The Australian government bans its own citizens from returning from India, and threatens those who do with jail time and fines … isn’t this human rights abuse?

What sort of government – especially one that doesn’t hesitate when it comes to criticizing other countries for ‘human rights abuse’ – does that to its own people?

So apparently Australia has been criticizing China for ‘human rights abuse’ of its own citizens and the U.S has banned cotton from the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Now that Australia has banned its own citizens returning from India and threatened them with jail time and fines if they do – will the U.S ban Australian cotton too because Australian government is now just as guilty in human rights abuse of its own citizens?

I am only thinking that if the U.S. doesn’t, then both the U.S. and Australia will look like hypocrites.

xoxo

Natalie

OOTD new car test drive – Mini Cooper – wearing my favourite CUE dress

So I’ve been thinking of getting a new car for a while now. My current car, a trusty Toyota Yaris, is getting on a bit when it comes to age, and I’ve been thinking it’s probably about time I too should get a new car. Today, I decide to take the first steps.

I’ve always wanted a Mini Cooper.

I love the look, love the heritage, and also love its petite dimensions (which, at first glance, should make it easy to park). So naturally when it comes to new car shopping and test drive for me, it’s got to start with a Mini Cooper.

A brand new Mini isn’t the cheapest so I decided if I were to buy one I’d opt for a used Mini instead, which should save me some money. Scouring used-car ads, I found this red Mini advertised for sale. The photos showed a car that appears very well looked after, so even though it was a couple of years older than one I’d ideally like, a few kilometres more than it should possess, I decided I should take a look at it nonetheless and arranged for a test drive.

I am after all more a fashion blogger than a car girl, so I figured if I am to blog about my car test driving, I might as well show what I am wearing to test drive the car.

And today I decided to get dressed in one of my favourite dresses: my CUE satin floral racer neck dress. I still remember when I first bought this dress a few years ago (and yes I am still glad the dress still fits after so many years!) I was a bit uncertain about it. The dress wasn’t discounted, it was close to closing time on a weekday, and I wasn’t sure whether the racer neck cut would suit my body shape. I tried it on and felt good wearing it, so I bought it. It was one of my most expensive dresses, but I absolutely loved it by the time I brought it home and put it on in front of the mirror again. Even Sonia Kruger wore it to the set on TV on Channel 9 Mornings!

I loved it so much I didn’t just wear it for just for special occasions. I’d wear it to the office. I’d wear it for dinner with friends. I’d wear it for a night out with my girlfriends. I’d wear it on blind dates when I was still single. I’d always pack it with me for interstate business trips to wear to dinners with business clients. And it had gotten me lucky with successful sales and business deals on at least one occasion too.

Of late, though, it has been relegated to the back of the wardrobe by newer Karen Millen and Ted Baker dresses. But today I figured I’d take the dress for spin in a red Mini Cooper. I paired the dress with my CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer and some sensibly comfy suede heels for driving in, grabbed my compact camera (I still prefer using a camera compared to my phone for taking photographs), and headed out.

The Mini Cooper looked as good as the photos in the ad – well maintained and still looking new. This was what I thought of the car at the end of my test drive:

LIKES:

  • Looks good, outside and in
  • Premium interior, I have a soft spot for those cute little round air-conditioning vents
  • Got a sort of retro heritage, which I love
  • Easy to park

DISLIKES:

  • Quirky design, not all in a good way (for example, speedometer mounted in the centre near where I’d find my Yaris car radio is plain weird, not to mention inconvenient when trying to check my speed when driving)
  • A couple of years older than one I’d ideally like
  • A few kilometres more than it should possess
  • Actually rather raucous and unrefined: seems noisy and bumpy and well, unrefined.
  • Expensive for age, kilometres and size

Always wanted a Mini Cooper. But at the end of the test drive, I am not so certain. Yes it looks good and I feel good being seen in one, but it seems no more refined than my current Toyota Yaris – both drive just as noisy and bumpy. Combined with the price and the fact that I am getting a used car rather than a new one, I truly need to sit down and think over this one.

Occasion: new car test drive – Mini Cooper

Wearing:

CUE satin floral racer neck dress

CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer

Black NineWest suede heeled pumps

Xoxo

Natalie

Dumbasses, and it is about time I re-evaluate who remains friends

No sooner after I wrote about my 2 Reflections on International Women’s Day after my pre-bedtime reading of Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, that racism exists as much in Australia too, some dumbass pretty much proved my point:

Ever since the coronavirus epidemic started, Asians living in Western countries, Australia included, have been subjected to discrimination and abuse. A friend of mine, a Asian nurse working in a large hospital in the capital city, had a white colleague walked in to the staff room and openly abused her saying ‘people like you bring in the virus…’ While many of my friends have very early on started to re-evaluate who remain friends and who shouldn’t, I have left it until now.

With this dumbass’s reply of asking ‘where I am born’, the memories of my friend’s phone-call with my the night it happened to her came back to me, and made me realise, while long overdue, it is about time I too re-evaluate who remains friends.

How does everyone else deal with discrimination and abuse? Keen to share ideas.

Xoxo

Natalie

2 Reflections on International Women’s Day

My pre-bedtime reading tonight:

Explosive? No. Not really. This is more like the inconvenient truth.

Two observations from me:

Firstly – Here in Australia, Australians go gaga over the Royal Family. Much of this, I suspect, is because Australians hold a rosy image – one that is fundamentally detached from reality – about the Royal Family. To quote a line from the news article: ‘Meghan’s blunt answers raised the combustible issues of race and privilege in the most rarefied echelon of British society’. I have lived in the United Kingdom. And I can say issues of race and privilege isn’t just confined to the ‘most rarefied echelon of British society’.

Secondly – Australian news media is obsessed about reporting on discrimination against women, whether is pay gap or violence, and it prefers to exemplify this by means of singling out how non-white countries and ethnic cultures discriminate against women. For example, Australian media frequently prefer to lap up reports of certain Middle Eastern Princesses being ‘held captive’ by Middle Eastern Royal Families. Here, a line from the news article reads ‘Meghan had surrendered her keys, driver’s license and passport upon joining the family. “I couldn’t, you know, call an Uber to the palace,” she said.’

It remains to be seen whether Australian news media will cover or merely gloss over this, for as we all know, the sort of ‘free press’ that Australia so readily chides other non-Western countries for its lack, and the sort of ‘free press’ that Australia wants to impose on other non-Western countries,  really isn’t so free after all when it inconveniences or embarrasses Australia’s stand on the pedestal of the moral high horse.

Will this attract controversy? Probably. Like I said, this is the inconvenient truth. And when the truth is inconvenient, people get upset because they don’t like to believe it. But I live in a liberal Western democracy that promotes free speech, which is why I can’t stay silent.

Another Karen Millen dress I bought for myself arrived: my Blue Floral Embroidered Midi Pencil Dress

After receiving my long awaited Karen Millen military safari shirtdress (while wearing another Karen Millen dress – my Karen Millen Floral Bodycon Pencil Dress) – I went online on Karen Millen and ended up buying myself another dress, this one- Karen Millen describes it as a Blue Floral Embroidered Midi Pencil Dress.

Now my friends will know I hate online shopping (I can’t try it on for size and fit, and also can’t inspect the goods for quality and workmanship, and I have to WAIT for the item to arrive after buying rather than instantly having it in my hot little hands after paying for it), but ever since Karen Millen decided to close shop in Australia I have little choice. Not unless I travel to the UK, which guess what? I can’t because that goddamn border is still closed (not on the UK side, but on the Australian side from which I’ve had to leave).

I’ve always been told I look good in blue, so I guess the colour is what caught my attention first. Furthermore, I think that the embroidered floral pattern on the waist and hip is stunning (ok, I love flowers…). The midi length should mean I can wear it to the office and to work. Furthermore, the truth is I still cannot get enough of Karen Millen dresses. Karen Millen dresses are flattering, on-trend, and well made. So I just couldn’t help myself.

It arrived carefully wrapped in soft tissue paper, labels and tags attached, and enclosed a reply paid is included which means if it doesn’t suit or fit, I can return that dress with ease. And that dress: it was flawless – no stains, marks, or blemishes at all.

Compared to my previous online shopping experience with Australian chain Rhodes and Beckett (which came in a crumpled brown box without any care, detail or adornment to make it any special despite paying over $100 for the blouse), I must say our UK retail cousin Karen Millen has definitely gotten online shopping done right!

Can’t wait to try on this dress!

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD: dropping hubby off at the airport and meeting with my banker and lender

Hubby is jetting off for work again and I am driving him to the airport this morning to drop him off, and thereafter I have two important meetings: one with my banker for a loan refinance and another with my other lender.

So that I would look my best today, I juggled a last minute hair dresser and a beautician’s waxing and threading appointment yesterday. This morning, I picked out my gorgeous TED BAKER Gemisa Encyclopaedia floral pleated dress in nude pink colour to get dressed in, taking the trouble to match both the pink colour of my lingerie I am wearing underneath to the pink colour of the Ted Baker dress and wearing my new Heidi Klum intimates Sun Kissed Rose Dust/ Beetroot purple suspender belt I bought 2 days go.

My favourite CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer, Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps, nude hosiery, and my usual earrings, pearl necklace and pearl bracelet set complete the elegant and professional look.

You know how real estate agents (ok, I know I myself am guilty of that…) and property developers and builders all sell you the promise: Buying/ owning an investment property (aka buy-to-let in the UK) is the sure-fire way to financial success and independence. In no time you’ll be a landlord making an effortless passive income, worrying about nothing when all the rent money comes in except for when/ what to buy the next one.

So 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) just before Christmas 2020, at the (not so) tender age of 26! Even real estate agents have to start somewhere, right?

Almost 2 months have now passed and I realise buying/ owning an investment property (aka buy-to-let in the UK) isn’t what it’s all cut out to be. Certainly not the stuff of success and independence and effortless passive income real estate agents and property developers and builders promised. I should have known this before given I work in real estate myself, but I guess I only saw what I wanted to believe then.

My first ever investment property which I bought is still vacant without a rent paying tenant despite my efforts in trying to have it leased out for the past 2 months.

I am starting to get a little stressed now (a little being an understatement).

On upkeep and loan repayment alone I am already out of pocket by $2900 since settlement: I have had to make mortgage repayments even though my investment property is still vacant with no tenant. Then there is also other expenses which I have to pay despite receiving no rental income: The advertising fee so far set me back by another $550, $450 for the cleaners to come in the spruce up the place, $220 for the electrician to replace a broken switch and change 2 bulbs, $150 to get the smoke detector batteries checked. Yes that is a chap coming in for 3 minutes making, sure the batteries aren’t flat. I swear to you that was all he did! He didn’t even put new batteries in or wipe down the smoke detectors! The body corporate that was due on 1st January 2021 was $1058 for whatever little they do, and then more expenses for council rates, electricity, gas…

It is starting to become apparent to me the entire real estate industry is nothing more than scam and giant Ponzi scheme: I am losing money and out of pocket as I struggle to find a tenant but everyone else is making money off me: the real estate advertiser, the real estate agent, the council, the bank, the electrician, the cleaners, the government…. And the industry sustains itself by getting more and more new players in the market, paying those existing players. A giant Ponzi scheme. Did I mention again that the real estate agent had not been able to put a rent paying tenant in for weeks and his rent appraisal appears to be nowhere near what is realistically achievable?

I pondered my choices – I could slash the rent further (I have already lowered the asking price for the rent by $50 per week), but at the end of the day the problem is 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 translate to an over-supply for rental properties on the market. I could sell it, but that will come at a massive loss to me for I don’t think I can recover the costs and resell at over the price I paid for the apartment. In the end, the only option seem to be refinancing and renegotiating lower repayments so that I can afford to meet the repayments and expenses until the apartment gets leased out and rents recover.

When I first purchased the investment property 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!). 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, but luckily an acquaintance in the building industry whom I had done some business with in the past and have ongoing referrals for the agency’s properties we managed was more than willing to lend me the twenty odd thousand dollars short-fall ($22,680 to be exact) 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, but he is getting a little inpatient with me as it has been two months and he hadn’t seen any of his money paid back.

I spent the past two weeks pursuing refinancing options with the bank and renegotiating lower repayments with the building industry acquaintance, and with both we finally came to a new agreement. At least the Australian Reserve Bank’s ongoing low interest rates are working in my favour.

So today I am going to meet up with my banker in the city to sign the refinancing documents, and then on to the office of the building industry acquaintance to finalise the new renegotiated agreement as he wanted. I might even go out for a drink with him and buy him a drink after work to keep him happy on and my side.

It is not what I had hoped for when I first bought that investment property and I am not even sure how this will affect my credit rating in the future and I am quite stressed and disappointed, but I think it’s the only way forward for now.

Given how important the meetings are, I decided to dress well and look professional.

So that I would look my best today, I juggled a last minute hair dresser and a beautician’s waxing and threading appointment yesterday. This morning, I picked out my gorgeous TED BAKER Gemisa Encyclopaedia floral pleated dress in nude pink colour to get dressed in, taking the trouble to match both the pink colour of my lingerie I am wearing underneath to the pink colour of the Ted Baker dress and wearing my new Heidi Klum intimates Sun Kissed Rose Dust/ Beetroot purple suspender belt I bought 2 days go.

My favourite CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer, Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pumps, nude hosiery, and my usual earrings, pearl necklace and pearl bracelet set complete the elegant and professional look.

I checked my look in the mirror before I left home: A tasteful dress combined with recently done hair and a beautician visit and light make-up, I feel confident, empowered, and feminine. The confidence boost I need for someone as stressed and disappointed like myself to get me through the meetings with the banker and the lender.

Xoxo

Natalie

Occasion: meeting with my banker and lender to sign new agreements

Wearing:

Dress: TED BAKER Gemisa Encyclopaedia floral pleated dress (size 2)

Blazer: CUE Black Revere Collar Wool Blazer (size 8)

Belt: CUE (size 8)

Pumps: Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump

Lingerie:

Pleasure State White Label satin bra & satin g-string knickers (Matching set in pink)

Heidi Klum intimates Sun Kissed Rose Dust/ Beetroot purple suspender belt

Hosiery: nude stay-up stockings from Target

Monday shopping find – something from Heidi Klum intimates cheer myself up at the start of the work week

You know what it’s like on Mondays – trying to get through the day with the thought of the whole week looming. If work alone isn’t stressful enough, there is also one of annoying neighbours(that’s another story for another time), finances and money. I am constantly aware that my first ever investment property which I bought is still vacant and without a rent paying tenant despite my efforts in trying to have it leased out for the past 2 months.

I am starting to get a little stressed now (a little being an understatement).

I have had to make repayments to the mortgage even though my investment property is still vacant and the real estate agent hadn’t been able to find a tenant. Then there is also other expenses which I have to pay despite receiving no rental income: The advertising fee has already so far set me back by $550. $150 to get the smoke detector batteries checked. Yes that is a chap coming in for 3 minutes making, sure the batteries aren’t flat. I swear to you that was all he did! He didn’t even put new batteries in or wipe down the smoke detectors! $220 for the electrician to replace a broken switch and change 2 bulbs. $450 for the cleaners to come in the spruce up the place prior to letting. The body corporate was due on 1st January 2021 at $1000+ for whatever little they do. And then more expenses for council rates, electricity, gas…

On upkeep and loan repayment alone I am already out of pocket by $2900 since settlement… Did I mention again that the real estate agent had not been able to put a rent paying tenant in for weeks and his rent appraisal appears to be nowhere near what is realistically achievable?

It is starting to become apparent the entire real estate industry is nothing more than scam and giant Ponzi scheme: I am losing money and out of pocket as I struggle to find a tenant but everyone else is making money off me: the real estate advertiser, the real estate agent, the council, the bank, the electrician, the cleaners, the government…. And the industry sustains itself by getting more and more new players in the market, paying those existing players. A giant Ponzi scheme.

I pondered my choices – I could slash the rent further (I have already lowered the asking price for the rent by $50 per week), but at the end of the day the problem is 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. I could sell it, but that will come at a massive loss to me for I don’t think I can recover the costs and resell at over the price I paid for the apartment. In the end, the only option seem to be refinancing and renegotiating lower repayments so that I can afford to meet the repayments and expenses until the apartment gets leased out and the rents recover.

My biggest concern at the start 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!). 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, but he is getting a little inpatient with me as it has been two months and he hadn’t seen any of his money paid back.

I spent the past two weeks pursuing refinancing options with both the bank and renegotiating repayment terms with the building industry acquaintance, and I am starting to get a little stressed now (a little being an understatement). So I decided I needed a little retail therapy. I left work early and headed to the shops. I came across this Heidi Klum intimates Sun Kissed Rose Dust/ Beetroot purple suspender belt. I thought the piece is really cute, but they don’t have the matching bra and panties in my size (blame it on the ongoing border closures – nothing comes into Australia anymore, not even clothing). But I thought the colour would go quite well with my existing pink bra and panties sets. Can’t wait to try it on when I next get dressed!

Xoxo

Natalie

Someone stole my pictures online and used it on eBay!

Just ONE case of the coronavirus, and the city of Perth in West Australia is plunged into a 5 day ‘lockdown’. Yes we are talking about ONE case. Successive States across the country have closed their borders to any West Australians (with the exception of New South Wales who has rightly determined the risk is ‘low’ on the basis of just ONE case).

If this is not an over-reaction, then what is?

‘Lockdowns’ from over-reaction aren’t just an inconvenience. It creates confusion. It leads to panic buying supermarket shelves already been wiped clean (even before the five-day ‘lockdown’ had even been announced – how did those panic buyers know?). And in my case it creates a lot of uncertainty for my wedding planning but most importantly for now I have yet to find a tenant for my investment property I bought over a month ago and I desperately need those open inspections to allow prospective tenants to view the apartment, which currently is not allowed.

I have been cooped up at home, so with nothing to do I decided to turn to my least favourite hobby: online shopping. Now my friends will know I hate online shopping (I can’t try it on for size and fit, and also can’t inspect the goods for quality and workmanship, and I have to WAIT for the item to arrive after buying rather than instantly having it in my hot little hands after paying for it), but what can a girl do when she is cooped up at home bored shitless?

In any case, I was looking for a new Ted Baker dress when I came across this: some eBay seller who is going by the name kotka46 stole my pictures online and used it on eBay to try to sell the same identical dress that I have! What injustice! It’s my picture!!!!

Can anyone advise me what to do with this eBay seller kotka46 who stole my pictures online and used it on eBay?

Xoxo

Natalie

If this is not an over-reaction, then what is?

Just ONE case of the coronavirus, and the city of Perth in West Australia is plunged into a 5 day ‘lockdown’. Yes we are talking about ONE case. Successive States across the country have closed their borders to any West Australians (with the exception of New South Wales who has rightly determined the risk is ‘low’ on the basis of just ONE case).

If this is not an over-reaction, then what is?

‘Lockdowns’ from over-reaction aren’t just an inconvenience. It creates confusion. It leads to panic buying supermarket shelves already been wiped clean (even before the five-day ‘lockdown’ had even been announced – how did those panic buyers know?). And in my case it creates a lot of uncertainty for my wedding planning but most importantly for now I have yet to find a tenant for my investment property I bought over a month ago and I desperately need those open inspections to allow prospective tenants to view the apartment, which currently is not allowed.

Mask wearing is now abruptly mandatory – at all times outside and in workplace, so I had get my groceries today wearing a surgical mask. I was lucky I got given some mask a few months back by a doctor friend, for if I had to buy one out of desperation not only would it be impossible to buy (more stores sold out), there is also a thriving black market with price gouging rampant. If the West Australia government wants to learn something, learn from our Asian neighbours in Singapore: when mask wearing were declared mandatory, the Singapore government distributed masks across every household to ensure people actually could comply with the law in an environment where mask are both scarce and expensive.

The reality is that most people hate wearing masks, but for a young woman like myself there is the added problem of mask wearing: my lipstick and make-up sticks onto the mask and it messes up my make-up which I meticulously applied this morning. How frustrating!

On the bright side, however, given the current bushfires I must admit that at least the mask will reduce the amount of forest soot going into my lungs.

Xoxo

Natalie

I bought myself another Karen Millen dress: this time a Blue Floral Embroidered Midi Pencil Dress

So last week I received my long awaited Karen Millen military safari shirtdress wearing another Karen Millen dress – my Karen Millen Floral Bodycon Pencil Dress. One might think two is enough, but the truth is I still cannot get enough of Karen Millen dresses. Karen Millen dresses are flattering, on-trend, and well made.

So even though I paid the hefty cost of £80 for the Karen Millen military safari shirtdress, and another hefty £20 for global shipping, and roughly another £10 for tax (making it a total of £110, or A$220 when it is all converted to Australian dollars), I just couldn’t help myself when I came across this Karen Millen dress when I was browsing online.

Now my friends will know I hate online shopping (I can’t try it on for size and fit, and also can’t inspect the goods for quality and workmanship, and I have to WAIT for the item to arrive after buying rather than instantly having it in my hot little hands after paying for it), but ever since Karen Millen decided to close shop in Australia I have little choice. Not unless I travel to the UK, which guess what? I can’t because that goddamn border is still closed!

Back to the dress that caught my attention – Karen Millen describes it as a Blue Floral Embroidered Midi Pencil Dress. I’ve always been told I look good in blue, so I guess the colour is what caught my attention first. Furthermore, I think that the embroidered floral pattern on the waist and hip is stunning (ok, I love flowers…). The midi length should mean I can wear it to the office and to work.

However the one thing I am unsure of is the wide horizontal shoulder straps though, for I think I have pretty prominent shoulders and it will just draw attention to the ugliest parts of my body. Pity I cannot try it on before I buy! So with the usual trepidation that goes with online shopping, I finally hit the check-out button.

Can’t wait for this dress to arrive – and hopefully it won’t take quite as long as my military safari shirtdress.

Xoxo

Natalie