Remember Kate Middleton’s dress



Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wore a Reiss beige Shola dress last May when the Obamas visited the UK. This dress quickly sold out in stores and online, naturally.  Source: Mirror UK


Reiss was an early favourite of Kate Middleton. Source Mirror UK


Thanks to Princess Catherine, the Reiss Shola dress sold out in minutes! Back by popular demand is a brand new Shola dress for the autumn/winter season called Lola. Lola has been released to celebrate Vogue’s Fashion Night Out. The dress has been reissued in lava red and in elegant steel blue. Online shoppers, hurry, this is bound to sell out soon. Prices are in US dollars.


Autumn/Winter11 New Arrivals - Shop Women's Now!
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Islands Stay, Cebu



A couple of months ago I was a guest of the Department of Trade and Industry at the Creative Cebu Summit. There I talked about my little creative enterprises. Why Cebu? I was part of the team put together by the British Council to assist in forming Creative Cebu in 2009. During that time I met Jay Aldeguer, who was also part of the same British Council program. Jay is the man behind The Islands Group – clothing, souvenirs, banca tours, water sports and more. Back then he had just launched the Islands Banca Cruise – a hip reincarnation of the traditional banca retrofitted with ipod docs and speakers, comfy beanbags and packed lunches. He told me his next dream step was a value chic hotel. Early this year, two branches of Islands Stay Hotels became a reality.

Just like all the existing Islands Group products and services, Islands Stay bears the bright orange logo (what is the name of that cute font?) and hip reincarnation of a traditional hotel/motel/inn. It has chic minimalist and CLEAN interiors. No-frills approach and yet all the basic necessities are there if you need them – including espresso and free wifi. The punchline is, you get all that for as low as P950 per room. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Read on…


So while I was in Cebu a couple of months ago, Jay Aldeguer CEO of The Islands Group, invited me to cut the ribbon of Islands Stay Hotel. Also with us was Cebu City Tourism Commissioner Marco Protacio.


No fancy concierge or reception area. Just a straightforward lobby-slash-coffee shop. Since opening, they’ve been enjoying an 85% occupancy rate during dry run, whereas hotels usually average 20% six months after opening. They have a 50% walk-in rate.


How cute is that? Incidentally, the group is targeting Palawan, Bohol and Baguio next.


“We pride ourselves on good design & service. We’re a value hotel but we make sure to make our guests feel relaxed and comfortable, and we’re the only hotel in Cebu that provides cold towels upon check-in,” – Jay Aldeguer.


Instead of using hotel terms like deluxe, standard, suite (which no one really understands why deluxe is not actually luxurious), Islands Stay classifies its room like Tshirt sizes – Small (P950 promo), Medium, Large and Extra Large (P2150). This is the Large room in the the Mactan branch.


I’m not going to say anything cliche about the details, except “Awww.”


The published rate of this room is P1650. For two people! Additional persons will be charged P300 upon check-in. There are two branches – in Mactan which is a 3-minute ride to the airport and Uptown which is a 3-minute walk from Ayala Mall.


They cater to a diverse market – 70% domestic and a healthy international clientele (30%) with different purposes like for business, to visit friends/relatives, flashpackers ie. business-class backpackers.


Free wifi in your room. (I hate having to pay for wifi at hotels).


Another “Awww” detail.


For more information,
Uptown Branch, Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu City (032) 266-0832
Mactan Branch, M.L. Quezon, Lapulapu City (032 )239-5456



Blinging up for Urban Zone




Yesterday we shot Urban Zone at a lovely home in the south. It wasn’t far from our house so I took my time in the morning. The kids were all home. Sophia had the day off. Lily was recovering from fever. Stella was playing. It was a perfect day to lounge around at home with them. But Mama had to go to work. Lucky for me (and the kids), work is really just once a week.

I didn’t get to prepare for the shoot in advance. I wasn’t able to pull out new clothes from K & Company. So I shopped in my closet. I put together four outfits in just 30 minutes. I wish I had given myself more time though, because I’m sure I have better shoes in the back of the racks. You can probably tell by now that I have favourites. Must break those habits.


An electric pleated knit dress with metallic fibre. I found this on sale last season at an overpriced clothing chain. I love how it falls. Didn’t have time to think of shoes, so I used my fall back pair which I bought in Adora a few seasons ago.


I was so thrilled to wear my new bracelet. I am in love with the ruby tassels. This is made of pearls, rubies, diamonds and black onyx on white gold.


I had doubts about these ruby and opal earrings at first, because they’re quite huge. My friend refers to them as Angelina Jolie. I am reminded of the pair she wore at the Oscars, but in emeralds. Now I don’t doubt.


One of the kurtas I bought in Anokhi Jaipur. I’ve been wearing my kurtas as dresses. They all have slits up to my thighs, so I just wear a slip underneath. The platform wedges were from a recent trip to Hong Kong. Bangle from Evita Peroni. Macrame bead bracelet was a gift from Ingrid. White agate beads, I just strung them together from my supplies.


I have never worn this dress out. I found this in one of those small local boutiques in Rockwell. Very inexpensive. But also very uncomfortable. The edges of each ruffle kept poking me. Each ruffle had a wire or fishing line inside. Haha. I added a skinny black belt from a K&Company dress. Wore my studded Prada mary jane pumps.


I put my hair up for this episode. I used one of my Evita Peroni bejeweled hair thingys. Those earrings are my design. Cushion cut green amethyst with pink tourmalines and citrine on rose gold. They turned out to be so huge. I wanted to dismantle them and melt the gold again but now they are growing on me. Patrick is noticing that my jewelry is leaning towards the large side. Could I be turning into a matrona? Haha.


Sorry for the blur. I knew I wanted to bring my Balenciaga strass out to play. But I wanted to wear it in a dressed down way. So I used my no-fail striped shirt (stripes are my uniform.) Then I added the rock crystal necklace to exaggerate the bling.


Wore them with an old K&Company satin skirt and grey wedges.


Here’s a closer look at the exaggerated bling. The earrings are my creation too. Blue sapphire and diamonds.




Evita Peroni handbags




I saw that Evita Peroni had some handbags this season. These are made of leather and can easily shift from a handbag for day to clutch at night. The handles are removable. The inside has pockets and compartments for credit cards, money and keys. They’re made of genuine leather. Price ranges from P8,980 to P13,980.


The Mila Bag. Nice. Something different from the usual bejeweled minaudiere and embroidered evening bags. There’s something refreshing about a lambskin evening bag. Practical but delicate. Interesting


Evita Peroni locations:
2nd Level, Glorietta 4, Ayala Center
G/F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center
R2 Level Powerplant Mall, Rockwell
2nd Level Citywalk 2, Eastwood
2nd Level, Rustan’s Shangri-la Tower



Answering your Cath Kidston questions



My earlier post about Kate Middleton’s traveling bag – the one Cath Kidston sent to me as a gift – got so many hits and questions. I’ve been using this bag a lot lately because of all my shoots. I am able to put my shoes in the bag without making a big mess inside. The bag has a bit of structure. It stands upright because of the metal studs that act as a stand on the bottom. So I don’t end up dirtying the surface of my bag. But even if it gets scuffed, it’s easy to wipe clean because it’s oilcloth. I still get tweets and emails about Cath Kidston so I will try to answer most questions here.


Does Cath Kidston ship to the Philippines?

Yes. You may order through the official Cath Kidston website. They are sponsoring my blog so you’d find links all over this entry. Or simply click on their ad in the right side bar. The prices are in US Dollars and they easily ship anywhere in the US and around the world, including the Philippines.

Is it safe to have Cath Kidston items shipped to the Philippines?

From the shipper’s side it is. However as you know things get cloudy in the Bureau of Customs in our lovely country. You can have the items sent here by courier and just pay the (I hope) right taxes like everyone does. It gets weird when Customs picks numbers out of a hat. It’s a guessing game. You can always contest it at the post office like I do all the time (once I got charged 120% of the declared value… gasp!). There are other ways – balikbayan box, Johnny Air Cargo, a relative from the U.S.

Are there official stockists of Cath Kidston in the Philippines?

Not that I know of. But there are some resellers. Beware of fakes. I can only vouch for Accessory Lab in Powerplant Mall Rockwell. They have some bags there. Those are original Cath Kidston bags. Also Heima in LRI Makati has some desk accessories and fabric. Other resellers, I don’t know.

How does one know if a Cath Kidston bag is fake or real?

If you buy it through sellers and resellers, there is a high probability that it’s fake. If its in a grocery store or in a tiangge, bazaar or in Greenhills, it’s fake. Classic Cath Kidston bags aren’t even that expensive, so why bother buying fakes? Trust me, the quality of the fakes really suck.

Do I authenticate Cath Kidston bags?

No. If you buy from the official Cath Kidston website then there’s no need to authenticate.

They also sent me the newest catalog for this year. Lots of cute goodies in there. You’ll find it in theCath Kidston site. I took the liberty of posting some interesting finds below. The links will take you to their website, so you can know more about the products.


I could make this Bird Mini Saddle Bag my next travel day bag. I’m a fan of oilcloth because they’re durable. This has leather details, a front pocket and a small internal pocket too. The strap is fully adjustable so it can be worn across the body or as a shoulder bag. This dainty little Bird Design is also available in cream as a matching zip purse too.


This pretty print and practical design of the Tartan Day Bag is a popular choice of bag for every day essentials. The durable oilcloth finish makes it easy to wipe clean and features cotton webbing handles and leather trim. Other handy features include a main zip fastening and internal zipped pocket, so you can be sure your belongings are kept safe. And just to finish it off – there are two handy side pockets – great for housing your brollie! Perfect for our crazy tropical rain now.


I love these desk organizers and home accessories. I use a lot of filing boxes to keep my clutter organized. I’m liking the blue one – Bath Flowers Box File. Oh and that Bubbles Crush Mug on the right is really cute.There are so many adorable things from  the Cath Kidston home line in their site.

If you have other Cath Kidston questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section. I will also give you regular updates on their new products.


Cath Kidston