Strike a Toes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATop: Urbane at Myer

Trousers: Asos Curve

Shoes: Gino Ventori at Bob’s Shoe Store

Necklace: Made By Emily Green

I don’t wear trousers very often, and toe-baring shoes even less often, so this outfit is a bit out of my normal comfort zone. It includes two things I always swore I’d never wear: joggers (the last time I wore elastic cuffed trousers they were probably fleece, it was probably the 80’s, and I could probably count my age in single digits) and open-toed sandals (I don’t like showing my toes. It’s weird, I know. My toes are fine, I get that. I just don’t like them on display).

I’m a frocks and skirts girl usually, but on really sweltering days when things get a bit sticky and uncomfortable (ahem! stay tuned for an updated post on THAT particular issue) I often just want to reach for a breezy pair of trousers. These navy pants – currently on sale at Asos - look surprisingly put-together for something with elastic cuffs: the tailored detailing, high waist, and side pockets make them perfectly suitable for the office. Teamed with a cropped tee and some sandals they’re also great for casual weekend wear.

Watch out for your size – there’s non-stretch, and I bought the smallest size thinking they’d be too big, but they’re actually fairly snug. Unusually for Asos Curve I’d say the size chart is about bang on the money. They’re a tight fit on my thighs, but fit comfortably around the calves, and don’t cut in around my ankles (which look positively dainty).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShoes: Gino Ventori at Bob’s Shoe Store

I do a lot (a lot of a lot) of walking in my day-to-day life, so comfortable shoes are an absolute must. I’ve been looking for something a bit more open and breezy for those really hot days, but had basically given up of finding a pair of sandals that were versatile, comfortable, and didn’t make me hate my feet.

I was in Perth just before Christmas for work, and was meeting my little sister in Fremantle after I finished on the Friday so I took the opportunity to do a bit of shoe shopping. I spent the better part of an hour at Bob’s Shoe Store, putting a very patient salesperson through her paces while I tried on a good thirty percent of the store’s inventory. These, miraculously, ticked all the boxes: They’re soft and comfortable with a little bit of a wedge heel, a flexible sole, a versatile colour, and a style that worked with my wide calves. I tossed the box before I flew back to Melbourne so I haven’t the foggiest idea what the style is called, and I’m only about 75% sure they are even from Gino Ventori since I’ve managed to walk the logo off. Sorry, bad  blogger (obviously I need Penny from the Big Bang Theory’s shoe finder app).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANecklace: Made By Emily Green

I also bought myself a second Made By Emily Green necklace, and I’m loving the hell out of it. The nude shades work with pretty much everything in my wardrobe, and I like how the individual beads have different textures or patterns: polkadots, glitter, pin-pricks or a kind of granite effect. It’s goes well beyond my own bodgy DIY’d attempt (unless you count cat fur as a texture….)

Tit for Tat

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Top: City Chic

Skirt: Target

Shoes: Carla Milani

Tonight we ring in a new year, hoo-bloody-rah! It’s a good time to take stock of the previous twelve months, to gird your loins for another year, and to set yourself some resolutions if that’s your thing.

My friends R, JC and I have always preferred to set a theme for the upcoming year rather than individual goals. Themes like “Expand Horizons”, or “Take Chances”.

My theme for 2013 was “Survive”, 2014 was “Rebuild”. I’ve done both of those things, and I’m in a much better place today than I was twelve months ago. My sister is well, I’m surrounded by a network of incredibly loving and supportive people. I have a home that I love and a job where I feel challenged and valued. New people have come into my life who are enriching it every day. I’m happy. Hopefully 2015 will continue on the same trajectory, so my theme for the year will be something along the lines of new growth, building momentum, having direction.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that a few months ago I gave myself something to remind myself to value the person that I am.

I call myself Lilli, but most of you know by now that the name on my birth certificate is Lian. It’s a Chinese name in honour of my Chinese grandfather, and it means “The Graceful Willow”. This is a bit of a running joke with me, because I’m not particularly graceful, and I’m certainly not willowy. At the start of this year I discovered a Chinese constellation called The Willow and it inspired me to research what my name actually symbolised.

It turns out my Mum got it right. In Chinese mythology the willow tree stands for strength, but it’s a strength that comes from being able to bend without breaking. It’s a tree that can withstand great storms and survive. It also symbolises resilience, because it has deep roots that allow it to recover even after it’s been cut back.

I thought about it for a while, consulted some friends, did a few preliminary sketches, and then finally handed everything over to the talented Melanie Knight at Forgotten Son who designed and inked this wonderful, permanent reminder of something I should be very proud of having: Strength and resilience. An abiding and unwavering sense of self. Deep convictions. A strong network. The ability to withstand challenging times and recover from setbacks.

Frocks and Frou Frou Starry TattooSo. That’s the serious stuff done, now on to the fashion! Do you like my top? I somehow missed it on the City Chic website, and it wasn’t until I saw it being worn by someone on the Aussie Curves FB page that I spotted it. It reminds me so much of this Marlies Dekkers bra that I couldn’t resist. It’s sexy and strappy, and a bit edgy, and not something I thought I’d be able to pull off, but I really like it.

Frocks and Frou FrouI’ve worn it today in an all-black ensemble with a floaty skirt from Target and some great new Carla Milani flats that I bought en-masse from a little stall that had set up shop in Melbourne Central.

Carla Milani FlatsThe guy who served me was a total riot, and I ended up walking away with three pairs of ballet flats, but they’re soft, leather, kid-lined (no socks required), cheap, and he promised they wouldn’t give me blisters (which they haven’t) so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

My bangle is very important to me too. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about why yet so I’m just going to put up a photo of it and let you admire it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy New Year, my lovely readers, and here’s to a wonderful and fulfilling 2015 for all of us.

Love, The Graceful Willow.