August 27, 2015

Grey and pinks for a layered look

After a long hiatus which was used to focus on juggling motherhood and a busier than expected Summer at work, I finally decided it was time to regain some blogging discipline...

First thing I did was look through the old comments to see if any of my long-time readers (now friends, really) had written in to enquire about the drought in posts, and what was my surprise to find a truly mean-spirited comment from a very courageous "Anonymous", commenting on how bad I look and how I should sell my pieces to fund a facial to look better instead of showing off (this is not a joke...). Now, I don't usually give this kind of silliness any more than the one second it takes me to press the spam button, but this time I thought I'd address it.

Dear Anonymous, I am sure that you are both classy and beautiful, especially when six months pregnant and working around the clock; let's not forget also how brave you are for voicing your opinion of my blog in such an open manner... I will just say this: I am in my mid-thirties, I have an actual life which is very busy, a real job and two small children which all keep me awake at night, and I don't use a professional photographer or indeed Photoshop like so many full-time bloggers. My pictures are rough, usually taken in less than five minutes between meetings, and my style is my own, I don't take it too seriously, and I certainly don't give it the importance that you think I do. Given the gazillion websites out there with similar topics as this one, I am surprised you have wasted some of your evidently precious time looking at my posts and forming such an elaborate opinion. I hope you have now found better blog posts to admire somewhere on the Internet, where you are, hopefully, leaving nicer messages.

Now for those of you who actually come here for a bit of reality, please read on... These last few months have been busy, and I did go into work and client meetings much more often than during my first maternity leave, trying to keep the relationships with clients alive and kicking! A few weeks ago I pulled myself out of my jeans and ballerinas at-home uniform to go to Paris, and this is what I wore...

Summer business travel usually means navigating between the sweltering outside and the over-conditioned air of the offices and airplane cabins, hence the layered look works quite well. I wore my low heel rockstud pumps, and you will notice something interesting about them: I cut the top strap! I know some of you will scream at this sacrilege, but really the three buckle straps didn't really work for me with my shorter than average legs, and I wanted to use these more, so cutting the top strap was the solution, really...

Another thing I like about this outfit? The off-white vest. It's the perfect alternative to a suit jacket for Summer days, and it looks quite modern, don't you think? I like that the trend is continuing on for Autumn 2015, I can't wait to find one to wear over fine knits for the new season!

More about this outfit:
- Grey wool tailored trousers, Theory
- Grey silk blouse, Iris & Ink
- White linen mix vest, Mango
- Intrecciato cabat bag, Bottega Veneta
- Rockstud pumps, Valentino

May 04, 2015

Monday's Mamma uniform for a family day out at Cliveden

An adopted Londoner, I adore the concept of a Bank Holiday... it means that the often ominous Monday suddenly becomes something else altogether, a day out with the family and an opportunity to replay Sunday all over again.

Today, Hubby Dearest took us out of London to the gorgeous Cliveden (I confess, I had never visited, in more than 11 years here...), where we walked around, had brunch, and enjoyed the sunshine and fabulous gardens.

Now, I know just a couple of days ago we all saw a new mom take to Choo heels and a four-digit priced dress to take her newborn baby home just hours after giving birth, so I look like a total slob in my jeans and trainers in comparison, but for me nothing beats practicality when it comes to being around my little ones, especially when we're out and about in a park.

So for me today, no heels, not even wedges... Instead, I wore comfortable trainers and a grass stain proof jacket that I've had for years. Not picture worthy? Maybe... But as you know by now if you've been reading my little blog for a while this is an account of real life, not some fairy tale story or some five minute outfit posts created just to get the picture taken. Plus, the day was too beautiful not to post pictures!

From the light strech in my James Jeans skinnies to the opening in my breastfeeding top, everything in this outfit screams comfort and practicality. I think you'll see me quite often in this type of outfit in the coming weeks, as I enjoy a leave from the office (certainly not a leave from the emails and the calls though, as much as I'd love to get one...), and I hope it won't be too shabby for you!

Back to Cliveden, it is gorgeous, huge, which means even on a busy day like today it didn't feel overcrowded, the Orangerie offers some extremely acceptable food, in fact much better than anything we've had when out in similar parks, and the views are, well, quite unbelievable for somewhere so close to London. I'll definitely be coming back!

Some outfit details:
- Jeans, James Jeans
- Breastfeeding top, Envie De Fraises
- Jacket, Barbour by Anya Hindmarch
- Metallic high-top sneakers, from an old Tory Burch collection, these Balenciaga ones are very close 
- Scarf, Louis Vuitton, this Feather & Stone one is similar
- Bag, Lindy by Hermès
- Monogram discs necklace, Sonya Renee

April 29, 2015

Celebratory tea at The Connaught's Espelette

Hi everyone! Before I start, I want to send a heart-felt thank you to all of you who were kind enough to comment on here, send me emails and PMs on Facebook to wish me well towards the end of my pregnancy. I apologise for my silence, but let's just say the last weeks were, to say the least, challenging, between complications, tiredness, and the frantic rush that seems to accompany most of my weeks at work before a holiday or a leave.

I am delighted to write that we welcomed a perfect (if I say so myself) little baby girl about a month ago now, and though she and I spent a little longer than we wanted in hospital around her birth, we are both doing well now. I expect I will be a far better blogger going forward, especially given I have lots of post ideas that I want to write.

Going back a few weeks, let me tell you how we feted our new arrival. Despite the chaos that ensues any birth (or, more likely, as a means to distract me from it), Hubby Dearest arranged for a celebratory tea for the four of us in one of my favourite London hotels, The Connaught, just days after Little Madame and I returned home.

Though things could have gone horribly wrong had she needed a feed half-way, it was a relief to everyone (especially the other guests who saw us arrive with a toddler and pram with that look of dread child-less clients pull whenever they see kids!) that both munchkins behaved like perfect little angels throughout the two-hour seating and we all had a wonderful time... And whilst I can't take credit for the baby's impeccable behaviour, and I'm definitely not branding myself as an parenting expert (smirk!), I would say taking children from an early age to all types of places, not just the so-called child-friendly ones, means they know how to behave in different situations and settings, and don't embarrass themselves, or you. At least that's been our strategy with Little Monsieur and it seems to work. Ok, I'll stop boring you with my thoughts on child rearing... On to cakes now!

The setting of the afternoon tea at Espelette is a winter garden style gallery overlooking Carlos Place, which happened to be gloriously sunny that afternoon. The whole place has a gorgeously sophisticated feel without being stuffy, with some of the most perfect floral arrangements I've seen... Service also exceeded any expectations that we had; think "make clients feel like uber VIPs" and dial it up a notch.

Having suffered from gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, it is fair to say I would probably have been happy with the most average of cakes at my first glucose-filled meal after being given the all clear. But Espelette's cakes are way way beyond the average. The tea cakes were so filled in flavours and textures (hazelnut, pear, chocolate, vanilla etc.), they ended being my highlight of the whole afternoon.

Whilst I'm not a fan of patisseries, I loved the pear and sesame tartlet and my two guys relished in the mousse inventions on offer. Little Monsieur particularly enjoyed the apple-shaped caramel and apple bomb. Yum.

What I liked a lot about this tea compared to others in London is that everything is special and unique to Espelette, the food is afternoon tea food that you recognise, but it's unlike anything you can have in other restaurants in the capital. Even the sandwiches... I can still taste the egg sandwich, which here comes glammed up with a little bit of truffle. Delicious!

Overall, Espelette offered us a magical interlude in our first few days as a family of four, and I will definitely rank it top of my favourites for afternoon tea. 

Espelette at The Connaught
Carlos Place
London W1
0 207 499 7070

February 16, 2015

Monday at the office: when all else fails, grab a fabulous coat!

Yes, I know, I've been a rubbish blogger these last weeks... Mea culpa. Truth is, I'm feeling fat and tired (seriously, my bloating is so bad I can't even say I have cankles anymore!) and it's been hard to enjoy this favourite hobby of mine lately, when all I want is to put my feet  up in front of the latest episode of Scandal. I hope you will forgive me...

In the meanwhile, I've decided I'd make a little effort today and do some pictures for an outfit post... I must write a more complete post about my "pregnancy style" (if we can call it that), but in the meanwhile here is my moto for today: when you're limited to a few black and grey maternity pieces and flat shoe (!), throw a fabulous coat over everything and hope for the best.

I fell in love with this coat months ago... all the lace application detailing over the gorgeous tweed, yum! And, given my sales purchases this season were rather limited, it felt ok to indulge it what will certainly become a treasure piece for years to come.

Of course right now I am wearing this amazing coat with what is quickly becoming my staple pregnancy outfit: black trousers (these are incredibly comfortable even though they are tailored), a ruched side top, and, evidently, flat shoes... I do try to wear my heels a little bit but with my feet now a full size bigger than usual thanks to bloating, it's not easy!!! That said, I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to wear this beauty with some sky-high heels, next year.

Outfit details:
- Lace applique coat, Dolce & Gabbana
- Tailored slim-fit maternity trousers, Seraphine
- Maternity turtleneck top, Isabella Oliver
- Flat studded slingbacks, Christian Louboutin
- Trapeze handbag, Céline at Vestiaire Collective

December 09, 2014

Tuesday's caped monochrome look

I promised to model one of my Monday must-have looks, here I am... This morning it was cold enough for a leather skirt and this adorable cashmere cape, so it was an easy pick. The fashion gods know, putting an outfit together easily and quickly is not something that happens to me too often these days, what with my expanded waist, over-reaching rear and more often than not swollen ankles, so this is a blessing I'll take whenever possible, trust me!

The truth is, maternity wear has far improved in the four years since I was expecting Little Monsieur, and this time I'm enjoying wearing pieces by Hatch  Collection, Isabella Oliver and Seraphine for everyday, and I ordered three fabulous pairs of maternity jeans by Paige and James Jeans to avoid the drooping look that sometimes plagues their cheaper cousins... And, truth is, I'm loving this wardrobe so much I manage to feel significantly less frumpy than for my first pregnancy!

I wish some of the colours were a bit more creative, as I'm sure by the time I hit 36 weeks I'll be truly sick of greys and blacks! In the meanwhile, hopefully you'll indulge me with this monochrome look today.

The one non maternity piece in this look is this gorgeous cape, by Joseph. I bought it with the idea of accommodating my growing mid-rif, but the sales lady was far more clever than me and advised to buy my usual size instead of sizing up. She explained  I could wear it open over my bump and then close it next winter. Given the exceptional quality of the uber soft cashmere, I'm so glad I listened: this is a cape I'm going to want to wear for years!

More details on this outfit:
- Grey double cashmere cape, Joesph
- Leather skirt, Isabella Oliver
- Turtleneck top with ruched sides, Isabella Oliver
- Maxi featherweight Ebury tote, Anya Hindmarch
- Simple pumps in black patent, Christian Louboutin
- Necklace, Chanel, go on to Vestiaire Collective has some fabulous pre-owned ones

December 02, 2014

Tuesday's boho chic for a windy day in Canary Warf

If  you think all City workers rock up to the office clad in their pinstripe suit of the day, think again... I for one think that, so long as your office dress code allows it and you're not meeting any formal clients, you can always have a little bit of fun with your work style. Because, frankly, life is too short to only enjoy fashion at the week-end.

Case in point, today's outfit is me at my boho best (or worst, depending which side of the fence you're on). I adore this dress with its paisley details and silky folds, and I'm especially happy that it fits me still, at just a few weeks shy of my third trimester starting! I know, I'm getting excited about the smallest things these days, but think about it, in a few weeks my bump will be big enough to lift this dress way past decent  heights on my legs, and that will be the end of that until next year, so I'll be excited if you don't mind!

I know you've probably seen most of the pieces I wore today on other outfit posts, but I'm not trying to bore you to death, believe me. Simply, I've taken the view that it's really great that I can still wear some of my non maternity clothes, despite the advancing growth of my waistline... Of course this doesn't  apply to fitted dresses or trousers (ha! my usual skinnies have been replaced by maternity ones a long time ago), but for the more ample pieces, I can still squeeze in. And, if you've ever been pregnant and contemplated your expanding shape with a mix of awe (10%) and horror (90%... will it ever go back?!), that in itself is reason enough to write a post.

Also astounding is the fact that these shoes 1) fit and 2) disguise my slightly swollen ankles, see I did wear some pretty fierce Valentino Rockstud stilettos all day on Monday so my punishment is cankle syndrome. So there you have it, not the classic pinstripe banker look maybe, but an outfit that feels very me and works for my new size. Ta-dah!

Outfit details:
- Silk dress, Tara Jarmon (quite old!), Etro do great paisley detail dresses, like this one
- Mohair and wool blend blazer, COS, I'm not sure I'll be able to find a lookalike
- My bronze Birkin is a hard to find colour now, but check out this Bally tote, it's a great lookalike!
- Shoe boots, DVF (old again!), these by Nine West are very close

December 01, 2014

Monday's What to Wear to Work: Monochrome maternity

When I was expecting Little Monsieur, I have to admit style was not always at the forefront of my mind... And, though it looks like it will be quite tough given how strong the attraction of a comfortable legging and poncho combo is at times (ok, most times), I'm giving myself a new challenge this time: I shall strive to keep my sartorial standards up throughout most of my pregnancy.

After all, I'm going to be a mother again, not a grandmother... so there is nothing saying I must eschew high heels and high fashion.  Of course, my swollen feet will beg to differ, but whilst it's bearable, I'll keep trying, for high heels make any outfit (and, any expanded hip width...)  look better. That said, I will keep my heels slightly lower than usual, 3-4 inches max., and do my best to combine comfort with style.

This means, since I'm still getting up at 5:30am everyday  to go to work, I'm going to need to think even more in advance to put together outfits which look somewhat good yet are comfortable... Quite a challenge! Let's see if I'm able to win it, shall we?

Here's the first outfit I'm thinking of putting together. Monochrome, nobody can go wrong with that... A cape, perfect to keep bump warm. And, the little touch of daredevil in the leather pencil skirt. Watch this space, I'll be modelling something very similar in the next few days!

My shopping list for monochrome fabulous bump wear:
- Leather pencil skirt, Isabella Oliver
- Turtleneck top with ruched sides, Isabella Oliver
- Double cashmere cape, Joesph
- Fox fur trimmed gloves, Agnelle
- Suede very reasonable height heels, Gianvito Rossi
- Large tote, Balenciaga

November 01, 2014

Thursday's first Autumn look... and a little announcement

I bet those of you who are regulars here have been thinking what a rubbish blogger I've been this whole time... Well now I can finally explain myself better.

This year has been not only busy with work, but also a time of sadness as I was trying to get to terms with, ahem, the hardships that Mother Nature throws at you when you are used to everything being rational and scientific. So anyways, fast forward a few miserable episodes, this Summer I finally found out Baby Number Two is on the way, yeeey! I'm over the moon excited, evidently, but I have to say this time round it's way tougher: I've been feeling sick all day, every day, pretty much until last week, in particular in  the evening which is usually my time to blog (whoever called this morning sickness is, clearly, an imbecile). Alas life goes on, and I'm still travelling like crazy for work and trying really hard to keep up with work requirements everywhere... So, there you have it, thanks to a tiny-sized new person in my life, blogging sort of slipped on further down in my list of priorities... oopsy!

And then of course there is the added difficulty of taking outfit of the day picture when I feel like a bloated turnip (my poor legs and ankles are turning all Pregnant Kim Kardashian already, yikes!). Thankfully, last Thursday I did find it in me to not only wear some higher than 3-inch heels, but also put together an outfit that does belong to my normal self, and in fact it's made of clothes I wear usually... Thank goodness for the stretch in Missoni skirts!!!

In fact looking closely, I love the textures of this outfit. From the distinctive woven wool on the skirt (which comes with a bump accommodating fold-over) to the soft half-season coat, and let's not forget the glorious plum silk of the shirt. Can you believe it's from & Other Stories? Yep, a bargain for this quality...

I  also read  somewhere that wearing long necklaces helps look a little (emphasis on the little) leaner when with bump, so I'm trying that with my Keys necklace by Tiffany's. I'm not sure it will help much when I look like an over-ripe melon, but we'll address that when we get there, hopefully not too soon. Or maybe I'll just give up and wear a moo moo from December (aka Month 6) onwards? Not sure this will get lots of positive comments though.

Outfit details:
- Woven wool skirt, from the AW2010 collection, Missoni at Net-A-Porter
- Plum silk shirt, & Other Stories
- Cream bonded wool coat, Max Mara (Spring 2011), this Nina Ricci one is almost identical
- Pouch with scalloped motif, Fauré Le Page
- Suede mary-jane pumps, years old, from Christian Louboutin, I'm still looking for a lookalike!

October 04, 2014

Friday... maybe the last mid-season look?

It's been an incredible mild few weeks in London this last month, so I've managed to carry on bare legged pretty comfortably, at a time when I'd normally be begging Hubby Dearest to help me organise my wardrobe switch... He has obviously been sending quite a few thank yous up to the weather gos, as you can imagine.

With that in mind, I've managed to recycle one of this Summer's favourite outfits on a Friday, which enabled me to find a few minutes in an otherwise hectic week to picture it for today's blog.

Although I usually prefer flared skirts, I did fall in love with this laser cut detailed skirt despite its fitted shape. I love the texture and details, and the slightly stretchy fabric makes it very easy to live in... During the Summer I wore it with sleeveless blouses and my beloved Aquazzura sandals, but as October was upon us this week I decided to add a short trench jacket to keep the early morning cold out. And some sky-high slingbacks of course.

I think from next week I may have to start giving up on my dream of the Indian Summer...

Outfit details:
- Skirt with embroidered cut-out designs, Karen Millen
- Military style shirt with pockets, Zara (a few seasons old already)
- Camel slingbacks, from a boutique in Paris, these Jimmy Choo ones are close
- Phantom tote bag, Céline at Vestiaire Collective

September 21, 2014

A Sunday treat from Milli Millu: 10% off with code LILAC10

I  know my Sunday posts are usually dedicated to some fashion confession on my part, but the truth is I have few Autumn 2014 finds in my closet so far and I thought it would be nice to change the tune a little bit, and give you all the opportunity to treat yourselves...

I've been raving about Milli Millu handbags for a few seasons now, I love the super elegant yet work-perfect styles, from the celebrity loved Zurich to the fabulous stylist favourite Bilbao, so many gorgeous bags, so little time. I personally love the new smaller Zurich, the Midi Zurich, it's ideal for smaller girls who still like a great bag to carry all their life essentials around.

If, like me, you've been adorning your keyboards with, ahem, a little bit (a lot...?) of drool over Milli Millu's AW2014 collection, well let me give you the perfect excuse.

The lovely people at the Milli Millu studio are sharing the love by giving you all 10% off your next purchase, until September 30th, with code LILAC10. Shop here: Milli Millu.

Now, with such a treat, you really don't have any excuse not to post your very own confession of your brand new gorgeous bag, ready for the new season...!

September 17, 2014

Favourite hotels: The Mark New York

Finding a favourite hotel in New York has taken me years... I went there as a child but can't remember much of where we stayed, and then I've been to the Big Apple time and time again for work, and never found a place that I really enjoyed staying in.

Most hotels I've stayed in in New York either boast a lobby which turns into a nightclub come 7pm (nice for some I am sure, but not so nice if you have to spend the evening reviewing presentations and a 5am wake-up call). Some have the smallest little rooms with the noisiest air con units which seem to belong in the 1970s (yes, W Lexington, I'm thinking about you)... And lots are located in some unpleasant neighbourhood such as Time Square.

Then, one of my colleagues mentioned The Mark to me, and I thought I'd give it a try on a recent  trip to New York. Let me tell you, I'll never be able to ever stay anywhere else in the city again. It is simply magical.

This little gem is located just off Madison Avenue on one of the leafy streets in the 70s, it looks like a little bijou hotel particulier from a gone era, and the monochrome colour scheme throughout the hotel screams of elegance. The location is incredible, a stone's throw from Central Park, at the beginning of Musem Mile and a few steps away from my favourite NY shops...

The bedrooms are big and comfy, the wardrobes well thought-out to aaccommodatea fashionista's suitcase belongings and more, and the mini-bar is gorgeous and stocked with some seriously tempting goodies as well as healthy munchies and drinks. The bathroom is so beautiful I want to refurbish mine at home to match... The food is delicious and arrives promptly when ordered via room service, even at just gone 5am which is when I ordered the above breakfast!

But what's great here (besides of course the location, straight in the centre of Gossip Girl central, if you want a reference!) is the service. Staff is lovely and attentive, trying to ease every guest's stay and ensure comfort throughout. On my way to the airport on the day of my return, I asked if there was a bathroom somewhere where I could get changed, and the bellman promptly escorted me to a suite on the business centre floor where I could not only get changed but also take a shower, leaving me with a "Take as much time as you need"; I can't say this has ever happened to me in any other hotel I've stayed at in New York. My only teeny tiny criticism? Breakfast isn't served until 7am, but then again this isn't a business hotel so that's not entirely surprising... I just ordered room service and went next door to the local St Ambroeus outpost for early breakfast.

Bottom line, my ever-so-patient assistant has now been told that now there is only one hotel I'll ever consider for New York trips, making her job of booking my trips at the last-ish minute and on budget even more of a challenge, in exchange for my eternal gratitude. If you could just see her rolling eyes ... LOL.

The Mark Hotel
Madison Avenue at 77th Street
New York NY 10075

September 16, 2014

Tuesday's cool tones and culottes for a new take on suiting options

It's almost the end of Summer here in London, but not quite... it's time to go back to the far too long days at the desk followed by the far too short nights in my bed, but also the time to start thinking about new fashion, and my most favourite season of all, Autumn. I have always had a fondness for September, ever since school, it does represent new beginnings and a fresh start, far more than January which is packed with dark days and detox diets... So, I'm busy, exhausted (more on that in a few days...) but delighted with the new season.

Having hit a bit of fashion mess a couple of weeks ago, I'm now trying to pick myself up again and find my fashion for the next few months, something a little more formal than my usual, but still fun and fashion-inspired. This is all in an attempt to fit in with a few more responsibilities, but also to keep my style different.

Today I tried a different take on a suit, with culottes instead of the classic cigarette trousers that usually go with this blazer. I love culottes, it's the best of both worlds between trousers and a  skirt, and though the length probably looks neater on girls blessed with gazelle-worthy pins, I think it is still flattering for the less lucky ones like yours truly.

The only difficulty is that, like A-line skirts, culottes look very messy with longer jackets, so I chose to go for a short lapel-free blazer from Theory, over a silk tee-shirt for that touch of casual that I crave these days. It makes the silhouette a little less bulky, and in my case, well, let's just say I'll take any small amount of "less bulk" I can get!

It's getting a bit chillier in the morning (but turning quite muggy around lunch!) so I'm bringing back the shawls, yeeey!

Outfit details below:
- Navy wool mix blazer, Theory
- Culottes in soft grey crepe, ASOS
- Navy Sac De Jour, Saint Laurent
- Suede pointed toe heels, Gianvito Rossi
- Shawl, a couple of seasons old, Hermès

August 12, 2014

Tuesday: White with a splash of blood orange

It's the middle of August... and I'm still office-bound (when not flying to see clients!) until Friday. Urghh... Waking up in the morning is unusually difficult right now for some reason, and getting dressed, well, let's just say it's very tempting to just rock up to my desk in my night-gown. So, I'll forgive you if you comment that this dress is pretty close to one. Because that's exactly one of the reasons I picked it! There, I said it, I love comfort,  and some days it's ok if that comes in the form of  a drop waist dress which doesn't really highlight any of my good features.

The other reason I loved this dress is because I saw a picture somewhere of a Victoria by Victoria Beckham dress in blue textured fabric with the simplest drop waist and cap sleeves shape, but I didn't really like the darker stripe at the hem. Or the price... (before you comment that I own a couple of Victoria by VB dresses so clearly I don't mind their price, I don't mind when the structure and fabric warrant a superior quality and when such quality comes discounted courtesy of TheOutnet, here we're just talking about a very slouchy summer dress). Enter ASOS and its marvelous stylists... ta-dah! Super easy to wear drop-waist, check! Textured light-weight fabric, check! Summery colour, check again!

You have to admit that this outfit does come with some pretty punchy redeeming features once you go past  the fact that the dress does indeed make me look a bit (ok, a lot) straight and tubby up and down. First, the sandals... I am a bit of a fanatic of Nuit sandals by Hermès, they have a low heel which is great to walk around, and the open cut means that whenever I get swollen feet flying off to Madrid or Athens, these don't feel tight or hard to walk in. I adore them... I have them in taupe and light gold, and whilst most people prefer to confine metallic shoes to evening-wear, well you know I like to break the little boring rules, so I wear mine for day and work. And guess what? Nothing happens when I do... just goes to say it's ok to break the rules sometimes (this doesn't apply to the one about leaving plexi platform sandals out of the office, and if possible out of your shoe collection all together, unless your office is, ahem, a dancing table: this rule is very much written in Vogue lobby marble for all of us fashionistas to abide by).

Then, please can I get a little pat in the back for bringing my Vermillon Trapeze Céline bag out today? It's a pretty fabulous baby that doesn't seem to get a lot of air time on this blog... It's not that I don't love it, it's just that I tend to use it as a popping piece for the less interesting outfits, eg. blue jeans and a white button down. But today I figured it was worth a photo! Definitely one of my favourite bag shapes, together with the Birkin and the Cabat by BV. In fact I think I prefer the Trapeze to the Luggage.

Outfit details:
- My drop waist texture dress is  this one at ASOS (almost sold-out), but this one is near identical and comes in mint and orange as well as white!
- Vermillon trapeze bag, Céline at Vestiaire Collective
- Mid-heel light gold sandals, Nuit by Hermès, these J.Crew ones are close
-  Preppy bangles, J.Crew

August 09, 2014

A beautiful Omani vacation at the Barr Al-Jissah Resort & Spa

I know this is a very overdue post, but I absolutely had to share some pics from our last family holidays... we had such a fabulous time!! Last May, Hubby Dearest, Little Monsieur and I flew business class BA (why would I have all these airmiles from work travels if it's not to indulge a little bit with my two guys, and this way the holidays do start a good ten hours earlier than when we fly economy!) to the beautiful country of Oman. I'd heard so much via friends, and our expectations were quite high. And yet, this is one of the first places that has managed to exceed them for quite a while.

First, our hotel. At first, I was a bit reticent about such a large resort, with Barr Al-Jissah boasting not one but three different hotels catering to different customer bases on the same grounds, and yet we loved it. We stayed in Al-Waha, which is family friendly of course, and includes the Splash Pad which Little Monsieur adored cooling off in, as well as the Lazy River, a canal where he could hop on a giant floating ring and let the current take him (and us of course, his fateful helicopter parents...) around the resort. One of my colleagues had advised taking our breakfasts at the next-door hotel (Al-Bandar), which is included in the B&B package anyways, and we followed his advice: a gentle stroll away from our sea-view room, we found a breakfast that was far more diverse and delicious, not to mention quiet, than the one in Al-Waha.

The beach is really the highlight at the Barr Al-Jissah resort. White sand covered with a little carpet runway to avoid burning little (and big!) feet, turquoise water at a perfect warm temperature inviting you to linger in... and, not 100 meters from the beach, a gorgeous sea bed filled with the most colourful fish and a couple of resident sea turtles, which don't really mind you snorkelling behind them.

One of the big advantages of a big resort is that you can't get bored easily. From the multiple restaurants (we loved the Lebanese and the Fish restaurants) to the Hammam spa and the kids play zones, we had a great long week.

And, for that extra magic touch, the beach just happens to be a favourite nesting area for sea turtles, so on both Saturday afternoons of our holiday at Barr Al-Jissah, we got to witness the beautiful hatching of little eggs and the race to the sea of tens of little baby sea turtles. This, is right up there in my memories book with seeing a family of  elephants right outside the door of our banda during our honeymoon in Tanzania.

We  did venture out a few times of course... First to the Muscat market. Think colourful potteries, opulent incenses, iridiscent lamps, and of course, the world famous gold market (I might have succumbed to the temptation of a little sparkly trinket, ahem). It's just a little drive away from the hotel and a really lovely way to get away from the afternoon sun. And that's where the other amazing discovery about our Omani holiday: the locals are impossibly nice and charming, genuinely so, quite unlike some of my previouos experiences in the Middle East. Everywhere we went, people were lovely, even more so around Little Monsieur.

One morning, we took a speedboat to go see the dolphins, and our captain was the nicest possible man. After following a pod of dolphins and admiring their somersaults for quite a while, Little Monsieur proclaimed he had had enough (whereas I would have been very happy to stay all day!), so our captain took us closer to the coast for a sea tour, and even stopped in a little creek, very much off the original plan, and gave Hubby Dearest and me the opportunity for a quick snorkel.

We also took a day trip to visit the Wahiba Sands and a nearby oasis, where Little Monsieur loved walking in the water in his new Cars-themed Havaianas (bought at the hotel's beachwear shop) and going for a swim on his Papa's back in the cool waters of the wadi. Obviously what he did enjoy most was the drive in the sand in the SUV... Not really my cup of tea (I was feeling a bit, hmm, sick, by the end!) but well worth it once I got to take in the fabulous view of endless orangey sand.

So, if you're planning your next holiday with the kids, definitely include Oman in your list of possibles. This is an amazingly child-friendly destination, the food is easy for their little tummies, Muscat is as modern as cities come, complete with state of the art hospitals should you need them (we didn't, thankfully). Just because you are now a parent, doesn't mean you have to give up on interesting destinations, you just have to pick wisely! And the final Oman bonus? The time difference with Western Europe means the little ones don't get too jet-lagged, yet wake-up just late enough in local time to allow everyone a little lie-in. Perfection!

Find out more about the resort: Shangri-La Barr Al-Jissah

July 26, 2014

Satuday's off-duty boho, en route to the garden centre

Week-ends are such a blessing these days... after a week travelling Europe, sitting in meetings trying to make sense of what the market will bring for the remainder of the year, working double shifts thanks to people around me taking the concept of the Summer break, ahem, quite literally; come Saturday I'm so exhausted and stressed all I can do is send thanks to whomever invented the concept of a week-end.

The week-end is not only the time to unwind from work, it is also the opportunity for me to relax my style dramatically. With the sweltering temperatures of the last few weeks, I've been wearing almost exclusively Summer dresses, and at home I just go for jersey maxis which are super comfy and keep me fresh (aren't you glad this outfit post is about the former and not the latter, yikes!!!)

This afternoon we made our way to the garden centre, and whilst I stayed make-up free (something I've been doing at the week-ends since last year, I find it really gives my skin a rest if I don't slap the paint on every day), I did get out of my jersey maxi. I like a put-together boho look like today's. Boho because of the casual shape and the raffia bag, but put together because these are hardly homemade pieces one would find on a hippy commune... I adore this dress, with its rustic cotton 'bourrette' fabric embroidered in vivid blue patterns, it screams Summer days on a Greek Island. Yes, I know London is no Santorini, but a girl can dream, right?

The bag is another one that I definitely wouldn't naturally associate with London... This was my go-to bag during our holiday in Oman, and I'm looking forward to taking it to the market every morning during our holidays in Brittany next month. It's the perfect little raffia basket, made 1000 times cooler by Gérard Darel. This is the straw version of the French brand's iconic 24h, also aptly called Woodstock.

I know what some of you are thinking... why not get a market basket from some Italian town market or  even a Morroccan souk. Yes, of course I could, but then it wouldn't be lined in the softest cotton, or have some adjustable leather straps that can be swung over the shoulder or handled tote-like. And it would definitely not have the little intricate details that this little baby has, from the little pom-poms pattern to the knotted sides.

The studded Balenciaga sandals are the only very urban touch here... but this is perhaps the detail that makes it all work for London. These are super comfy, I have them in grey as well, I love this model so much.

By the way, I know some of you will be thinking how ugly my feet look in t-straps, and I agree 150%, but the truth is I did a lot of ballet when I was younger, and it just left me with gnarled toes, but please be kind and don't comment on them, just be pleased for me that I love shoes so much my ugly feet don't prevent me from wearing fabulous footwear.

Find out more about my outfit:
- Embroidered Daryl dress, Isabel Marant (Summer 2013), this one by Iris & Ink and this Mango one are very similar
- Giant stud flat sandals, Balenciaga
- Woodstock 24h bag in raffia, Gerard Darel
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