Nightmares Are Made Of This

Adults should never underestimate the power of a child’s imagination – from clowns to parental lies about bogeymen or monsters who live under the bed in an effort to get your child to behave – these figments of imagination run riot in tiny minds!  Exploring the topic of parental lying, Singaporean author/illustrator Trivia Goh, has got together and published a collection of local lies commonly heard in Singapore and presented them in a book of gorgeous illustrations and light hearted rhymes.  Nightmares are never far from anybody’s mind during spooky Halloween week, so I caught up with the delightful Trivia to find out more …… 


Hi! I’m Trivia Goh, a 24-year-old artist, illustrator and designer based in Singapore. I studied at the School of Art Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, majoring in Visual  Communications. Currently, I’m working towards my dream of living off my art.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Nightmares Are Made Of This” – a children’s book for adults, touching upon the topic of parental lying; the lies parents tell their children to get them to behave as desired! Where did you get inspiration from to write this passionate book?

Thank you very much! The inspiration stemmed from the culture here in Singapore, where, every so often you’ll catch wind of a parent telling scary lies to their kids to get them to stop crying, to stop running, to stop talking…it is all very instrumental and the stories they come up with are incredible. (I have to give them that!). Some stories are passed down for generations while others are just made up on the spot to instill that momentary fear. I like my works to be meaningful so I decided to illustrate these dark stories for parents to better see what kind of imagery they are putting into their childrens’ head and henceforth be more mindful of their words.





As well as being published author, you are also an accomplished illustrator too. Growing up, were your career aspirations writing or art based or did your dreams follow a different path?

When I was growing up I thought I’d be an artist. But somewhere along the way I got caught up with all the expectations to get a “real” job. So I allowed myself to go down a more commercial path of a designer. But I think I’m back on track now!

Your book contains a collection of local lies that are commonly heard in Singapore, presented with illustrations and light hearted rhymes. What was the lie most used on you as a youngster growing up in Singapore? What’s the funniest, oddest or your favourite “lie” in the book?

The one about the watermelon seeds! My mum used to tell me not to eat watermelon seeds otherwise they’d grow a watermelon in my tummy. I always thought to myself that the seeds are germinating in the tummies of those who ate the seeds. The oddest lie in the book has got to be the one where parents tell their children not to pick their nose because there’s a fanged worm in there and it will bite their finger if they do. It took a while to figure out how the illustration would be like if they do and the whole time I was thinking that is such an odd thing to say!


Your book though is meant to be educational for adults – to make parents aware and be mindful of their interactions with the young ones and not to under estimate the power of a child’s imagination. Although you are based in Singapore, is your book available to purchase overseas? Do you offer a digital format (eg Kindle) as well as the giant sized book and smaller sized version?

Yes the small sized graphic novel ( 20mmx 80mm) is currently available online on my website, at My Imagination Kingdom (an independent bookstore) and soon it will be up on the shelves of Kinokuniya. I felt the need to get this out there to the world and not just in Singapore. The giant book is making an appearance again at My Imagination Kingdom at a meet the author session and I’m looking to make it available for sale in future.

If you had to write a book in a different genre from “Nightmares Are Made Of This”, what genre would you pick?

I’d pick children fiction and fantasy. Those books are precious precious gems. I once read a children’s picture book about picking stars and I learnt a whole lot more on how to grow as a human being from that book than any adult self-help book I’ve ever read. When we create the impossible things, we inspire people to do the impossible.


Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I’m looking at a part 2 for Nightmares Are Made of This, and this time with contribution of parental lies from people all over the world. (I’ll make an announcement on my Facebook page  when this will be in time). For now, I’m focusing on illustrating and I will be compiling my works into little books on a regular basis. I’d like to cover topics that seem very trivial but matter a lot. It is how it is with little things.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I like reading fantasy and fiction. My current favourite is The North Star by Peter H Reynolds. My usual reads include JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

If you could visit any place in the world to give you some book/illustration inspiration, which place would you love to venture to & why?

Gruyères, Switzerland! To visit the Giger Museum! H.R Giger, Tim Burton and Edward Gorey are great inspirations I live by.


When you’re not writing and illustrating, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I like to watch movies. The romantic comedies, fantasy films and animations provide a very good form of momentary escapism and that really brings fresh perspective to things.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Denim shorts and baggy shirt with plain black flats – they go with everything! 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Yep! I frequent & – to feel human.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A blue grey bridesmaid dress. A friend of mine is getting married in November!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. Adds a little edginess!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

My Website :

My fb page :

Meet the author session event pg: 82549393434355 /

My instagram : @trivialities

Thank you Trivia for taking time out to chat to us about your wonderful book and illustrations. A lot of people I know find clowns scary, but for me it’s the humble cow … no particular reason why… so what gives you goosebumps dear readers? Do share your secrets!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Trivia Goh.

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An Interview With Paulia Scarves

This week I’m talking scarves with the lovely Julia of Paulia Scarves.  There’s nothing better than updating and adding colour to a plain coloured dress or sweater than a colour printed scarf, and even better a limited edition one in luxurious silk. A colourful printed scarf is such a versatile accessory – from brightening up your daywear to adding a touch of glam in the evening – it certainly is a must-have for your wardrobe.  Julia has also sorted out a lovely offer just for readers of this blog… details at the end ! Without further ado, let me introduce Julia and let’s find out more about Paulia Scarves….image

Hi!  Paulia is a venture set-up by my brother Paul Davis assisted by me. By day I work in IT sales and by evening I am known as Julia Hollywood,wife of Bret Hollywood – Boxing ring announcer and TV sports presenter! Both Bret and I are very keen on fashion and hence my involvement in Paulia. Paul is an IT consultant and also a gifted and talented photographer. Paul and I hail from an ‘arty’ family as our father, Eric,  was a very talented artist and writer. Many of his pictures adorn the walls of our family home in Ruislip and the walls of my home.

What inspired you to launch your new prints and scarves business venture in June 2015?

My brother is a truly excellent modern photographer and I am very keen on fashion and we came up with the idea to develop some of Paul’s photographic images into scarves. Paul’s photography can be viewed at


When did you start to get a passion for fashion and art?

Art is our blood – with Paul, his talent manifests itself in primarily photography but I reckon he could paint too! My talent is mainly seen in interior design and I have had articles published on a garden and kitchen I remodelled at my former home and I have also nearly completed re-modelling my new home. Fashion is just my passion and I really found my feet in fashion when I married Bret as Bret is known for his sartorial elegance and sense of style and I have been very indulged by him and frankly have a wardrobe to die for!!

Indeed Bret’s shoe wardrobe is very impressive as I found out a few years back when I interviewed him ( press HERE to read Bret’s interview)…


Early days yet I know, but what colour scarves are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season via your outlet at the swish Lisa La Moda Boutique in Gerrards Cross?

We have four scarves available from our limited edition range and they are all proving very popular but the monochrome effect may be just in the lead! They are designed to be flexible and complement many outfits and have topical, on-trend colours such as pinks, blues and greens.

Out of all the scarves in your collection, do you have a favourite? Favourite print?

My personal favourite is the wall abstract design as it is the perfect match for a super blue jacket which I bought from my most favourite fashion store ever – Lisa La Moda ( and the scarf with the blue and pink is just a perfect match.


Apart from selling your scarves and prints at Lisa La Moda, you also had a “pop-up” stand at a recent Art Fair. Did you enjoy the experience? What items went down a treat there?

The art fair was a super weekend – the scarves were very well received and one lady even bought two, Paul’s photographic art was also well received and he sold some pictures too. We will be doing more art fairs so watch this space.

Which famous lady would you love to see wearing your scarves?

For me that would be a lady with elegance,someone like Victoria Beckham or Kiera Knightly or Angline Jolie. For Paul, he thinks they might suit Kristin Scott Thomas.


Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2015 – what colours do you hope to introduce to your collection?

The scarves we have just launched will continue into the Autumn/Winter Season but watch this space as we will be releasing new designs and we are also looking at other fabric options as well as the top-quality, hand finished silk scarves we produce today.

As you are based in the UK, are your scarves and prints available to purchase overseas too?

Paulia is based in the UK and our scarves are available on our website They will be available to order online to overseas customers.


Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

The style you will most frequently see me in is a body-con but I also have many other styles of dresses. Dresses are my thing – I collect them and I have many timeless pieces as I do like value for money too and I do make sure I get lots of wear from my wardrobe. Sometimes I will say to Bret – I haven’t had the opportunity to wear such and such a dress for a while let’s plan an evening out so I can wear it! One of my favourite designers for cocktail wear is Catwalk Collection – these dresses are available at Lisa La Moda. Shoes are not my thing so much as I have size 3 feet which leads to much disappointment as many shoes I like are out of stock! Even though I have managed to cobble together a collection of some 200 pairs of shoes and boots over the years…


Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (I think I know the answer to that question already!)

Lisa La Moda is top of the list as I love the experience of being able to try on all the dresses which you just can’t do shopping on line and Lisa always offers me a glass of champers, having said that, I do also shop at Net-a-Porter. They have great clothes and a fantastic delivery and returns service. I also like Selfridges this is where I go to buy jeans they have the best jeans selection in my opinion.


What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Next on my list is a lovely laser cut skater style black evening dress that I saw at Lisa’s shop the other day as I have the perfect jewellery to match… but do I need another dress? Well of course I do!!

Boots or Shoes?

Different shoes for different occasions but nothing beats a pair of elegant stilettos and my favourite are Stuart Weitzman as they are comfortable and as a good looking as a comfy shoe can get. I do also have several fabulous pairs of Jimmy Choos  and my favourites are some fur lined biker boots that I have worn to death…

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about you and your business venture


I just wanted to let you know we have created a special page for your followers to access purchasing the scarves at £55.00 (inclusive of packaging and UK delivery) as opposed to £85.00 list price.

Instructions are :

Go to
Enter password boots_55.

We will keep the page live until 31st December 2015.

Thank you so much Julia …. I agree, one can never have too many dresses …. but I don’t think you can honestly say you’re not a shoe person!!!! Wishing you and Paul much success with your venture – the prints & scarves are fab and I look forward to seeing the introduction of the new fabrics in 2016!  So, dear readers, a question for you – if you have a plain black dress & need to add a scarf, what colour(s) would you pick? For me, I would go for hints of red! I look forward to reading your ideas!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Julia Hollywood and Paul Davis.


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An Interview With Rock That Look

In the house tonight is Natalya (AKA DJ Talia UK) who has her own fashion line, Rock That Look, inspired by music and the fashions worn by clubbers that enchanted her as she worked on the decks as house DJ at various clubs and bars in the UK. Her mission is to support UK businesses as well as seeking to prove that fashion can be affordable, sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethical.  Sounds good to me!  I caught up with Talia recently to find out more…. image

Hi I’m Talia, one of the founders of

What inspired you to launch Rock That Look?

My inspiration for RockthatLook came after the birth of my last baby: I realised that I could not travel the U.K and beyond as easily as I had before as a house DJ. I have always loved fashion – love,love,love! I became enchanted with the beautiful outfits worn by the crowd. This made me determined to bring some of this glamour to girls throughout the UK whilst being aware that many had a limited budget.

Have you always had a passion for fashion?

My passion for fashion started when I was a little girl. I used to make outfits for my dolls. It just grew and grew.
It’s important as a woman to look and feel your best. Being in the public eye DJing, it was very important that I stood as a women in my profession.

When selecting outfits to represent your brand, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

The selection process for our products takes many hours, days and weeks. It’s also very exciting! We start with a mood board, showing us exactly the look  for the following season. We do this by buying all the fashion magazines, cutting out what we love. We also attend local fashion shows, putting the pictures in a file. We then have the hard task of taking pieces out. We have to be very brutal, it’s a bit like clearing your wardrobe and finding that you really don’t want to throw anything away.

I love the Aztec Print Hareem Trousers – the black/white print lends itself to be teamed with brightly coloured/neon tunic tops! What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

I’m really glad that you like the hareem trousers and bright tunics they really are lovely items. The most popular outfits we’ve sold this year are the tye-dyed shorts and the Michelle Keegan wet look leggings.

Out of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?

My favourite outfit on the site is the black jumpsuit.  Jumpsuits are a fashion must-have this season, flattering for all figures, practical while stylish – you can dress them up and down. I love mine especially with the turquoise-crystal-necklace.

Rock That Look exclusively retails garments & accessories designed & manufactured within the British Isles. How important is your mission to support UK businesses to you?

We firmly subscribes to ethical and responsible business practice and these values are enshrined in the Rock|That|Look philosophy. Rock|That|Look exclusively retails garments which are designed and manufactured within the British Isles. Our mission is to support UK businesses by carefully selecting a wide selection of quality garments sourced only from manufacturers based in Britain. We seek to prove that fashion can be affordable, sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethical, all whilst supporting the local economy.

Which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of Rock That Look?

Now that is a great question!  My aunty is my fashion icon. She has sadly just passed away, but she built her own fashion empire in Cape Town, South Africa where she is and was, a fashion icon.

Looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2016 – what styles/colours do you hope will dominate your collection?

We are already looking at the Autumn 2016 collection! I think we are going to have a lot of neon pastel colours and geometric patterns. It’s going to be a very fun year for fashion!

As you are based in the UK, is your clothing range available to purchase overseas too?

Yes we are based in the U.K. We do not sell abroad at the moment, but watch this space.

Personal now – what outfits would you normally be found wearing?

I love to wear skinny jeans, floaty tops and big statement necklaces.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

My favourite online shop is Misguided, with Boohoo a close second.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

I’ve got my eye on a beautiful pair of long black boots with a 2 inch slim heel and pointed toe. I have also seen a stunning flowing jacket, which will be a great look for the autumn.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots for me all the way, I love Boots 🙂

Links you would like to share so that readers can find out more about Rock That Look:


Lovely talking to you Talia and I am loving your style!  I hate clearing out my wardrobe …. my favourite pieces remain until they come back into fashion and then I do like updating the look with some new accessories, fashion piece, jewellery or shoes…. especially for a night out! What about you, dear readers? Do you have a yearly clearout or do you hoard? What do you like to wear on a night out? Drop me a line, I’d love to know!

Linda x

Photo Credits: © Gail Braznell Reflected Images

All photos have been published with kind permission from RockThatLook.

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An Interview With Linzy-Lous

I’m talking handbags this week with a lovely lady, Louise.  Louise has a real deep passion for all things handbag that has given her the courage to set up her own online boutique selling stylish bags at affordable prices as well as running funky handbag parties in the Christchurch/Bournemouth area of Dorset, where she lives.  I recently caught up with Louise to find out more about her handbag passion…Hi Louise…image

Hi Linda!  My name is Louise and I live in Christchurch near Bournemouth in Dorset, with my partner and child. I work for myself, and I just love handbags as well as having a strong passion for fashion. If I’m not working on my handbags,  I do love exercising and generally having fun with the family and the girls.

What inspired you to launch your online handbag shop?

I gained my inspiration for my online shop because I want people to be able to purchase handbags that are in  fashion for affordable prices.

Have you always had a passion for fashion & bags?

I have always been interested in fashion from a young age and trained in beauty after school. I love girly things and I want to be able to show people my fashion side. I feel it’s OK to have lots of handbags and that it’s possible to do that at affordable prices  –  it doesn’t always have to be designer!


Your website offers a lovely variety of bags at affordable prices. So, when deciding which bags to sell, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

When choosing my stock, I go by what people might like of all ages and also a little bit of my taste as well. I occasionally put on Facebook a status out asking whether people think the handbag is nice and whether it should go on my website or not?

The unusual “flower and dots” handbag is gorgeous, especially in the green. What bags are proving popular amongst your customers?

Definitely the most popular bag this season is the flower and dots bag in black and green and the houndstooth handbag in black and white.


Out of all the bags in your collection, what is your favourite?

My favourite handbag is the ribbon detailed handbag in fuchsia at £22.99 – it has plenty of style.

Apart from selling your bags online, you also host handbag parties in your local area, selling your range of bags. What areas do you cover with the handbag parties?  How can somebody book a party?

I do handbag parties at my local holiday site for the customers and also I do charity events. People ask me to do certain bag parties for them – I am in the Christchurch area. People often facebook me on Linzy-Lous for enquires.


Which famous lady is your current style icon? What bag from your collection could you imagine them using?

The Duchess of Cambridge has a very elegant style, which I like.  I think I would pick her a handbag from my collection at £22.99 which is called the quilted ladies patchwork handbag in black and white and looks to me slightly retro as well as chic over the arm.

What colours do you hope to introduce into your collection for this Autumn/Winter?

For the Autumn/Winter season,  I like to add  blacks, browns, beiges, greys but I will also add colour too for the people who like to be bright all year round. A touch of colour in the winter makes you look a lot better and feel brighter sometimes.


As you are based in the UK, are your bags available to order for overseas customers too?

My bags aren’t available at the moment overseas; maybe one day in the future.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I like to wear in the summer my Ugg flip flops , shorts or skirt and a vest/cammy top or if I’m going out I have a lovely belted dress with small kitten heels.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

My favourite shop is River Island – I love the fashion styles. I do sometimes look online as well .


What’s next on your clothes/shoe/bag wishlist?

My next items I would like to buy are a leather jacket in tan and some new jeggings!!!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots wins hands down in the winter – I love to wear them. I prefer winter clothes than summer as I seem to find more to suit me.

Links you would like to share:

Thank you for chatting to me today Louise.  I have a black/white zebra print bag with red handles that is my current everyday bag – and I use smaller clutch bags for nights out.  Have you, dear readers, got a favourite bag that you use all the time or do you like to have a variety of bags to mix and match with your outfits? Do tell!

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission of Linzy Lous.



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An Interview With Les Amies Anglaises London

This week I welcome onto the blog a new high fashion label to hit the streets of London – a label for women specialising in edgy handmade silk tops, conceived, inspired and based in London mixed with the Italian sense of luxury and French “nonchalance” – representing the dual culture of the founder, Oriana Abbondanza.  I caught up with Oriana recently to find out more about her brand, Les Amies Anglaises London … Hi Oriana!          image

Hi! I’m Oriana! I am originally from Rome, where I studied at university – I took a degree in Modern Languages. After my degree I moved to Spain to complete a doctorship there and after working in Spain for few years, I eventually moved to London. I have been working within the fashion and luxury goods industry for the last 15 years. Last year I decide to give it a go and create my own company and label, Les Amies Anglaises London. It is really only in 2015 that I decided to commit myself 100%  LAAL.  Also, I love Japanese food and of course Italian Food !

What inspired you to launch Les Amies Anglaises London?

Although  I have been working within fashion and luxury goods industry in the last 15 years,  I never worked in the ” proper creative area” of the business, ie designing a collection;  but since I moved to London the idea of having my own label and my own company became stronger and stronger in my mind.  The idea of designing tops came suddenly.  At the beginning it was about designing simple T-shirts, then the idea became more elaborated and …it ended up being the LAAL collection: each top is a masterpiece itself. I wanted to use a simple item as a top and make it… a statement !


Have you always had a passion for fashion?

I discovered my passion for fashion a bit late, but I have always been a very  “creative” person.  Art has been my main interest. I would have loved to study a fashion related degree for example, but when I was at the university, the choices were limited  – not like the ones you have now!

Your tops are very edgy – a sort of cosmopolitan glam rock twist in the most luxurious of materials, 100% silk. Where do you draw your design inspiration from for your top collections?

As I often mention, London is my main inspiration. It is such an inspirational city for creative people and everything can inspire me really: from graffiti on a wall, arts exhibitions, people in the street, to the simple nature around me.  The ADASTRA top was inspired by the stars of the summer sky in Rome ( my hometown)! The silver studs of the tops remind me of the sky full of stars in Rome!


The Harnessless Criss Cross Top is gorgeous, so me! That is my particular favourite. What tops proving most popular amongst your customers so far this season?

I have to say that the whole collection has been very well received, but definitely there are some tops that made a special impact –  Harnessless is one of them actually! Then ADASTRA, CHIMERA, BLACK ORCHID, URBAN ENCHANTRESS, Rêverie and Spleen.

Out of all the tops in your collection, which one is your favourite?

This is a very difficult question to answer ! I have to say that I love each of the 12 tops of the SILK OBSESSION collection, because I know all the hard work there is behind each of them… I definitely love Adastra – I can’t thank enough my couturiers  for their patience because it was really complicated to sew on the studs! But honestly I love all of them, each of them are special to me!


The photographs on your website of LAAL’s first fashion shoot (with globally acclaimed photographer, Simon Songhurst) are just as edgy and fabulous as your tops. Shooting at the uber cool Penthouse Studio in Shoreditch, must have been a fab experience. If you could travel to any place in the world for your next photoshoot for your next collection, which place would you feel would sum up your next collection and why?

Working with Simon has been an unforgettable experience and I will only shoot with him for LAAL – that’s for sure. Actually, we are already thinking about our next shooting…it will probably be an  outside environment, completely different from our first shooting…I will reveal it in the next interview if you want !! hahahahah!

I look forward to that Orianna!
If you could pick any famous lady in the world to be the “Face” of Les Amies Anglaises London- who would you pick and why?

I won’t be too original here I am afraid! For being so ” London”, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne would be the perfect match for the LAAL look. I do like the  intensity of Edie Campbell and the coolness of Binx Walton too!


Looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2016 – what styles/ colours do you hope to introduce to your collection?

I am attracted by contrasts so you will always find in my collection dark and bright colours/prints. For SS 16 I definitely would use brown/chocolate tones and I am obsessed with turquoise and red- pink tones! And you will always find animal prints ! Love them!

Although you are London based, you ship from your warehouse in Spain. Are you able to offer a global delivery service?

Yes, definitely. We have a worldwide logistics system and we ship from Spain to the rest of the world!

What are your plans for the future?

This year is about promoting the brand and gaining visibility. Next step will be the participation at international fashion shows, such as Scoop, Tranoï in Paris and White in Milan – definitely a bubbling and intense time for LAAL !

Personalnow – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Obviously LAAL tops! I love miniskirts and minidresses  during the week. At weekends you will find me in leggings, blazer, leather jacket. Regarding shoes : I love ankle boots and generally speaking I am always in high heels!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?(apart from your own!)

I love  and I am a big fan of mix & match so I love to mix some couture pieces with high street pieces. This is the thinking behind LAAL when I call my label a Prêt a Couture label!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/bag wish list?

The whole RESORT Collection from Balmain if LAAL will boom ! hahaha.. If not, I could always queue for the Balmain and H&M collection in November !

Boots or Shoes?

Although I love both of them, I would definitely go for shoes or ankle boots – probably because I am not super tall and I feel that high heel shoes suit my silhouette better! Even if – as a good London girl should – I carry my secret in my bag ! ( ballerina shoes before the commute!!) I found this English habit great! Now I can’t commute any other way!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Les Amies Anglaises London

My website :
Twitter : @LesAmiesAL
FB : Les Amies Anglaises LAAL

Wow Orianna – it sounds as though 2016 will be a busy and exciting year for you!  Being a born & bred London girl myself, I’m pleased that you’ve adopted the English habit of ballerinas in the bag! Dear readers,  what fashion habits do you have? Do tell! I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from LAAL

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An Interview With Azela

My guest this week has just teamed up with marketplace to be the only Western Australian fashion label with a range on the platform.  Launched in 2015 by Tanja Coyne, Azela is a Perth-based “after five” and evening wear label, whose dresses are very alluring and definitely desirable. I caught up with Tanja recently to find out more … hi Tanja and welcome …image

Hi! My name is Tanja Coyne and I am the creator of the ladies evening wear label ‘AZELA’.

What inspired you to launch Azela?

What inspired me to launch AZELA was the desire to make women feel confident, amazing and just simply glamorous. I absolutely love dressing up, so I thought it was a natural progression to start designing dresses that I too, would love to wear.

Have you always had a passion for fashion?

I sure have. I remember buying my first evening wear dress, which was for my year 12 graduation and entering this gorgeous boutique in Perth. Not only did I buy the dress, I actually asked the owners if I could have a job there. Sure enough – 6 years later and I was still there. I then moved out of retail and worked in the corporate world, but again always looking for ‘fashion related roles’. I was lucky enough to work my way into the National HR Manager role for one of Australia’s icon designers ‘MORRISON’. So fashion has always been a big part of my life.

Your dresses are absolutely beautiful. So, when deciding which style dresses to design and sell, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

Having worked in retail initially, I think I developed a good feel for what confident women loved. Therefore, every single AZELA dress has to be 1)Sultry, 2)Classy and 3) Must have a wow factor. I literally will not create a dress unless it fits the ‘AZELA’ criteria.


The Yelenda dress is gorgeous, especially in the pink. What dresses are popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Our two most popular styles have been the Alyssa in champagne and also the Pennita in black. The Yelenda has also really done exceptionally well with a lot of clients wanting the mini Yelenda (Yelenda Mala) in the cocktail length.


Out of all the dresses in your collection, what is your favourite?

Oh that’s a hard one. For me personally, I think the Rita Votz in white. The front is so clean and elegant and then the back has such a wow factor with the completely sheer lace ensemble all the way down.

Apart from your own website, you have just teamed up with marketplace to be the only Western Australian fashion label with the range on the platform. Have you noticed any differences in buying preferences between your Australian clientele and your UK/European clientele?

We are the only evening wear label in Western Australia and I think one of only 20 designers in the whole of Australia currently stocking on the ASOS Marketplace. Not only is it a huge honour, we are so super excited to enter a whole new UK and European clientele. It’s still early days, but we can definitely see the differences in preference. One of the biggest differences I am seeing straight away is colour choices. UK ladies tend to prefer the darker shades with orders of Royal Blue dresses as an example.

AZELA Photo Shoot 2015
AZELA Photo Shoot 2015

Which famous lady do you feel epitomises the ideal Azela woman?

I would have to say someone that is confident, knows there self worth and is just simply glam. I’m leaning towards Jessica Alba – not only is she stunning and has an amazing body, but she is a also an exceptionally smart business woman.

Looking ahead to both the next Australian & European Spring/Summer 2015/2016 collections – what styles/ colours do you hope to introduce to your collections?

We are incorporating a lot of golds in our upcoming collections – its all about the Glamazon. We will also be doing a lot more of a cocktail range, as that is what the clients are really wanting as well.

Having expanded from Australia into the UK market via ASOS, where else are you hoping to make global inroads? Are you able to ship overseas via your current website/ASOS?

We would love to enter markets that are exotic and full of flare. I’m thinking Miami, St Tropez (and it’s not just a reason for me to go on holidays to those destinations). I think the AZELA woman is a globetrotter, so we really aim to spread our wings to some wonderful destinations.

AZELA Photo Shoot 2015 - Glamour
AZELA Photo Shoot 2015 – Glamour

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love colours and whites. I think what you wear is a reflection of how you feel inside. On a casual Saturday I would probably be wearing a pair of ripped jeans and a tee, with some heels. Im only 5’6 – so I love my heels. If it is a ‘dressy event’, I will opt for a dress in colour (red, white etc). I actually don’t think I have ever worn a black dress to a ball/formal event. I’m definitely a colour gal.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?(apart from your own!).

I like online shopping in stores like Zimmerman, Sass and Bide.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/bag wish list?

I want a nice Louis Vuitton suitcase that I can carry with me when I travel.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes. I live in Perth, 80% of the year it is very hot. I don’t think I would get too much use out of my boots.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Azela.

our facebook and linkedin are #AZELAAUSTRALIA.

Thank you for chatting to us Tanja and showing us your dresses with that wow factor!  Blue is certainly a popular colour trend in the UK this season and it is interesting to hear about how the colour of choice differs in each nation. I tend to go for red/coral or shades of blue – teal and navy – when looking for evening dresses. What are your main colour choices when looking for evening wear, dear readers? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from Azela.

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An Interview With Really Color

For children and adults alike, colouring can be a calming past time – even some family restaurants give children colouring pencils and colouring pages to amuse them whilst awaiting for their burger and fries.  My guest this week has taken this simple idea to the next level – his idea is to turn your existing personal photos into colouring pages.  I caught up with Dieter of Really Color to find out more …image

Hi there! My name is Dieter Marlovics and I’m the founder of I’m 39 years old and have a 7-year-old daughter who tells me what to do…and I do it.

The idea of ReallyColor is to turn photos into colouring pages. What inspired you to start the business?

The idea for ReallyColor was sparked during a Friday night pizza party. My daughter was 4 years old at the time and in a goofy mood. Fully aware that I’m a neat freak, she was finding art supplies (among other things) and throwing them on the floor in front of me laughing and running away before I could catch her. She started pretending to use her crayons and markers on tables, chairs, floors, clothes, walls, my hair, her friend’s dog (but he got away), her shoes, and then explaining how she simply wanted to change the color of…well…everything! She then pretended to start drawing on the wall, and I dove in head first to stop her. Not wanting to stifle her artistic development, and needing some peace to finish cooking dinner, I took a picture of the wall, printed it out, and told her that she could go ahead and draw on the wall, but only on the piece of paper with the printed image. I thought to myself how cool it would be for her to be able to color real things instead of the constant barrage of fictional cartoon characters. There were a few nervous sleepless nights spent staring at the ceiling, which ended in the morning with my laughing little girl jumping on me cannon ball style. SHE may have been laughing, but that wasn’t the sound coming out of MY mouth! After some time researching and collaborating with my colleagues, I decided to fund the building of our first prototype to see if coloring real photos could even be done well enough for at least my daughter and her friends to have fun with. The rest, as they say, is history.


My children enjoy downloading colouring pages and I noticed on your website you do offer a range of free downloadable colouring pages. Turning your own photos into colouring pages makes it a lot of fun. What other uses can ReallyColor offer?

Our customers are doing things with ReallyColor that we never imagined when first starting the company. For example, teachers have created ReallyColoring pages from photos of various flags around the world, different well-known landmarks, or famous individuals now and in history, and used them as teaching aids in the classroom. Parents have used them as a unique way to share memories, as birthday party favors, or to create their own calendars. Brides and grooms have created ReallyColoring pages from their wedding photos and included them in their thank you cards. ReallyColoring pages are even being used as an early intervention tool to help treat autism, to aid in speech therapy, and even to help treat Alzheimer’s patients.

What is the cost of converting photos to colouring pages? Although you are based in Chicago, do you accept other currencies, eg the £ and Euro?

ReallyColor sells photo credits and each photo credit is used to download one completed coloring page, which is also then sent to a user’s email inbox. Physical ReallyColor gift cards will soon be for sale in retail outlets and other venues. On our web site, we sell three packages:

Single one-time-only coloring page downloads: $1.49
10 Photo Credits: $3.99
50 Photo Credits: $14.99

We are a U.S. company so our currency is in U.S. dollars, but we accept payment from any credit card or PayPal account. We have sold ReallyColor Photo Credits in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Poland, Netherlands, France, South Africa, Australia and many more. Basically, you can pay us with pretty much any currency and from any country on planet Earth.


Once photos are downloaded to be changed into colouring pages, do they remain stored on your system?

We do not store our users’ coloring pages. Once our customers have their pages, they own them and can do with them whatever they want. We also don’t store payment information once the transaction is completed. Our users’ privacy is a huge thing for us.

Have you got any tips on how to get the best colouring page results?

Like anything in life, you get what you give. The same applies with ReallyColoring pages. The larger, brighter, and more crisp your original photo is, the better your coloring page will turn out. We have built an editor, which allows you to easily erase things you don’t want to see in your coloring page and draw in things you do. Our customers can spend as little or as much time with the editor in order to make each page as perfect as he or she wants to.
What we are most excited about is our Photo Quality Scoring Tool, built by our Chief Scientist, which automatically analyzes uploaded photos across multiple dimensions and assigns each a quality score (1-100). This has turned out to be an amazing guide that is helping our users choose great photos.

Is ReallyColor available as a mobile app?

Not yet, but we are obsessing about this! A significant percentage of ReallyColor users create their coloring pages using the mobile browser on their tablet or smartphone with great results. So, even without a ReallyColor mobile app, there is nothing stopping anybody from watching their kids’ soccer games, recitals, or sitting at a café on the beach overlooking the water, and creating a ReallyColoring page from the amazing family photo just taken.


Your career revolves around technology, photography and art – but as a child, what were your career aspirations?

Oh boy…as a child I had many ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Let’s see…scientist, astronaut, professional tennis player, Superman, racecar driver (I’m still going for this one every single day), Indiana Jones, and a rock star wearing big aviator sunglasses.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

When it comes to men’s fashion, I am pretty much a moron, so I like to keep it simple. If I could, I would walk around in khaki shorts and Birkenstock sandals every single day. Given that I live in the entrepreneurial world, I stick to jeans anytime it’s not too warm for pants. I have a tall, slender, athletic build with very long legs, so finding jeans that don’t look too baggy or too tight (not very manly in my opinion) is sometimes a challenge. The brands I like are Kastle, Seven, and Joe’s. I prefer boot-cut jeans, but am being informed that this is out of style now?! In Summer, I usually wear Polo golf shirts. Recently, I’ve also discovered Henley brand shirts, but they only look good if I go to the gym often enough. In winter, I prefer comfortable sweaters. When I do have to dress up a bit, I usually throw on a Hugo Boss button down shirt and dress pants. Sometimes I will add a sport coat, but only if I’m feeling dangerous. As far as shoes go, I prefer anything without laces (other than my gym shoes). In my closet, you will find one pair of brown loafers, one pair of black loafers, one pair of gym shoes, and of course, one pair of Birkenstock sandals. In winter, I add a pair of leather boots and a pair of serious snow boots that I wear in the mountains during ski season. I don’t have more room anyway, since the girls in my life (little and tall) take up the rest of the closet space.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I don’t spend much time shopping for fashion, but I usually buy gym shoes at When I shop for clothes offline, it’s always a purposeful visit where I know what I need, I walk in, ask for it, maybe try it on, pay for it, and leave. There isn’t one store I prefer over another and usually depends on what it is they sell and if there is a good deal to be had.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

My Seven jeans are starting to wear out and yesterday my daughter snuck up behind me and tickled me through a hole in the upper back leg of my jeans. I decided that this is a problem I should probably solve. So…I’m going to go buy a new pair of Joe’s or maybe a pair of Kastles.

Boots or Shoes?

I prefer my leather boots in Fall, Winter, and early Spring. Why? I think it’s because they are bigger and make the shape of my lower legs look more substantial while still looking like leather shoes when covered with pants. Once the weather gets too warm, though, I stick to shoes. That reminds me…I do need some flip-flops that I can get wet when going to the pool. I’ll probably buy a pair of those if I’m feeling fashionably ambitious one day this summer.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter/instagram etc so that readers can find out more about ReallyColor.

The best way to get to know ReallyColor is our web site and our Facebook page. We are thankful to all our customers and grateful that we can have this much fun following our dreams and our passion for changing the world with goodness. Finally, we’d like to give a big thank you to Boots, Shoes & Fashion for the chance to tell the ReallyColor story.

ReallyColor Web Site:

ReallyColor Facebook:

It has been real fun talking to you Dieter and I wish your company continued success.  I love helping my children do colouring and they are very enthusiastic about art.  I find it therapeutic, do you?

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission of Really Color.

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An Interview With Author Anita Dennis

I do like a true life love story that beats all the odds and features a prince! Well, my guest this week, US author Anita Dennis, has a story worth telling for she fell in love and married the professor of her college anthropology class who just happened to be the chief of the Mende tribe in Liberia, West Africa. Apart from coping with racism, Anita had to adapt to experiencing a different culture too. When her husband died, Anita penned a memoir of their time together – “Beyond Myself: The Farm Girl & The African Chief” – travelling around Africa, meeting presidents, sleeping in mud huts…. and I’m so pleased to welcome Anita onto the blog to find out more about her transcontinental life and marriage…image

Hi! I’m Anita. I’m a Christian white woman who grew up on an Ohio farm. In my childhood, I wanted to be a writer, but felt I had nothing to write about. Little did I dream that I’d one day I’d have adventures most people can only imagine. Marrying my anthropology professor took me to remote villages upcountry in Liberia, West Africa, where I was the “chief’s wife.” The year I lived in my husband’s father’s village was the most challenging. I ate elephant meat, faced strange insects, participated in my son’s secret Poro society graduation, and served God as a lay missionary.


I was lucky enough to read a preview copy, thank you, of your latest book, “Beyond Myself: The Farm Girl and The African Chief” – a memoir penned by yourself after your husband died, about your extraordinary life together. It is a memoir full of love, life, hardship and adventure. So when you first met your husband, Dr Ben Dennis, professor of your college Anthropology class what were your first thoughts when you found out he also happened to be chief of the Mende tribe in Liberia?

I first noticed the tribal marks on his cheeks, which gave him a distinctive look. The minute he spoke, I knew he was a foreigner because of his strong accent. I was curious when he told me he was an African. It wasn’t a problem until I fell in love with him, since I couldn’t imagine living in Africa! He reassured me that his life and work were in America. And at that time, he wasn’t thinking of going back. I was crazy in love and believed him.


Was it easy being accepted into the Mende tribe? How difficult was it to adapt to the African ways as opposed to what you was used to in the USA?

I experienced culture shock during my first trip to Vahun, my husband’s father’s village. In fact, upon our return to Michigan, I wanted to divorce him. I had seen the other side of his life and I couldn’t imagine living in a mud hut. The Mende and Gbandi tribes, on the other hand, were very welcoming. The Mende people told me, “We don’t look at a person’s skin; we look at their heart.” On my first trip to Vahun, I was accepted into the Mende tribe and renamed “Baindu” during a 3-day ceremony. I slept on a traditional mud bed in a conical hut only briefly. We stayed at the commissioner’s mud-block house, which had concrete-plastered walls and a galvanized zinc roof. There we slept in a wooden bed with a Western-style mattress. The relationship among Mende brothers rattled me the most, because I was considered their wife as well! When my brother-in-law said he was going to sleep with me that night, I was shocked. Later, I was extremely relieved and thankful it was a Mende joke!


As a child what books did you enjoy reading? What genre of books do you enjoy reading now?

I loved adventure books as a child because I wanted more than anything to escape the farm and see the big world out there. I now enjoy Christian books that give me encouragement. I love reading the Bible because it keeps me connected to Jesus, my Saviour.


You also served as a lay missionary whilst in Liberia in the 80s. What changes to the country, if any, did you witness from when you was in the country in the 70s. Do you still visit Liberia?

Liberia experienced tremendous social change from the 70s to the 80s. With the new road over the Kamboi mountain range, the village of Vahun grew as more farm land was cleared and Mendes from Sierra Leone returned. The greatest change came in the military coup of 1980, when the indigenous tribes of Liberia rebelled against Americo-Liberian domination. Ironically, the Free Negroes and freed slaves who returned to Liberia before the Civil War, treated the sixteen tribes living there as they themselves had been treated in America. Because of my husband’s health and his death, I haven’t returned to Liberia since 1984. My sons intend to spread their father’s ashes in his Mende and Gbandi villages.


Out of all the things you’ve experienced as a wife of a Liberian chief – what experience did you enjoy the most and what was nightmare experience?

I enjoyed the love and hospitality of the people. From the beginning, they welcomed me with open arms. When I suffered with hives, they were extremely concerned about me and worried about what they would tell my parents if anything happened to me.

The most difficult aspect of living in Vahun in 1983-84, was not being in control in a familiar environment. The house in the village we moved into had no kitchen or bathroom at first. We had no electricity or running water. The mosquitoes swarming around our heads as we slept there the first night panicked me. Later on, I could never seem to keep the kerosene refrigerator working. Every time things seemed calm, another challenge arose.

Hypothetically speaking, if Beyond Myself was made into a film, what actors would you pick to be the main characters of yourself and your husband?

That’s a fun question! A number of people have said my story would make a great movie. I think Eddie Murphy would be great for my husband and Julia Roberts with red hair for me – although I’m not as beautiful!


Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I live in Florida, the casual place! I wear capris and cute blouses, sandals. I love bright colors and follow “Color Me Beautiful” (from the 1980s) for those colors that look best with my skin and hair. I love earrings that match my blouses. Purses that match my shoes.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I have to admit I’m a shopaholic and mall temptations abound! I’m always looking for a blouse that’s one of my favorite colors, or a style or print that’s unique. I usually find something at Macy’s, Penny’s, or New York & Co. I’m 70, but I like a youthful look.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Anything that flatters me. I love to see the new fashions – what’s out there.

Boots or Shoes?

Living in Florida has made me a fashionable sandal woman. I only wear shoes when I go up North.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book




Ah, Anita, thank you so much for giving us a glimpse of your memories and I wish you all the best with your book. Your book has kept me spellbound this summer and I highly recommend that readers should put it on their “must read” list! For me, having no electricity would be a nightmare – although no doubt I would’ve adapted, a case of having too!  What, dear readers, would you find hard to be without? I’d love to know! So, do tell!

Linda x

Photographs have been published with kind permission of Anita Dennis.

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An Interview With Karina IK

This week I’m in my element – I’m a “boots” girl interviewing Karina Oikonomidou-Ikonomova, designer and creative director of luxury brand Karina IK who specialise in drop dead gorgeous knee high boots, uber trendy ankle boots and sky high heeled shoes.  The boots make me go weak at the knees and it is a real pleasure to have Karina and her designs on the blog .. welcome Karina…image

Hi! I’m Karina Ikonomova-Oikonomidou – most people call me Kaya. I love to talk about shoes and the quality of things. I like beauty, I am in love with leather, the process of leather tanning and shoe-making.

As a small girl did you always want to design footwear?

Not always, it all started during my foundation degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design (UAL). There I pursued my passion for leather and developed interest in working in 3D and the most relevant choice seemed to be footwear at that time. I have thought about it and came to realise that footwear is the key to how we look and feel wherever we go and whatever we do. Shoes are so important and can really tell a lot about the lifestyle, and personal traits of the person wearing the shoes. So I embarked on learning how to make the best shoes, and learn about construction and comfort.

What do you like best about the process of being a shoe designer?

The process of sourcing, product development – when the 2D idea turns into a 3d object. I love that my work required me to travel a lot and meet with different people for all over the world. I get inspired by the process of developing a new shoe/ range itself and its like a viscous circle. I realise that I’m lucky to have found the job that make me happy as its a day to day activity and even in my dreams I am always connected to the work I’m doing, I get a lot of inspirational dreams!


Your first collection for Autumn/Winter 2015/16 is entitled ‘The Opus Magnum Collection’ and consisting of 10 styles in 13 colours. What was the inspiration behind your shoe collection and collection title?

Opus Magnum in translation from Latin means the Great Work. It is usually referred to an art work. I called my first range The Opus Magnum Collection as it hasn’t been just another range of a new fashion brand. I have given a lot of thought to creating this range and building the brand’s philosophy. It has been years of study and research throughout my university degree and postgraduate study and finally I have come to bring it to light and share it with people. I hope people not only like and wear the shoes I have created but also get inspired by the idea behind the range and brand. The inspiration comes from geometry and sacred geometry- the principles of life. A lot of architectural references have inspired me a lot and the attention to detail that is key for all the architects is the core for Karina IK creations as well. I want to give this kind of exclusivity to my clients. Personal involvement and personal touch on every creation at Karina IK.


If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for a shoe collection, which place would occupy your top spot (and why?)

I find inspiration in the most ordinary places, and to feel inspired I need to be relaxed. I like travelling in general, but to feel relaxed I need to be “in the zone”- that’s probably a warm country, better a small town by the sea. I like Italy so I would say a place like Portofino, or Marche area where the footwear district is with all the concentration of the leathers and newest technologies for shoe production – that would be my number one place for inspiration. I like discovering new places too, and I have never been to Asia yet, I have many friends there so I would love to see it for myself and I think that it could well be my next spot for finding inspiration! It’s a whole part of the world that I haven’t yet discovered and I have to go.


Personally I LOVE the look of the new collection. Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you have designed?

Thank you! This is such a great feeling – to hear when people admire what I have created, to know it’s not just me, and my friends that like it haha! My favourite one is NIN the full alligator thigh high boots made from 3 alligators. How can you not like it? It is so classic and powerful. It is feminine but at the same time conveys such power that nobody will wanna mess with you!:)

Looking ahead to spring/summer2016, what colours and styles will you be featuring in your next collection?

The Spring/Summer 16 range will be more vibrant than the Fall/Winter16 and will consist of luxury skins as always, such as alligator and python but this time will be combined with contrasting nylon net and textile fabric. The range will be completed in earthy colours with some vibrant colour of a sea wave and apricot. The collection is inspired by geometry as a sequel to Opus Magnum, but this time the direction is more focused on simple geometry.


The Karina IK woman need exclusivity in her life, as she has seen the world and appreciates quality and rarity. Hypothetically speaking, which female lady do you feel would be the ideal ‘face’ of your brand?

Anna Wintour

Your luxury leather and reptile skin shoes are handcrafted by artisans in Italy and I adore your attention to detail. They are extremely stylish and covetable as your brand is exclusive and not commercially oriented. Although based in London, are you able to ship overseas?

Thank you, yes indeed we ship worldwide as we have customers all around the world. Women need exclusivity, as each woman is unique. Karina IK creates products but also offers service for its customers. We can ship overseas and the customers can also give us their shoes back if anything needs to be fixed – we offer a service to rejuvenate the shoes in other words to fix anything that needs to be fixed, we offer a guarantee for lifetime.


Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I am a moody person and it all depends on my state of mind. To work I like to be well dressed, I usually wear the custom made IK flats that I have designed few years ago but these days I like to wear YER pumps from the AW16 collection, as wearing heels is very stimulating – makes me more focused.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ? (apart from your own!)

I love to go Dover St Market, as I find many great new designers and its very open atmosphere there, I like the people in the shop, both the sales assistants and the customers. I also love Matches, I think they always have great selections. For online, I guess it would be Moda Operandi and Net-a-Porter.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

The Opus Magnum Spring 16 (OMS16) sandals are on top of my list!! you will know what I mean when you see them:) But aside from my obsession- I need to get one of Olympia Le-Tan clutches with the Disney film posters. I love them!

Boots or Shoes? 

Can’t choose!! But if I have to – shoes. If the shoes are good you can have one pair that will go with everything!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that my readers can learn more about Karina IK Shoes.

Thanks for the chat Karina… I’m so looking forward to seeing the Spring collection too – the colours sound as though it’ll be an amazing collection. As far as those alligator thigh high boots go…

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Karina IK

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