Instant laundry solutions

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The power of water can never be underestimated. And in a clothing spill situation, water and the lightning speed reactions of a superhero, can save a piece and keep you feeling confident all outting long.

Yesterday I was enjoying a bowl of Honey Soy Hokien noodles and felt the familiar plop of a dark sauce falling right into my lap; on my bright tangerine dress!

As inconspicuously as possible, I poured a little of my drinking water into my palm and then worked it into the sauce. Tada! The sauce lifted almost completely. Besides feeling good about not walking around all day with a brown spot on my dress, it was such a relief to know that I wouldn’t have a lot of repair work to do at home!

Yes, I had a little bit of a wet patch in an area that may have looked like I’d peed myself but I knew that that wasn’t the case, so who cares. I’d much rather save my dress than worry about being embarrassed. Plus 97% of the time the patch has dried by the time the bill needs to be paid so it’s usually not a big deal.

I can’t think of any spills where this technique hasn’t helped in some degree. So don’t be embarrassed! Do your laundry as the spills occur and save effort and time in the long run.

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New handbag… what I had in mind and what I got

I’ve been a handbag-a-year type girl for a while now. I buy one handbag and use it pretty much every day for a year (depending on the quality of the chosen bag). I don’t like having to switch my stuff from one bag to another every day or even every few days, so I end up using the same bag throughout the week and it’s life span.

Here is an overview of the bags in my life:

  1. My everyday handbag;
  2. a duffel bag and a carry on suitcase that I can use for day trips and longer trips; and
  3. a couple of evening bags/special occasion bags.

My lifestyle helps shape my handbag criteria:

My criteria (based on the above and preferences made through trial and error over the years):

– straps long enough to fit easily over the shoulder, even if I’m wearing a coat;
– structured enough to not be floppy, but not too rigid and formal;
– a neutral colour (to go with black and brown boots and multiple coat colours) or a clashing colour that goes with everything because it goes with nothing;
– not too heavy;
– taller than it is wide, with plenty of space for a notebook and umbrella, plus other small odds and ends, without cramming;
– has a top zipper;
– hardware is not over the top or obvious;
– not a cross-body style;
– a couple of inside zip sections and an outside card slot;
– should stand upright by itself; and
– looks good whether it has a lot of stuff in it or just the essentials.

After recently spending a few days lugging about a shoulder strap bag and becoming increasingly distracted by the pain it caused, my search expanded to include fashionable backpacks in the options.

Continue reading “New handbag… what I had in mind and what I got”

Knotty necklaces knots in time

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Generally I will put my accessories and clean items of clothing from the day’s outfit away before I get to bed. I have a much better sleep knowing that everything is in its place and I feel fresh and uncluttered the next morning when getting ready for the day ahead. Recently I was feeling a little tired (but not extremely tired – so really I was just being lazy) and rather than going through with my routine, I thought ‘Stuff it!’ and I left everything in a pile including the delicate gold necklace that I had worn that day. This particular necklace is quite demanding and needs to be stored on a cardboard backing… even at the time I knew I was being bold to neglect it…

The next day, I went to wear the necklace again and sadly found it in a tangled knot. This reminded me of a quote that has stuck with me for so long that I cannot recall where I first read it (or the exact phrasing) but it’s along the lines of “not practicing IS practicing”. Basically the consequences of not doing something that is in your best interest, reminds you how very good it is to do that thing – so it’s almost as good as doing that thing as it confirms the action’s value.

For example:

Best interest: Exercise, meditation, brushing your teeth, moisturising your heels, setting up direct debits.

Consequence: Harder to get moving the next time, feel stressed throughout the day, teeth feel yuck, heels crack, late fees accrue.

Well, the ultimate consequence was that it took me half an hour to untangle my necklace… with a bright light and a pair of tweezers I got there in the end but it was something I could have avoided.

HINT: Find a place on the knot and take hold with the tweezers, hold the tweezers up and use your fingers or another pair of tweezers to take the other side and wiggle to loosen the chinks till the knot starts to unfold.

The lesson I took from the experience was that giving into my laziness actually deprives me of more time takes more time. So the next time I’m feeling like giving in, I’ll remember this occasion and just get the job done rather than risking another knotty necklace. Practice practiced.

Thinking literally about leather

Leather is skin. Literally.

I knew this but it wasn’t until a shoe repair man compared the needs of my shoes to the likes of my daily skin care routine that it really hit home. Very matter-of-factly, he said ‘It’s skin, it’s like your face, it needs moisturising to keep it supple.’ Well it’s something that has stuck with me and now every three months I treat my shoes and handbag to a ‘facial’.

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NOT the shoe repair man quoted.

This facial involves taking a microfiber cloth, applying a small amount of leather conditioner and working it into the leather in a circular motion. These ‘facials’ work wonders; before my eyes the items revive, becoming smoother and more plump.

Another leather conditioning tip is that if you have tight leather shoes, some frequent moisturising can loosen spots to perfection. This is something I wouldn’t want to try on my face though.

Do you have a spare button or two?

Collections sometimes do accidentally happen. Collections of marketing pens, collections of makeup samples, collections of spare buttons. They sneak up on you with their ‘I could be useful one day’ vibe and their ‘I’m so small, I won’t take up too much space’ promise. But once they group together they become problematic.
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This post came about after a coincidental chat with a friend, who on the same weekend as me, was trying to decide what to do with her accidental spare button collection. We agreed that it seems like a considerate gesture of the clothing manufactures to include a spare button but we wondered if enough people actually use them to justify such an effort.

I think a poll is required!

Do you a) keep your spare buttons or b) throw them out along with the price tag?

If you tend to go with the first option, do you then a) keep them all in the one box or bag? or b) organise them?

If you didn’t follow the path of ‘all in together’ – how have you sorted them? We want to know! So please respond in the comments below 🙂

My friend and I both had the idea of making notes on the packaging and then attaching it to a coat hanger which would then be dedicated to the clothing item. This was deemed too time consuming and logistically problematic though. Jumping on Google, it was revealed that this is actually a genuine first world problem and many people do not know what to do with these button collections.

My search led to a few viable solutions but by far my favourite was from the website Modern Parents Messy Kids where they have a nifty free template to use in conjunction with easily obtainable business card pockets. Amazing!

In the end I decided that my collection was too far gone, I couldn’t recall what most of the buttons were for so I picked out the buttons that were recognisable and binned the rest. Decluttering wins once again my friends.

Jewellery heaven

I love accessories. Bangles. Necklaces. Earrings. Rings. I love them all. They complete my outfits and they often collect me the most compliments.

For the past five years I have used this Howard’s Storage World solution to manage my necklace collection. I can clearly see my necklaces and as I see them on a daily basis they all get regular outings.
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I enforce a fairly strict one-in-one-out policy; all my necklaces must fit in these 44 pockets and if I buy a new necklace, another must be let go to make room. Sometimes the sizes of the pockets make it tricky to fit unique shaped necklaces but I haven’t had to resort to alternative storage means as yet. A unique necklace is simply an invitation to use creativity to work out another way to make the solution work, such as folding it or inserting it in the pocket upside down.

I use a similar solution to this for my earrings. It’s a tad fiddly when applied to stud earrings but much better than simply having them all jumbled together.
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I picked my ring holder up as a souvenir on an overseas holiday but I have seen similar ones at Howard’s Storage World. At the moment they have these in stock but I prefer the design of mine as it holds my entire ring collection and allows for easy access.

I recently re-purposed paper towel holders as a method of displaying and organising my bangles and so far I’m very happy with this new set up . The only annoying aspect is that if I want a bangle that has made it’s way to the bottom of the holder I have to take all of the others off to get to it. Having said that though, it does reshuffle the order and reminds me of the other fantastic bangles I own.

Adapting and maintaining these solutions keeps my jewellery organised and ensures that I use everything I own frequently. I’d like to think that this has created an environment of mutual respect between my collection and myself – I keep them organised and they continue to support my outfits. It really is jewellery heaven.

Fighting new shoe blues

There’s nothing worse than hobbling around in brand new shoes that look very pretty but that are silently killing you. Although it’s a given that there is going to be a breaking in period with any pair of new shoes, I just know that if an experience is particularly heinous that I will resent those new shoes and be full of trepidation whenever I reach for them or, worse, avoid them completely.

Luckily for me, and my pair of blush sandals that I debuted on the weekend, I established a successful technique last summer that prevented blistering, pain and all round uncomfortableness. I discovered that by using Spray Bandage by Elastoplast preemptively before I stepped out that my debut days were immensely more pleasant.
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This is my tried and true method to avoid new shoe blues. Firstly, allow for extra time before stepping out, rushing this method is not advisable. Secondly, put the new sandals on and take note of where any pain may occur (such as the back of the ankles or the sides of the big and little toes). Thirdly, taking the sandals off, spray a coat of the Spray Bandage to those noted areas and finally, wait one minute to allow the Spray Bandage to dry and then apply another layer. Two layers usually does it for me, but there’s no harm repeating the last two steps as many times as you desire! Go crazy! Elastoplast and your feet will be your biggest fans!

Necklaces like hairspray too

One of my favourite necklaces is also one of the cheapest in my collection. It’s chunky and over the top – total costume jewellery. On its first outing I was devastated to find that the metal chain component of the necklace had left marks on my neck, the cheap coating was coming off and it was completely ruining my look.
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I took it back to the store the following day and hoping that maybe I had purchased the dud of the lot I requested an exchange. The store assistant suggested that it may just be the material (read – cheap coating) and in anticipation of it happening again said that I should spray the area with hairspray before use.

I adored the necklace so much that I was willing to try and what do you know? It worked! A few sprays of hairspray and no more marks on my neck at the end of the outing! Every few wears I respray the necklace and although it’s a bit annoying to have to perform such maintenance, I can’t be too disgruntled because the necklace gives back to me by being the perfect accessory with certain tops.

The Magic Makeup Brush Tree

Washing my makeup brushes is something I know I should probably do more often as it’s better for my face and overall hygiene. And although I’ve watched several videos on YouTube in attempts to find a method that streamlines the process and inspires me (or scares me) to do it more regularly, I still find it all quite tedious.

A part of the process that especially takes up way too much of my head space is the drying component. While waiting for the brushes to dry it’s at the back of my mind that they may be suffering sun damage, or that they’ve fallen to the ground, the bristles snapping and getting contaminated, or that dogs are using them as chew toys. To avoid these scenarios, I’ve tried different methods such as laying the brushes out on towels near windows (annoying because one side of the brush ends up getting misshaped) and I’ve used hair ties to hang each one upside down on towel rails (VERY time consuming).

But my days of stressing are over because this brilliant contraption. I found it on eBay by accident when I was looking for a makeup brush roll/bag and instead this caught my eye – a Makeup Brush Tree. I took a chance, ordered one and to date I have used it three times. And so far so wpid-20150524_195425-1.jpgwpid-20150524_190317-1.jpggood, the brushes are fully supported, they feel as though they aren’t going to fall on the ground and they are able to dry completely up ended. This ensures that no water can run into the brush and destroy the glue holding the bristles together. The tree also comes apart for easy storage when not in use, so my bathroom remains tidy and uncluttered. Just how I like it.

This experience also reminded me as to why I like eBay so much. You just never know what a word phrase will lead you to discover. So thank you, eBay, for reducing my first world problems by one more notch!

How do I tie thee? Let me count the ways…

Scarves… I love them. I have a lot of them in an array of colours, lengths, widths and weights and I use them throughout the year. I’m often adding to my collection and I’ve made it a habit to look at the sale racks, even though I will need to enforce a ‘one in one out’ policy very soon.

A scarf brings out different elements in an outfit and depending on texture and colour can change an entire outfit’s vibe. I’ve used scarves to formalise an outfit, make something more casual and up the rock chick or preppy look or alternative feel of another. Plus I’ve found them useful for covering up an ugly neckline or stain, making previously unuseable tops employable again.

In winter, scarves offer another cosy and warm layer and I rarely leave the house without one. I also find that scarves serve to make the same winter coats look different throughout the season which has often saved me from boredom.

In summer, a light scarf protects me against the sun and comes in handy when moving between the heat of outdoors and the freezing air-conditioning at work and shopping centers. I’m never without one when I go to the movies in summer – there’s a reason tickets sell out on heat wave days – bbbbrrrrr!

When I travel, scarves become my blanket, an emergency eye mask, a pillow, an easy way to accessorise, and of course they provide warmth or sun protection depending on the season.

It’s easy to find yourself putting on scarves the same way over and over again. Learning a few different ways to wear scarves not only helps you shake up your routine but also lets different elements of a scarf play out (colours in prints, fringes etc). This Youtube clip has been around for four years now but is still a great resource for inspiration. My favourites are the Bunny Ear, DIY Infinity, the Celebrity and the Waterfall. Pick one and give it a go this week! Think of it as a scarf challenge…