Grateful for 2014, and hopeful for 2015

Hi there, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Yes…truely a long while.  I do apologise, as I am a little rusty with my blogging for it has been 3 months since my last post! I did attempt to draft a little memento to 2014, but as things occurred Christmas, New Years and the long days of endless sunsets…I never actually got around to posting.

The reason for my disappearance is that I have been dragged away by my growing hand made business, I’m really glad to say that I am now taking it slowly…after all I MADE IT through the onslaught of Summer & Christmas markets.

It’s so important to start the year refreshed, relaxed and with a clear mind set to start planning for the 12 months ahead. So I thought I should come back to my centre, the Simple Chic, the place where it all began…my blog, and reflect on a year that has passed.

It was the year of  exciting happy moments, sad moments and also hard work and exhaustion asI put my heart and soul into SELF Organics. It is slowly growing at the pace that I can still manage solo and I haven’t gone too full on into my marketing. I like to still keep the reins on it while the kids are still young. Spending time with my babies is on the top of my list, there were times especially when I was torn between the family and the business. But I am learning  how to keep this balance in check as I go.

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I met so many new friends and faces this year, just by putting myself out there and not being afraid of the challenge that markets can bring.  The network of handmade creatives in Perth is just astounding, there is such a wonderful, talented bunch of artists that willing to share their knowledge and support each other by shout-outs on social media and collaborations.

As a side note – Etsy is also offering budding entrepreneurs the chance to turn their handmade passion into a business. If you are thinking of doing something new in 2015 like opening your own online shop you should join the Etsy Resolution, hosted by Jess Van Den of Create & Thrive, and Clare Bowditch of Big Hearted  Business. Find out more details here on how to sign up. It starts 27th January and you can get 20 free listings upon opening your new Etsy store.

Business aside, I am enjoying being surrounded  by the people I love and who believe in me. If not for them, I wouldn’t have the courage to go forth and do what I am passionate about. In 2014 I have discovered a lot about myself, my strengths and weaknesses and how to turn negative thinking on its head. We all talk ourselves down sometimes, but we have to stop doing that and recognise more of the wins than the losses.

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I’m excited for my little man will be attending kindy this year and my 7 year old, Lil Miss S who I can’t believe is in year 2 (already!). It’ll be nice to pick them both up from the same school. The older one is already telling her brother all the ‘cool’ things to look forward to in school…like the canteen! As my my lil Moon, she is talking so much now…a little character of her own, imagination at its best. I’m just so happy and thankful to be surrounded by their faces. My hubby was also such a pillar of strength last year, he has really supported me all the way with whatever I wanted to pursue. 50% of the growth and success of SELF Organics in 2014 was his.

Now there will be another project coming up very soon, that I am involved in with a close friend…something BIG, absolutely massive and one I have actually dreamt about since I was 19. Can’t wait to reveal more details to you, it is completely left of field but hey…opportunities in life are very few and far apart, so when they present themselves you just have to grab it with two hands!

Happy New Year to all, may it bring you all the joy you have ever wanted and more.

E-von

 

Interior inspiration: Blue blues and yellow hues

Yippee! The first days of Spring are here!! A little sprinkling of rain and sun peeking through the clouds, plus the nice warm overcast of dotted clouds…I’m feeling all giddy about the thought of Spring & Summer 2014. Aren’t you?

 

When I think of sunshine and blue skies, I find interior design inspiration in these primary/contemporary colours because they also so much fun to play around with. Electric yellows and peaceful blues to decorate interiors and outdoor settings, adds a little bit of joy to the atmosphere. And if you are not a fan of the bold bright colours, it is quite ok to just subtly add them around your existing furniture.

 

For example the macrame wall hanging in the picture below has a yellow strip that contrasts from the white. And can brighten up a dull spot in the home. Macrame is the art of knotting rather than weaving or knitting. If you ask your mum she may be able to explain it to you because Macrame is making a retro comeback! It was popular in the 70s sold as wall hangings, plant hangings, table clothes and even clothing.

 

This particularly wall hanging can be found at Mac and More, a handmade biz run by Erica, a creative soul from Perth. Erica is currently have a special Spring Sale at her Etsy store, where you can get 30% off all items. Just use the promo code: SPRINGSALE at the checkout.

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Baby blues remind me of clouds and clear skies, plus it is such a relaxing and calming colour that I love to have around my home. There is something about a light shade of blue that makes a home ‘homely’. The Zanui Ava Aqua shelf is quite in fashion at the moment, with the ladder-style bookcase becoming a popular and versatile piece of furniture that is quite useful in small living spaces. It would sit nicely in the corner of an apartment or can bring some contrast to a white study room.

 

The Graphique Hexagon mugs by Maxwell Williams has a little flower or sunshine pattern on them, so it just screams out ‘Spring’ time! And who doesn’t like a little bit of a designer touch in the garden this Spring, what a great place to plant beautiful flowers than in a Pantone pot!

 

All these items can be found at Zanui.com

 

I’m now tossing up whether I should go for the aqua or blue book shelf…maybe both? Lol!

 

Do you like to update your space with seasonal colours? Or do you have a colour palette that is personal to you?

E-von

A marimo goes to a new home! Winner announced for the Lime Tree Bower Giveaway

The Lime Tree Bower mini marimo terrarium orb giveaway has now ended. And I even though there were only a couple of entries, it made it especially difficult to choose a winner. Because this lil plant deserves to be on everyone’s desk. It keeps you company, it keeps you inspired and it’s a small, cute, green-thing that makes your space look that little bit warmer…

And did I mention it supposed to bring good luck? So far…rubbing my lotto tickets against the glass has only brought me small wins, but WINS nonetheless.

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So without further ado…the WINNER of the Lime Tree Bower Giveaway is Adeline Lee!!

The idea of the marimo sitting in a stark white desk space with only itself bursting with colour is why a marimo has such a captivating presence. I think my lil guy does anyway!

But don’t despair, you too can own your very own mini marimo terrarium orb for $15, and you can save 10% off by using the special reader discount code: EVON10 at limetreebower.com

This is one of the items that Helen is able to send to Western Australia, unfortunately due to customs regulations, her succulent products are unable to be posted westward.

Thanks to everyone for playing , if you didn’t win there will be more chances to win in another giveaway – to be announced very soon!

E-von

Review: Maybelline Better Skin Foundation

It’s nice to want everything in the foundation, for some wearing make up daily is a part of normal routine so it is a given to want a foundation to have added benefits. Personally, I wear make up 2-3 times a week when I have to go to work. Other times, I worry that wearing too much foundation will clog up my pores and send my face into a frenzy! This year, since turning 30 I realise that my face has reverted back to being more oily and prone to hormonal break outs. So I don’t really need added oil that comes from wearing foundation.

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I heard about Maybelline’s new foundation, Better Skin. The name sounds quite appealing to someone like me who wants better skin! Then again, don’t we all want nicer skin so we can feel more confident when we present ourselves to others. And I had problems with pigmentation and dull skin.

Better Skin contains Actyl-C, a vitamin formula that improve’s skin’s appearance within 3 weeks of use. It claims to evenly tone the skin, leaving it looking energised and healthy looking. It is also formulated with vitamin B5 + septonic M3, magnesium, zinc and copper to hydrate and plump the skin.

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So far in the trial, I have used the foundation for 2 weeks and have noticed an improvement in the look of my skin, it does seem a lot brighter and much healthier. The formulation is not oily either and on the bottle it says it is suited for ‘normal’ skin types. I chose the shade ‘NUDE’ because I select this shade with most of my foundations. I didn’t think it blended in as well because the colour was just too light for me. And I found that I had to wear a moisturiser or primer underneath, otherwise the result would have appeared to powdery and matte. I don’t mind the matte look, but it just felt a little on the dry side.

The pump dispenser is always nice, as it keeps the contents uncontaminated. And the cap keeps dust away. However, it as most foundation bottles it is made of glass. So always have to be mindful in the bathroom and around little hands.

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Overall it is a nice little foundation for those looking to achieve a healthier complexion. It also has SPF 14, for sun protection. A bottle of Maybelline’s Super Stay Better Skin Foundation will cost RRP$21.95. And comes in 8 different shades – Light Beige, Ivory, Cameo, Nude, Sand, Golden, Fawn, and Sun Beige.

Hope you liked the review.

Have you tried Maybelline’s Superstay Better Skin Foundation? What do you wish your foundation could do for your skin?

Don’t forget to enter The Lime Tree Bower giveaway that ends this Sunday! There are only 4 entries at the moment, so your chances are looking very good!

Happy Hump Day!

E-von

Zara coming to the Perth fashion scene

As it is nearing closer and closer to the opening of the big Spanish fashion label, Zara at Garden City, Booragoon on the 21st August. The Perth bloggosphere is going crazy at the excitement of an international label bringing its high quality and highly sort after cuts and wearable garments.

As much as I love supporting home grown talent, as I must admit Australian fashion have quality and style to match international brands. However we lack variety under one roof. Zara’s flagship store in Garden City will take over 2 floors and provide apparel choices for women, men and children.

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I’m just so excited to find out what they have in the new store. I know I will just have to leave the plastic at home. And how convenient that they have opened up only 20 minutes from home. Not sure how long I will be able t o withhold myself from going to Garden City…

And I wonder if they will bring an Australian online store to us who like to shop in front of our screens…that could prove much safer.

Who else is looking forward to the grand opening this Thursday? 

E-von

 

 

 

Small Biz in the Spotlight: Lime Tree Bower


It’s been a crazy month of birthdays, markets and a whole heap of other life moments that have taken me away from my blogging gig. But I am back and ready to go with another Small Biz in the Spotlight post.

I like to share the things from small businesses I come across. The creative owners behind them and the amazing things these guys do to change the world for the better, making it a more interesting place to live. Buying something handmade is like buying a piece of that person’s heart/life/dream. Isn’t that something to ponder about…

Today in the Small Biz Spotlight is Helen from Helarious who is also the creator behind Lime Tree Bower. Helen is a blogger like myself, however unlike me…she is gifted with an enviable talent of growing plants! Helen is quite the ‘green thumb’ artiste, often displaying beautiful photos of her bountiful harvest from her urban apartment balcony garden. Please read on to see what inspires Helen’s start-up:

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1. Why did you choose your business name?

I wanted something that was simple, flora-inspired, but with a touch of wanderlust. That’s what my creations are all about and I needed a name that reflected that aesthetic. My boyfriend came up with ‘Lime Tree Bower’, which is the name of a poem by Coleridge. We both felt it fit the bill perfectly.

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2. Tell us how you came up with this idea?

Is there a special story behind it? I’ve loved making things with my hands since I was a young kid. It’s a part of me and I haven’t stopped! Last year, I was undecided between trying out a new hobby: terrarium making or woodworking? So my friend put it to an online vote for me… the terrariums came out on top, so that’s how I started. I became obsessed and no wonder – it combines my passions for creating things, design and plants all in one!

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3. What were you doing at the time when you first thought of starting up your own business?

I was (and still am) working full time, and I was considering starting something but was a little afraid. Thankfully, a colleague of mine urged me to do it – why not, he said? Encouraged by his feedback, I began first by just putting some photos of the creations on my personal Facebook. I was surprised when friends started asking me to buy some. That helped my confidence and within a few months, I finally opened up shop on Etsy!

4. What do you do in your business?

Everything, Lime Tree Bower is just me! I do everything ranging from growing the succulents in my balcony garden, designing the logo, packaging design, product photography etc. The whole shebang!

5. Do you have a website or online shop?

Yes! https://www.limetreebower.com

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6. Where can we buy your products?

Online, on my Etsy store.

7. Where are you located?

Sydney

8. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you enjoy doing if you are not creating?

I’m an avid balcony gardener – that’s where I source my succulents from that feature in my terrariums! I also run Helarious (www.helario.us), a DIY lifestyle and creative ideas blog – this is where I let my passions run free and I get to play amateurphotographer too! Oh, and I love my sports and #goswans!

9. Where would you like to be 5 years from now?

Oh gosh. I would LOVE to have my products stocked in at least a few stores – either online or brick/mortar, and have my creations featured in store fronts, cafes, some collaborations with other brands… That would be a dream!

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10. Do you have any business advice for others wanting to start-up?

Just do it, it’s as easy as that.

Creating something and having it on show to the public is always going to be daunting and make you nervous – but really, what’s the worst that can happen? If you fail, you learn from your mistakes, and it allows you to do better next time!


 WANT TO WIN A MARIMO MOSS BALL IN AN ORB?

One of the items I cherish from Lime Tree Bower is  my mini marimo moss ball. It now has a home on my office desk and gets lots of visitors questioning ‘What is that??’

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You could be a lucky of new owner of one of these Mini Minimalist Marimo Terranium Orb too! To be in the running, all you have to do is:

1) Like The Simple Chic Facebook Page

2) Like Lime Tree Bower Facebook Page

3) Like Helarious & The Simple Chic on Instagram

4) Leave a comment on this blog post – where would you keep your new marimo terranium?

5) And leave your facebook and instagram name in the comment (so I know who to pick as the winner!)

Competition closes 31st August 2014. Winner will be chosen, they must complete the above and for having the most creative answer. The winner will be contacted on the 1st September, however if they do not respond within 24 hours, the prize will be forfeited and another entry will be chosen. Sorry, open to Australian residents only!


Helen has also agreed to give all Simple Chic readers 10% off at her online shop. Just use the promo code  ‘EVON10′ at the checkout.It will be valid till 31st October 2014. So please check out her store and happy shopping!

Hope you enjoyed reading this ‘Small Biz in the Spotlight’ post. Till next time where another gorgeous handmade biz will be featured. If you have a small business or know someone who does and would like to be in the spotlight please get in touch with me.

Have a fab week!

E-von

Head & Heart Series: June 2014

I can’t believe how fast the month of June has flown and it has now come to another segment of ‘Head and Heart’. I feel it is really that time in my life where I have to physically stop myself to smell the roses and enjoy the true, blessed moments of my life. Being a busy parent can make it quite difficult to do that. But I hope with my monthly installment of ‘Head and Heart’ it will make it easier for me to think about how I spend my 30 days in a month.

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Discovering an orchard nearby our home

What I’ve been grateful for:

Helpful souls who do not asking for anything in return. I have been busy putting together the accounts properly with a family friend who has offered her time and services to assist with the newsagency account. I have been racking my brains on all this accounting stuff, that it’s hurting my grey matter! So I was really beyond thankful that she came to us to lend a hand in sorting out all the numbers…which is obviously a weak point of mine.

Winter sunshine – As much as I love the rain that has been watering my garden and keeping it look alive. I am loving the sun that takes over during the day. It reminds me to look forward to Summer days and it makes me feel alive and energetic to get on with what the day throws at me. I have always a sunny disposition so it is quite normal for me to react to the sunshine!

Exploring new places with my kids, it can be tricky at times to take the whole family out as there is the worry that the kids will get over tired and throw a hissy fit. Hence we seldom go out and stay home, plus going out for a family of five isn’t exactly cheap anymore. Every where, it’s like spend on food, petrol, entertainment and something else. I tend to take my children to new places that don’t break the budget and the family has the chance to take some happy snaps and enjoy the day. I am grateful for those places, and these moments.

 What I’ve been thinking about:

Painting a black board wall in my kitchen area. Lil Moon has been busy practicing her artistic skills on the kitchen wall with my whiteboard markers, however it isn’t a whiteboard! So I have bought a can of Chalkboard paint from our local hardware store, Bunnings, a couple of small sized brushes so she can show off her artistic flair that way. Once it has dried I shall offer her a new set of chalk to draw till her hearts desire.

Creating a 365 book. I recently bought a 365 notebook from Kikki K and have thought about capturing my daily inspirations, motivations, thoughts, dreams etc all in one book. I have been writing in diaries since I was 8 years old and I hope to collate a personal journal with photos, drawings and so on….so that I may hold onto to the little fleeting moments that are so important in my life right now. That I may like to sit down and read once again when the children have all grown up.

What I’m excited for:

Taking SELF Organics to the Made on the Left Markets at the end of the month. I feel this is going to be a highlight of my handmade year! It’s all happening on the 27th July at the State Theatre Centre of W.A. There will be heaps of fellow handmade artists, so it will be a great day of shopping unique finds!

My Lil Man starts at a new pre-kindy, he is almost 4 and he is already switching schools. But not because the reason you might think, the centre he was at shut down! So we had no choice but to find another pre-kindy. He is so excited and I love seeing his enthusiasm for changes and new experiences. This is the age where resilience building begins.

What I’ve been doing:

It’s the end of financial year so I have been putting the books together ready for tax purposes. Sounds pretty boring huh? Well for me it is something I don’t enjoy and is not my specialty. I have been sitting with an accountant and see their face light up with excitement when they balance the accounts. I just can’t relate at all…

Doing a bit of online shopping for my upcoming market and making  more stock…which means lots of fun soaping and pouring candles.

What I’ve been reading:

Natural Beauty Bible – finding lots of tips on how to keep skincare natural and simple, these days I find that it is the most important thing to do for myself is reducing the amount of chemicals I interact with on a daily basis.

Anti-ageing beauty Bible – I have hit my 30s and definitely a lot more interested in anti-ageing products. I started using them in my early 20s and they have been helping my skin so far. This is a great book with reviews on the industry’s best and most  products that help with anti-ageing.

What I’ve been spending money on:

Birthday parties for my Lil Man and Lil Moon, they will be turning 4 and 2 years old respectively and at this age I feel it isn’t such a big deal when they have a combined party. Money has been going into the planning of it all and the presents. So I’m looking forward to the day coming around now.

Stocking up on my organic oils, butters and new packaging for my soaps. It’s been almost two years with the old design so I decided to change it up a bit and create a new eco-friendly look to my packaging. I’ll have to show you more details in another post.

Apologies…it took me longer than expected to write this post up! The computer screen has actually been up all week, after a number of logins and I have managed to finish it now. I can also blame it on my ability to be distracted by a hundred things at once…I tend to walk away then come back to a task and I can also blame Facebook and Pinterest.

Anyways, hope you are all having a fantastic weekend. I have another new post coming up on a small business in the spotlight, hear the passion and motivations behind this budding entrepreneur.

Till next time, Ciao!

E-von

 

 

 

*Want to join in the ‘Head and Heart’ series…check out Helarious for more details. And share your Head and Heart each month.

Donate to Red Cross Australia and win with Country Road

Do you have pre-loved Country Road clothing that you just aren’t into anymore?

Does it just sit in your closet receiving no love or attention?

Why not donate it to the Red Cross in the next two days and for a good deed you can receive a $10 gift voucher to spend on new items at Country Road. It’s Fashion Trade’s annual donate clothes back to win! The goal is to save unnecessary textiles going into landfill and pass them onto other individuals that will recycle and reused these clothes. Earlier on I was in my closet rummaging for Country Road oldies, and discovered an old grey marle jersey dress. It is still lovely, but doesn’t fit me as well. I may decide to take it down to the Red Cross tomorrow as it still has a lot of wear in it, but could look GREAT on someone else.

And as a bonus for every item of Country Road clothing that is donated, this gives you an entry to win a $100 voucher from Country Road. They are choosing 5 winners every day this week until Sat 5th June (a total of 25 winners). So you have to be quick to drop by your nearest Red Cross Shop to offload your old Country Road clothes.

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Images credit: Country Road Instagram

 

The $10 voucher can be used on purchases $50 or over at any Country Road store in Australia. So what are you waiting for?

Would you like to find your nearest Red Cross Shop, go here.

And need to find out the terms and conditions of the competition, head over here.

This is a great cause that I would be behind, fashion sustainability and donating to charity. Give back and pick up some new Winter treads at the same time. It sounds like a win win combination to me! But remember, the last day to drop into your local Red Cross will be Saturday 5th July.

Do you think you will be joining in this good cause? What new items do you have your eye on?

E-von

Review: Dirty Works Coconut scrub and body butter

Winter is the time when I get all bundled up and I tend not to pay too much attention to my skin. Bad I know! I look after the skin on my face much better. Whereas the rest of the body is hidden away for the next few months under jeans, leggings, pants and long skirts so for me…it’s something I don’t worry too much about. But I can’t say my skin looks all that great under the layers. And it doesn’t help that I sleep with the heater on! Skin is the largest organ, it is still growing and shedding and I just can’t hide away from the fact that well…the limbs are looking a bit dry and flaky.

So I was lucky enough to receive some new products from Dirty Works range to try out. I have never come across this brand before and thought why not give it a go…I’ll give anything a go if it can rescue my dry limbs! So please read on for my review on two products, a scrub and body butter.

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‘Life’s a beach coconut scrub’ 200 mL – $7.95

Hmm…the cold weather doesn’t really make me want to spend too much time in the bathroom. It is the coldest place in my house! Can anyone relate?  These products looked so retro and fun to try so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some moisture and TLC back into my skin. When I first saw the purple and quirky packaging, I thought hey these look like cute! And there was even a retro babe in bikini on the ‘Life’s a beach coconut scrub’, hey looks like she is having fun on a beach somewhere…hopefully these will help me forget the freezing cold for a few minutes.

My skin was getting that white powdery look from the neglect and needed a good ol scrub. So I was quite excited about trialling this beauty. The scent is described as exotic coconut, I can say it does smell just like coconut milk with a hint of lime. It is a really nice pleasant smell that reminds me of holidays at a beach. Some may find the scent strong but I quite like it.

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The scrub is made out of pecan shell granules that gently scrubs dead skin away and sweet almond oil to moisturise and hydrate. When I was squeezing it out of the tube I could tell the scrub was quite disperse within the liquid, hence it wasn’t too rough and felt really soft to exfoliate away the dry skin. I concentrated on those ultra embarrassing and noticeable areas of dryness like elbows, knees and ankles. It was quite creamy once it was mixed with water in the shower, and kind of left my floors a bit slippery. So becareful when scrubbing away, be sure to wash the product down completely. My skin felt really soft and smooth after a good scrub, it was glowing, moisturised and smelt tropical!

I like the cute, clever packaging and for the price you pay it is a lovely scrub.

‘That Fiji feeling coconut body butter’ 300 mL – $7.95

The body butter is quite a rich, thick and creamy consistency. It has a similar smell to the scrub, however I felt this was a little bit stronger. After applying it to my skin, the smell lasted longer and noticed the fragrance could be smelt on my bed covers in the morning.

It contains cocoa butter, shea butter, sweet almond oil which hydrated my dry skin back to normal. This body butter was easily soaked into the skin, I found that the skin just absorbed it so well that it didn’t leave a greasy feeling or a film on the skin. That was one thing I thought was great about the product and another, it was easy to put my clothes over the top after application.

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These two were a perfectly paired, they worked so well together and helped my Winter skin  become soft and silky once again. I only wish I could be on a beach now! The scent definitely helps stir the imagination of being under a coconut tree on a warm day at a tropical destination. It’s an indulgent beauty treat at an affordable price.

If you are interested in tracking them down for yourself, the Dirty Works Coconut scrub and body butter can be found in Coles supermarkets nationwide.

Hope you liked the review, how are you keeping your skin hydrated this Winter?

E-von

Designer in the spotlight: Karen Walker

Fashion world meets homewares is always an interesting and exciting mix. I came across the delightful collection of Karen Walker home only last month at my local Myer department store. It can seem rather unusual of me to step into a department stores these days, seeing as I am on ‘mummy’ income and most of the time seen trawling through the kids wear racks and hanging around the toy department. You will hardly spot me hanging around beautiful, shiny and delicate homewares…for obvious reasons.

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Designer in the spotlight: Karen Walker

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Karen Walker is an international fashion brand name, she is especially known for her understated cool and bold shaped sunglasses. Not only does she open pop-up shops called the ‘Candy Store’ around the world and sell awesome sunglasses but she also has an equally awesome range of apparel, jewellery, accessories and shoes which makes her website so drool-worthy. You can drool over it over here.  Karen Walker is a New Zealand born designer who is widely recognised for her classic, quirky and minimalist style.

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After doing my research, I found out that the homewares line was actually launched two years ago in 2012 and sells in Myers store nationwide. So please excuse my immediate excitement, as I have been a pretty much living in my domestic bliss bubble. Which could be so much more improved with Karen Walker wares I am sure…

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I dream of pedalling in polkadots

Seeing this gorgeous range, I just want to decorate my house completely with Karen Walker! The homewares range looks simple, uncomplicated and would be easy to incorporate into anyone’s home.

What do you think of the Karen Walker homewares range?

E-von