Advent 2017: Day 15

I wasn’t planning to have such a busy Friday because I was still tired from yesterday’s shenanigans, but it was just so nice and breezy this morning, we just had to get out of the house! Additionally, the ArtScience Museum was having one of their Family Friday deals where kids go free, and you know how much I love a bargain.

After five hours of walkabout, Little E developed some nasty blisters on her heels from her sparkly but poorly constructed sneakers (yes, I’m looking at you with a frowny face, Skechers!). So, we went to get her some nice new sandals from a kid’s shoe shop called “Hopla!” at Cluny Court.

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!


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


Happy Feet: Review of be*U shoes (and a discount code!)

During our recent visit to London, I was dithering over which shoes to bring with us when luxury bespoke shoe brand, be*U, offered give us each a pair of their handmade shoes!

I personally think that it is very important to have a good, comfortable, well-made pair of shoes, especially for children. I am extremely fussy when it comes to footwear as the feet not only contain 25% of the body’s collected bone mass, but are also responsible for absorbing the impact of pressure exerted on the body during movement.

For children, shoes need to protect tender little feet from sharp or cold objects, yet remain flexible and soft, allowing the feet to have the freedom to develop normally. Additionally, a good non-skid sole is necessary to help the shoes wear well and prevent falls.

This is why, in our household, our shoes are often the most pricey pieces in our wardrobe, as the Barn Owl and I insist on high quality shoes that can last a long time and are comfortable enough for us to be able to walk in them all day.

On the go for miles and miles

On the go for miles and miles

I was really impressed with be*U shoes – the kids and I walked all over London in these shoes, and our feet were perfectly happy at the end of the day – no blisters, redness or soreness…and not a single complaint from the kids about sore feet!

To start off, the shoes are made from buttery soft leather, have nice rounded edges and come in several different widths which mean that you get a perfectly customised fit. The insole is well-cushioned and has good arch support, and is also made from soft, breathable leather that keeps the feet cool and dry even during exertion.

Additionally, the leather of the shoe is hand stitched with a wax-coated line thread which does not unravel and is perfectly smooth on the inside. There are no loose threads or rough surfaces inside the shoe that rub and cause blisters, and when my kids walked through puddles, there was no seepage of water into the shoe!

I particularly like the stiffener at the heel counter and the slightly higher cut at the back of the shoe – this holds the foot firmly to increase protection and provides good heel and ankle support, but also gives that extra room for people who require special orthotic shoe inserts!


Happy feet in matching shoes

I was not at all surprised to find out that the innovative design of these shoes has led Professor Hsu – the Taiwanese inventor responsible for roller shoes for kids and co-founder of be*U – to win the French i’Nov Innovation Gold Award in 2008! Professor Hsu’s wife, Chen Cho-Yun, the other c0-founder of be*U, is the responsible for the aesthetics of the shoe and her extensive experience in fashion, art and product design is behind the incredible range of 600 motifs used in this bespoke range of shoes.

There were so many different colours and motifs to choose from (especially if you are looking for a mother-daughter set!), as well as a range of leather choices available, so I had a really hard time making a decision. (More than 360 000 possible permutations of shoes?! HOWEVER WILL I SURVIVE.)

We chose the ‘Burgers and Milk’ design on a brown base, which I thought was super cute and quirky, and would look great for both boys and girls. When the kids received their shoes, they could not wait to put them on straightaway. J in particular was very excited by his new shoes, exclaiming, “It’s like I’m wearing a happy meal on my feet!”, and even Little E was impressed by how soft the shoes were, saying “They feel smoooooooooth for my feeeeets.”

Aren't they cute?

We received so many compliments on our matching shoes when we were on holiday!

The shoes themselves are much more expensive than what I would normally chose to pay for quality  shoes for my kids, with prices ranging from SGD$138 to $208. However, if you are looking for a very special, unique gift for a child (or lady!)  in your life, these would make a great present…and you can even have them personalised. I think that a first pair of shoes embossed with the toddler’s name, birth date, length and weight, would make an absolutely brilliant, heirloom quality gift.

A special for Owls Well Readers: For a 20% discount off any pair of be*U shoes, just quote ‘Owls Well Blogs’ from now until 31st July 2014 when ordering the shoes online. You can browse designs and colours on the be*U Facebook page  or the be*U instagram page and then place your order by emailing or via private message on the be*U Facebook page.

P.S. To see our shoes in action all over London, check out our video.