Josefinas {Ballet Flats}

josefinas

Back in September 2013, my sister introduced me to Josefinas. Since then, these cute handmade ballet flats have been on my wish-list and an endless source of inspiration for my Polyvore style sets.

I wasn’t planning to get a pair until my other ballet flats were on their way out but fast-forward a little bit over a year and a pretty black and blush shoebox arrived – a birthday present from my husband.

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I wanted to wear them for a while before making any comments. Now that I’ve done so, here’s what I’ve found.

  1. The leather is extremely soft and comfortable – I thought it would be harder and take some time to adapt to my feet but no, the expression fits like a glove comes to mind.
  2. They are surprisingly warm. Part of collection nº7, Goa is a shoe designed for cooler days, with reinforced inner leather. I could really tell the difference, these last few weeks, between the times when it was hotter and when it was cooler.
  3. They move well from casual weekend to work days (see gallery below for examples).
  4. I am generally a size 37.5 in Europe but they only make full sizes so these are a 38. I have found that to be no problem  but if I was to buy some from collection nº1, I’d probably buy size 37 as they only have one layer of leather.
  5. Beware of pointy metal edges (e.g., chair or table legs). I can’t keep still even when I’m sitting so I have learned that it is best not to push/brush/kick my Josefinas against legs of tables or chairs, especially metal ones. The softness of the leather does mean it is more delicate than other leather or synthetic materials.

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I walk a lot – to work, to the supermarket, everywhere I can, really. A good walking shoe is essential to my lifestyle. You will never catch me walking to work in running shoes, but all my shoes must have that good-for-walking quality. These haven’t disappointed. They are surprisingly sturdy.

I do have to look into ways to preserve them well, as I walk so much. I am thinking about paying a visit to my favourite cobbler one of these days to see what advice he has.

I do also wonder how they’ll perform on a rainy day and what extra care I can give them to keep them looking great for long. What do you do to preserve and extend the life of your leather shoes?


 


 

First Day of Summer {Birthday OOTD}

Well Hello everyone and Happy 2015!

This thing of having Summer during this time of the year is actually pretty good. I really got the sense that I recharged and am ready for a new year.

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Stepping relaxed into 2015

A relaxing holiday didn’t “just happen”. I didn’t plan it to the last detail either. But I did have to make some conscious decisions such as how I was going to deal with any work-related stuff (not touch it with a stick was my choice), or the amount of travelling I was willing to make (2-hour drive on a Saturday to get to a beach? Yeah, nah!).

I have found that being clear about these types of things from the onset helps me and my family stay stress-free while on holiday.

This year (last year?), it has also helped that I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do for my birthday. I usually don’t think about it at all and just go with the flow of things. When your birthday is during the festive season, it’s very easy to piggyback on other people’s plans for that day. I didn’t like this but, for many years, chose to be annoyed instead of coming up with my own idea of a good birthday. Honestly, why it took me so long to stop complaining and start doing something about it, beats me. But I finally did and it was awesome – best birthday ever!

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Apparently, that’s the oldest store in New Zealand!

We took it easy in the morning, but booked lunch at a place we had been wanting to check out for a while. Not only was the location beautiful but the day was finally sunny – the first proper day of Summer!

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This was not the outfit I had planned to wear for my birthday. I actually was looking forward to wear the blue dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. But I left it behind in our garage when we left and just remembered two hours into the drive north!!!

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No chance of driving back for that and it took me a good quarter of an hour to get over it. All was forgotten a week later and so, on the sunny morning of my birthday, these shorts and stripes were a natural option.

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I wasn’t disappointed with my choices – both to wear shorts and do our own thing for my birthday. It turns out that in life, as when you’re picking out an outfit, you’re probably better off when doing what fits you and your lifestyle.

Did you have a happy start to 2015? How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve – do you feel you have to do something in particular?

Thanks for reading!

xo Rita

 A few more photos I took of the Kerikeri Mission Station. Enjoy!

NZ Brand Crush {kowtow}

I’ve found it quite difficult to find good quality clothing in New Zealand that is also affordable. Most kiwi brands I know of appear to have good quality garments, but the price-tag is way above what I consider reasonable.

So, when I started looking into kowtow after hearing about it on instagram the other day, I expected nothing other than that.

Boy, was I surprised! Not only was I impressed with their ethical approach to clothes-making, but very surprised with their mid-range, not-over-the-top prices.

And wasn’t this a timely find! I had been looking for a cardigan to replace an old one on its way out, and this one was just the thing I was waiting for!

I’m sure there’s no such thing as a limit to how many striped tops a person can have…

Simple chic

So Ready For Spring!

Things have been a bit on and off splashy and chilly around here this Spring.

I do love Autumn and part of me feels like this is the right time of the year for this kind of weather. But then I remember that we’ve had Autumn already and I’m so over this now. Bring on the warm weather please!

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I find that the end of a season is the best time to assess your wardrobe, see what worked well, what will need to go, and what will need replacing.

For instance, I am pretty certain that I will need to get some new boots next Winter. These will not make it but I knew that when I bought them.

I wanted to experiment before committing. Now that I know that this is a style and colour that I really like, I can better focus my search for a good, long-lasting pair.

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What does not need any kind of replacing is my Cuyana tote. I know I sound obsessed, and no, they have not sponsored this post.

I am just really, really happy about this purchase and really impressed with the quality of the bag. I know it will be around for many seasons.

Happy week! And remember, remember…

A Casual {Weekend} Outfit

A couple of weekends ago, the sun was shining, birds were singing and we were out the door in no time, park-bound for some dog-walking, fruit-smoothie-sipping and cricket-watching.

On such days, when I don’t want to waste any time wondering what to wear, I’m truly happy to still be able to count on these two pieces – the striped grey shirt (Gap) and the mustard knitted cardigan (clothing shop in my home town).

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 I would even go so far as to say that these two are the most functional, remixable and reliable pieces of clothing I own.

They work so well with so many other items in my wardrobe that I’m starting to suspect that much of what I bought after these two has been (unconsciously) with them in mind.

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I often pair this exact same outfit with my leopard print flats but, for a typical relaxed kiwi Saturday, jandals were a requirement.

While they work well separately with other items in my wardrobe, my favourite combination is of the two together with jeans in this casual look, with this blue foulard and Cath Kidston canvas tote.

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The sad thing though is both are reaching the end of their wearable life and there’s no chance to find exact replacements.

The cardigan makes me particularly sad. I should really have bought two but how could I have known then that it would be such a useful/functional piece of clothing that I would cherish for years?

Do you have any items that you feel that way? How do you go about replacing them?

p.s. – Speaking of casual, mustard, weekend outfits, loved this one by Kristian.

{Not} A Glass Slipper Story – OOTD

I read this post by Kristian at Never Fully Dressed (Without a Style), and immediately thought of my very own “perfect item” that immediately turned out to be  a bit of a struggle to remix.

This is one of those items that I’ve had for many, many years. I was 16 when this skirt and I first crossed paths. For the first few years, I couldn’t think of any other combination than to pair it with a black top.

For that reason, and also because there was a while there it just didn’t fit with my Uni student style, I actually didn’t wear it for many Winters. But I couldn’t let go of it either – I loved it and deep down knew it had potential. I just wasn’t able to unlock it back then.

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Over 10 years had passed when, during a very cold and snowy Winter in England, I ventured out into a beautifully sunny and white Brighton day wearing this skirt with my new (at the time) Cath Kidston polka dot blue gumboots.

I put those two together out of necessity – my warmest skirt with the most appropriate footwear – but a light went on. I couldn’t believe I had never tried to pair this skirt with anything other than black! Since then, I’ve paired it with blue, brown, yellow, salmon, forest green…

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My current favourite though, is the combination below which I came up with this Winter. I felt like wearing this skirt one morning but didn’t want to wear it with a turtle neck. I opened my shirt drawer and that stripped one was right there. Ta-Da!

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For work, I often wear a red belt over the cardigan to add a bit of definition. I call it my Winter Nautical look. 

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 And there you have it. A skirt that remained a bit difficult to wear for many years but that I finally uncovered its remixing potential. Considering its great quality, I’m thinking I’ll be remixing it for many Winters to come! 

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Thanks Kristian, for inspiring me to put this post together on my very own [not] a glass slipper. 

If you have such an item, don’t forget to share your story below! I’d love to hear about it. 

Winter Favourites – Sun, Layers and a Perfect Tote

Today was one of those cold but sunny Winter days which force you to wear warm layers and sunglasses simultaneously.

I’m nursing a nasty cold but who can afford to stay indoors, on a Saturday, in the middle of Winter, when the sky is blue?!

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I layered up pretty well with a wool dress with knitted hemline (Mango) and my favourite double-breasted coat – a green, military-style number I got from Mango a few years back. I particularly like that it has an unusual bias cut. For footwear I decided to go with my suede ankle boots which are perfect for cold but dry Winter days. 

My mum knitted this beanie for me in a couple of days. She’s talent that way. Sometimes I wish I’d paid more attention all those times she tried teaching me how to make these things. Now, all I can knit is a really long scarf!

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The Cuyana tote I’ve had for about a month now. I really just wanted to test-drive it for a while before sharing my two-cents. I picked up the tall style in the colour Stone. The design of this tote is nothing but simplicity and functionality. I use it everyday to work and carry in it my lunch-bag, any book I may be reading and other bits and bobs. 

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Cuyana’s tote is crafted in Argentina of 100% local leather and, initially, I was a bit concerned about carrying it around in the rain. I walk to work so was worried that rainy days would damage its soft leather. However, I’ve found this to be of no problem. This tote is all it’s supposed to be – a sturdy, practical bag that can handle the day-to-day. 

When it comes to creating a functional wardrobe, there’s nothing like finding the perfect bag that will certainly help you on that journey to fewer, better things

Have you found yours?