GETTING OFF THE COUCH & OUT THE DOOR

Ever since I was a little kid, I always felt that the family couch would take me to a magical place that provided me with the ultimate “cocooning” experience. Back then it was a cream leather lounge, that looked like it had come off the set of Dynasty, plucked from Alexis Carrington’s (Joan Collins) palatial home. Being on the couch would insulate me from the real world, spread horizontally, snuggled up for no other reason than possibly not wanting to face the reality of having to deal with breaking up with a boyfriend, credit card debt, or the realisation that I may need to move out of home soon. Now-days, thanks to always-on, wireless internet, and bigger, better TVs that give you access to everything in the world, in real-time, cocooning (or being a couch potato maybe?) is entering a whole new evolutionary stage. We are staying home more, watching movie and TV shows delivered via the Internet, (Uber) eating in and transforming our apartments and houses into a shelter from daily social contacts. We’ve become 'digital zombies' due to the isolating elements of pervasive mobile technology. We can socialise from behind a mobile screen, in our sweat pants and very dirty hair. And I'm not going to lie, I kind of like it.

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WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

During the 90's I use to love the hit TV show, The Nanny. You remember, Fran Fine, the cosmetic sales women with a sharp sense of humour and ‘Queens logic’, appears on the doorstep of wealthy widower, Maxwell Sheffield, and inexplicably gets a job as the nanny to his three children. Six thirty each night, my sisters and I were glued to the TV, and I’m pretty sure mum watched over her shoulder whist cooking dinner. Apart from Fran's incredible Moschino outfits, which she wore regularilly, a particular thing I remember from this show was her plastic covered, mustard coloured, velvet lounge chair and the ghastly noise it made when she sat on it (almost as bad a nails down a blackboard). I recall asking mum, “why on Earth is the lounge covered in plastic”? I was rather confused by the concept. A trend of the time, it was because the clear plastic allowed you to see the lounge through it, but the plastic protected it from 'spills'. It was only temporary and would be removed when someone special came over. Totally logic!?!

I never have been one of those people who save things for good. In our home, having two young boys, I really have had to learn to let them 'respectfully be' in their surroundings, because me screaming at them none stop about dropping a crumb is exhausting. Although everything is spotless (I have a slight dose of OCD) they are allowed to sit, spread out or eat on any surface. As pretty much everything can be put in the washing machine and sterilised. And when it comes to my wardrobe, I have the same rules. I do not 'save' my clothes, shoes or handbags for 'good' or a 'special occasion', unless it is a ball gown.

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A JEAN JOURNEY

As I scroll throughsocial media and flick throughmy favourite fashion magazines (I do love magazines and I still regularly buy them each month), I am beginning to think fashion can be a fickle thing! Who agrees? Depending on where you look for inspiration, fashion move fast, especially in regards to one's loyalties or affections. With constant access to new influences, trends, information and ideas, our attention span is getting shorter, and we’re flitting from one style to the next faster than ever before.

As much as I love it, and do enjoy adding new trends here and there to update my core wardrobe, on the odd occasion, fashion trends can confuse the hell out of me. Sometimes it’s good to reflect on some of our favourite fads and learn from their mistakes. I never did understand 'daisy dukes' shorts or 'hot pants'. Do you remember those shorts from the early 90's that were the size of underpants? Yet because they were made from canvas or denim, they were acceptably worn in public? Another highlight for me was the extreme shoulder pads in the 80's that made women look like a Gridiron players in taffeta. I still remember my mum embracing this trend - big hair and big shoulders, very fabulous, but so, so wrong. And more recently I am seeing ‘skin’ as a trend as there seems to be more nudity on show as clothes become sheerer, underwear becomes apparel and pants become optional…we are yet to deem this a fad…as yet. 

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CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM?

I was doing an interview today for a large media organisation and after chatting for 30 minutes, the journalist asked me her final question, "Why is it you love fashion and shopping so much?". Although a simple, yet very relevant question, it did throw me. For a second I wondered, is she being condescending? I'm sure she wasn't, but after our great discussion about some of my career highlights and up-and-coming charity work I'm doing, I felt embarrassed by the question. I simply didn't know how to answer it. And for me to not be able to answer is not normal! I literally can talk under water.

After she left, the question got me thinking. I could have answered in an honest, yet emotional way about the proud and buzzing feeling I get when I walk out of a store swinging the paper bag (with the delightful bow), internally smiling that I just secured the new Gucci loafers I had been lusting over, which had sold out globally. But for the first time, the subject of 'fashion and shopping' actually left me feeling guilty.

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THE HANDBAG COMMODITY

I wanted to talk about one of my favourite topics... handbags! There is a story behind where my love and appreciation came from, and how bags have played a significant role in my career and are a hugepart of defining how I dress. 

It was a rainy day in the school holidays back in 1988 and to get us out of the house my mum sent my sisters and I to see a movie. We bought tickets, but had no real idea what 'Working Girl' was all about. To this day I will never forget what that movie did to me. 

"Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business tip, but Katharine simply steals the idea without giving due credit to her secretary." 

I watched in awe and from that moment dreamt about being a corporate woman, wearing a power suit, living in New York strutting up 5th Ave to my high rise office. The movie showed the world that a woman could be just as successful and smart as any man in business. Today that seems like a given, but in 1988 it seems like it was still pretty revolutionary. But interestingly, maybe in my imagination, "Tess" always carried a handbag that defined her place in society. When she was a low income earning, unnoticeable secretary - she had a huge worn out, unstylish vinyl bag, filled with essentially her life in it. Then when she was pretending to be the 'successful' corporate women, she carried elegantly a classic Chanel 5.0 with nothing but a credit card and a red lipstick inside. When Tess's world came undone, she pulled out the vinyl bag, almost like it was a comforting reminder of where she had come from.

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I'M NO BEAUTY BLOGGER BUT......

From the moment the alarm goes off, it’s mayhem. Mac my youngest son ever hopefully asks ‘Is it the weekend yet?’ and never likes my response. My eldest son Jay is at that age where he refuses to get up at all… sounding familiar? Before I drive my children to school and make sure the house is clean (I have a rule that the house must be a certain level of live-able before we leave), I am left with a window of no more than 7 minutes and 30 seconds to shower, get dressed and pull together some sort of beauty 'look' for the day. But somehow after all these years, I have managed to simplify the process. Because let’s face it, our time is precious.

I realise this goes against the booming beauty industry. Driven by the selfie-culture and constant photo opportunities, we need to look our best at all times. Doesn’t it feel like someone is launching a new ‘latest and greatest lifechanging product’ daily? Don’t get me wrong, my bathroom cabinet is full of amazing cult products. Like everyone, I get sucked in buying products I know I will never use, with pretty packaging promising me younger and flawless skin. Realistically, I don’t have the time in my morning routine to spend an hour using these products. Some of my friends and colleagues spend 20 minutes just on their foundation base or 10 minutes on their eyebrows.

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DO YOU KNOW YOUR OWN STYLE?

One of the main reasons I started this website is because when I meet with clients my first question to them is 'Where did your style go?'. Without exception they all tell me they don't know what happened to their style, and some didn't think they even had a style to begin with. 

The word style to some is a very 'fancy' grown up term. But I see it as the relationship you have with yourself and how you express it. It's the external  style that comes from within, it’s how your radiate your personality and that your sense of fashion, which is purely external,  shapes your sense  of style.

How is your personal style defined in the first place? Why do we loose it? Where does it go?

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THE STYLE MYTH

Waking up and checking Facebook is my morning routine, today I noticed I was the topic of conversation amongst a group of women who have never met me, and clearly have little understanding of how I derive my sense of style. In a public forum they were discussing what a ‘sell out’ I was because I was photographed wearing a brand that wasn't a 'high end designer label'. Apparently, as they knew me so well, they believe I only ever wear expensive designer clothes, and in their opinion, that's why I have style.

So I wanted to share my philosophy behind what having real STYLE is. Contrary to popular belief, looking good or stylish really doesn’t depend on your ability to exclusively wear high end fashion lables. Ignore the snobbery and wear non-designer brands that look good with pride.

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TRAVEL - LA MY WAY

I get asked frequently from my followers about tips on traveling to my favourite destinations locally and abroad. And mainly asked about shopping advice! I get it... sometimes it's difficult to know where to go in a city you aren't familiar with. 

So my first guide is about Los Angles. As LA is like my ‘home away from home’. Here are my personal tips on the top spots to eat, sleep, shop, and people watch.

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DOES YOUR WARDROBE NEED A DIET?

We all have experienced wardrobe envy at some point - have you ever seen a Kardashians wardrobe or maybe just google Mariah Carey's for a big dose of OMG. Even though it has always been my dream to have one of those celeb wardrobe moments, when I find myself wearing the same favourite things most of the time, I think I have realised I can be happier with alot less. 

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DRESSING FREAK OUT RECOVERY

There are a few principles I live by, but one in particular I want to share with you. This principle is so important to know because it is inverse to popular belief.

Dressing isn't about the clothes, it's actually about you and how you feel within yourself when you wear them. 

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WHY DO SOME PEOPLE LOVE SHOPPING & OTHERS DON'T?

During my long career in fashion I’ve had countless interviews where I’ve been asked what my favourite pass time is.  I know I should have a meaningful response such as... ‘Reading a great book whilst saving native animals.’ but my answer is some people’s greatest fear. I love shopping. Yes, shopping is my favourite thing to do.

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WARDROBE TIPS 101

Getting dressed everyday can be stressful. So, like your desk at work, email folders or the kitchen bench - you need to have your space organised to be able to think straight. There are a few key wardrobe principles which will really change the way you think about the stress of getting dressed. 

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