Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Scarf Magic

I'm checking in shortly today as tomorrow we leave for the house in the country - my husband's grandparents' place in Croatia, for a long weekend of garden frolicking and barbecues. Sadly, grandma and grandpa left us last year and it will be really strange spending time there without them but in a way it will also be as if they are there still, in spirit, nodding approvingly at the house being filled with children's laughter again. My older daughter remembers them well and all the love and care that were bestowed upon her there since day one. It's sad that my younger child will not experience that but we'll try and keep the legacy alive at least by regularly visiting the place and recreating some of the unique atmosphere.

I recently stumbled upon the magic that is Laniakea scarfs on Facebook and was blown away by the design and look of these beauties. Designed and printed in the UK with the final touches done by hand in Belgrade, they are silk and glorious with hand-rolled edges and wonderful colorways.
My personal favorite is below, but do check their website for the whole collection. The price may seem a bit on the high end, but for silk scarves and with such unique design - they are ending up on my wish list for sure.

I woke up on Easter island

Their FB page boasts the following spirit:


Worth checking out. My love of scarves know no bounds, I love them as accessories all year round, but there is decluttering to be done in that wardrobe department as well! For now, though, I'm just going to look forward to travelling and enjoying life with the family - priorities!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Box

As in the telly, gogglebox, the tube, idiot box. I love watching television. There, I've said it. Sounds blasphemous, I know, but I really do, even though I will never, apparently, become a millionaire because of it. You see, millionaires and uber successful people in general do not watch television. Boring!

I am a child of the eighties and TV was a big part of my growing up. It was truly a window to the world, albeit a very special one. TV was where all the earth's flora and fauna lived (Survival, Bellamy), where the Greek myths unraveled before our eyes, secrets of ancient Egypt and pharaohs' tombs were explained and few but very good quality children's TV shows provided indispensable information about the world we were growing up in. Oh, and the obligatory cartoon at 19:15h every evening. A pretty simple fare, as you can see.

The nineties brought the atrocities of civil war in the ex-Yugoslavia live on the small screens and into our homes. I swapped the grim reality for MTV as it once was, with Ray Cokes shows and cool videos, making my growing up all about the Seattle grunge, a perfect backdrop to the angst of the world and the angst of my teenage years.

The nineties also honed my taste for TV shows - a good mix of crime and thriller with a sprinkling of a documentary. Feature films - not so much, at least TV is not my go to medium for these. I much prefer the cinema. As you can imagine from the above, I gorged myself on Sherlock, Poirot, NYPD Blue, Law&Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, Inspector Morse, etc.

Of course, as any teenager, I also devoured shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, My So-Called Life (a clear favorite) and Dawson's Creek. Many a night was spent dreaming of Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano and me wishing for Angela's (Claire Danes) cool hair color and haircut.

The noughties and the onslaught of stupid reality TV didn't affect my choices much. I just learned to filter, so no Big Brother for me. It was more CSI (in all its incarnations), Midsomer Murders, The Medium, NCIS, and the like. But the noughties also brought us the holly grail of chick TV - Sex and the City, which for me goes on a par with any of the famous sleuths whose adventures I religiously followed.

It is during the two pregnancies and the ensuing maternity leaves that I've spent many an (odd) hour in front of the box. Cooped up with the baby (both were born in the fall which meant I spent the better part of their first four months indoors), it was one of the things to do without interrupting much of their habits/behavior. The TV also provides constant noise, chatter, illusion of something important happening which saved me from going crazy with a newborn more than a few times.

Interestingly enough, I turned my attention to reality TV in these periods of my life. The first time around, I loved Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, while these days I'm more about How Do I Look?, Dress My Nest, Say Yes to The Dress, What Not To Wear and Love It or List It Vancouver. These shows are really only light entertainment but bring with them a good story and a touch of  interior decorating magic (e.g. Dress My Nest). Some of the presenters like Stacey London (What Not To Wear) and Tom Filicia (Dress My Nest) I've grown to really appreciate and like for their wit, insight and useful advice.

I want to be Claire Underwood when I grow up!
Recently, it was Homeland, new Sherlock and The Silent Witness, as well as two political dramas - the Danish Borgen and the House of Cards - that rocked my TV boat. I can't wait for the 5th season of Homeland (will the Clare Danes/Rupert Friend thing take off, or will there be a new guy for Carrie?), as well as the follow-up to the House of Cards - Francis finally made it to the White House and who wouldn't kill for Claire's wardrobe and that haircut?!?!?!

But what I'm really looking forward to is the Sherlock New Year special which will see the detective and his trusty sidekick go back in time as the original Arthur Conan Doyle heroes. Martin Freeman grew a mustache for the role, while Benedict got himself married and with a newborn - that must have softened those steely eyes a bit, right?

In the meantime, summer days are spent enjoying the latest season of Bones (hello David Boreanaz, you will always be the Angel to my haven't mentioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have I? Uh, guilty pleasure ;) and Castle. With a healthy sprinkling of the Sex and the City reruns - it's summer in New York and Carrie is cheating on Aidan with Big - my favorite episodes.

Monday, 20 July 2015


This God awful heat is doing nothing for me, I tell you, nothing! It was ok for a day or two, but after four days of temperatures not going down below 30 degrees Celsius even during the night, I've had enough. The scorching atmosphere is conducive to nothing - sleeping, getting dressed up, making an effort, styling your hair, just nothing. The only advantage is that it is not conducive to eating either - small blessings ;)
My brain is working though, even if in a heat-induced stupor. There are issues to ponder, important stuff you know, like - after having decided on the bottoms (trousers and skirts), as well as dresses, for my back-to-school wardrobe, I realized that the one category of clothing sourly missing from my closet is tops! Yes people, tops! And I think I know why: after spending a few years buying any t-shirt, shirt, blouse that I stumbled upon at the sales, and after these have all pilled, sagged or just become ill-fitting (if they ever fitted me properly in the first place), I decided I didn't have the skills requisite for purchasing proper tops and I gave up. 
What that left me with are a few mariniere style shirts with both 3/4 and short sleeves, a bunch of tatty t-shirts and several cotton Zara tops, in navy, peach and dusty pink. Another thing - my body changed a lot after my first pregnancy, going from 'I can't fit any of my clothes', to 'this is soooo big I can hide a horse and a cart underneath' and all the stages in between. That meant that I stuck stubbornly to some of the pre-pregnancy pieces that I liked but that never really worked after the baby, especially in the boobs department.
Tops are almost like an accessory part of the outfit to me. I like simple bottoms. Whether it's a skirt or a pant, simple cuts, basic colors and no frills materials appeal to me. With the tops, however, I like to see them pack a punch, either with color or an intricate pattern. The real problem is - I don't like tops to cost much! I feel like good trousers or an elegant jacket are a much better investment since they pull an outfit together and make you look more polished. Tops - they are there for the fun of it, they usually don't last more than a couple of seasons, thus - I cannot justify an exorbitant price tag for what is essentially a glorified t-shirt. 
And now we come to the real issue here - if I don't want to blow my budget, what I'm offered is either cotton tops, which just don't wear well and get saggy quickly and have to be washed after each wear, or I have to settle for polyester! God forbid, if you ask me! Risking sounding too snobby, I just don't do synthetics. It itches, it creates static, it goes on my nerves and I don't like the feel of it.
Difficult much? Yes and no. I am definitely not splurging for silk or fine knits this year, so I got down to business and scoured the net and the sales in search of something acceptable. Here's what I've come up with:

1. A patterned, viscose blouse which ticks all the boxes for me - fun details, a flattering cut, color that go with much of my wardrobe.


2. A two-tone cotton t-shirt with an interesting pattern and a powerful color.


3. A basic shirt, in cream, communicates timeless, summer style.


4. Teal and flowers - one of my favorite combinations.


5. Again, a pattern with an amazing combination of colors - white, rust, ochre, teal.


5. This is an afterthought, but I couldn't skip it - a perfect, striped cardigan:


Now I just need to get to the stores and star trying stuff out - I used to be a hit-and-run shopper, just mindlessly racing to the register with anything that caught my fancy, without bothering to enter the changing rooms and have a proper look at myself. Not any more - no money to burn, thank you very much. Will report back with the results.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Bling Bling

With the impending return to the coalface and the daily grind, my mind inevitably turns to wardrobe issues. I have to switch gears and go from playground mommy with cute but often smeared outfits (courtesy of my very own baby:) to office appropriate. And it will not be easy, but I won't lie - I will enjoy it! I like my play clothes primarily for their comfort, but there is only so much of the sneaker/jeans or shorts/birks combinations a girl can stand.
Apart from the actual outfits (which merit a post or two of their own), I find myself fretting over the jewelry section of my not-so-large wardrobe. It has grown, considerably, over the past few years. Some additions more valuable and pricey than others, mostly costume jewelry pieces though and many gifts from the hubby and friends. The emotional value of these pieces is what makes it so difficult for me to try and downsize some so that the whole collection is more manageable and that it allows me easy access and decision-making in the morning rush. 
I've cracked the problem somewhat before the baby girl arrived last fall. Knowing that for months I will be mostly house-trapped and surgically attached to the little one, I culled both my wardrobe and my bling leaving only those easy pieces that I knew would come into play for that instant pulled together look on the odd occasion that would see me leave home and look presentable someplace. The rest of the bling is neatly stashed on the highest shelf of my wardrobe patiently awaiting resurrection from the box.

Most of the things I selected as go-to items for the first year of the baby's life that I'm spending on maternity leave actually got worn, though some more than others. Exhibit A - this cocktail ring which I received as a birthday present last year from my best friend. It's a unique piece from blown glass made in Italy and I find it so special yet so versatile and matching almost everything in my wardrobe. I like a good sized cocktail ring - I have long fingers and nice-looking hands (still) so I don't shy away from showing them off. This is a keeper for my back-to-work combinations for sure.

This charm bracelet was also a last-year birthday gift from a dear friend and it made the cut in many combinations. Although it primarily feels like a summer piece, jangling away with beads and charms, it also has that edgy, leather/metal combination look that got me to wear it during colder months as well. The orange/tobacco colorway helps as well as it goes with most items in my wardrobe.

Desigual bracelets! OMG! The hubby recently visited Barcelona on business and, as requested, he came back with Desigual dresses for me and my elder daughter, however, the store threw in a surprise with the purchase so I received a trio of bracelets as an extra. There is the thinnest, lilac one missing, but it just does not get as much wear as these two. They fit well at a certain point on my forearms and don't come down clanking and banging onto stuff as I wear them, which I find a nuisance especially when I'm seated at a desk or typing at the computer. They get worn almost daily and I love them!

This bracelet was also a random present from the same friend who brought me the cocktail ring from Italy (what can I say, she's a gem ;) and I love it! It's made of recycled bicycle parts (that's what I gathered anyway) and is so edgy and cool that I ended up wearing it more often than I initially thought I would. Keeping it in the work wardrobe though - I'm not sure. This is the summeriest and most casual of all these pieces so I think it will be relegated to the box, waiting for the next spring/summer season.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Life Lately

Talk about a blog hiatus! With a six-year old and a baby, pretty much everything else in my life had to take a backseat for a while, including this space which has been sadly neglected for eight months :( After the first nerve-wracking three months with the newborn, just as we were sailing into the new year, life got a bit easier, and at the same time so much more intensive and required my full-on, full-time presence and involvement in everything that was going on in the now household of four.
At the same time, I was slowly getting back to myself, a lot easier this time around than after my first pregnancy, although not without a few hiccups. Taking time to care for myself did the trick. I started pilates in February and I can safely say now that it has made me fell better in my own skin than anything else I tried both before and after the pregnancies. I can really feel the muscles that have come back and, barring the odd spare tire around my waste, that is still persistent in lingering on despite the almost six pack beneath it ;) I feel so much stronger, more flexible and like I own this wondrous instrument that is my body and that it is serving me well. Walking around with the baby in tow for a few kilometers every day helps as well, just as a recent fortnight by the sea did.