It was such a long, miserable slog through winter. The patches of sun we've had have given me spring fever! Even in the rain, I'm now inspired to wear bright flowery things. On that point, I would love a fabulous pair of shoes with flowers on them. Not printed, but actually bits in the shapes of flowers.
Coming Up Roses, The Peak
The Dictator rules: Let me guess, you work in design. Not. "Bits" is hardly an appealing way to describe floral embellishment on shoes. Read and learn, reader. Paul Andrew's Blossom mules come in Cinderella-like transparent PVC, including heels, and are decorated with miniature leather flowers (HK$9,400; www.onpedder.com). Rene Caovilla has dreamed up a design worthy of Marie Antoinette (the Sofia Coppola version) in a confection of pastel lace and flowers on kitten heels (HK$9,400; www.onpedder.com As any footwear aficionado might have suspected, Manolo Blahnik does not disappoint. We adore his high-heeled sandals covered in tone-on-tone leather roses, be they red, nude beige or black (HK$9,995). Never one to shy away from embellishment, Dolce & Gabbana's elaborate offerings include floral brocade pumps with crystal flowers at the toes and leather sandals spruced up with beaded flower patterns (HK$8,300 to HK$8,500). Kurt Geiger's Miss KG line includes block-heel sandals featuring "3D" flowers in paillettes and sequins (HK$1,690). Now, if all those don't tickle your fancy, I don't know what will.
I'm really into going all natural at the moment and was wondering where to find a good body moisturising oil? I heard Bio-Oil isn't as natural as we think?
Hard Pressed, Discovery Bay
The Dictator: There is no "we". You may be easily swayed by advertising. I am not. Anyone concerned about chemicals in cosmetics should be a frequent visitor to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database www.ewg.org/skindeep which rates cosmetics based on toxicity, government and health agency data, and published scientific research. The ratings, from one to 10, refer to hazard levels, one being the best and 10 the worst. Bio-Oil scores a seven, with an overall hazard rating of moderate to high. Apart from slathering on a 100 per cent nut oil, responsibly and safely cultivated, you will have to make some compromises based on your preferences. Trendy coconut oil is a great, if slow-absorbing, choice. Marketplace by Jasons sells Nutiva coconut oil (HK$120; www.marketplacebyjasons.com which is organic, non-GMO, extra virgin, cold-pressed and so on. Green Common www.greencommon.com sells an array of Dr Hauschka body oils, including Birch Arnica (HK$220); Blackthorn or Almond (HK$250 each); and Lemon Lemongrass (HK$280). For luxury pampering, Beyorg Organic Spa www.beyorgbeauty.com can steer you through body oils by Amala, Primavera and Susanne Kaufmann (HK$355 to HK$585). I've given you the resources, now you figure it out.
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