The Broke Girl’s Guide To Handbags

Designer handbags are the one accessory that as you get older, you start to appreciate more and more. I remember when I was a young, struggling University student and all I ever wanted was a Herschel bag pack that could carry my laptop and the thousands of readings that I had to lug from class to class. I would see some girls carrying their Louis Vuitton Neverfull to tutorials and scoff at their vain impracticality.

 

As I get older, I realise that handbags aren’t just a practical accessory to hold all the crap I need day to day. There are nuances to these fashion objects.

As Karl Lagerfeld would say, ” Luxury bags make your life more pleasant, make you dream, give you confidence, and show your neighbours you are doing well.”

That last bit hit the nail on the head. It’s not so much a parade as a subtle indicator to the public that you are doing well. At first I was turned off by this, thinking that it was justifying showing-off and shoving your wealth in people’s faces. Though I think some (tacky) people do that, what Lagerfeld meant wasn’t a parade of wealth or even a status thing. Taken in moderation, it just means that you have worked hard and reaped the benefits. To me, it represents how you have taken adulthood by the horns and won.

With this new outlook, I too decided that a good quality, designer bag is something I would want to look into. Not just for their gorgeous aesthetics, but also for the designer’s promise of high quality and getting what you paid for. But if you are like me, a semi-broke freelancer, it might be tough deciding exactly what to save for and what is worth the hard-earned money.

I thought I would share my insights on the handbag world, with its overwhelming amount of choices.  But go into this post knowing that designer handbags are NOT AT ALL an essential. I have known that all my life. To me, designer bags are milestones in your career. It’s all dependent on the amount of disposable income you have in that moment. Sometimes you have more, sometimes you have less. However, “disposable” is the operative word here. Designer bags aren’t worth debt or starving yourself for.

Here are my tips:

Get The Best Of What You Can Afford

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Photo: LeHappy.com

There are different tiers to designer and not all are created equal. We look to Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton as the holy trinity in the designer handbag world. However, not everyone can or want to spend 7000 to 20,000 dollars on a handbag. There are other brands for you to consider that are equally great in quality and design, though less “prestigious” in the eyes of others.

Instead of getting the lowest “entry” bag to a maison that you like, get the bag of your dreams. If that bag is way beyond your means, then get the best of what you can afford. That was advice that I found extremely helpful for me. No point getting the cheapest bag that might not be the best quality just because it’s from Chanel, Dior or whatever. What’s the point? It’s no different from any other bag. Get the best of a mid-range or mid-tier designer brand instead. Don’t discount and disregard mid-tier brands like Coach, Tory Burch or Longchamp Even though these bags aren’t extravagantly expensive or have prestige attached to their name, their bags and leather goods are well-made and stand the test of time. For the price, their bags are well-worth it, made of quality leather. I recently invested in a Coach Swagger bag and I’m beyond happy with the wear I’ve got from it.

 

Stick To The Basics

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If you are, like me, more adventurous when it comes to accessories and more understated when it comes to clothing pieces, it’s tough to not fall for an amazing graphic print, a unique bag shape or bright saturated colours. Anything cobalt blue or forest green, I instantly fall for. As boring as it may seem, your first investment should be the most versatile colours, so that they compliment every outfit you choose to wear it with. Hence, it’s probably safe to stick to monochromes.

 

Don’t Fall Into The Hype

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This is something I need to practise myself. I am awful at not falling for the hype and trends. The most important thing to consider when you are planing to purchase a solid handbag staple is, especially if it is your first, is to keep it classic. Just because the trend is to own a flashy bag with crazy appliqué designs, know that these trends will come and go. The crazier the design, the more likely it is that you’ll grow tired of it.

However, if that particularly design is totally in your aesthetic, then by all means! The point is to listen to your heart and stay true to your own aesthetics, despite whatever that’s trending at that time. If you know that gold hardware is not your cup of tea, then stick to silver, even if the white-and-gold combo is so in these days. If you prefer a more clean-cut design, then stay away from elaborate floral prints, even if all the fashion bloggers are hyping the latter. When you do that, you are more likely to use the bag for longer as your core style won’t change as frequently as trends do. Furthermore, the bag will most likely compliment the rest of your wardrobe well, if you consider your own style and nothing else.

 

Bags Are Just Bags

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At the end of the day, they are meant to be functional. Consider this when you are looking at sizes and pricing. Some expensive bags are so damn tiny they can barely fit an iPhone 6 Plus, let alone all your other crap! I mean, if it cam only carry your lipstick *ehem*Valentino*ehem*, that’s what pockets are for! For me, personally, I prefer a medium sized bag for every day and one smaller “special occasion” bag. So if I can only afford the smallest version of a certain bag, and it’s something I’d prefer to use everyday, then I probably won’t get said bag even if I think it’s so darn gorgeous. Design aside, ultimately the functionality and practicality of the bag matters more. It’s what separates a good purchase from a regretful one.

Material plays into this category. Do I want leather or PVC? What kind of leather? If the bag is made of suede or lambskin, you would have to baby the bag as it’ll be more prone to scratches and stain. Is a white bag practical? Will future stains be easy to wash off? My suggestion is to pick a sturdier leather (probably cow hide) that has been treated such that it won’t be too damaged by water and is relatively scratch proof. You want your bag to age gracefully, just as you would yourself.

* * * * *

There you have it!! The biggest tip for a broke girl who wants to have her first foray into designer bags is… Don’t spend beyond your means. I know this is a super naggy and obvious thing but I find it very hard to stick to this primary tip. Sometimes I think that having that gorgeous shoe or bag can make me feel like a million bucks and give me a major confidence boost. It makes me think, “I MUST HAVE IT” because I am addicted to that feeling of confidence. However, that feeling is temporary. It’ll evaporate once you wear that item more and more. And then we set our eyes on a new thing to get our fix.

So awful! It’s something I am working on. To invest my money in a piece that I KNOW I will love for a long time and get the wear it deserves. Ultimately you don’t HAVE to get a fancy bag, but I hope this helps if you are looking into making a bag investment.

 

Lookbook #2 : Spacey James Bay

I’m back at it again with a different type of fashion post. Is it bad that I still reference the ‘Damn Daniel’ vines? It probably is. Though I can’t promise that it’ll be the last you’ll hear of it from me.

For months now, I’ve been trying to switch out my wardrobe and wear outfits that are more mature and sophisticated. My aim this year was to look chic and put together. Unfortunately, I failed miserably because I couldn’t get away from sites like ‘Lazy Oaf’ or ‘Stupkid’ that has insane clothing that speaks to my soul.

I am in love with the patch trend and feel the overwhelming need to add iron-on patches to everything I own. Of course, this is far from the initial look I was going for. Lazy Oaf was a brand that I’ve been pining for. However, their prices are slightly insane in my opinion and they are a UK based brand. Hence, it’s really difficult to try and shop their products. Most of them will have to be blind buys, in terms of sizing.

Enter Stupkid, an Indonesian brand that has made its way to Singapore shores. Their clothing line is quirky and fun, but great quality. Their collection is sold at Orchard 313, but they also have an online store. It’s for people who are loud and don’t take fashion so seriously.

Needless to say I love their stuff.

So far my favourite purchase is this oversized baseball jersey jacket that looks like it came from outer space. I decided to pair it with other crazy things that I don’t really wear in Singapore, for fear of people staring at me. Such as, my awesome hat that I got at the Jewish quarter in Paris. It reminds me of James Bay. So much so that whenever I put it on, “Let It Go” is absolutely stuck in my head all day.

Also I threw on a homemade choker, because why not.

 

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The makeup look I went with is a purple shadow. You can’t really tell in these shots but I went all out.

Here is the breakdown of the makeup worn.

 

Base : Givenchy Eclat Matissime foundation, Make Up Forever Step 1 hydrating primer, Nars Laguna bronzer

Eyes : Max Factor Excess Shimmer in ‘Pink Opal’, Bare Minerals Ready eyeshadow quad in ‘Happy Place’, KIKO eyeliner in ‘Dark Tide’, Maybelline One by One mascara, ELF Instant Lift Brow pencil in ‘Neutral Brown’, ELF clear brow mascara

Lips : Mac Velvet Teddy

 

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Top : Stupkid Space Baseball Shirt, basis white tee

Bottoms : Abercrombie & Fitch black leggings

Shoes : Converse all black high tops 

Accessories : Black fedora & handmade velvet choker

 

Not the most practical thing to wear. But it was nice, pulling out stuff in my wardrobe that I thought were bit over the top for everyday and wearing them out. We all have that piece of clothing that we bought cos we thought was cool and then rarely wear for one reason or another.

 

I say, screw what other people think. And do what makes you happy.

 

 

Photos by Josh Magbanua

Lookbook #1 : 90s

I’m still as obsessed as ever with the 90s trend. We are at the tail end of the trend, where things are tapering down. Summer looks are starting to gain popularity. People are getting into bronzed skin and heavy looks are taking a back seat.

So, I’m milking it for all its worth. Clinging to the 90s for dear life. I feel there is a deeper, peter pan issue here, but we are going to skirt past that heavy stuff and talk about clothes!

90s fashion is a plethora of styles. From the “Clueless” preppy look to grungy rock, there so many styles in between that include lots of denim, plaid, baggy shirts and crop tops. The interpretations are endless. The trend is to opt for a combination of the grunge look with chokers and band tees, along with brown toned makeup. Crop tops are a huge thing currently with the kids, but again, it’s not about going full-on 90s. It is more of a case of taking inspiration from it.

I’ll be incorporating more Lookbooks into this site in the future. Even though I am not a fashionista by any means, I  like translating current trends into my own daily looks as well as celebrating clothing pieces I own that I’m absolutely obsessed with. Everything that I own is pretty much high-street or dirt cheap, which I think is wardrobe of an average woman. Designer pieces are amazing and desirable, but not absolutely necessary in formulating your own style.

 

Look #1 : Black Denim and Cold Shoulders

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Top – Random outlet store ; One piece – Jack Wills 

 

Dungarees are so incredibly 90s in my opinion. I remember wearing them when I was a little kid and I never would’ve thought that I would go back to them as an adult. But I think its a cute way of wearing denim. The one I’m wearing is from Jack Wills and it’s black denim, which does give it a more modern twist. I’ve paired it with an off-shoulder striped top. Off shoulder tops seem so Beverly Hills 90210 to me. This trend is not specific to the 90s. The 80s was when showing off your shoulders became the “in” thing to do. But it has definitely transcended since then.

Now, off shoulder tops are often frilly and girly. Synonymous with summer and a bronze tan. I ended up really loving this outfit. It’s young and feminine, but still quite sophisticated; Thanks to the monochromatic colours. I’ve chosen to pair this outfit with a classic pair of Chuck Taylors, withstanding generations of fashion.

Nothing like good ole’ sneakers.

 

Look #2 : Grunge School Girl 

 

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Top – Forever 21 ; Skirt – Jack Wills ; Choker – Home made 

 

This look is bit more of an actual “look”. Meaning, it’s more of a statement and we are taking elements of 90s fashion more literally. I’ve taken the preppy checked plated skirts that were everywhere in the 90s and thrown on an old-school band tee, that is cut into a muscle tank. As the top is rather oversized, I’ve tied the excess around the waist, which was a super popular thing back then. Instant crop top! Super casual vibe. To complete the look, I’ve added a black choker, making it grunge quite instantly.

 

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If this is still too tame for you, do that double-bun thing I was banging on about here and here. Turns the look into a “bad girl gone cute” kind of vibe.

And yes, that was a Rihanna reference.

 

More to come, I feel like playing around abit more. I feel this trend will only really die off end of this year. But who knows? We might experience a second coming. I, for one, will support that 100%. Mainly because I felt that the 90s was all about expression, you can really mix and match any way you want and you don’t have to focus so much on looking polished or “done”.

Takes the pressure out of picking your outfit of the day that morning.

 

 

Photos : Josh Mabagnua

Heart-Eyes Emoji

I’ve been wearing prescription glasses since I was 12 years old. That is genuinely decades of being bespectacled. Unlike some, I actually enjoy wearing glasses tremendously. Sure, there are times when I think contact lens are the way to go (i.e. working out, fancy dates). But for the majority, I love wearing glasses and if you invest in a couple of pairs like I have, you can consider them as fashion accessories to add to the look of your outfit.

 

I’m a big believer in having an eyewear wardrobe!

 

If you are a four-eyed person like me, it’s absolutely life changing. Being able to mix and match your outfits with your glasses will just add that extra bit to make you look 100%.

 

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The ones I am currently obsessing over are my MCM glasses from their new eyewear collection that launched September 2015. MCM is a German fashion brand best known for their iconic studded leather bags covered in their signature logo. On top of that they have done amazing footwear and their luxury clothing brand is internationally recognised, especially popular in Korea. This time, MCM has expanded their range of eyewear to include some gorgeous vintage inspired prescription glasses with their own little twist.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!

I first saw these in a regular optical shop in a heartland mall. So I would assume that these are quite widely available. Their price range is similar to any luxury brand eyewear such as Burberry, Coach and Raybans. However, not extortionately expensive like Oliver People, Tom Ford and Miu Miu. So for luxury eyewear, I would consider this mid-range.

The collection features thick frames and modern twists to classic shapes. I tried on so many! Because of their thicker frames, I would suggest trying them out before purchasing as the shapes look different on than they do off. They are not as straight forward to purchase as something like Raybans that seem to have a more universally flattering shape.

 

 

Untitled-1 copyThe one I went with is the MCM2600A model (S$259).

 

It has large oversized lens and a medium thickness in frame with the most gorgeous taupe/tan gradient. This style comes in other colours too, including black, brown and even purple. These feature a more rounded shape despite being oversized, which I love! The sides are the same thickness as the frames and is accented with a long gold stud that is engraved with “MCM“. A luxurious and sophisticated touch that really elevated the look of these glasses.

When choosing your glasses, you want to think about not only the look you are going for, but also what are the undertones of your skin and how versatile the shape is for your daily outfits. This particular one is able to look casual and “fancy” at the same time and I love that about it. It suits most outfits, save for maybe a ball gown.

But once again, glasses are so highly personal. It is a definite case of “You do you“.

This sturdy piece is going to get a lot of wear from me. Though I am lusting over pieces that I saw in the Garrett Leight’s collection. Unfortunately for us, they don’t sell it in Singapore. So until I figure out how to get my greedy hands on a pair of those.

I am content with this gorgeous pair! (for now)

 

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Bad(ass) is the new Black

Before you read this post, you might want to put on some rap music so that you can truly get into the spirit of things. Might I suggest some A$AP Rocky or Kendrick Lamar, who are both incredible rappers and have the ability to make me feel like I have “swag” even though I depressingly lack it.

I have mentioned once before that I love observing trends as they play out around the world. With YouTube and Instagram, it’s increasingly easy for us to catch on to trends because we will undoubtedly see them everywhere. *cough*adidas superstars*cough*

The ones we have been noticing lately, more so in the wide world of social media than in the actual streets of Singapore, are funky hairstyles. Your hair can be considered a fashion accessory as it is up to you how you would want it to be styled and it’s amazing what different hairstyles can bring to one’s own distinct look. Right now, the Royal Family (a famous New Zealand Dance group) are the epitome of the current trendy hairstyles girls are adorning. The essence of these hair looks is complete and utter disregard for subtlety and embrace your bad self.

Essentially achieving a “badass” look.

 

 

The first would be BRAIDS.

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Braids are a popular hairstyle since the dawn of time. But in terms of trends, the type of braiding and the type of makeup and styling that goes around these braids are equally important. Kylie Jenner has made this trend extremely popular, naturally. The world is absolutely obsessed with Kylie and are scrambling to emulate her style. The braids we are talking about are not childish pigtail braids but tight French or Dutch braids that start from the scalp all way down, creating two or more neat braids. The tighter the braid, the better. We are not going for the messy look here.

This look is edgy, clean and mean. Popular Instagram girls tend to pair this hairstyle with tight, sporty outfits and rather “full-on” makeup. In particular, over drawn lips coated in a 90s brown lipstick and thick, crisp brows. To be honest, it gives me major “chola” vibes and no one is going to want to mess with you.

 

The second look I have noticed is the DOUBLE BUNS.

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Think Chun Li from Street Fighters and you have an accurate depiction of what your hair needs to look like. You want to separate your hair into two pigtails and then tie each them into a bun. The messier the better. This look is such a throwback to the 90s when pop stars like Gwen Stefani and TLC would don this hairstyle with bindis on their foreheads. It’s interesting how this style has been resurrected and updated. Once again, the makeup needs to make a statement with this look to avoid looking too “cute”. The aim is ‘quirky and dangerous‘. Pair this with bold outfits in loud prints and thick, black winged eyeliner. Throw on a bold lipstick and you are good to go.

These looks are fun to try if you ever feel like experimenting with something new. It is certainly more popular in the US and more western countries but with Kylie Jenner paving the way, many more are jumping on this bandwagon.

An honorable mention needs to be made to the GREY HAIR trend that is still going strong in 2016 and is much more noticeable in Singapore. The pastel hair craze has given way to a grey haired one. Even if it isn’t specifically grey, ashy hair colours are becoming the more popular choice. We have certainly noticed a lot more silver-haired boys and girls in town, usually mistaking them for an elderly person from behind and then being proven otherwise when they turn around.

I suggest watching CL’s music video for her song “Hello B*tches” because it embodies this trend and is a good example literally all the trends I spoke off and more!

With all these looks, the key is to look like a BADASS BITCH. And I have to say, I’m diggin’ it.

 

 

 

Model : Diyanah Mustapha (@diyanahm)

Makeup : Hanan Alhaddad (@thebroadwalk)

Viral Beasts.

Daaaaaaamn, Hanan. Back at it again with the sneaker posts!

That was a reference to the viral white vans meme that’s going around social media. A guy named Daniel got his friend to film his outfits for the week, and his friend commented, “Daaaamn, Daniel! Back at it again with the white vans”. I don’t understand how this video got so viral, but it’s blowing up. I am foreseeing that I will be writing about White Vans being a new trend very very soon.

Meanwhile…

Let’s talk about this ‘hypebeast’ trend that’s slowly but surely gaining popularity. I’m talking about the ASICS Gel Lyte Series.

 

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ASICS Gel Lyte Speed ‘Stealth Camo’ (SGD$229)

Aren’t these just stunning?! I first saw a pair in Perth and was intrigued by its unique shape and design. After a month or so, I began to see ASICS Gel Lytes popping up in stores like Leftfoot and Seek. More and more people started wearing them out and it was amazing to me because I have never really looked into ASICS as a brand before this series of sneakers came out.

ASICS are well known in the sports industry, particularly among runners for their impressive support and structure. Their trainers offer lightness without sacrificing durability whilst offering support for the feet. The main reason why I have never purchased one, or even glanced at their trainers was due to their classic “sporty” design. I would argue that their previous designs were rather dated. They would not catch your eye, looks-wise when they are stacked in a shelf with other competitor brands. Which is a real shame considering how coveted they are in the sports industry.

The main problem was that their sports shoes TRULY looked like sport shoes and they could not transcend that specific look. It was tough to integrate their previous designs into outfits. On the contrary, the ASICS Gel Lyte III and its variations (ie. Speed, etc) are versatile and much more up-to-date in terms of design. Once given the nod of approval from the Hypebeast team, you know these babies are gonna blow up.

 

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A unique quality to this series is the tongue, or rather the lack there of. It’s called the ‘split tongue’ design, unique to this brand. It’s not only a cool design feature, but also very practical as it’s easy to slip your feet in and out. They have quite a substantial midsole, meaning it will give you added boost in height. Whether you need it or not, that extra inch in height feels nice. They are also rather weighted, compared to other sneakers. You can definitely feel these on your feet, but that means it is also very durable.

With its sleek minimalistic design, it is the details that make these stand out. I love the understated leather ASICS logo on the side and the cool reflective accents on the laces. This particular pair was limited edition. It has a speckled design on the midsoles and a barely there camo gloss on suede and grey mesh. Its a great unisex sneaker that makes any outfit cool.

ASICS Gel Lytes tend to be more readily available for males and I had a difficult time finding a pair in female sizes. Fortunately, as they are gaining popularity, female sizes are becoming much easier to find. Its cool, edgy and sporty at the same time. Pair them with any outfit and make people go,

“Daaaaaaamn”

Aren’t we all Superstars?

I love people watching. And I don’t mean that in a creepy, “stalker-ish” manner. I mean it in a very laid-back, observant context. Perhaps sipping on a cup of coffee whilst gazing out a large glass window in a highly “Instagrammable” cafe.

Now that I have painted the setting, let’s move along.

Trends are one of those things that are constantly evolving. It’s what I both love and hate about being in a society. I love being a part of something and seeing the trends evolve and change with the times, but I also hate the generic mass-consumerism and bland public opinion that all of us tend to be influenced by. However, I also love seeing the trends that are different in different parts of the world, even though we can all agree that trends are translating internationally quicker than ever before.

Shoe trends are the Thing. It is an easy trend to pick up on and its something that you can add to your wardrobe easily, without changing your entire look or style. Remember the time when Supergas blew up the young adult scene and everyone started wearing them? Similar things have happened with Nike Roshe Runs a few years back. Currently, the “in” thing are these babies.

 

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The Adidas Superstars!

 

Another popular one, in a similar design would be the Stan Smith editions, also by Adidas. Take a stroll around Orchard Road and you will see these everywhere nowadays. I could count at least 30 sightings of this pair or similar in a single trip to town.

These were very popular when I was in secondary school, eons ago and they are making a comeback. The Adidas Original range has been increasing in popularity again with their eye-catching designs on classic silhouettes. These Superstars are classic, sporty and chic. I’ve had this pair since I was young and it’s still going strong. The stiffer shoe material does make it a lot more durable. It’s also VERY basic. But that’s precisely why it is so popular.

An easy staple in anyone’s closet.

My favourite way to style this pair is with dark denim and a plain white T-shirt. It’s such a clean look; Presentable, even though I did not try very hard at all.

Throw on those Raybans I was talking about before in this post. And Boom!

You look like a superstar.

Lennon Vibes

How do we get from cringe to chic in less than 1 second?

Just put on a pair of these Raybans and you are good to go.

 

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These babies are the Rayban Round Metal Sunglasses. They come in a total of 6 colours that vary in terms of frames and lens. The ones here are the gold frames with the classic green lens and they are perfection. I have been obsessing over these style of sunglasses ever since I saw them on the beautiful Carmen Hamilton, also known as @chroniclesofher_ in the Instagram world. If you aren’t following her, you should. She’s a gorgeous Australian blogger who blogs for her own site as well as Vogue Australia. This naturally means that her style is just impeccable.

After seeing them on her, I was obsessed with the look and hunted these pair down. Made in Italy, these Raybans feel a lot more delicate than the usual Wayfarers and definitely need a lot more care and attention. Hence, I can’t simply chuck these in the bag without its case, for fear of ruining the thin gold frames. They also do not block off the sun completely as sunlight does pass through the tops and sides of the lens. However, it does provide UV protection.

And goddamn, do they look chic.

Throw this on any outfit, even without any makeup on and you look like a million dollars. Perfect for any occasion and light as a feather, I barely notice having it on my face. This was a welcomed change from the heavier sunglasses I owned that tend to sit on my nose a little heavier, even touching my cheeks.

If you like simplicity and timeless designs, then look no further.

 

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OBSESSED!

Let’s go for a Stroll.

Welcome to Broadwalk!

Here we will be strolling through many topics that intrigue me and that I’m passionate about. Lucky for me, I’m passionate about many things. From books, beauty products, gaming and everything in between. So I will probably never run out of topics to talk about.

It will be a place for anyone of any age, gender and walks of life. It has been my dream for many years to share all my favourite things with the world. Writing has been something I have loved doing since I was a girl of 7. And now I finally have made my platform and set the stage for many epic discussions.

It’s going to be chill. But it’s also going to be epic.

Come take a walk with me!