Tuesday, 22 December 2015

All laced-up - December 2015

I have been looking sooo long for a white skirt! Over the years, I tried on several but wasn't fully satisfied with any. Either the cut was wrong, the style unflattering or the quality poor with most skirts so sheer they were see-through thus, inappropriate for the workplace (or anywhere else for that matter!). All I wanted was a white skirt that was well-shaped, fully-lined, looked classy and was that little bit edgy; different from all the others. 

For most, wearing a white skirt is a daunting thought not only because it shows dirt and stains easily, but also because a light shade, especially one as bright as white, is the first to draw attention to the body parts it covers - in this case the waist, hips, butt and thighs. Therefore, my reason for being rather particular about a white skirt is because white is unforgiving. There is no margin for error so, the skirt must be perfect in every sense - perfect fit, perfect shape, perfect length and perfect style.  

This one from Sheike is a slim-fit midi style with a lace-up feature down the front, finishing into a split which is sure to keep all eyes on you! It's also a stretch fabric so the skirt contours beautifully and seamlessly to your body, creating a sexy, hourglass shape. The front pockets make the skirt look smart and stylish and the split down the middle adds an element of sexiness whilst the length adds sophistication. 

With so much happening around this time of year, this classy number is the perfect holiday skirt for Christmas parties, dinners, New Year’s Eve as well as any December birthday celebrations. Plus, it's ideal for summer! In fact, it would look gorgeous with the chic, cropped cape-style jacket from my last post for a white-hot-summer look!

Neutral shades such as beige, ivory and taupe as well as other soft hues like blush and light grey are darling with white for a romantic, dreamy look but, I also love pairing a white skirt with bold reds, blues and greens for a fresh, vibrant feel. Given the joyous, festive season, I opted to team this white skirt with its polar opposite - black and gold accessories - the ultimate combination for a dramatic effect and a look that is classy, sensual and effortlessly stunning. 

Happy Christmas everyone! Remember to be thankful for all the blessings in your life because Christmas isn’t just a season or about presents, it’s a feeling - a feeling of cherishing peace, giving love and forgiveness and being grateful for all the good things we already have. 

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~ Charles Dickens
Sunday, 22 November 2015

In the white - November 2015

The weather in Sydney this past week has been sunny and incredibly hot! Last Friday temperatures soared to 42 degrees Celsius in some parts of the city!

With the sun shining and the hint of summer in the air, I love wearing white.

I am obsessed with this chic cropped, cape-style jacket from Sheike - it is my new favourite item for the season. This jacket is something special; unique and stylish. It's also lightweight making it the perfect throw-over piece when the warm spring days turn into breezy nights.

White is not typically known for stimulating the senses. Nonetheless, I consider it a striking colour because it is bright and stands out against all other colours it is paired with, particularly in this sexy, distinct, cut-out lace design which exposes some skin. For me, white is such an uncomplicated colour because it works well with everything and is effortlessly elegant. 

I wore this outfit to dinner over the weekend. I wanted to keep the focus on the jacket plus, I was aiming for a fresh, feminine look so, I paired my nude faux leather skirt (with a cheeky side split) and a white tank top - a simple ensemble but, the addition of this jacket injects a touch of flair and glams up the look. It's the ideal outfit for a dinner date - it shows you are confident as well as daring enough to be a little different.

There are so many ways to wear this jacket. It will look amazing over anything black, especially a little black dress teamed with strappy nude (or coloured) heels and equally as good with red or as part of a sleek all-white look. I can't wait to pair it with a fitted caramel skirt, matching blouse and gold accessories, or casually with a pair of light-washed blue denim jeans and a white t-shirt to instantly style-up a classic, everyday favourite.  

Ps. This cute number now comes in black!

"Being glamorous is about strength and confidence. It's black and white - dramatic. You have to be strong." ~ Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Thursday, 29 October 2015

Pop of Pink - October 2015

For me, pink is such a positive colour. It makes me feel happy, energetic and flirty.

Pink is associated with femininity, beauty, love and romance as well as all things cute and girly. Where light pink is delicate and soft and represents tenderness, hot pink is arresting and lively and represents playfulness.
The combination of red and white, pink takes the best characteristics from both and demands its own attention and admiration. Red is such a strong and visible colour – it automatically captures the eye, stirs up energy and stimulates intense emotions, which is why it epitomises desire and sexuality, passion and seduction and also anger and danger.
The innocence and coolness of white alleviates the force of exciting, assertive, action-inducing red, replacing it with a calmer, more gentle energy. So, pink is actually the soft and sweet yet sensual side of red but without the fervency and extremity of emotions.
Obviously, the deeper the pink the closer to red, so the more passion and energy it exudes. Therefore, hot pink is very much a passionate, dynamic colour intermixed with warmth so it’s quite playful though still sexy and enticing. It doesn’t radiate the aggression and potency of red making it a less overpowering version of red. That’s why hot pink is my favourite colour and red is (a close) second.

Combining hot pink with darker colours such as black, navy, charcoal, purple or dark green adds classiness and depth to the otherwise playful and vibrant colour.
For Spring, Nine West have released these gorgeous hot pink, point-toe pumps. I love Nine West shoes because they are stylish, comfortable and reasonably priced.

The pretty floral pattern blended with splashes of various animal prints makes these heels truly unique, unlike your typical bright-coloured pump. They certainly make a statement and add a touch of femininity, sassiness and understated sexiness to any outfit.  

"Pink isn't just a colour, it's an attitude!" ~ Miley Cyrus 
Thursday, 24 September 2015

Retro Revival - September 2015

Fashion is cyclical. Trends tend to repeat themselves and this couldn't be more true than right now, with the resurgence of the hip influences of the 1970's. 

Following a decade of revolt against conservatism and conformity leading to a deterioration of social order and liberation, where peace, compassion, free love, excess, positive vibes and the goals of the community, society and nation were all that mattered, the 70's brought a new and different attitude. 

Gone were the days of communitarianism and collectivism - of focusing on the "common good". Now, it was all about the individual. Pursuing one's goals, interests and passions as well as establishing independence and being self-reliant was far more important than the goals and interests of any social group or the community, state and nation. This was the "Me Decade". Individualism was the new craze, and what better way to express your individuality, exhibit your personality and attract attention than through your clothing.  

This newfound freedom of self-expression along with the rise of the ego, gave people the confidence to experiment with fashion to create unique looks and flaunt their originality. Consequently, randomly teaming together items of different fabrics, textures, patterns and colours was popular and explains why the 70's were termed "the decade that style forgot".  

However, in respect to fashion, the 70's are arguably one of the most iconic decades. From the loose-fitted, free-flowing hippie chic - faded denim, tie-dye, leather, suede, fringe, studs, flirty florals, satchels, sandals, mules, off-the-shoulder styles and embroidered peasant designs to cool and casual fashions and active wear - sweaters, sneakers, t-shirts, tracksuits, jumpsuits, jeans, crop tops and headbands to glam wear - sheer backless evening gowns, halter neck catsuits and for men, three-piece "leisure suits" with matching flared trousers and shirts with ruffles. 

From here, there was a shift back to conservative cuts, as a result of more women entering the workforce due to further progression of the feminist movement. Appropriate attire was now required, especially for ladies in office roles. Pencil skirts, high necklines, jersey wrap dresses, cowl neck tops, tunics, pinstriped pantsuits, fitted blazers, thick-heeled shoes, wide-legged flares and belled sleeves were introduced with bold lines, geometric patterns, psychedelic prints in pastel shades celebrating femininity in a smart, fashionable way. Wedge heels, big hair, over-sized sunglasses, gold jewellery, small shoulder bags, scarves and mood rings also featured prominently at this time. 

The most famous style of this era was the tucked-in, tight-fitted ribbed top, swooping bell-bottom pants and platform shoes. To compensate for showing less skin, cuts naturally became a lot narrower, more form-fitting. Tight around the top, waist and thighs accentuated the butt and outlined the contours of the body, creating an hourglass silhouette, whilst the flare from below the knee exhibited a long, lean line, all in all displaying the figure in a sexy way without showing too much skin.

Then, the film Saturday Night Fever is  released and disco takes over the world! People turned to dance for further self-expression and to release any pent-up energy from the working week but mostly, to have fun, feel young and carefree. Fancy and flashy, slinky and stretchy, shiny and sensual clothing was necessary to enable free movement whilst performing the Bump, Bus Stop and the Hustle during dance contests at local discotheques, and with all the dancing came the need to bare more skin. Plunging necklines, bandeau tops and hot pants in skin-tight spandex (lycra) for the ladies and for men, shirts cut lower, left unbuttoned with wide open collars to expose the neck and chest and sleeves rolled up. Platform shoes added height to help you stand out even more as you side-stepped, hip-bumped, gyrated your pelvis and twisted your hands to the steady beats and electric bass line.     

Even off the dance floor, it was equally important to look your best as you posed, flaunting your fit, healthy figure under the dazzling mirror balls and strobe lighting, ready to be "spotted" by the light beams. As such, shiny polyester, satin, silk, rayon viscose, velour, stretch fabrics, sequins and metallic shades, particularly gold, were used to intentionally reflect the lights, making you shine and of course, noticeable. Gold chains and medallions were also worn for this reason. 

With the revival of the 70's-inspired designs currently in vogue, designers have clearly not forgotten this decade. I like that the colours are more vibrant this time around. As a throwback to this funky, fun era, I have paired Cue's sexy 70's style striped satin skirt with a black cape sleeve top (yes, I am on a bit of cape kick at the moment!). It's a sexy, modern way to bring the hip 70's vibe into the now. Groovy baby!  

"The seventies is what I love. Soft, touchable beauty is what I love." ~ Tom Ford

Monday, 31 August 2015

Stripes for Spring - August 2015

Stripes in all directions, varying widths and contrasting colours are the fashion trend for this spring/summer.

One of my favourite looks this season is the quintessential black-and-white stripes design. The alliance of these two opposing colours alone not only creates a sophisticated and stylish look but is bold enough to turn heads on any day and, in a linear pattern, the combination is absolutely striking!  

I consider black-and-white stripes a classic neutral thereby, a wardrobe staple because of its  simplicity, making it versatile enough to be paired with almost everything. Plus, black-and-white stripes are unequivocally timeless.

Stripes have actually been around for ages, so it's hard to believe their scandalous past. It is noted that wearing stripes of any kind in Paris during the Middle Ages was frowned upon. The disapproval of stripes was instigated by the arrival of a group of Carmelite monks from Palestine. Wearing their official cloak of brown-and-white stripes they were not gladly received and subsequently, the lined-design became associated with all things immoral and downright evil thus, earning stripes unfairly so, the title "devil's clothing". As such, only transgressors - prisoners, women of the night, troublemakers, those condemned to death and outcasts, even jesters wore striped garments.

Years on, the stigma now faded, the striped pattern served a professional and practical purpose for all seamen from Brittany. Fishermen as well as merchants making the long journey across the Channel to the United Kingdom to sell their produce, wore stripes to be recognisable from afar and more importantly, distinguishable from the waves so they could be easily seen if they fell overboard. In 1858, French law formerly introduced the navy-and-white-striped knitted sweater, known as the "Breton" shirt, as the official uniform for all French Navy sailors in Brittany (officers wore a single colour). Breton legend states that the 21 stripes symbolise each of Napoleon's naval victories against the British. Due to its practicality and comfort, the sweater was naturally adopted by all Breton workers on the marina.

Though, it was the influential Mademoiselle Chanel who took the bold stripes mainstream and lifted them to 'haute couture' level. Upon visiting the southern coast and seeing the men on the marina in their striped sweaters, Chanel fell in love with the simplicity of the design and, in her continued quest to promote casual elegance as the feminine norm created a nautical collection. Thus, in 1917 began the mania for stripes. By the 1950's and 60's, French cinema stars had embraced the stripes and it wasn't long before the trend spilled over to Hollywood with stars like Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot further popularising the lined pattern.

Nowadays, black-and-white stripes are as common as the basic white-tee and a favourite go-to item for me. Here, I have paired my much-loved black-and-white pencil skirt from Forever New with a white tank top and added my black skinny silk scarf from Witchery for a fresh and modish feel. The sleek, fitted cut of the skirt plus the horizontal line-pattern accentuate the curves of the body and the wide black lines against the narrow white lines give off a classic and classy look. Red accessories - shoes, earrings and bag complete the outfit. I also love pairing black-and-white stripes with blue, yellow, pink, tan and emerald green.

For an edgy look, mix it up by wearing stripes-on-stripes; you can pair two items of different width, similar width or in clashing colours together. For a touch of true 70's chic (which is so hot right now), tie a printed silk scarf around your neck or bag.

So, take a linear approach this season and experiment with horizontal, vertical or diagonal, thick or thin, black or white, navy, red or multi-coloured stripes to show off your individuality and personality. One thing is for certain: you will make a bold statement in your stripes. After all, bold is beautiful!

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci
Monday, 3 August 2015

Denim on Denim - July 2015

It's a trend that has received plenty of bad rap over the years. So much so, it was once the ultimate fashion faux pas, but the double-denim trend - often referred to as the Canadian tuxedo, is back and more fashionable than ever! 

I know it's hard to forget the image of JT and Britney Spears wearing matching all-denim outfits (denim cowboy hat included!) at the 2001 American Music Awards. However, thanks to the likes of Miranda Kerr, Kendall Jenner and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley repeatedly reverting to the double-denim combo as their go-to, off-duty-model look and looking so smart and sexy, I was tempted to give it a go. When considering my style idol, Olivia Palermo and even David Beckham continuously rocking this tricky trend and doing so tastefully, I was definitely persuaded to give this look my full attention.

Then, how to double up on your denim without looking like a country music singer stuck in the 80's and 90's? The best way is by pairing contrasting shades together; mix up the shades of denim. For example, pair a light-washed blue denim shirt or jacket with dark blue or black jeans, or team the denim with other fabrics as I have done so here. Seeing as all the denim shirts I tried on didn't fit right on my petite frame, I opted to pair a soft denim-like shirt from Cotton On with my blue jeans and for a dash of panache, my leopard-print heels. For a casual yet chic look, simply swap the pumps for mules or flats (nude or tan also look great with a double dosage of denim) and add a pop of colour with a bold lip in blazing red, dazzling hot pink or luscious coral - for ‘casual sexiness’.

Change up the style by wearing darker shades on the top-half and lighter on the bottom such as, a dark blue denim shirt or jacket with grey, white or light-washed blue jeans. Remember though, brighter colours are the first to attract attention whereas darker washes outline your silhouette making you appear sleek and slender hence, produce a slimming effect. Either way, for a flattering look, ensure your denims are a slim-cut and fit you perfectly.

For an edgy and sassy look, block one-colour by pairing shades that a similar in colour. Avoid looking too "matchy-matchy" by wearing an eye-popping printed or coloured top, blazer or shoes or by incorporating stand-out, stylish accessories into your outfit such as a hat, an oversized bag or tote, gold jewellery or sunglasses.  

You'll have the opportunity to try out this funky trend on Friday 7th August for the annual and iconic fundraising campaign, Jeans for Genes day, where Australians unite to support genetic research. If you dare, why not turn heads with a denim-on-denim-on-denim ensemble? Think skinny-leg jeans, a denim shirt and a cropped denim jacket. At the very least, it's the perfect reason to don your denims and even double-up.

With twice the denim, you'll look twice as cool!

"I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes." ~ Yves Saint-Laurent
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Up, up and away! – June 2015

What do Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Doctor Doom, Thor, and Zorro have in common? Yep, that's right - they all wear a cape!

Now I have one too! Although, it took me a couple of years to invest in this distinctive item because I wasn't sure if this trend would stay, but two years on the cape is still in vogue and the hottest piece this season. 

Arguably, the most famous cape worn by a super-hero is Superman's! Most people connect the Man of Steel's red cape with power, strength, freedom and flying. When Clarke Kent put on his cape and transitioned to his real identity Superman, he became a completely different person. His entire demeanour and attitude changed; his timid, hesitant, cowardly, reserved, even clumsy self was replaced with confidence, boldness, courage, determination and charm though he was the same man underneath the dramatic costume.

When American business tycoon and billionaire Bruce Wayne, transitioned to his secret identity Batman to fight against crime, he needed an edge because whilst exceptional, he does not possess any superpowers hence, his long, dark, wing-like, twisting cape is perfect for provoking fear and intimidation in criminals. Similarly, Doctor Doom's iconic dark-green hooded cape with gold buckles plus brown leather belt and gun sheath, cleverly exudes the super-villain's terrifying aura which enhances his tyrannical nature. Even the legendary King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley altered his stage outfits during the 1970's to include a cape!

So, what is it about a cape that stirs admiration and makes it so impressionable? Firstly, a cape creates an identifiable and distinguishable look as well as visually conveys the character's personality and power. Secondly, it instils the ability to fly and flying represents freedom. This sense of freedom rouses feelings of being in control of yourself and your life making you feel empowered, and it is this very feeling which promotes the belief that anything is possible; you're aware of the challenges you face yet you know in your heart that you have what it takes to get through them with confidence, strength and grace. Furthermore, this sense of freedom awakens an enthusiasm and drive from within. Just think how amazing it would be to possess extraordinary strength and unlimited knowledge, fly in the sky at your own will and perform incredible acts. Life would be full of endless possibilities and awesome adventures, so thrilling and fun!

From a fashion point, a cape is essentially about being confident and audaciously daring with your look and transforming a simple, ordinary outfit into a unique, eye-catching, knockout ensemble. Black is the ultimate colour to pair with everything (though I also strongly suggest a white cape). Sleek and stylish, a structured black cape blazer is certainly an interesting and edgy twist on the timeless black blazer. It's also the perfect layering piece, particularly going into Spring when you're ready to bare more skin but the temperatures are still slightly cool.

The best thing about the cape blazer is its versatility - you can dress this chic item up or down. Here I have paired my cape blazer from Zara with a basic white t-shirt, black skinny-leg denim jeans and my open-toe boots for a casual-yet-glam day look. Swap the boots for leopard-print ballet flats or printed slides and you're sorted for a lunch date or to run your errands in style. Dress up your cape blazer by teaming it with a leather pencil skirt, fitted pants or tailored shorts and a pair of heels for a sharp and sexy evening look. Alternatively, you can create a polished and professional look by wearing your cape with a black and white striped blouse or crisp white shirt and a pencil skirt in this winter's most popular colours: red, maroon, cobalt, camel, copper or emerald green.

Remember, capes symbolise superpowers and remind us of what we can achieve when we accept ourselves as a unique individual, and tap into our inner strength and take control to recognise and bring forth our superpowers - talents, skills and passions to realise our full potential and ultimately, make a positive contribution to society.

Whether you wish to be as identifiable as Superman or Batman, as distinct as Captain Marvel or you're simply looking to enhance your look, then dare to be different and dramatic this winter by injecting originality, creativity, sophistication and flashiness into your wardrobe with a cape blazer. It sure has the epic factor and will make you feel as though you too can take on the world. KA-POW!

"It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” ~ Bruce Wayne

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Fringe Benefits - May 2015

Fringe is everwhere (and everything ) this season!

This decorative textile trim, commonly applied to an edge of an item, has made numerous comebacks over the years and has once again managed to find its way back into the fashion spotlight.

From as far back as the ancient civilisations living in Mesopotamia, fringe was a popular ornamental adornment for clothing of both men and women of all classes. In more recent times, Native Americans demonstrated its usefulness when they added fringing to the bottom of the sleeves of jackets, to help prevent droplets from soaking through.

However, it was in the 1920's, as part of the flapper look, where fringe truly became a trendy fashion embellishment. Fringing flourished as women moved and swayed in this daring new fad which embraced all things modern. Years later, it made a fierce revival as a dominant decoration on the leather clothing of cowboys in the American West followed by a brief stint in the hip 1970's.    

I found this cool taupe-coloured fringed-skirt on www.missguidedau.com/ which I have paired with my black turtle neck wool top, pointed mid-calf  boots and added my stylish black floppy hat for an effortless boho-meets-city-chic look.

So, this season, embrace the wild-west inspired vibe with a fringe feature. A fringe-sleeved jacket or coat is the classic choice although, I highly recommend a pair of black (safe option) or grey, even nude-coloured ankle boots with some fringe edging - so hot! Alternatively, a handbag (or clutch) with some fringe detail will also put you right on trend and certainly transform your look!

“There’s a little bit of cowboy and cowgirl in nearly everyone.” ~ Jane and Michael Stern
Friday, 24 April 2015

Lest We Forget - April 2015

                                                    Sydney Cenotaph, Martin Place

28 July 1914 - Austria-Hungary declare war on Serbia and in enters Russia to support the Serbs. Germany invades neutral Belgium and Luxembourg then advances towards France, so Britain declares war on Germany. News of the conflict between Europe's major economic powers quickly spreads across the globe and suddenly the world is at war.

Young, fit Australians and New Zealanders eager to participate in what they perceive to be a great adventure, one believed to be over by Christmas, follow Britain into the great global fight that changed the world forever. Thus, at dawn on 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand troops landed ashore Gallipoli and it was during the eight-month-long hellish, bloody battle where the ANZAC spirit was born. For despite fighting a losing "campaign" thanks to poor positioning on unforgiving terrain and confusion due to unpredictable circumstances then having to cope with the indiscriminate carnage, horrific tragedies and immense losses, the ANZACs persevered.

Interestingly, the acronym ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) was first created in 1915 when Australian and New Zealand soldiers were training in Egypt however, it is specifically associated with the Gallipoli landing.

Needless to say, an emotional day is upon all Australians and New Zealanders this Saturday as we mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in one of the largest and deadliest conflicts in history – World War I. It is on this day we remember all those who served and sacrificed their lives not only in the Great War but in all conflicts past and present and proudly honour their endurance, mateship and incredible courage - qualities that are at the very core of who we are.

Back home during the war, Australian women - wives, mothers and girlfriends of the men in combat were concerned about the quality and nutritional content of the food being supplied to the soldiers based on the information flowing to them via the letters from Gallipoli. Quantity of food was limited as was variety and the conditions were absolutely appalling with flies swarming all over their meagre food provisions. The women had to bear in mind all food sent to the troops via navy ships, which had no refrigerated facilities, had to remain fresh and edible for periods in excess of two months. As such, bread was out. 

So, a group of women created a bread substitute - a biscuit which was nutritious and would not easily spoil. The original biscuits given to the soldiers in Gallipoli and later on the Western Front called "ANZAC tiles" or "wafers" because they were actually very hard to endure the long journey abroad, were made with ingredients that were readily available -rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Coconut was later added to the mix. Golden syrup instead of eggs was used to bind the mixture together because eggs were scarce during the war as most poultry farmers had joined the services. What's more, without the eggs, the biscuits had a long shelf life.

Although the biscuits were not as popular in World War II as a result of refrigeration on so many naval ships which now made it possible to send a greater variety of food, in keeping with the tradition, we still bake ANZAC biscuits for ANZAC day to commemorate the occasion.

Inspired by the original recipe, I baked my own cookies using my sister-in-law's healthier version:

Makes 16

2 cups almond meal
1 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseed & sesame)
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup
1/2 cup macadamia oil

1 tablespoon of cinnamon
pinch of ground vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of  bicarbonate of soda

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
Roll the mixture into small balls and press down onto a baking tray (lined with baking paper)
Bake in a preheated oven at 120 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Eat up and on the ANZAC Centenary remember all the brave ones who served, suffered and sacrificed for their mates, for our country, for freedom.

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them." -  The Ode from For the Fallen, a poem by Laurence Binyon
Monday, 30 March 2015

Healthy Easter treats - March 2015

Easter is fast approaching and with it the Easter Bunny brings all things sweet and delicious albeit overloaded with with sugar, saturated fat and additives. There’s also the looming possibility of the over-consumption of unwholesome and sickly chocolate treats which pose a serious threat to to your waistline and overall health. That said, I still want to indulge just a little...

Most people opt to purchase the popular brands of customary chocolate eggs and cute rabbits on the shelves that have been heated, refined and processed so much so that anything of nutritional value including antioxidants, flavanols, vital enzymes and vitamins has been destroyed and essentially, you’re left eating empty calories. I understand it's the quick and easy way therefore, remember the golden rule: the darker the chocolate the higher the antioxidant level.

For me this Easter, rather than gorging on copious amounts of store-bought chocolates containing hidden nasties and feeling guilty afterwards, I decided to make my own chocolate treats. This way, I know exactly what I’m eating plus, my body will benefit from the range of super foods ingested. More importantly, I will feel good about myself whilst devouring these delicious delights. Besides, I am always looking for new and creative ways to consume raw cacao powder.

For my project, I commissioned my sister-in-law’s assistance and she came up with this ingenuous concept of filling raw chocolate (cacao powder mixed in with melted cacao butter) with the combination of our favourite breakfast cereals – Vital Longevity’s PowerStart (cacao flavour) and Loving Earth’s Caramelised Buckinis. Both these products are grain, dairy and gluten-free, high in protein and like cacao powder itself, a rich source of B-vitamins and essential minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and magnesium which is important for a healthy heart and brain.

What's more, the high levels of antioxidants in cacao protect the nervous system, guard against toxins and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases and at the same time promote a sense of well-being and happiness via its mood enhancing compounds. (Note: Cacao is potent on the central nervous system so, consume in moderation). To the mix, we added a little bit of honey for natural sweetness èt voila – tasty, nourishing homemade chocolates.

Now, that's how you indulge - guilt-free and in a healthful way! 

80g cacao butter
60g cacao powder
25g Powerstart (Original or Cacao)
25g Buckinis (caramelised)
20g honey

Melt butter in glass bowl over a saucepan
Add in cacao powder, stir well
Add in cereals and honey and stir again until all blended
Fill moulds then refrigerate until chocolate sets

If you prefer the plain chocolate option, leave out the cereals. You may also add shredded coconut or organic peppermint essence or oil for some flavour.

"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life." ~S.D. Gordon
Thursday, 26 February 2015

50 shades of Grey - February 2015

To coincide with the release of the much anticipated movie, Fifty Shades of Grey in Australia this month, I am going all the way with grey (couldn’t resist the play on words!). Ok, that said, this cloudy colour is hot at the moment and I am having so much fun experimenting with grey ;-), mixing different tones of this neutral hue together.

Universally known as the ‘colour of compromise’ because it’s neither black nor white but somewhere in between, its intermediate positioning makes it adaptable to other colours but has earned it the reputation for being passionless and dull because it doesn’t catch the eye and stimulate the senses like the bolder, vibrant colours do. Instead grey creates a sense of calm and composure, a relief from the wildness happening both inside and outside of the self which explains why it is the colour of choice for corporate professionals who strive to give off an impression of respectability, reliability, proficiency, power and importance.

Less overpowering than black, this subdued shade sets the perfect backdrop for playful colours as well as contrasting textures and various prints. What’s more, grey has other undertones such as mauve, green, pink and blue which means, it can be easily incorporated into an ensemble making grey both practical and versatile. It all depends on what you do with grey that counts, right? (hehe)

Dusty pink and light grey is one of my favourite colour combos because these light colours add a touch of softness and create a dreamy, romantic and feminine feel to an outfit but I haven’t been able to find a soft pink top I like. Early in the season though, I bought this super sexy light grey sleeveless trench coat from Witchery.

For my movie date with my bestie, I wanted to create an outfit consisting of different shades of grey. I kept it simple yet chic by teaming my trench with my stylish skorts and a fitted glittery silver tank, both also from Witchery and my pretty (and comfy) heels from Nine West. The gunmetal tones in the skorts harmonise well with the black and white and the flowy design adds a girlish, playful look whilst the swirly pattern creates shadows giving off an enigmatic air to the overall ensemble. Both the trench and tank top have a hint of cool blue so the shade is closer to silver and as such, the lighter tones illuminate all other colours.

I do love to add colour to my sombre greys, so for warmth I wear it with pink and red and I especially love grey with a dazzling cobalt blue and brilliant yellow. Yes, yellow looks striking with grey! As the season changes, grey and yellow are going to be a favourite of mine for autumn.

So, contrary to popular belief you can certainly give grey a personality of its own and create a dynamic outfit and make this conservative colour “without colour” the centre of attention and like Christian himself, lift the ordinary to extraordinary.

The advantage of grey is its diversity – you can look elegant and sleek yet soft and sexy in this shade and at the same time exude a sense of control when in reality you want to lose control.

"There's so much grey to every story - nothing is so black and white." ~ Lisa Ling