Halloween Accents

If you don't have much of a Halloween decorating budget, then don't worry! These fun and simple ways to decorate for Halloween will add a speckle of artsy sophistication to your place, and without being too avant-garde. It's perfect for those who aren't necessarily into horror or terrifying decorations — these subtle accents will add a touch of dark glamour to your home.

I've put together a handful of projects for you. It's a glimmer of hope in various calibres! Let's get started ...

1. Festive Food: Carrot PumpkinsThis is an easy way to make carrot cut outs inspired by pumpkins. Create these for guests with solid pumpkins, or go all out and get crafty with acute jack-o-lantern details. In the end, it's going in your belly, so if you're not too pressed for time make it count, or be fabulously minimal! View the images and get the 411 on how to do it here! 

2. Spray Painted Décor: 

This is one of my favourite things to do. In fact, when I am trying to think of ways to revamp pieces, I almost always firstly ask myself, "Do I have anything to paint?" The answer is usually a resounding, "Yes!" with my eyes wide open, even if it doesn’t entirely fit with my initial concept.
Here, I've painted mason jars. I found leftover jars that were in my pantry because I was so engrossed in pickling, canning, and essentially everything fermented for culinary purposes. If you don't have mason jars, any container with a screw-closed lid will work.

Style guide: 1: Lay newspaper on a flat work surface, in an open-air environment, then bathe the jars in black spray paint (glossy), turning and spraying from top to bottom. 2. After the paint had dried, I découpaged these brilliant printable apothecary labels on the jars. I went for a slight lustre, but "pseudo-dated" was the aesthetic I also wanted, so I used a dry paintbrush to streak some of the areas of the jars. View my results above.

3. "Party On!" Party Mix: This is a mix that I made for a pre-Halloween party. If you want to add a bit more sweetness, then add candy corn as I did for some guests. It also makes a great little takeaway for dinner parties. But, I can't eat candy corn personally, so I just used sugar-free caramel for mine.

Style tip: Get creative with flavours! I also added a generous scoop of protein powder to the second caramel batch and didn't tell my guests. A tad stealthy, indeed — adding in healthy elements to snacks — especially for my sweet-toothed friends. I modified this recipe. If you want to add some heat to it, just add spicy peanuts. We had three varieties.

4. Lace Art: Again, spray paint is a godsend, no? I used paper dollies for this project. Admittedly, I find that we often forget about our grammar school days of crafting. This project gave me a flashback from my youth! Some of my suggestions: Make a lace bowl, tea light holder, or even a potpourri bowl, (which is what I am using it for). *I used crochet lace, and paper dollies for our bowls, and I actually used fabric glue blended with Modge Podge for mine.

Style tip: Place this bowl on a corner table, atop a secretary table, or small area of your home, then fill the bowl with candies, potpourri, or silk flower buds painted black. Read the tutorial here.

5. Framed Accents:  I get it, you're a busy bee and aren't much of a DIYer. Try printing off some of your favourite video stills from films, and wait for it … wait for it, "Frame it!" Yes, you can do it! I printed a film-still forest image that I liked and painted over it. In a well ventilated space, I used spray paint up close to give it a smudged effect on the paper, then I allowed paint to drip on top. The bird outline is just a rough freehand sketch of a crow that I drew on paper myself, then I cut it out. As you can see, I blended both paint colours (metallic and black) on my newly embellished finished image to go alongside my Halloween theme.

Style tip: A dash of ornamentation wouldn't go amiss either, but less it more, right? I did decide to subtlety decorate these frames with beads. Anti-fragrant remnants from my DIY homemade potpourri display also inspired the finishing touches to the frame. I gave the potpourri a dashing new makeover with copper paint and black matte paint as well.

Stay tuned, you will see some of these creations and more playful fun in an upcoming post. 
P.S. By the way, the blog App just got a brand new Android update. Download it here.

Do you partake in fun/spooky decorating? What do you think of these fun and easy ideas?


Everyday Style: Classic Stripes

It's been quite some time since I featured eco-styles from the Gudrun Sjödén line. Now that summer has gone, what better way to welcome autumn than with a new seasonal collection.

The Inspiration:
Gudrun's autumn collection this time is influenced by her travelling: the urban culture scene, namely in North and South America. There are special details and accents from Santa Fe, New Mexico alongside New York's Chinatown, Meatpacking District, Soho, and Brooklyn throughout the line. You'll find a rich palette of colours from garden green to hibiscus pink, however the main focus is all about grey in various shades.

I love that there's a distinct tone and cultural style throughout the autumn collection—she used Native American, and Afro-Asian elements for inspiration as well. Some elements include: modern and traditional art in ceramic motifs, check patterns, and the impact of denim with a modern twist, amongst others.
The Look:
This was the first time that I decided to try one of the brand's best-sellers from the striped line, and I'm not sure why it took so long since I adore classic stripes. The eco-designer has been producing the 'striped range' for over thirty years, selling more than five-hundred thousand items in striped sweaters and dresses alone.

I solely wore this on the weekend to run errands, so all I wanted was comfort. Initially, I thought that the scale of the stripe would be a tad smaller, but it worked perfectly! I am so pleased with this tunic because it's very roomy, has the right amount of stretch, and the length makes it easy to layer (especially for a person on the taller side) comfortably. I've styled the tunic here as a casual dress with these patterned leggings, and the best part is that it has pockets!

The pocket feature works well for when I'm heading out quickly to grab a sandwich across from the office, or on swift jaunts to my favourite café for a morning cuppa. Both pockets also hold my miniature wallet surprisingly well.

You may have seen a preview of one of my new shawls (on Instagram) that I have not been able to stop wearing. Of course, there will be more stylings of that later.

Are you excited for autumn? Do you wear stripes? 
The goods: Striped tunic in Black/Putty, and “Bronx” leggings in recycled nylon/spandex in Black, Tassel Shawl in cotton-c/o Gudrun Sjödén, Wooden necklace-Ghana, Paris canvas shopper-Kohl's, Leather boots-Vintage. 


Concrete Style: DIY Planters

Since I've been getting into gardening and planting a lot more, I wanted to play around with the idea of concrete containers. I decided on doing a small DIY of two concrete bowls: a gilded bowl for bits and bobs, and a concrete planter.

These are my first attempts at making concrete pots and planters and it was quite an easy project to execute. Perfecting the shapes came later, and I ended up making five different containers. Here are the results, and a "how-to" guide on creating them below. There are two methods that I used. The first method is by using acrylic glass and the second I used a recycled cardboard or carton in the shape of the planter I wanted. Both work, but the easiest is by using a cardboard or carton container because it's easier clean up.

dry concrete mixture
vegetable oil, or sunflower oil
liquid gold paint or metallic paint
2 acrylic moulds or cardboard moulds (I used 2 containers 16 cm wide, & one approx. 5 cm wide)
1 weight with a circular edge or candle
shaping tool or spoon (optional)

*If you use a cardboard mould, then you don't need to use oil to grease it, just go to step 2.

What do you think of these handmade planters? 
Do you have any plants in your home or work space?

Sporty Simplicity

In continuation from my preview post about the offerings of Mainline Menswear, I wanted to share more about certain styles that I have been loving for sportswear.

It didn't take me long to peruse through ideal pieces for him, however the beauty in unisex pieces is that they can be versatile even beyond colour or style.

I selected dark blue hued Air-Max trainers with a windbreaker jacket by Nike's new collection, and used it in conjunction with my Adidas shirt. Two of my long-time favourite athletic brands are Adidas and Nike, so I blended the duo together for this look.

Even as a teenager, my unswerving dedication for sport styles always involved (mostly) Nike being worn on my feet, and Adidas worn on my body.

These stretchy Adidas leggings literally fit like a glove, and I didn't feel as if I had to be too matchy at all with other elements worn. At first, I had reservations, then after thoroughly doing a full workout outdoors it was apparent that I made a good choice with these. On another note, my ankle has been healing up a fairly well … still walking, instead of pounding the pavement running, but all is good so far.

Have you picked up any new activewear? What's your workout routine?
Shop The Look

What motivates your athletic fashion purchases? 

The goods: Nike Air Max 90 Ultra Moire Trainers (Similar), Adidas California track leggings, Nike printed windrunner jacket, and Adidas Originals Trefoil long-sleeved shirt-c/o Mainline Menswear, Mesh tank-Babalu, Adidas trainers.


Autumn Favourites With JD Williams

British brand, JD Williams has newly launched an autumn-winter 2016 collection with abundant offerings that will get your wardrobe ready for the season. They carry menswear, children's  ranges, women's plus sizes and even accessories, amongst other lines. This is a brand with plenty of items for the entire family, which also includes schoolwear and products for the home. I also like that JD Williams is actively involved in upholding ethical trading practises.

I recently perused their autumn-winter 2016 line and curated some of my favourites to share with you. This style board is blended with layer-friendly knits, classic pieces like the red bouclé cape, and of course, shoes!

When it comes to the autumn season, boots are essentials to think about, however light to medium-weight knitwear doesn’t get enough deserved attention.
AboveJoe Browns Snugly Scarf Neck Sweater, Joe Browns Butterfly Dress,  Roll Neck Poncho, and Button Down Sleeve Midi Shirt Dress. 

Knitwear can ultimately be just as versatile as a maxi dress—both can work effortlessly—for day to night occasions. Dress up knit separates with sparkled jewellery or dainty accessories for day, or add a statement cuff to a simple silhouette for night. It doesn't have to be bold, statement pieces, or neckwear pieces to look contemporary, trendy, and sophisticated.

You can expect everything from OTK boots to ankle styles with small fashionable details to love. As I've mentioned previously in the past month, I personally could use a new pair of ankle booties this season, and there's much on my "wish list." Now that I've been doing online browsing, it's getting easier to narrow down my scroll of favourites.

Shop the new autumn collection at JD Williams here.

Above: Rib high skater dress in grey. This post is a collaboration brought to you by JD Williams.co.uk. All content and opinions expressed are my own. View my favourites from the boot collection below.

What boot styles are you wearing this season? 

Top Row: Sole Diva Fold Over Faux Fur Ankle Boot, Heavenly Soles Tan Boot with Gold Trim, Lotus Leopard Ankle Boot, Sole Diva Square Toe Fuchsia Boot. 

Bottom Row: Sole Diva Buckle Boot, Heavenly Soles Ankle Boot in Blue, Sole Diva Studded Ankle Boot, and Sole Diva Zipper Boots   

View the behind the scenes video here.

Have you shopped at JD Williams? 


In Seven Hours

After my return to the blog from a holiday, you may have noticed that I inadvertently had to take another week off last week. To my surprise, it was to get some work-related deadlines sorted.

It's good to be somewhat back! And, with much needed sleep, tasks completed, and a few spare moments set aside to enjoy little victories (and savour good food along the way) I was able to take a handful of snapshots. Sadly, the best moments weren't actually captured via my mobile or camera. Perhaps, that's what makes me so well-rested and not pressured at present.

A couple of co-workers and I had a disastrous flight situation that left us with massive layovers. We were re-routed, and everything resulted in us having many hours to kill in the airport. Instead of staying in the airport, we decided to enjoy the city streets in record time.

I bought loads of magazines and artwork that I wouldn't get typically (will show the artwork at a later date), and met two new artists along the way, which was nice. Spontaneity is wonderful when everyone you're with is in accord. So, Berlin and New Orleans were like sprints. All I can say is, "thank goodness!" for Uber and mobile travel apps!

Here are some visual snippets from my time away ...

After work was finished, I also managed to recycle and revamp several pieces into craft projects, which if you are following the blog via the App, then you've already seen an exclusive preview last week.

Above: A paintbrush holder made from these containers, and wooden crown cut outs were spray painted and adhered together. Then, I added a jewelled rhinestone for a simple, yet effective dash of glam. I've had these wooden crowns forever, which were in a penny bin at an art sale that I picked up. Now, they are useful!

What have you been up to lately?
Above: Some of my own artwork that I drew in graphite, Other images: visits from random restaurants, Cafes, Homemade tofu burger that I made, On the road via Uber, Berlin sky, Vegan breakfast, DIY prep & crafting, Magazines and accessories, Café du Monde moments with Beignets, and New Adidas workout gear.

*Lastly, thanks to everyone who participated in the menswear giveaway. Congrats to the winner, JR Reynolds, please look out for an email from me soon. 

Bidvine: Mission Complete

If you often have an ongoing list of tasks and projects to complete, but never enough time in your schedule, then there's a service that might be perfect for you! From home projects to office tasks, Bidvinea London-based provincial servicing company offers a long roster of various services. The brand's creative sphere allows customers to choose from over five-hundred services to suit their needs.  

The way it works is very simple: professionals pay Bidvine to get introduced to you. You contract the professional for their services, then pay them directly. Bidvine charges you nothing at all! After you've set up your free account and created a request, you may turn on notifications via e-mail or text for quotes and messages through your account.  

I recently used their website to request quotes for event photography for a corporate party. From requesting my initial service to receiving quotes, everything was painless. Their customer service team e-mailed me within a 24-hour period (very fast the next morning, actually) to verify details of my request and to answer any questions.   

Within the first e-mail, Bidvine tells you when to expect custom cost estimates. Up to five custom quotes are provided within hours---I received mine incredibly fast. Shortly afterward, I immediately had my estimates and messages from five event photographers (meeting the criteria that I requested) from Bidvine's professional community pool. Next, you're able to compare and review the quotes that were sent over, and at that point you may call your professional (in my case a photographer) directly, or message them through Bidvine for more information.  

When you're ready to proceed, you hire the professional on contract and pay them directly. It's like having your own secretary ... No! It's actually a bit better because with Bidvine you can get loads of diverse projects or tedious tasks completed easily. 

This could be excellent if you need a pastry chef, a dog walker, want to learn calligraphy, or even need a personal trainer to get you in shape for that half marathon. I think this would also be a fun service for busy parents who might want to get their child guitar lessons, extra tutoring for school course work, horse riding lessons, or more!    

There are so many services provided, from pro-repairs for home improvement to hiring a magician for a birthday party. This is a service that I wouldn't use regularly, however for events or maybe a special occasion where I want to hire a personal chef, I think it would be worth it. Perhaps, I'll take up those fencing lessons that are long overdue!  

Overall, I was impressed with their range of services, the site's user-friendly navigation, and the step-by-step help tools.    

Quotes for services are also available via mobile on iOS.     

Have you used Bidvine? What service would you request to cross off on your to-do list? 
This sponsored post is a collaboration with Bidvine for an honest review on their site and services. All content and opinions are my own.  

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