My Karen Millen military safari shirtdress has arrived!

So a few months ago I decided I’ve wasted enough of my life searching on eBay to buy myself a Karen Millen military safari shirtdress and paid the £80 for a listed dress, £20 for global shipping, and roughly another £10 for tax. All up it had cost me £110, or A$220 when it is all converted to Australian dollars. I’ve NEVER paid so much to buy anything online on eBay. And the worst thing is that on add on shipping cost and tax costs more than 30% of the actual dress itself. Ouch!

I’ve been waiting patiently for it to arrive, and given the current state of Australia Post (rated 1.7 stars from 10,258 reviews on ProductReview.com.au) and closed borders – it really took its time!

For a while I was worried it was lost in the mail/ pilfered by the postman/ impounded by Customs/ detained and held in mandatory covid-19 Quarantine, so imagine my joy and relief when I got home today (yes I am wearing my Karen Millen dress to the office) and found the package (of my long-anticipated other Karen Millen dress) sitting at my doorstep!

And the timing today is also so right: hubby just happened to get home in time to take photographs of a joyous me receiving my dress.

The seller listed it as new with tags, in my size (I think – it’s hard when I can’t try it on!), and although it is the classic safari sand colour (I wanted one in black) I decided the asking of £70 was the most reasonable I have seen so far.

So I put in my bid of £80. While the asking for the dress may be the most reasonable I have seen, eBay’s shipping cost and taxes is certainly not: £20 for global shipping and roughly another £10 for tax meant an all up cost of £110 (or A$220 when it is all converted to Australian dollars), of which eBay’s shipping cost and tax costs more than 30% of the actual dress itself. Ouch again!

For inexplicable reasons, Karen Millen military safari shirtdress has been incredibly sought after and popular. It is sold out everywhere online, and on the dreaded eBay (I hate eBay, for more than a few reasons which I have previously detailed) second hand/ worn dresses still have astronomical asking prices – mostly still about £100! (i.e. almost A$200!). A hint for the savvy investor: why bother dabbling in real estate or the share market when the right Karen Millen dress will give you decent returns?

And on that subject of real estate – That is another headache. My first ever investment property which I bought just before Christmas is still vacant and without a tenant despite my trying to have it leased out for the past 4 weeks! I am really annoyed that Western Australia has insisted on keeping its borders closed and with closed borders there are no tourists, no international students, no interstate migrants which means an over-supply for rental properties on the market… and I have to meet my mortgage repayments regardless!

But the arrival of my long-awaited dress is a little bit of good news and distraction from my real estate headaches.

This is one of a few items in my Natalie’s (yes, that’s me!) 2020 fashion wish-list, but it is by no means part of Karen Millen’s 2020 collection. In fact, as I understand, the piece is quite a few seasons old (6 or 7 years old maybe? – someone can correct me). So its sought after status and high second hand prices continue to baffle me.

I did do a little research though to try to understand why the dress commands such a high price. Like everyone else I tried google (no luck). Turning to the next trusted source of reliable information (facebook groups),

some have suggested:

‘Has it been worn by a celebrity?’ (Megan Markle was a specific suggestion)

‘The collar + front opening (vertical line) + cut away sleeveless is really flattering for a lot of figures and makes your bust look great without actually showing much cleavage.’

‘it’s sexy – but more old school sexy, where it’s sexier that more is hidden than what is put on display.’

‘It’s a flattering, timeless piece that will likely never go out of style.’

In any case I was left still scratching my head.

I removed the dress from the eBay envelope and found that the seller had neatly folded it up in a zip lock bag. I inspected it and it does look new (as described), with tags still attached that shows an original price of £135 that was marked down to £64.95, which I assume is what the seller paid. Not sure about you, but I am started to detest on-sellers on eBay who make a profit out of selling items at prices higher than they paid for.

In any case, it is too late for buyer’s regret now.

I am going to get it laundered before I try it on, and fingers crossed it lives up to my expectations when I actually try it on!

I have 2 questions for my readers:

  • What are your thoughts on eBay on-sellers who make a profit out of selling items at prices higher than they paid for.
  • What is the most you have ever paid for a dress on eBay?

Xoxo

Natalie

P.S. and oh by the way I am wearing another Karen Millen dress today as the Karen Millen military safari shirtdress arrived!

Occasion: Office

Wearing:

Karen Millen Floral Bodycon Pencil Dress

NINEWEST ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps

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OOTD – picking up the keys to my first investment property! (plus office Christmas party)

I am super-excited this morning.

After years of working in real estate, I finally took the leap myself and bought my very first investment property (aka buy-to-let in the UK), at the (not so) tender age of 26! Even real estate agents have to start somewhere, right?

When I first signed the contract for sale and paid the deposit 3 months ago I was hoping that I can have the settlement and contract exchange on my birthday itself (which was only a fortnight ago!), but given the whole situation with the coronavirus everyone needed a bit of extra time to get settlement in order and a slight delay meant everything happened a little later than expected.

Settlement wasn’t, however, my biggest concern. My biggest concern was whether the banks will reject my loan application. The whole situation with the coronavirus meant lots of people had their income shaved (mine included – I was put on reduced hours which meant reduced pay!). And it wasn’t that straightforward loan application process that I was hoping for.

To get the loan approved, I had to submit multiple documents, cancel some of my credit cards (I am only left with one card now – ouch!), and my parents had to be my guarantor. Even then the lending fell a little bit short, luckily an acquaintance in the building industry whom I had done some business with in the past was more than willing to lend me the twenty odd thousand dollars ($22,680 to be exact) short-fall to finalise the purchase. He was happy enough for me to start repaying it only after my investment property gets a rent paying tenant in, so it had worked out well for me.

After a nail biting 90+ days, I was finally relieved the loan application finally went through.

I wanted to get dressed in something nice today to pick up the keys in once my conveyancer advise that settlement has gone through. And also our office work Christmas party is happening today as well, so all the more reason to get dressed in something nice.

So this morning I decided to get dressed in my Karen Millen low neck midi dress.

I bought this dress sometime in the last 2 years (I remember it wasn’t cheap – I paid close to $400 for this dress) but had only worn it maybe once or twice, because I think I made a mistake and got it one size bigger than I should, meaning it was a little loose. But given I have gained weight over the past 2 years (I am silently sulking as I reluctantly admit to this) my Karen Millen now fits better than it did when I first bought it.

Karen Millen describes it as ‘A bold option for work and play, this mid-length dress is styled with a low-cut square neckline for a contemporary look. Versatile enough to take you from desk to dinner, pop some heeled sandals in your bag to spice up your outfit for post-work cocktail hour.’

I couldn’t agree more. Perfect for going to the office in the morning, picking up the keys in the afternoon, and then our office Christmas party after that.

This flattering and comfortable blue satin pencil dress comes with a midi length fitted skirt which is perfect for the office as I will be working today (I was just going to nick out of the office for 10-15minutes and walk over and pick up the keys on my tea break once I hear settlement has gone through). It is comfortable because it is fully lined and the blue satin does stretch, and flattering because the pencil shape of the dress hugs close to my body, not to mention that square neckline with ‘v’ detail reveals a hint of cleavage when I bend over. The midi length fitted skirt with single vent at the back finished at my knee, meaning the dress is never too short to wear to the office.

These are the official photos of the dress from Karen Millen:

I subsequently found out this dress comes not just in blue but also black and pink as the following photo from Instagram shows, but given we are in Australia which is at the other end of the world and not a lot of good stuff land here, there was only blue on the racks when I bought it.

Today, I paired the dress with my favourite lilac coloured Pleasure State White Label bra (this bra is my favourite because it has the ability to give me an ample bosom), Chloe and Lola lace g-string knickers (so my pantyline won’t show through the material of the pencil dress), nude hosiery from Target, and my Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump with 10cm high heels.

I arrived at the office early today but to be honest I was so excited I couldn’t really concentrate at work. I waited and waited all day until my conveyancer finally rang. I was ecstatic when she told me the property had settled and I could pick up the keys. I grabbed my handbag, nicked out of the office, walked across to the other real estate agency and picked up the keys. And when I got back to my office I was pleasantly surprised to find my work colleagues had been patiently waiting for me to return so that they can congratulate me with the gift of a bottle of bubbly!

And needless to say I am glad it finally settled. Whew! And I am one proud owner of my very first investment property, at the (not so) tender age of 26!

If only every day was this great…

Xoxo

Natalie

Occasion: work/ office + office Christmas party in the afternoon

Wearing:

Karen Millen low neck midi dress (in blue)

Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump

Pleasure State White Label bra

Chloe and Lola lace g-string knickers (so my pantyline won’t show through the pencil dress)

Hosiery from Target

Wedding planning

I am going to be busy for the next couple of months!

Seems like needless repetition to say that but it is true the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.

Hubby and I had already made plans last year to get married – we were initially going to do the whole deal: White dress, bridesmaids, photographer, and family coming from everywhere. We had the wedding venue booked and paid the deposit, planned our honeymoon (including purchasing flights to go to Scotland and Ireland and then on to Paris) – but then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Restrictions came into force: As of March 26, only the couple marrying, the celebrant and two witnesses can be present at the ceremony.

So we waited.

I remember initially when the restrictions came into force rumours were circulating that it was all going to be short term: Qantas after all predicted flights will be back up by July with its lounges re-open.

And waited.

July came and some states have started opening its border, but Western Australia stubbornly refused to follow suit.

And we waited.

October came and free internal interstate movement within is still banned in Australia – some states have allowed interstate travel but Western Australia still stubbornly refused.

So much for our planning August 2020 wedding and our September 2020 honeymoon.

With little hope of Western Australia opening its borders again, which mean family and friends could not attend a wedding, hubby and I decided rather than waiting and waiting we’d just formalise it with the paperwork and worry about a wedding in the future.

So on 20th of October 2020 we got married.

We may not be having the lavish wedding that I wanted but I made certain things were still around to remind us of our special day even though it was a simple ceremony attended by just the celebrant and close family (my parents, hubby’s parents, my siblings and his): I organised a cake, flowers, and the all-important Moet champagne and wore a classic traditional Chinese dress called a Qi Pao for the ceremony.

Then a little less than a month after we got married – 10 days to be exact – Western Australia decided it wanted to open its borders.

That royally annoyed me, to say the least. Had I known they were going to open the borders I would have waited the extra few months because I really wanted to wear a white dress and have a proper wedding!!!

With the prospect of being allowed to leave the state (or interstate family members being able to visit), hubby and I have started looking at planning our (long delayed) wedding once again. I decided my wedding planning should follow the following order: I am going to start shopping for a white wedding gown, and then bridal lingerie and accessories, then looking for a suitable a wedding venue, and then everything else for the wedding after that.

(I must say at this point hubby disagrees – he thinks we should sort our wedding venue out first. But given we lost our deposit on the wedding venue booking last year I am not going to repeat that mistake – even if all wedding venues in Australia get booked out I’d rather get married in the penthouse suite of the Ritz Carlton Perth, or Hyatt Sydney, than lose my deposit again)

I am going to be busy for the next couple of months!

And BTW, does anyone knows a good wedding planner that doesn’t cost an arm or a leg?

Xoxo

Natalie

Supermarket markdown mistake?

There is a whole pile of sausages being marked down – all the same price at $4.40 (or $5.50 each; 2 for $10 but I don’t need 2 packs). They all have their use by date tomorrow – except for this pack: 5th November. Markdown mistake? I am not sure, but I obviously took this rather than the ones that has the use by date tomorrow.

My Sunday morning breakfast tomorrow sorted 🙂

Xoxo

Natalie

Getting married in a pandemic

Seems like needless repetition to say that but it is true the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.

Hubby and I had already made plans last year to get married – we were initially going to do the whole deal: White dress, bridesmaids, photographer, and family coming from everywhere. We had the wedding venue booked, deposit paid, honeymoon planned and flights purchased (we intended to go to Scotland and Ireland and then on to Paris, for those who are curious), but then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Restrictions came into force: As of March 26, only the couple marrying, the celebrant and two witnesses can be present at the ceremony.

Given situation is fluid we also did not know when or even how to reschedule.

Wedding venues require booking months in advance, and given we expected just about every couple to reschedule we are now looking at late 2021 date (if lucky), or even worse in 2022. Even if we had the date rescheduled there was still the uncertainty of guest count, location, and extent of travel involved. Australia is after all still pretty much like the USSR back in the days of the cold war where comrade citizens have to apply for an exit permit to leave the country and foreigners are banned from entering: Will borders still remain closed in 2021? How are guests and family from interstate and overseas going to attend (internal interstate movement within is still banned in Australia – so much for thinking we are the same one country).

So all the deposits we paid was lost, which is a massive heartache. It was perhaps lucky though that I had only just decided on a wedding gown back then and was almost going to pay the deposit – at least we saved that.

I remember initially when the restrictions came into force rumours were circulating that it was all going to be short term: Qantas after all predicted flights will be back up by July with its lounges re-open. Fast forward into October and internal interstate movement within is still banned in Australia. So much for our planning August 2020 wedding and our September 2020 honeymoon.

We did explore the options. But I decided I didn’t want to get married via Zoom! Nor drive-thru!

Nor get married wearing a mask! After seeing some of my friends and work colleagues deciding to just get married without a lavish wedding: one friend booked out the suite at Crown and had the ceremony in the hotel room with only herself and her hubby, the celebrant and two witnesses (her mother and his), we decided we too should just get married and forgo a lavish wedding until later. Hubby and I after all have already decided to get married, and I had already been wearing the ring for some time already anyway, so rather than waiting and waiting we’d just formalise it with the paperwork and worry about a wedding in the future.

We may not be having the lavish wedding that I want but there are still things I must have even for a simple ceremony attended by just the celebrant and close family: a cake (which we ordered weeks ago and got custom made – delivered on the same morning), flowers (which the florist came the morning itself delivered in a cute like Mini Cooper full of floral deliveries!), and of course the all important Moet champagne.

As to what I am going to wear: Given I am after all of Chinese heritage I decided that not having lavish wedding meant there is no need for a white wedding gown for a simple ceremony, and that I’d be happier rocking in a traditional and classic Chinese dress called a Qi Pao for the ceremony.

My mom (who has way better sewing and dress making skills that I do) made the Qi Pao which I am wearing today with silk fabric. Traditionally I think the bride is meant to wear a red Qi Pao, but then I always look better in blue, and besides, not wanting to look tacky or overly traditional I asked her to make it in blue. Not only did she finish the silk Qi Pao dress on time, the workmanship and the fit was pretty much flawless – I am so proud of you, mom!

Getting married during a pandemic will ensure that we never forget our wedding day. Not just because I got married last week on the 20th of October (sorry for the delayed post – but I was a little busy getting married) which in Australia abbreviates into 20/10/20 – how unforgettable is that! We invited just a handful of witnesses to our ceremony: my parents, hubby’s parents, my siblings and his, and the celebrant. We did away with all the nonsense and jazz and pretty signed our names, cracked open the two bottles of Moet champagne, and cut the cake.

While it had been a strange (and also a little disappointing experience in not being able to share this in person with all our friends and family) the upside was that it was fast and efficient by wedding standards. And not to mention save some money too (the wedding industry is by far the biggest rip-off, after the real estate industry in Australia that is – and I can say that because I actually work in real estate!)

Where to form here then? As the saying goes, it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. This is just another chapter in the start of our life.

Xoxo

Natalie

Is the government in Victoria State in Australia legalising and promoting discrimination?

It appears that Victoria State in Australia is going from bad to worse.

As I was going to work this morning, I read (presumably from a reliable news source given it appears to come from ABC news) that Melbourne residents travelling to regional Victoria on work permits or for other lawful reasons are being warned they cannot sit down in a regional pub, cafe, restaurant or other venue. From this morning, regional businesses must take reasonable steps to confirm a customer is from regional Victoria before allowing them to sit down in their premises. Those who fail to check customers’ IDs face a fine of $9,913.

W T F! was my first thought that came to mind.

I thought discrimination of any form, not limited to race, religion (or in the special case in Victoria Australia) place of origin/ address is not allowed in Western democracies like Australia… So much for Australia criticising other countries which do not safeguard against discrimination.

So for now it’s discrimination against place of origin/ address. What’s next?

Xoxo

Natalie

How to look fabulous during a pandemic…

How to look fabulous during a pandemic…

With the right make-up and cosmetics, of course!

While shopping for groceries at Woolworths supermarket today, I noticed Maybelline make-up and cosmetics are half price. So, yes, I admit this isn’t technically an extra mark-down per se, but it is still half off.

Maybelline DreamWonder used to be my only go to when it comes to liquid make-up foundation (I loved the coverage, the shade and its feel on my skin), but since they discontinued it I have been left with having to scramble for less satisfying alternatives. I hate switching make-up brands and even different lines within the same brand – it’s really hard getting the right shade again with the right amount of coverage, texture, and feel on my skin – and I never get it right and yes, I’ve made the mistake of having to throw out an entirely new tube of liquid foundation make-up because it was the wrong shade!

Currently settling for Maybelline’s DreamSatin, Woolworth’s rather disappointingly did not have any today. So I decided to try a different line from Maybelline, the DreamRadiant. I am not sure if the formulation is anywhere near what I used to love and what I am currently wearing, and heck even the colour codes differ between the two lines within the same brand (I got today’s in 50 creamy natural as from the looks of things it seems closest to my skin colour, while on Maybelline’s DreamSatin I wear 27 classic beige), so I am hoping I won’t be disappointed.

So along with my tin of tuna and strawberries, I brought home a new tube of Maybelline the DreamRadiant liquid foundation make-up and a new eyelid pencil (which, hopefully, will live up to its advertising promise too of creamy soft glide and no need for sharpening. Fingers crossed I didn’t waste my hard earned A$15 for the liquid foundation and my A$7.80 for the eye lid pencil!

Xoxo

Natalie

Why is Karen Millen military safari shirt-dress so popular?

Can anyone tell me why is Karen Millen military safari shirt-dress so popular?

This is one of a few items in my Natalie’s (yes, that’s me!) 2020 fashion wish-list, but it is by no means part of Karen Millen’s 2020 collection. In fact, as I understand, the piece is quite a few seasons old (6 or 7 years old maybe? – someone can correct me).

It is sold out everywhere online, and on the dreaded eBay (I hate eBay, for more than a few reasons which I have previously detailed) second hand/ worn dresses still have astronomical asking prices – mostly still about £100! (i.e. almost A$200!). A hint for the savvy investor: why bother dabbling in properties or the share market when the right Karen Millen dress will give you decent returns?

I have spent the past few months in my free time and during lunch breaks searching online for that dress in the correct size (UK size 10) and condition (I prefer new) at the right price and right colour (I understand the dress comes in a few colours from the classic safari sand coloured to a light silver to grey to sheer black), but sadly my search have yielded little in the way of meaningful success: its either too small, too beige, or too expensive.

Now I think price is critical when buying off eBay. I would pay for a new dress, especially if it is something I can try on in a boutique and inspect to make sure it is of decent quality. But a used Karen Millen dress of 6-7 years old which I cannot try on nor inspect? Now that is a different story. Not paying a high price is not merely a matter of common sense, but also a matter of principle.

Furthermore, not that I am doing very well at the moment (at last check I have debts of roughly A$12,000 – courtesy of putting my money in  the wrong investments during the frenzy of coronavirus epidemic – and the A$12,000 are just the debts not even the losses yet but let’s not go into that), and the economy is still in recession which means the less I spend the better it is for me.

But last night, I decided I’ve wasted enough of my life searching and that the prices are not going to come down to more reasonable, so I held my breath and bid for what I thought was the best I’ve seen so far. The seller listed it as new with tags, it is in my size (I think it is anyway – it’s hard when I can’t try it on!), and although it is the classic safari sand colour (I wanted one in black) I decided the asking of £70 was the most reasonable I have seen so far.

When I woke up this morning I found, much to my surprise, that my bid of £80 was the winning bid!

So paid the £80 for the dress, £20 for global shipping, and roughly another £10 for tax. All up it had cost me £110, or A$220 when it is all converted to Australian dollars. I’ve NEVER paid so much to buy anything online on eBay. And the worst thing is that on add on shipping cost and tax costs more than 30% of the actual dress itself. Ouch!

Too late for buyer’s regret now… fingers crossed when it arrives it lives up to my expectations.

I have 2 questions for my readers:

  • Can anyone tell me why is Karen Millen military safari shirt-dress so popular?
  • What is the most you have ever paid for an item on eBay?

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD – weeknight dinner date

It’s already September and even though I am expecting our southern Hemisphere days to get warmer and brighter, the cold and wet winter is far from over. Monday started with a severe weather warning and accompanying rain and temperatures that didn’t exceed twenty degrees Celcius, and this is expected to last through until at least mid-week.

 

So when a friend texted me and asked if I wanted to catch-up for dinner over good south east Asian Malaysian food in the city – and he is a good friend and we are long overdue for a catch-up – I naturally said yes despite the weather.

 

To stay warm and dry and also remain fashionable is no easy feat on wet and cold evenings, and it is so easy to just dress in all black when the weather gets cold and wet. But I think depressing weather days deserves a splash of colour to cheer the mood up. So when I got home from work in the afternoon to change I have only one thing in mind – no depressing all black ensemble.

 

I got out of my work blouse and work skirt and rummaged through the hangars of blouses, skirts and dresses in my wardrobe before settling on my outfit for the evening – my CUE floral satin racer neck pencil dress. My CUE floral satin racer neck pencil dress is one of my all time favourite dresses, this one is perfect for anything really. It is a truly versatile dress: I can wear it to the office, on business trips, to after work drinks, weddings, formals, on the weekends. I love the floral print, the white background and the cut and fit. Quite simply, I look and feel good wearing this CUE dress. CUE dresses are also iconic: I love the fact that I can walk into a room and people can instantly tell I am wearing CUE.

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I matched the dress with a black CUE wool blazer and knee high boots to keep me warm, carrying there-discovered handbag which I found in the cupboardin the spare bedroom a few months ago when I did a spring clean of sorts.

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I got into the city on time despite the evening rush hour traffic. He lives in one of those high rise apartments the city which made going out really easy – everything is a mere short walk from his apartment. I got buzzed into the building and took the lifts up to his apartment, where we met up, grabbed a few umbrellas, before going downstairs again for the short stroll around the block to the restaurant serving south east Asian Malaysian food in Northbridge.

 

The restaurant was heaving by the time we got there – I suspect helped by the fact that there is a promotion on ($19,90 for dishes and a drink) and also plenty of Perth residents of Malaysian heritage. My friend had the special (and who wouldn’t) and I chose the fried flat rice noodles – they call it Char Keoy Teow which is basically flat rice noodles stir fried in a slightly spicy sauce with eggs, prawns and fresh bean sprouts.

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Dinner was tasty – and surprisingly filling. Malaysian food is all about bold flavours and spice, so naturally after dinner we needed something to wash all that spice down. Bubble-tea was the natural choice so we walked around to a popular bubble-tea joint and I got myself my usual favourite: a classic milk tea with jelly.

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All and all it was a great evening (despite the weather)!

 

Occasion: weeknight dinner date

 

Wearing:

CUE floral satin racer neck pencil dress

CUE Black wool Blazer

Knee High Boots (from Target)

 

Xoxo

Natalie