Pretty things from Alfie de Meow

I am a real sucker for pretty things that have just a touch of quirkiness thrown in, which is why I was absolutely over the moon when Elaine from Alfie de Meow got in touch with me to ask if I would like to pick a few favourites from her webstore!

Alfie de Meow, named for the intrepid little calico kitten that Elaine rescued from a drain that was running underneath her family home, is a homegrown jewellery label stocking cat-themed pieces, most of which are handmade by Elaine herself.

Since Alfie (or ‘Chairman Meow’, as Elaine calls her) is the shop’s muse, 10% of all merchandise sales are donated to local independent cat welfare charities such as the Love Kuching Project. This year, Alfie de Meow is supporting CATSI, a non-profit group which helps pay for the veterinary bills of rescued cats via a crowdfunding platform.

Pretty things + local mumpreneur + social responsibility = three times win!

Alfie de Meow carries a lovely selection of vintage and handmade jewellery as well as other handmade items such as cat collars (from a collaboration with Gooodcatcollars), trinket holders and camera straps. I had a really hard time choosing my favourites – there were just so many lovely things!

I have been on the lookout for a good and sturdy camera strap, so I was very pleased when Elaine sent me wonderfully comfortable camera strap with a cute design of black cats dancing to music. I love it so much! The strap itself is thick, soft and flexible, and is reinforced on both ends with leather. It’s very well-made and best of all, it sits well and doesn’t leave marks on my neck.

alfie-de-meow-cat-jewellery-handmade-vintage

Vintage and Handmade Pretties

I also chose a couple of brooches from the store to add to my collection of pins. The first is a sweet, handmade wooden brooch, the Cat Stare wooden brooch in vintage chevron from the Adopt-a-cat collection (you can see it in the picture above). The laser-cut wooden brooch is satiny smooth to the touch and the lovely handpainted chevrons in gold, black and white go really well with all my outfits.

The second pin I fell in love with is the Calico Kookie Cat, a handmade pin from eco-friendly bioresin, from the Curiokitty collection that you can see in the picture below. I like the way that the colours mix together in the eco-friendly bioresin which is all cast by Elaine in her workshop. The sweet little gold-tone ribbon detail adds a subtle sparkle. I have a soft spot for calico cats because they remind me of the Aged P, who used to keep one which was named “Meow-mee”. We still refer to all calico cats as Meow-mees in our family!

Elaine also has a marvellous selection of vintage pins in store as part of the Sophisticat collection, and she threw in a vintage gold-tone brooch of a cat teasing a bird as a special surprise for me. Thanks, Elaine!

handmade-jewellery-necklace-brooch-alfie-de-meow

In memory of Meow-mi and Poppy

I also picked out the quirky looking Catch That Fish! necklace featuring a cheeky little cat tormenting a goldfish which reminded me of the Outlaw’s black cat, Poppy, who used to catch frogs from the garden pond and leave them on the doorstep as tributes.

As you can see, Little E really liked the necklace too, and since it is made out of hardy and indestructible acrylic, I’ve been letting her wear it when we go out and it makes her feel really special! I think it would be cool to get matching mother-daughter jewellery!

All jewellery from Alfie de Meow comes in a very nice little cotton drawstring bag, great for gift-giving, but also protects each piece and helps them retain their lustre and shine.

All the jewellery in store is very affordable – everything is under SGD$50 – and would make great stocking stuffers during the upcoming holiday season. Elaine also holds two-day workshops where one can learn how to cast and create jewellery from bioresin, which would be a fun holiday activity for teens!

Something Special for Owls Well Readers: From now until the 20th November 2015, Alfie de Meow is generously offering a 15% storewide discount for Owls Well Readers! Just enter the coupon code ‘OWLSWELL’ at checkout for the discount to be applied to your order! Woohoo! 

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Redressing my situation: Dream Factory by Inès Ligron (Part 1)

As you may have already guessed by all of my photos on this blog, I have no sense of personal style and my fashion sense is that of a 12 year old. This is in part due to my own lack of knowledge about fashion and beauty, and also due to the fact that I still own (and occasionally wear) clothes from before I hit puberty.

Yes, that is sad but true. I still wear the clothes that my mummy bought me.

Now that I am 6 years into the Wonderful World Of Parenting, I have realised that I should probably stop dressing like a prepubescent child (before either of my prepubescent children hit their tweens). Additionally, now that I finally have my skin under some semblance of control, I would also like to learn how to apply warpaint, because warpaint is fun and I like fun.

So, I decided to accept an invitation to attend some complimentary styling and makeover sessions run by Inès Ligron of Dream Factory at their Isetan pop-up store.

Inès Ligron's Table of Wow

Inès Ligron’s Table of Wow

Inès Ligron is a big name in the big world of fashion and beauty. Not only was she the Asia-Pacific Director of IMG Models (managing supermodels like Tyra Banks and Milla Jovovich), but she was also the National Director of Miss Universe Japan, grooming several Miss Universe Finalists as well as a Miss Universe winner.

Dream Factory is Inès Ligron’s fashion studio, where Inès and her team of experts work together to help empower and transform people through styling and beauty classes by working on positively improving self-image and confidence whilst drawing out the inner beauty of a person.

Through hosting activities and fundraisers at the Dream Factory, Inès has been able to support the non-profit organisation, Action Cambodge Handicap, which works with handicapped children and adults in Cambodia. Her partnership has allowed Action Cambodge Handicap to start a jam-making factory and build a home for adults with disabilities, and she is currently working to open some cafes in Cambodia to provide more work opportunities for handicapped adults.

The lovely Inès Ligron and the perennially awkward Debs G

The lovely Inès Ligron and the perennially awkward Debs G

Inès was a real lovely person to work with, and she was honest and open with me without being unkind or cruel. I really appreciated the fact that she gave me solid and sound fashion advice.

But enough chit chat…TIME FOR CLOTHES!!!!!

I asked her to help me put together two looks – a day look for a busy mom running daily errands, and an evening look for fancy night out.

Getting an outfit put together by Inès Ligron was an exciting experience. She picked out tons of beautiful clothes whilst keeping up a running commentary about which aspects of the clothes she thought would suit me and why. After I put on each outfit, she picked out shoes and a seemingly endless stream of gorgeous accessories. Every time I thought I was done, she’d pluck another shiny bauble out of thin air and add it to my outfit! And it would look amazing every time!

It definitely takes some thought to put together an effortless look!

Here’s what I looked like after Inès was done fussing over me:

Styled by Dream Factory

Styled by Dream Factory

The Classy Evening Look

For this look, Inès put me in a black wrap dress that had sparkling silver accents on it, and then she gave me tall black heels and a silver cuff, and a geometric silver ring to match.

The Fun Day Look

Inès picked out a pair of denim Daisy Dukes – although they look really short, it’s actually an illusion because of the peekaboo pocket linings! She paired this with with a voluminous top with a bright print, a studded hip belt and a long necklace. I really liked the vintage cross-body bag which had tassels and embroidery and a leather fringe and was all kinds of fun!

Inès Ligron’s Styling Tips for Petite Moms-on-the-go:

1. Aim for shorts, mini-skirts and above-knee styles that lengthen the legs.

2. Moms tend to hunch their shoulders because they are always bending down to hold onto little hands, however, good posture and high heels can make a big difference to confidence levels – and confidence is slimming! So, head up and shoulders back!

3. Be careful of flowing, drapey or maxi-style dresses that can overwhelm a slight figure and make a petite lady appear broad and dumpy – consider cinching the outfit in with a belt to keep it under control.

4. If you need a big bag for all your stuff when you’re out and about with the kids, pick a cross-body style which won’t look like it’s weighing you down.

5. A small clutch purse is enough hold all your essentials (phone, wallet, keys and lipstick) for date night without the kids – leave your burdensome big bag at home and enjoy your freedom!

6. Own at least one fancy evening outfit that makes you feel pretty, stylish and glamourous. Sometimes moms don’t feel like attending fancy occasions or going out in the evening, partly because they are tired but also partly because they don’t feel like have anything decent to wear to such an occasion.

7. Accessorise with boldness and think about textures and colours – if your dress has sparkly gold accents, wear a geometric gold ring to match. If your black sleeveless top is studded all over with opulent silver beads, maybe opt for a matte black cuff and a stack of silver bracelets. If your brightly patterned top has a tasselled drawstring at the neckline, wear dangling opera length necklaces with beads from the same colour palette.

8. Don’t be afraid to layer accessories that have the same features – stack up silver bangles on one arm or wear multiple wooden necklaces to add depth to your ensemble.

9. A good pair of shoes is a solid foundation for your outfit. Full leather shoes (leather inners and outers) are a great investment as they will last a long time and are the kindest on your feet.

10. Nude and neutral coloured shoes, or shoes with cut outs to show off your feet, will give little legs the illusion of length.

11. Shoes with straps, especially ankle straps, can make legs appear more stumpy, so offset this visual effect by choosing strappy shoes in a platform style or with higher heels.

12. If you’re wearing high heels, make sure that your feet are well supported and do not slide forward – you should not feel like you are walking on tip-toes all day long! It is possible to find comfortable shoes with a 4 inch heel, but it takes some searching to find a good fit.

13. If you feel wobbly in 4 inch heels, then probably you need some practice getting used to them. Wear the shoes at home for a short while every day (eg. when you’re preparing food in the kitchen or hanging up your laundry) until you find your balance!

Boots, Bags, and Bling - all part of the Dream Factory Collection

Boots, Bags, and Bling – all part of the Dream Factory in-house collection

All the clothes and accessories at the Dream Factory are handpicked and curated by Inès and specially imported into Singapore – so if you ever visit the Dream Factory and fall in love with one of their exclusive pieces, nab it quick before it’s gone!

At the end of my wonderful experience at the Dream Factory styling session, I was given a $50 Isetan shopping voucher, which I immediately put towards this gorgeous sterling silver bangle by Spanish designer No. 3! (As of this post, this exact same bangle is still available for purchase via the Dream Factory online store)

Isn't it a beauty?

Infinitely lovely

After this, I made up my mind to return for a Dream Factory hair and makeup class as well, which I will talk more about in Part 2 of this series!

You can find out more about Dream Factory and their transformation classes on their website and on their Facebook page.

P.S. The lovely Dotz from A Pancake Princess was with me during this styling session and she is such fun to be around! You can head over to her blog for more details of her experience as well as some brilliant shopping tips from Valerie Lim (Former Miss Universe Singapore and part of the Dream Factory team of experts!) In the meantime, here’s a teaser of Dotz super cute outfits!

A Casual Evening Look and a Smart Day Look

Here’s Dotz in A Casual Evening Look and a Smart Day Look

 

Bee my Honey Bear: A Clothing Review

I have a very sweet tooth and one of the mainstays in my pantry is a jar of raw honey, not the pasteurized stuff, but raw honey straight from the comb and barely sieved to remove bits of wax.  There’s just something about the thick golden-yellow liquid that is so appealing.  It’s versatile for flavouring both sweets and meats, it has a number of health benefits and it’s delicious.

Little Odd Forest prints, one of our favourite online designers, has recently released an adorable earring collection inspired by honey, the creatures that make it and the creatures that eat it.  Naturally, I ordered the entire honey-inspired collection for my personal wardrobe.  They arrived in a timely manner in the most adorable envelope ever.

The postal bird bringeth the presents!

The postal bird bringeth the presents!

But the envelope wasn’t where the surprises ended.  Little Odd Forest included a small netting bag for the collection, handy for keeping the collection together and but also useful for other things (like laundry).  Inside, I found 6 pairs of the most adorable earrings, packed neatly in little boxes.

Aren't they just the cutest?

Aren’t they just the cutest?

Bee nose dive on a disembodied ear

Bee nose dive on a disembodied ear

If you’re wondering where the bee earrings were, I couldn’t help myself and had popped them on almost immediately after opening the packages.  They’ve been a real hit at the workplace.

The earrings are made out of laser cut plastic and stainless steel.  I’m really impressed with the adorableness of the designs!

You can get Little Odd Forest bags at Sandy Designs at Shop 483, King St in Sydney’s Newtown.  I’ve been given to understand that their bags are both adorable and fairly durable (as my sister carries one practically everywhere).

If you’re looking for the earrings specifically, you can buy them at Little Odd Forest’s website, which ships internationally.