jazz as during the 19th Century, it was the only City which allows slaves to own drums. Until today, jazz music is still very big in New Orleans and it is the only place I've been where jazz could be enjoyed during midday in the middle of the street. How amazing is that?



Bourbon Street is the main strip of the City and if you are into partying, this is where you should be heading. Personally, it is not my preferred area to hang out at. I am sure things have changed over the years, but the current Bourbon Street has become too over commercialised with rows and rows of bars, strip and burlesque clubs and the music was loud, even during midday. By all means, do check it out as it is a big part of the Big Easy experience. But afterwards, when you ready for more tasteful jazz music and drinks, move away a street or two from Bourbon Street and you may find some hidden gems. The two that I stumbled upon and went back twice were Muriel's (by Jackson Square) and Beignets Cafe.



Jackson Square is another historical landmark and it overlooks the Mississippi River with the grandeur background of the St Louis Cathedral. You will also find plenty of street artists and psychic readers within the vicinity of the area. There are horse carriages which reminded me of the Central Park in NYC. There is also a big Cafe du Monde at the corner of Jackson Square if you fancy tucking into some beignets (yet another French influence).

The City is rather easy to navigate and can be easily done without necessarily requiring a tour guide. But if prefer to experience the City with guides, there are many walking tours available. I did the French Quarter History walking tour. Others which are available include The Swamp Tour and The Ghost Tour which are not my cup of tea.
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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Medium Classic Lady Dior Handbag


Could we please take a moment and appreciate what a stunning masterpiece this beauty is? She is the latest addition to my handbags family.

Considering that Dior is the first luxury designer that I became aware of and that it is my favourite IT bag, I can't believe it had taken me this long to find the perfect the medium-sized Classic Lady Dior bag.

The wait may be long but it she the perfect one for me.

And here's why.

First and foremost, I always knew that I wanted a Classic Lady Dior handbag in grey, because, if you had read the history of Christian Dior, you would know that grey is his favourite colour. It is muted and neutral and it pretty much goes with almost any colour.

Secondly, I wanted a colour that is classic and timeless.

Having said that, the medium-sized Lady Dior is not an everyday bag. Therefore I don't see the point of getting it in black. Furthermore, I already own a Classic Chanel Flap in black with gold hardware. Yes, they are different bags but I don't want a duplicate or redundant colour in my collection, especially given the amount of money I had to part ways with.

But there was something about the classic grey shade that Dior brings out year after year. The shade simply doesn't speak to me - trust me on this - I had tried and tried the Lady Dior handbag in grey so many times in the boutique.

But when I saw this Classic Medium Lady Dior in the Blue-Grey shade, I was pulled very strongly towards it. As the name suggests, it has a grey undertone but with a hint of blue in it. Because of the grey undertone, it still falls within the neutral muted shade category.

Therefore I didn't feel that I had completely lost the plot. In fact, I feel that I could make the shade work with most of the items in my wardrobe - which is a very important factor whenever I invest in any luxury items.

The versatility of the bags also played a role in my decision-making process. It can be hand carried for a more formal look, used as a crossed-body for a more relaxed look or worn in the crook of the elbow which works both formally and a relaxed look.
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Sunday, 6 May 2018

My Happiness Boosts

This post is entirely inspired by the one published on The Elgin Avenue. After reading her article I totally got on board with the simple concept of 'happiness boosts' and upon reflection, I came to a realisation that happiness boosts are often little things that make me happy and content.

So today I thought I'd share my very own list of Happiness Boosts.

First up is without a doubt, coffee. Especially the very first one of the day. I simply love the ritual of popping a Nespresso capsule into the machine and smelling the coffee aroma as it is being prepared and finally sitting down and enjoying the first sip.

A clean, neat and well-organised home. I always struggle to focus when I am not on top of my home organisation whether knowing that my fridge is stocked with delicious goodness, the laundry is done or that everything is in its place and home. Having fresh flowers around the house is a bonus too!

Well-manicured nails. I am unfortunate to have dry and hard cuticles which means that I need to keep up with my manicure and pedicure routine because looking at dry & brittle nails just drives me insane. Not good for the mental well-being.

Freshly changed beddings. That feeling when you first lay down on a newly changed bedding! Need I say more?

(Window) shopping. I love love love pottering or wandering around the high streets or department stores and feasting my eyes with new items that recently hit the stores. Being surrounded by beautifully designed and crafted shoes and bags and tailored clothing simply makes me happy. I don't even have to bring them home.

Brunch! Sweet or savoury and even better when I have it with my best friends. Doesn't matter if the conversations is a fun, full of laughter or deep-meaningful one (or a combination of all). Brunch and best friends are simply the best combinations.

Pilates and barre classes. My two ultimate favourite fitness classes at the moment.

Sunshine. Growing up in the Far East meant that I had taken the effect of warm sunny day on the well being for granted. Now I fully understand how the lack of Vitamin D could affect one's moods and happiness.

Feeling empowered and content.

A quiet me time catching up on my favourite TV series, favourite social media accounts or mastering a new piano piece.

Have you thought about your own Happiness Boosts? Do share below! x

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Sunday, 29 April 2018

Ways To Inject Healthy Habits Into Your Life


If one your resolutions was to be healthier this year, and you feel like you haven't up your game enough, don't be disheartened by the lack of progress. Instead of continuing procrastinating, these are some small steps you could take to kick the ball rolling. I am a true believer that you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

1. Wake up slightly earlier than your usual time and embrace the me time by doing what you truly enjoy. This could be as simple as reading a book, sipping the first cup of coffee or watch the sunrise from your bedroom window.

2. Make your bed. It will make your room looks neat and organised. I once listened to a speech which says 'If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed". It symbolises the first task completed and the first accomplishment for the day.

3. Instead of reaching out for your phone first thing when you wake up, do a gentle stretch such as the cat stretch or the downward dog yoga pose. If you fancy, you could also spend the first 10 minutes of your day meditating.

4. Drink water. Preferably on an empty stomach. I prefer mine to be slightly warm to fire up the digestion. Water with lemon is also good and refreshing.

5. Eat breakfast. Instead of grabbing a croissant on the way to work, start your day with a bowl of porridge. Or as the weather gets warmer, an overnight chia pudding or overnight oats. They are easy to make, tasty and the best thing is there is hardly anything to do in the morning as all the prep work had been done the night before.

6. Keep hydrated. Drink 1.5 to 2 litre of water every day. Even more so on hot days and especially when you work out. You can also eat your water. Food such as cucumber, celery, and melons are not only tasty and refreshing, they gives a boost of hydration too.

7. Claim your lunch time. Yes, it's easy to simply grab a sandwich and have your lunch at your desk. Instead of doing that, why don't you walk around the block, or if time is on your side, book yourself to a lunchtime fitness class. Your mind will be clearer and you will feel more rejuvenated afterwards.

8. Snack on nuts and fruits. Instead of getting chocolates or crisps from the vending machine.

9. Practice mindfulness. Be in the present. Don't multitask. Put the phone down when the TV is on. Have dinner at the dining table instead of on the sofa while watching TV.

10. Practice gratitude. At the end of the day, reflect on how your day went and what worked for you and what didn't. Think about the things that you're grateful for. If your day didn't go as well as you'd hoped for, don't beat yourself too much. Be kind to yourself. Afterall, tomorrow is a brand new day. So start over.


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