02/05/2016

Sunday casual for a day of grown-up fun in Soho

A few weeks ago, faced with yet another multi-week school break (this time, 3.5 weeks for Easter... the joys of private education in London) at Little Monsieur's school, I took him and his little sister to spend part of the vacations with my parents in Portugal, with nanny in tow. This meant Hubby Dearest and me (and the cats!) had totally empty house for a few days, so I figured I'd pack one with all the grown-up things we don't get to enjoy much in London these days, as our week-ends are spent in family brunches and children activities, rather than at museums...

That Sunday, we ended up going to the Royal Academy for Monet's Garden exhibit, then wandering over to Soho for a brunch of dim sum at Yauatcha, and finally down to the temporary stand of Yolk In Mac Ice, a place where we found the most delicious macaroon ice cream sandwich...



I wanted to be comfortable for the walking around but also a bit on trend, and I opted for layers to work around the changing weather in Spring-time London. I guess it's fair to say that this is another outfit that started with the shoes, and what fabulous shoes these are... They caught my eye on my birthday, when I popped out to Mayfair to order a new set of keys for my Globe-Trotter suitcase, and given my obsession with block heels these days, it took less than a minute for them to steal my heart. Isn't the colour absolutely striking?



I love the tie-up details as well, but these are the kind of shoes that absolutely need to be shown off with a dress, or possibly cropped trousers. Hence the choice of cropped slightly flare jeans, a look that I didn't embrace at first, at least not this winter when I saw it worn awkwardly with ankle boots, but now I totally see the point. Granted, my legs aren't nearly long or skinny enough for this to look perfect, but I've decided good is good enough.

Up top, I settled for a warm but Spring-like woven cotton jumper, very Brittany meets Scotland ... and then I kept it all short and sweet with a cropped trench jacket I've had for years, proving yet again that trenches are truly timeless and eternally easy to recycle.



Finishing touches on this outfit were all courtesy of the lovely people at Céline. Both the gorgeous blue embossed bag, called a Cabas Belt, and the sunglasses, are relatively recent acquisition, and I'm totally smitten. What do you think? Pretty enough for a Sunday?



Outfit details below:
- Crop flare jeans, sold-out at Banana Republic, these M.i.H. Jeans ones are close
- Woven jumper, Maison Kitsuné
- Cropped trench jacket, from an old collection at Comptoir des Cotonniers
- Cabas Belt bag and sunglasses, Céline
- Sandals, Wild Thing in red suede, Aquazzura

01/05/2016

So, how was your week?

Do you follow my Instagram feed? If not please do... First because I log on quite often to post about my day so it's easy to keep up rather than wait for a slow day in my household to enable me to sit down for half an hour and write a proper blog... But also because it would increase my followers a bit and I would really like to do a blog give-away when I reach 500 Instagram followers... Will you help me get there? In the meanwhile, here is a little recap of my week on Instagram.











It started off like most Mondays, at work... As often happens I gave in to frustration, and would have loved to be able to send some people to sit on a piece of spiky plantation, but thankfully the day was over soon enough and off I went to see my beautiful and oh-so adorable friends at Psycle, and my session with doctor-cum-instructor Amal drained me of all the negative energy accumulated during the day, filling me up instead with positive thoughts about my well-being.

I upped the ante a bit on the fitness front, continuing to build up my workouts since my surgery, with three sessions in total at Psycle and a couple of sessions at Heartcore and the Harbour Club in between. No wonder I took so many pictures of health juices and smoothies!!!

I popped over to Paris for a conference with clients, only to discover I'd forgotten all of my make-up in my bag for the afore-mentioned Psycle class. Thankfully at 11pm you can always count on Sephora on the Champs-Elysees, and I must admit I went a bit wild with all the make-up available. Cue the palette overload picture...

Back in London I finally decided to go on a fitness bootcamp, something I'd been mulling over for a while... but was always too afraid to book. It's pretty daunting knowing I'll be heading for a week of almost non-stop workouts, all on my own, with no friends to joke around with, but for some reason a part of me thought I could  do it, and in fact I needed it. I'll be moving to Ibiza for a week in just over a month. Stay tuned for my photo diary and review post when I come back (if I  come back?)...

Soon enough, the long Bank Holiday week-end was upon us. Instead of heading out on the crowded roads on Friday night, we decided to keep with our usual family routine (children classes, morning work-outs) and instead we will be heading out to the Cotswolds for a couple of days later on. Means we got to enjoy two beautiful sunny, if chilly, days in London.

How about you, how was your week?

Baking brownies with Little Monsieur, the healthy way

If you have followed me these last few months, you know I've started a new journey where I'm trying to be healthier and fitter, working out  more and trying to favour healthier choices (most times...) Still, this doesn't mean I am ready to switch to a diet of herbs fit only for a rabbit. I still like meat (organic please), wine (French preferably), and of course I have a life-long love story with carbs that just isn't going to go away because I've decided I'm going to stick to one size only in my wardrobe: 10.

Thankfully the world abounds with healthy living cooks and instagrammers, some better than others, so it's easy to switch to healthier recipes for all the things I love. Sadly though, most clean-food desserts I've tasted have been quite revolting (I won't get into the details but as healthy becomes the new foodie, I have had my share at dinner parties...) but there are some exceptions...



So far, my favourite health-food blogger / writer has got to be Saskia Gregson-Williams, aka Naturally Sassy. She is all about eating what's good for you but also what tastes good... I love her blog and her Instagram feed, which lacks the professional editing and the deliciously boring self-infatuation that have annoyed me to no end with some other posters. Seeing as I don't go on social media to suffer other people's smugness with their perma-edited lives ("I only eat sugar-free locally sourced snacks..." of course we believe you!), I had to trim down my list of follows over time... Thankfully with Naturally Sassy, it's all about wonderful recipes that are truly amazing.

These are called her Best Vegan Brownies, they are dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free and egg free, and yet despite all of this, they totally deserve their name. Absolutely a-ma-zing. In fact, a few weeks ago I took a box into work thinking I'd offer the girls a healthy snack, but in the end everyone had some and the junk-food loving guys couldn't get enough of these...

What's inside? Dates for sweetness, chia seeds for proteins and to make this a filling snack, nut butter for smoothness, etc. For the full recipe, you'll have to go to her blog (you might find it difficult to leave after a bit though,...): find the recipe here. It literally takes no more than 20 minutes of prep, and that's including chopping the dates and getting the chia seeds ready.

Little Monsieur and I love making this recipe together, it's so fool proof, and it tastes truly scrumptious. He enjoys it with a scoop of nice cream, which I created for him: frozen banana, coconut milk, some lucuma powder, and a little bit of organic vanilla powder, blended until the  perfect smooth consistency. Bon appetit!

30/04/2016

Saturday's shopping list: Summer espadrilles

Bring on sunshine! With less than eight weeks to go until the Summer (according to  the calendar at   least), my mind has started to turn towards warmer days, and what to wear when these eventually arrive (or, to describe it more accurately, when I travel towards them, seeing as the London weather has decided to anticipate the Brexit and form a special, very close alliance with Greenland, it seems).

I am totally obsessed with espadrilles, in fact I think this season I've ordered a good four pairs, maybe five even, from crochet-lace ones to suede beauties, and of course I'm lusting after a couple more... totally ignoring the fact I may not have more than 10 days in total to wear raffia-soled shoes this year. If you're lucky, then you don't need to consider the fragility of raffia soles, as you would be living in a drier climate, but if, like me, you live in a country loved by rain, then be careful, as espadrilles soles then get soggy, the rope material expanding and becoming quite hazardous as you thread your way through the streets. Consider yourself warned...

In dry weather though, espadrilles are wonderful. They look fabulous with jeans, dresses, shorts, and of course they are a wonderfully stylish alternative  to flip-flops on the beach. If you haven't already picked your pair for this season, here's a selection of my favourites on the web right now. Go on, you know you want  to!



From middle left, clockwise:
- Lace-up khaki flatform espadrilles, Zara
- Suede espadrilles (also in blue, black, silver and gold), Aquazzura
- Pony-hair leopard print slip on espadrilles, Manebi
- Pompom espadrilles, Uterqüe
- Cap toe cutout work espadrilles, Michael by Michael Kors
- Multi-colour woven lace-up espadrilles, Manebi
- Pow denim slip-on espadrilles, Chiara Ferragni

PS: On a budget but still loving those Aquazzura babies? Check out these ones on ASOS, they are identical and come in  tan, blue and blood orange. Happy shopping!

24/04/2016

Thursday in the office: sunshine at my feet

Let's face it, classic corporate fashion for women is pretty uninspiring, from the ill-fitting "power dresses" to the boring pants and jacket suits, it's all very yawn... There are a few exceptions (The Fold for instance) but they are really limited.

Sadly this means one of two things usually: women either endure it and stick to a bland uniform, or they try to throw the corporate attire rulebook through the window, and suddenly go a little crazy and either turn up to the office dressed like they are read for the disco, or worst, a day lounging in their Uggs (true witnessed story)...


In my case, as you've probably figured out by now, I don't really follow the rules, not the ones of fashion magazines (they are written with 40kg giraffes in mind, I'm sure) nor the ones of the firm I've worked at for 12 years (I'm still wondering who those are written for...). Instead, I've found my own way, and it seems to work, at least I think so (most times!).

Last Thursday's outfit is very typical of how I pick my clothes: I usually start with the shoes... Of course, it doesn't matter much to me that the weather in London at the moment means furry boots would have been more suitable (ha, the irony!), there is always a certain time in the year where I decide it's time for open toe shoes with intricate detailing, and I think this year I got to that moment around the end of March. Thought to self: look into moving to Miami.



These sandals are absolutely wonderful, comfortable yet so cool with the cut-outs and the lacing in the front. I fell in love with their sunny colour and I love how they literally perk up any outfit. Jeans, a plain dress, or in this case, what could have been a very drab grey outfit.

This outfit is very comfortable and easy with the wool culottes and the cropped cotton sweater, but it would have been extremely dull had I not added the accessories. The shoes of course are an instant focus which draws the eye down, but I also made sure the accessories above ankle height were fabulous. My little Sac De Jour continues to be a favourite, I love the little structured look, it's classic and modern at the same time, and the smooth leather is to die for, especially in the navy. This size doesn't fit much to be honest, a bit like the Birkin 30, but how cute is it!?



Beyond a great handbag and some fabulous shoes, the best way to make an outfit interesting in the workplace is a wonderful scarf or shawl. Mine is one of my favourite designs by Hermès, it's called Portes du Palais, and I had it in the 90cm silk version in a couple of colours, but when it came in the large cashmere and silk version, I fell in love with this colour, it's just so fresh and makes the beautiful design all the more delicate-looking, not to mention this is a perfect year-rounder, which is a bit crucial given the price these babies have hiked to in recent years.



Obvioiusly the unseasonal chill of the last few days meant it was impossible to consider going without a jacket or a coat, so I opted for a double-breasted jacket, an oldie from a few years ago. It rounds up the blue pieces and keeps me warm, result!



Outfit details below:
- Grey high-waisted culottes, Club Monaco
- Grey crop knit top, ASOS
- Navy calf leather small Sac De Jour, Saint Laurent
- Yellow lace-up cut-out sandals, Rupert Sanderson
- Cashmere and silk shawl, Portes du Palais (SS2015), Hermès

20/04/2016

Little Madame's Pink and Gold party

My little baby girl turned one a few weeks ago... The proverbial flying of the time is even crazier with the second child, I've barely had a moment to breathe since she came home from hospital (let's not even talk about the hundreds of un-albumed pictures that need to be organised, ahem). Anyways, we had a little party to celebrate this key milestone, and, as you can see below, it was a bit someone had emptied a can of pink paint all over the house!


I wanted to go for a sweet and girlie theme, something simple given she hasn't yet shown a keen interest in any particular story or cartoon character. I also thought about keeping everything very girly, seeing as with her love of her brother's toys she is bound to demand a Cars themed party soon... So it was decided: pink and gold, with lots of tulle, confetti, and, the little ones favourites: balloons.


Ordering for this party was actually quite easy... The cake and cupcakes were delivered by Crumbs and Doilies, who specialise in the cutest cupcakes and some pretty cool celebration cakes. I fell in love with the cake, which was ombre inside and out... There's a picture of a gorgeous slice somewhere on my Instagram, check it out, it was the most precious thing ever! It was complemented by adorable mini cupcakes, both normal and gluten free.


The decorations were very easy to match. I ordered most of the items online, from the pompoms to the confetti, but I did insist on making a few of the decorations myself, buying a few yards of tulle to make a garland and some ornaments for the table and the jugs. The tableware is from a Meri Meri collection, and it was very easy to combine with little milk bottles and their pink stripe straws... The kids loved it all (I think!).


Food-wise, I added some pink candy, such as marshmallow poles, they were both delicious and adorable (not to mention fat-free!). I managed to sneak into Dylan's Candy Store when I was last in New York, so that allowed me to get some extra pink goodies. Pepto-Bismol shades galore!


Drinks were a very classic choice of homemade iced tea or champagne (rose) for the adults, and juices (watered down to keep the sugar contents down... just in case the candy and cupcakes weren't loaded as it was!) for the little ones, and we had berries to cut through all the sweetness of the cakes. I love nothing more than showcasing party food and drinks in my favourite glassware, such as my vintage cake stands, but this time what I am particularly happy about is the cluster of milk glass studded goblets, aren't they just magical?


If I'm honest though, most of those were for my pleasure and that of our more grown-up guests, but the party girl herself did take more than a keen interest in her balloons. I had to improvise when a delivery of confetti balloons flaked (ha...) and bought some clear balloons which we filled with a mix of confetti before Hubby Dearest went to town with the helium. She absolutely adored them...


Almost as much as she loved the mini balloons we filled for the floor for her to play with... that, I am positive, was her favourite gift of the day. Just look at my happy baby playing with her balloons...


Voila, our party for our little princess, what do you think?

Just some ideas for a similar look:
- Confetti balloons, Pretty Little Party Shop
- Tulle pompoms, set of 3, Party Pieces
- Cake and cupcakes, Crumbs and Doilies

15/04/2016

Friday casual... Bring on Spring!!

I know what you are going to say: it has been ages... I know. I wish I could give you an update on some grand project that has kept me busy etc. but the reality is I've just been busy with life: children, fitness, work, and, something a little new to me: networking...

I have never been one to build relationships for the sake of knowing people, usually it's been a side-effect of work or friendships, so networking doesn't come to me naturally, but I've been pushing myself and I am becoming better at it! Especially as it is quite enjoyable! You should try it...



In the midst of all this, Spring has sprung in London, although you wouldn't believe it if today's weather is anything to go by. I woke up to pouring rain and it seems I will go to bed listening to it drop on my window panes. Hence the coat and cashmere top. Still, I don't like to surrender to the elements so obviously I had to wear sandals today.

Reason would have suggested boots, or at least closed toe shoes, but it felt like a blocked-heel sandal would be a much better fit for today's super long flared jeans. I guess, in the interest of full disclosure, I should point that I don't walk much in my commute, as I drive my car into the closed car park at work and then just walk around the building and surrounding galleries of Canary Wharf... otherwise the bottom of my jeans would have been positively soaked through.



On the topic of my jeans, I am finding myself deviating a little bit these days from my usual cuts: I still adore my skinnies, but this season I am also craving flares, either super long or semi cropped. I can't say they make me look very tall, but they are a great change and I like the 1970s feel of the long flares.



Accessories-wise, I went super-size. First with my new cashmere and silk shawl from Hermès: it's called Tyger Tyger, it's from the SS2016 collection, and it features a gorgeous tiger. It's still not my grail Tigre Royal, but I fell in love with the green and bronze colours, they are such a perfect match for so many of my Summer classics, I couldn't pass on it.



Second, with my Thela bag by Meli Melo. I had been lusting after this bag for a few months (a strategy I now use a lot since making a couple of costly bag purchase mistakes a while back) and recently got it from the Notting Hill studio. It's quite unique with it's inverted handle position, and the shoulder strap makes handling the large size super practical. I had originally planned to get the Medium size, but the Large is simply perfect for me, it's great for everyday hauling of all my little bits and bobs.


For more details on today's outfit, see below:
- Boot flare jeans in dark wash, Paige Denim
- Cashmere tee-shirt in khaki, J.Crew Collection
- Camel cape, mine is from a few seasons ago at Max Mara, this one at Hobbs is close
- Cashmere and silk shawl, Tyger Tyger by Hermès
- Handbag,  Thela in Tan, large size, by Meli Melo
- Leopard print pony-skin sandals, Vanessa Bruno

07/03/2016

Mother's Day... Ready for lunch with family and friends!

It might be less than 15 days until Spring, but let me tell you London felt very wintry yesterday morning when my two little laughing and kicking alarm clocks arrived in our bedroom demanding for Sunday fun to begin (the smaller one, carried by her Daddy, who was kind enough to let me sleep in a bit)... when really all I wanted to do was crawl deeper under the duvet and snooze until the temperature hits levels which will allow me to store my coats for at least six months!

And I'm sure this is a feeling that I shared with quite a few mothers up and down the UK today: it might be your very own officially appointed Sunday, but you still get up early to cater to your little ones' needs, and what's best? You actually enjoy it (mostly).


Just like Valentine's, I'm not a very big fan of officially appointed celebration dates, especially considering how and why Mothering Sunday started in some countries... but still, I was excited to see Little Monsieur's painstakingly written wishes on a sweet little card and my new school-made heart-shaped plate charger. Adorable.

Besides from that, we didn't have any big plans, apart from a relaxed lunch with friends of ours, and so after Little Madame returned from her swimming lesson we got ready to go out in the frosty weather. The children wore their warmest puffer jackets and pilot suits, and I reached for my favourite Sunday look: layers...


Cashmere, silk, sheepskin, more cashmere... cozy, warm and comfortable, That's pretty much what this outfit is about. The over-the-knee boots are a great find and an interesting story: I had been walking past this little shop in Madison Avenue, around 80th St I think, for years, and lusting after these boots, but every single time I walked in to try them on my calves didn't allow the suede leg anywhere near my knee... Until, that is, I lost quite a few kgs, courtesy of my new diet and work-out routine, meaning suddenly my calves are a normal size and they fit in these beauties! I'm doubly happy about this because they are so comfy and light to wear, despite the little wedge. Sadly they are non branded so I can't offer up a link on them, only some close lookalike...


As you know, I like my family day handbags to be stylish (obviously) but mostly practical and hands-free if possible, which is why I grabbed this beauty, it's my last acquisition from Milli Millu, from their AW2015 collection. It's quite roomy for a bag which fits so neatly against my body, and the long strap means I can wear it on one shoulder or across body, meaning it didn't get in the way of me carrying Little Madame down to the restaurant for lunch. It also has a short clutch strap if I want  to use it for more grown-up affairs.





Outfit details below:
- Curly toscana gilet, sold out now, but Gushlow & Cole have a similar look
- Skinny high waisted jeans, Paige Denim
- Cream cashmere cable knit jumper, Club Monaco
- Silk print scarf (L'Arbre de Vie), Hermès
- Cashmere cable scarf, N.Peal
- Cross body Berlin handbag in taupe and beige grained leather, Milli Millu (you can get 15% off on any order today with code MMLILAC15)
- Over-the-knee beige boots, unbranded from a shop on Madison Avenue, these Daisy Street ones are close

06/03/2016

So, how was your week?

I know I've been away from the blogosphere a bit, but I'm sure some of you are following my little ramblings on Instagram, which is such an easier social media to keep up with, don't you think?

This week is a perfect illustration of how diverse my life can be sometimes... I started off last week-end feeling like I'd been hit by a truck post surgery, when I spent basically a full week-end in bed trying to get back to my usual self.


Soon enough it was time to get on with my job, in this case a roadshow which took me from Mayfair to New York in less than 30 hours... And yet my visit to the Big Apple was so speedy I didn't even have time to fit in a visit to Bergdorf's. Booh.

Thankfully big  work weeks like this one tend to go by really fast, and on Friday night I was glad to start the week-end with a most mesmerizing performance by Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall for Amaluna (if you've not seen this one, you must, it's so beautiful). Saturday and Sunday were all about family time, lazy time and food prepping time, as always... Boring but good. As I like it.

By the way, I'm on a little gym ban hence the lack of pictures of sneakers and leggings, but I've been missing the adrenaline so I'm definitely going back from this week! Watch my Insta. xxx

05/03/2016

Saturday's shopping list: Spring ready lingerie

Hello everyone... and sorry for the few days of silence: as you know we were on holiday in Courchevel then last week I had a little surgery, nothing serious but I was quite sore for a few days, and then this week work was a bit busy. Anyways, I'm back, and I am so happy to see it's March already! Happy enough to feel excited about the new collections, although of course it's absolutely freezing outside so it's mainly wishful thinking to be ordering sandals and broderie dresses...

So, since I'm not going to be wearing that gorgeous floral print Reformation dress anytime soon, let me tell you what else I've been buying lately: lingerie. This season, I'm obsessed with brightly coloured lacy underwear, bras, briefs, thongs, if it comes in coral, amethyst, acid yellow, orange, I want it. I've picked up some of my favourites for this Spring, see what you think...




From top left, clockwise:
- Purple floral lace bra, Wacoal
- Orange dip-dye briefs, Stella McCartney
- Pink plumetis hipster briefs, Princesse Tam Tam
- Yellow push-up bra, Princesse Tam Tam
- Purple and pink lace demi bra, L'Agent by Agent Provocateur
- Pink contour bra, Stella McCartney
- Set of stretch lace low-rise thongs, Hanky Panky
- Chevron lace bra in mint green, Cosabella
- Peach lace plunge bra, Victoria's Secret
- Orange lace briefs, Simone Pérèle

10/02/2016

Wednesday's beauty essential: A facial with Nataliya Robinson

Following some numerous comments on this page and my Facebook page about the quality of my complexion, I thought it was time to write a little post about a recent-ish discovery I have made in the beauty department. Of course, quite a bit of my good complexion on my outfits posts is down to really good make-up (at my age, with my life, you have to wear make-up or you look quite drained and sallow...) but a good lifestyle and regular visits with a top-notch facialist are just as important. And, if you live in London, you probably know that finding a quality facialist is tantamount to looking for a nice two-bedroom flat in SW7 for a reasonable price...

Imagine my joy when I heard about Nataliya Robinson and her magical facials... I promptly got in touch and booked my first appointment at the end of last Summer. Her salon is a converted little mews house in the heart of Chelsea, tucked just off a quiet road, which enhances the feeling of relaxation that embraces you the second you walk in. The treatment room itself is small but perfectly formed, with the most comfortable bed you can imagine: you literally get wrapped in a cocoon of softness as Nataliya observes your skin and devises the perfect treatment for you, meaning there is no standard facial here, everything is bespoke and adapted to the skin's condition on the day. 

Her facials include a mix of potent techniques, from exfoliation to extractions (sorry, but I am still to see an extraction-free treatment which is truly worthwhile...), including masks, drainage, massage... If your skin needs it, you name it, Nataliya will work your skin through it and you will walk out with a cleared beautiful complexion.



Last time I visited, I had micro-dermabrasion to shed any lifestyle-induced dullness, and then Nataliya added a bout of radiofrequency to my facial, to help promote firmness by making the deeper layers of my skin work a bit harder than usual to produce collagen. It might be a bit early to see any sagging jowls on my face, but prevention is better than correction! She also gave a couple of little millia (milky white spots) on my cheeks their marching orders with a little needle, before applying her usual soothing masks and serums. 

A few months ago on the other hand, my skin needed some deep cleansing, so I had a green peel, packed with natural ingredients including nettle which made my skin sting for a couple of days following my treatment but which left me with luminous virtually pore-free skin.

Nataliya has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to skincare, and she shares her advice freely through the treatment, lifestyle, diet and otherwise. She is the one who recommended I take starflower oil capsules to address my hormonal break-outs, the kind of angry and ugly red spots one gets around that time of the month... I've seen a serious improvement since I started taking them. 

If you are a lucky Londoner, you can book with Nataliya directly via her website... her facials are by appointment only and from about £160, which is well worth the clearer skin afterwards. For more details check out her website: www.nataliyarobinson.co.uk or call 0 777 454 4455,

09/02/2016

Tuesday's perfect mix of cozy and corporate

Looking at these pictures, there is no doubting that the British Isles are being totally battered by storm Imogen, it's been so windy these couple of days the contact alarm on our house went out twice on Sunday night... so of course my hair looks an absolute mess on today's photos. But hey ho, I wanted to do a post about today's utterly comfortable yet a bit stylish outfit, so it had to be done!


You know how some days you wake up wishing you could wear your duvet to work? Yet, unless you work in a mattress testing capacity, that isn't really an option... so, for a close experience, let me suggest what I wore today.

Step one, pick some impeccably tailored yet slightly (I insist on the word "slightly", it's quite key) loose trousers.  These ones are made of 100% Italian wool, and I've had them for years yet they still look immaculate. Step two, find an oversize but cropped jumper in the softest lightest cashmere you can afford: don't go too warm, or you'll sweat at your desk before you know it, and that's not an elegant look for anyone. Step three, cut the grey with a typical banker stripe shirt, but on no account tuck it in.


There you have it, the basis for a most comfortable look for a day in the office: I think it's called relaxed tailoring, I just call it the closest to duvet you can get away with without getting fired for mis-reading the dress code (not that getting fired wouldn't be an entirely desirable outcome, come to think of it... ahem, sorry I digress).


Of course, you can't accessorize this with some fugly masculine flats (sorry, I just can't) and a branded gym bag you got from your analyst training... No. For me, what makes this outfit total game for a work day is exactly that: accessorizing with killer pieces which bring the feminine out, with a capital F s'il vous plait... My suede heels are by an old favourite of mine, Rupert Sanderson, and the model is called the Ariel I think: it has a gorgeous slightly curve heel which makes it a bit  more special than the somewhat ubiquitous Malory. And they are super comfy, of course (that is the theme of this post, hadn't you noticed).


You will have recognised my little navy Sac De Jour from previous outfit posts, but I have given it a little embellishment for the Winter, in the form of a fun little fur pompom. How cute and playful is that? Its colour is a perfect match to Little Madame's snowsuit hood, I can't wait to wear it on my outings with her next week in the Alps!


Outfit details below:
- Grey wool tailored trousers, J.Crew
- Cashmere blend patch pocket cropped sweater, Frame Denim
- Silk striped shirt, Equipment (mine is from an older collection)
- Coat, Uniqlo (from a couple of years ago)
- Navy suede pumps, Rupert Sanderson
- Sac de Jour in dark navy, Saint Laurent

07/02/2016

So, how was your week?

February has started in full stride, and I'm still documenting my week's goings on on Instagram, and this week I kept my resolve to push all the negativity away and really focus on moving onward and hopefully upward!

I did manage to take a few (too many?) pictures of my food, which is a nice way to share healthy clean recipes, such as green smoothies, my week-end porridge, which I love topping up with fruity compotes and nuts these days... Thankfully I didn't spend my week just eating! Just take a look below...


I  also managed to pack six work-outs in my week: two sessions at Psycle (which I managed to blog about finally!), one burning class at Kobox, a little Pilates with Giada at Heartcore, and of course my weekly Saturday morning with Nadine. This morning, I had originally planned to go back to Kobox, as I love Maciella's classes, but my whole body was so sore it felt smarter to go for a session at The Power Yoga Company: a warmer practice, focused on a more energetic yoga with quick transitions. So still a work-out, but one where I had time to focus on my breath and stretching my muscles. And, as I sit here typing this post, it feels like that was the right decision, as I am starting to feel my legs again, just in time for tomorrow's Psycle ride...!

I did do a little bit of shopping in the last few days, as evidenced by post Number 2 in this week's Instagram feed, and to be fair that, together with the endorphins from sports, has been a great boost to my morale. But then for an extra good mood lifter, I spent Friday mostly at home, where I could enjoy my little baby girl almost un-disturbed (bar the odd conference call, you can't change a leopard's spots etc.) Look at her trying to reach for my fashion coffee table books!

At the week-end it was mainly about family, we went down to the Hurlingham club for Saturday afternoon, in matching New Balance shoes for Little Monsieur and me, and then I took the bull by the horns and gave my bathroom drawers a massive clear-out and reorganisation, before giving the same treatment to my activewear drawer. It felt so wonderful to clear all the clutter it warranted a little treat, so I took off to SpaceNK for new skincare...

Next week we'll be wandering off  to the French Alps for mid-term, hence my #ThrowBackThursday post about last year's ski holidays with bump; I don't need to tell you how much I'm looking forward to actually doing some skiing this year! And that, my friends, was my week in pictures. How about you? How was your week?

04/02/2016

How Psycle changed my mind about indoor cycling

I hate spinning. There, it’s out there. The only spinning class I attended was over ten years ago, at the David Lloyd gym that I used to frequent lazily before marriage, babies, and life took a swirling pace which ultimately left me quite unfit and a couple of numbers above my ideal dress size (if I only knew then what I know now…) And that spinning class was simply horrible, boring, exhausting and truly put me off spinning for good.

So, when Nadine, aka the wonderful trainer who puts me through my paces on the Model Method at ThePilatesPT, suggested I try Psycle for a great cardio work-out in a super convenient format (45 minutes sessions, just a couple minutes away from my office), I snorted, then vehemently vowed I would never set my bottom on a stationary bike out of my own accord. Ha ha. All it took was a free class which one of my younger (and fitter, dare I admit it) colleagues signed me up for in late December, and I was hooked. Really. Since then, I have been at least twice a week, sometimes more if my schedule allows it.



What’s the hype? The work-out is unlike anything I had imagined. The room is dark with neon lights, very much like a nightclub (I know, this is quite the trend it seems, see my post on Kobox), only the floor is occupied by rows of stationary bikes and instead of a “DJ booth” there is a little platform with a bike with some overhead lighting for the instructor, so the class can follow what is going on. After I manage to click my special shoes on the pedals, something which took me a few sessions of practice, I’ll admit (don’t judge, yesterday I did a class where the guy next to me gave up unclipping the shoes and just left them there, so it is a common issue at first…), I start pedaling to warm up, and, as soon as the session starts we are all told to follow the beat: right, left, right, and so on. And that, my darlings, is what I love about this class: between pedaling to the beat and the rhythmic upper body movements, this looks and feels very much like dancing on a bike. If you’re the instructor or one of the expert trainees, that is… In my case I think I must look more like a spastic seal dripping in sweat trying to cycle for dear life, but who cares, it’s dark and I’m not here to look good!

Each of the classes I have been to includes some speed intervals (to get the heart going and the little chubby pockets melting, thank you very much), strength work where you push the resistance of the bike up until your legs pretty much refuse to push, and lots of fun upper body work including some weights towards the end. Throughout, the instructor reminds you to stay focused and let go of whatever negativity has crowded your day, a welcome reminder in my case, seeing as my mind tends to drift back to mull over grey thoughts, pretty much all the time. I have come to think of some of the sections as meditation, on a bike. Each instructor has their own playlist and gives a different vibe to the class, after a few visits I know which ones suit me best. By the end of 45 minutes it feels like my whole body has been given a pretty hard ride inside a tumble-dryer, but the sense of achievement and peace is pretty high!



By the way, the space in itself is pretty fantastic as well, very modern and sleek in an industrial kind of way. They have the coolest (if a bit small at crowded times) changing rooms I have seen in a while, complete with Bumble & Bumble products and GHDs for all the hair-conscious riders out there, and lockers which are big enough to accommodate my massive LLBean tote with all my day’s necessities, and then some. As you come out there is a little energy kitchen where you can order some pretty delicious restorative smoothies, perfect for a breakfast on the go after my Thursday morning session when I don’t really have time for much more before heading to the office.

If you’re looking for a super effective and convenient work-out to fit around your busy schedule, then Psycle is for you.  The classes are available to purchase online by packages with no membership fee, so it's not too onerous to try a couple to see if this is your thing; you can book online, the schedules go online every Monday at lunchtime (a pretty popular time for the website which did crash this week!). Don’t be put off by how tough the first class will seem, by class two it will already be much easier and at class five you’ll be breezing through (sort of…)

Check it out here: http://psyclelondon.com/

02/02/2016

Tuesday... It's February so surely it's ok to bring a ski sweater to work?

Hurray, January is over, welcome February! Just as drab and cold, but interspersed with romance (of the commercial variety, but still), new collection launches, and of course, my favourite, holidays in the snow...

I am literally counting the days until we leave London for a few days on the beautiful slopes of Courchevel. So yes, if today's outfit is anything to go for, I might be just a tiny bit obsessed with thoughts of après-ski, spiced tea, and, yes, the obligatory cheesy dish (Nadine, if you're reading, I am allowed a little treat here and there, right?)


Today's jumper was love at first sight, from the moment I saw it on a window in the middle of a sweltering August day... The braiding detail, together with the pristine colour, I was hooked. I thought a while about what to wear it with for the office, and whilst the outfit I ended up with might not be a winner for all, I have to say I loved it. Mainly because it felt so comfortable and different.


Intuitively the grey flannel culottes and coat look like an easy match for the jumper, and they even match the body and flaps of my handbag. Grey and white, easy. But then you'd have expected me to wear this with my grey flannel Louboutin simple pumps, instead I went in a completely different direction and opted for these animal print lace-ups instead. You have to agree, they pop! But what I loved about this is how they turn a pretty safe outfit into something far more fun altogether...


Anyways, back on the culottes for a moment: still my favourite alternative to classic trousers or skirts, so convenient and easy. I hope they don't go back out of fashion, or I risk becoming one of those people who is unfashionably in their own style... We shall see.


I topped up with a now old favourite from my coat closet, my wool trench coat from the Burberry AW2011 collection. It is the perfect investment piece, and the military tailored style doesn't really go out of fashion, allowing me to wear it on and on. In fact Burberry make a few versions of this coat every season, a derivative from the traditional mac, and look how cool it still looks, all those decades later.









See below for outfit details:
- Off-white roll neck jumper with braid detailing, Karen Millen
- Grey culottes, Club Monaco, look at these by ASOS for the same look
- Coat, Burberry, this Tomas Maier one is very close (and on sale!)
- Lace-up Alice booties, in Hyena, Charlotte Olympia
- Bag, Céline at Vestiaire Collective
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