Style Files // Manmade {Review}

I recently read MANMADE, a book on men's style and grooming by Chris Salgardo, president of Kiehl's Since 1851. Firstly, this would be an excellent gift for the man in your life, whether your husband or father.

But, I decided to get this book because being a former menswear designer and tailor, there were times in the past where I had to style and groom my own models. Now, even though I am not really in that part of the fashion industry anymore, there are times when those skills are still needed to help others. Plus, the mister himself was interested in learning about Salgardo's insight on proper men's grooming.

There's nothing like a well-dressed man, even better, a well- groomed man. For the man interested in expanding his knowledge and learning a few tricks of the trade, or looking for great style tips that he can use daily, then this book would be a great reference.

To be honest, I did not expect much initially, but after delving into the book I was rather surprised at the amount of information given. It reads very easily and almost as if you're flipping through a magazine. Alongside several style hacks from grooming primer tips to travelling easier in style, the content is well balanced with visuals as well as "how-to's" for every occasion. "Keeping it simple" doesn't have to translate into "letting things go," said Salgardo. Instead, the book focuses on being intentional and precise with your skincare products.

Actor and philanthropist, Anthony Mackie wrote the forward of Manmade and zealously shares his experience about how being educated on taking care of his skin has helped him immensely. A person's face is one of the first things that you see upon greeting, so why shouldn't you take it to the next level? As our sartorial style should express our personalities, grooming should be just as essential, personal and expressive.

After reading this book it made me ponder that as women we usually pass on beauty and skincare knowledge to our daughters; ancient regimens and plebeian remedies from great-grandmothers, and mothers are taken with the highest regard. It's a normalcy that tends to be a given principle taught during adolescents, at least this was the case for me. For men should it not be the same way? Fathers taking time to teach their sons how to shave, and how to care for their skin.

Just as going to the gym, consistency and dedication are just a couple of indispensable elements to maintain a comely appearance. But, as Mackie mentions, his father just used a mere bar of soap for everything, so Mackie's later knowledge on grooming helped him greatly. After meeting Salgardo he had a better understanding of why proper grooming was so important.

Manmade is filled with answered questions and style suggestions for men's skincare. It's really perfect for novices to learn the fundamentals in men's beautification, or for any stylish gent who has somewhat lost their footing in the grooming arena.

The goods: Manmade by Chris Salgardo. To learn more about the author click here. I was given this book by Blogging for Books for an honest review. For more information or to purchase the click here.

What grooming styles do you like best in a man (facial hair, smooth shaving, etc.)? Have you read Manmade?

Storytelling Style, and Creative Expression

I had a different post for today, but a week ago I came across this editorial that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it. It strikes a larger conversation regarding diversity in the fashion industry as a whole, more recently the discussion on western designers using Africans as a prop or Africa as commercial scenery. Although the provenance in understanding goes even further than that.

Walé Oyéjidé, designer and creative director behind the menswear line called Ikiré Jones wanted to change the perspective of how African men (namely, in Europe) are portrayed. When he looked for inspiration to photograph his FW16 collection, "After Migration" he took it to one of Italy's city-streets.

The absolutely spectacular editorial showcases bold Ankara prints in classic stylelines and men's silhouettes. They are pieces that would certainly stand out amongst the fashion crowd at Pitti Uomo in Florence, which is one of the largest global fashion events to attend. He showed his FW16 collection there as part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative. View more images here.

Shot in Florence, the editorial angle was clear and simple. Oyéjidé addresses the issue of the fashion industry's lack of black models in high-fashion whilst serving an opposing perspective to the negative representation of migrants in the media. They are real people too. “I thought it was important for many reasons to put them [the models] in front of the camera, not as props, but to convey their unique perspectives,” said Oyéjidé.

“We’re showing an elegant and more humane side to people—not just a headline, not just statistics but complicated human beings with stories and reasons for doing what they do. Dudes like you and me.”

Images/Source:, OkayAfrica. 
*Read the full article here.

What do you think of the Ikiré Jones menswear line? 

Aside from that, I was pleased that you loved my Valentine's Day DIY tutorials so much. The post was chosen as part of Links à la Mode last week. Do check out some of the other blogger's posts in the roundup if you can.

Links à la Mode, February 4
SPONSOR: Shopbop SUNDRYHerve Leger DressesAmber Sceats JewelryMarc JacobsLevi'sOdette New YorkEyelet DressesAnkle JeansGladiator SandalsMen's Ports 1961


Oliva Oil Beauty

I have been using Oliva Oil's line of skincare products for a while in rotation with a few other moisturisers and serums. I recently received some of Oliva Oil's products that I hadn't tested out before, including facial cream, shower gel, and massage oil.

My mum uses olive oil in cooking, baking, and in her skincare regimen, so I grew up with using various oils typically for beauty long before it became a trend. Even my grandmother's family used karite butter (also known as shea butter), almond oil, and coconut oil in their hair and on their skin. As I get older, I find oils like hemp seed, coconut, jojoba, argan and olive oil to be some of my favourites, but for different uses (for hair, skin, and body).

Namely, olive oil is known for its naturally nourishing benefits including vitamins (of both A & E), being rich in antioxidants, as well as having excellent emollient properties to soothe the skin whilst restoring the skin cells.
I gravitated to the Oliva Oil hypoallergenic range because it's not overpowering in scent. The line has top notes of Mediterranean grapefruit, and cedar wood with the natural aroma of olive oil. As a person with allergies who generally loves perfume, I have caution when it comes to skincare products with added fragrance for obvious reasons.

The body lotion is amazing, it's a non-greasy formula that makes your skin feel so luxurious, wonderful, and supple. I shared it with friends to get other feedback and we all felt the same way with the exception of one since she has severe dry skin. I also used it on my hands. The face cream (50 ml) is a thick cream and very moisturising. A little of both of these go a long way. Size: 200 ml

I liked the Bath and Shower Gel, and it leaves your feeling skin clean and smelling lovely. The body lotion was an ideal pairing with it post-shower. I felt a difference after using the gel (texture-wise) because of the smoothing elements. Size: 250 ml

The massage oil is more of a dry oil, which is great after rubbing it on your skin in circular motions. The scent seemed to have tiny notes of almond, but more of the olive oil aroma, and blends well into the skin. It claims to help tone the skin and prevent stretch marks. Since I already use various oils regularly, I can only say that this slightly helped to tone my skin. If you've concerns about stretch marks, perhaps stick to your go-to coffee scrub paired with coconut oil, or a helichrysum oil. Size: 100 ml

Overall, I'm happy with these products. My least favourite though was the liquid soap, although it's just soap, I wasn't exactly seeking massive amount of benefits after using. It cleans well and it didn't dry out my hands after usage, which was good. But, I recommend hydrating the skin after washing your hands anyway. Size: 300 ml

Packaging: beautifully labelled and embossed with brand name. Boxes have a high-gloss finish, and the lotion, shower gel, and liquid soap comes with an easy-lock closure. The massage oil has a screw-top closure.

You can find this skincare line and other Italian luxury brands at GranducatiOliva Oil is made in Italy by Amerigo Laboratories. If you like lightly scented bath products or olive oil based products, then you will love this line. Suitable for male or female.

Have you tried olive oil in your skincare?

The goods: Oliva Oil Liquid Soap, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, and Massage Body Oil-Courtesy of Granducati for Oliva Oil. Shop the beauty collection here. 


Hearty Décor

We baby-sat a friend's precocious daughter, Anya recently. She loves stars. Anything star related she will tell you about them. In fact, she'll likely be an educator one day, but that's beside the point.

I decided to give her a brief art lesson, teaching her how to make a popup card with star cut outs for her mum. Literally, hours of answering the darling Anya's questions, and many visuals later my hands were numb and my eyes were jumping. Tired eyes wouldn't begin to describe it.

Then, after a gulp of caffeine I was fine and proceeded with the task at hand. I contemplated making similar crafts, but using hearts. Afterward, I began to assemble my own crafting goodness of foam ornaments that I'd purchased last year. Instead of making cards, I wanted to design heart-inspired décor.
It's funny what can motivate you for a craft project, despite how simple or complex it might be.
I was making these thinking of various Valentine's Day projects for children, or for any adult with a playful side still residing within. One of the many results are these felt-foam hearts.

By the end of the craft project I was pleased with the foam heart balls, however I had no idea what to do with them. I know, vexing as it was, meanwhile I couldn't waste further time pouting about it. So, I put them atop candlesticks, in a mirrored bowl (with pearls and fur), and placed them randomly around the house to see what I liked best.
These DIY heart foam balls are incredibly adorable and easy to create. All you need is scissors, spray glue or (E6000), felt hearts of solid and glitter, foam ball(s)-circular/square, sequins (optional), and silk flowers (for second project). 

Project 1: Heart-Foam Balls
Step 1: Take felt hearts and lightly put a dab of glue on the backside of one heart, then carefully place the heart on the foam ball to your preferred area of the ball. Start glue from the middle of heart, working your way toward the outer edge. *(alternatively, you may use heart stickers, or spray adhesive). A glue stick, or E6000 works well. Pat each heart lightly, until all edges are adhered to the ball. Let the ball sit to dry for a few minutes.
Step 2: Repeat Step 1 until the foam ball is covered with hearts.
Step 3: Place more hearts on top of the foam ball, overlapping some of the hearts already glued to fill in any spaces. To get a three-dimensional look, use a small piece of paper or tape and fold it to a nail size (or tiny square) and place on the middle of one heart on the foam ball. Now, place a new heart on top of the folded tape/paper piece covering it with the heart, but only pat the edges of the heart so that the middle is slightly raised. That's it! Now hang it up, or place on table as a centrepiece.

Project 2: Temporary Accents: I also used florist foam squares to make small bouquets with silk flowers. Take the tops off the silk florals with attached leaves, and set in place on the foam. Adhere each bud slowly with hot glue. Shape and place in a basket or atop desired surface. Fit finished bouquet inside a basket or wide-rimmed container.

This is such a great décor treatment, especially if you want to change to seasonal floral colours, and/or want a quick centrepiece. I usually have fresh flowers in our home, but sometimes if we have a friend staying in the guest room I'll put silk flowers in the room just in case of allergies. It's a no fail option especially if you have family over with an infant or may want to reuse the florals for something else.

What do you think of these quick and affordable décor crafts?


Style Files // Plush Pink Moments

I have found myself wearing this comfy pink coat faithfully on a weekly basis. The comfort is surprisingly addicting: plush, soft, and fluffy. We went out to brunch over the weekend as we do, and I almost didn't mind keeping the coat on indoors. I did say, "almost" because let's be honest, wearing a fun sequins and lace top should always be seen and appreciated.

After Christmas holiday I wore this coat with a long dress, and then again during a New Year's dinner party. There were a few night shots that were blurry so I decided to take these afterward when we were back earlier this month. The weather was freezing everywhere, but I managed to get a few shots.
These croc-heels were on sale at ASOS, and I was fortunate to find this belt as well just moments before I pressed the "checkout" button.

We went to a few antique stores over the weekend to shop for props with a stylist friend and I heard a customer already talking about spring … what? I am rather enjoying winter, believe it or not.  But, I'm sure it would be different if I were snowed in with no electricity.

Aside from that, here's some highlights from January. Needless to say, it's been quite a crafty month, as you will soon find out.

Lately, I have been enthralled with paper art books, and reading a lot about the craft to further my inspiration to create more of my own. I made paper flowers, but this time they were out of stiffer paper, then used plastic notions from the art store, and I crumbled the paper multiple times for pliability. They were merely an upgrade from these. I will also have a different little DIY for you soon.

How has your January been?

The goods: Denim- Belt and Heels-The Truffle Collection via ASOS, Coat-F21, Leopard top, and Hat with added peacock feather-Oasap c/o. *affiliate links enclosed in post.
*Linking this post up with "Thursday Fashion Files" here.
Above: Rigatoni w/spinach, mushrooms, and nori peppered salmon, Sneak peek for a DIY. Beauty try-outs: Marc Jacobs Highliner gel crayon, and e.l.f. deep berry lip colours (so far, so good), Adorable cocktail napkins my sister sent me, and hand-made paper art/flowers. Also, I used the contour palette from e.l.f. and Anastasia Beverly Hills in this look, have you tried those?

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FT Kitchen: Orange Currant Scones

This has been a long time coming, but finally had time to share a few foodie delights that I recently made, including these delicious scones. I tweaked my mum's regular recipe and decided on making these orange currant scones. She usually makes them deeper, but I did not have a deep cutter on hand at the time. Since then, I have bought one about 4 cm.

Variations for scones are abundant loads of places. There are plenty diverse versions to savour, and each one of my friends will say that their grandmother or some family member makes the best (right, as they should). But, some of my favourite combinations that my mum makes like maple sultana, rosemary-thyme, cinnamon, or even lemon-blueberry scones are pretty much made with the same base. Minor adjustments depend on what fruit or herbs are added into the mixture.
I like savoury scones as well, since they aren't overly sweet to begin with, and obviously love eating them with a dollop of Devon cream, or side of fresh fruit. We used these more for an afternoon dessert though---a great lil' sweet quick-bread to enjoy post-lunch with coffee.

I recently bought a few new pieces of bakeware, so stay tuned for more delicious experimenting in the near future.

360g (3 cups) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
42g (1/3 cup) icing sugar/confectioners' sugar
20g (1 1/2) tablespoons caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
113g (1/2 cup) (=1 stick) unsalted butter (chilled)- cut into small chunks
95g (1/2 cup) vegetable shortening (chilled) - cut into small chunks
240 ml (1 cup) buttermilk (chilled)
90g (3/4 cup) dried currants
1/2 - 2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons buttermilk to glaze, or (use 1 beaten egg - optional)

Prep: 10 min. or less. Bake: 15 mins.
Use foil to line baking sheet. Preheat oven to 220°C = 425°F, or Gas Mark 7
Yield: Makes approx. 10-12 scones.  

  1. Tip flour, baking soda, salt, icing sugar, baking powder, and caster sugar in a large bowl, then mix.  
  2. Add the butter, and vegetable shortening, and use fingertips to rub together until a coarse mill consistency (small crumbs) forms.  
  3. Add 1 cup buttermilk, the orange zest, and currants. Now stir the dough mixture gently until large moist lumps form. 
  4. Pat dough into a round ball. Transfer dough to a lightly dusted floured work surface. Carefully knead dough by turning 2-3 times to combine well. Do not overwork dough! 
  5. Divide dough into 2 large pieces. Flatten each piece into 2cm-3cm thick rounds (or for thinner scones about 1/2"-1"). With a cutter or floured cutlery knife, cut each round into 6 pieces. Dive back into the dough and repeat again until you have 6 more scones. 
  6. Press out what's left of the dough and cut into another round. 
  7. Carefully transfer scones to foiled baking tray/sheet. Brush the tops with the 2 tablespoons buttermilk (or a beaten egg).  
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm with jam or clotted cream.

Do you have a favourite recipe from your childhood that you love to make?

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