Friday, April 29, 2011

Must have a rant!

So here I am today out to hit the shops (after the double smooch obviously) and whilst at the Lancome coutner at a largest department store in Rotterdam the strangest thing happen.

No it wasnt the massive in your face cleavage from the sales counter lady (although I am all for flaunting one's assets - I do but not in a in your face full one embarassing for even us girls kind of way) but when I asked her if there were any samples of Secret de Vie products she kind of gave me this chuckle, awkward laugh thing.

I should have then and there said so terribly sorry did I say something that was funny. How silly of me to think that one might want to test a product of a particular quality and price point to see if it suits my skintype after all we Dutch arent known for our customer service skills let alone the after-sales ones of that genre. Perhaps if more ridiculous to think Lancome Holland wants to sell this product no surely they are being purchased like hotcakes and only I could think that a personal test would be appropriate.

The silly thing in the end was me - I didnt say anything but instead left with my tail between my legs for being so stupid to ask this question. So I will stick to my Genefique and Reenergie products and maybe consider other purchases somewhere where customer service is actually present or the sales counter staff is just friendly, helpful and not ueber full of themselves. There I feel better - I got it out...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Calling all Men!

Maybe sometimes I focus too much on female fashion sights around me but not today! See I love guys experimenting with fashion, finding their own style all of that but boys come on ... there are some points to take into consideration that cause fashion fury to us outsiders. Here my top five list of fashion donts for the boys!

1) backpacks for boys
I understand, its practical - get it but come one no adult man should look like 12 year old school boy. Like today in the train even a Louis Vuitton version cant make it any better. Please boys embrace the man bag, it can totally make you look cool and there are so many versions that there will definitely be one out there to suit every single one of you.

2) male cleavage
Ok so this one not all of you even wager a shot at and thanks for that! I admit the majority of these having only been spotted the reluctant pop star with the ueber cool attitude. It is this attitude that on the one hand you need to even consider trying the look and on the other hand makes it totally unattractive. Because the male cleavage screams to every girl out there - hey baby I got it going on - admittedly you might but that's what might just scares us away too cool for school.

3)  jewellery
I pity the fool who stool my jewellery as Chandler kindly pointed out to Joey. Please guys there are the cool rocker accessories that I totally dig and I do sympathize that I can do my statement necklaces, rings, earrings, you name we girls have the whole lot to choose from but I am of the opinion that men are best to limit self experience through bling bling. A watch, a ring (always a great to see if someone is in fact otherwise attached) and a cufflink or two - ok maybe a stretch to be called jewellery but I needed to come with an even 3.

4) too short trousers
Ages ago in London these girls without knowing that I was Dutch said that we Dutch always wear our trousers too short. I thought they must be confused after all I was too short to wear my trousers without the remote fear of getting them wet but then I started to pay more attention and it is true our trousers are just too short. So this morning on the platform - there he was tall, slim great suit and way too short trousers. Personally I blame the tailor - someone should have said no.

5) fashion statement socks
This is a UK thing after all amongst all those pinstripes there has to be a little colour in a man's life. The English find it in their socks - red, purple, bright blue all in all shocking. The worst example a colleague who wore cartoon variations. I love the idea of fashion spirit and maybe I should be grateful that they arent white but come one purple isnt really a step up.

oh and 5+ labels on suits - this is my bonus number for the list. why oh why do men leave the label on the outside of the suit. I love that you are proud that is a certain brand or a material but just think how special it would be if it wasnt in BIG letters on the outside. So please if only one lesson to be learnt - no labels...


Fab Royal Wedding Items

Obviously anyone with a high romantic streak or just a royal watcher in the making is getting all geared up for Friday as it is THE WEDDING. Now after my sister went to London and spotted some ueber funny commervative gifts I had to put together a little best of list - all thanks John Lewis

1) a little touch of glass sorry I mean class if you are as me celebrating with champagne than this might be for you

 2) if all you are looking forward to is tha LOOONNNG weekend

 3) if you are gutted he will be off the market

4) or finally if it just doesnt matter and you secretly have a Harry crush

Any which way - hope you have a great day!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Confusing...

This happens to me every begin of spring - all these questions, with or without tights, blisters how to avoid them, too soon to wear white, all white and how to mask those bright lights legs without going too fake tan frenzy-ish. See too many questions to even begin to know what to do with.

So my only hope... inspiration - anywhere I can find it, flicking through magazines which only gets me distracted by the amazing new skin or hair on the models or the latest IT bag that has me at a loss for words and still no closer to find that ideal balance of light, bright spring wear but still suitable for work. Its tricky - but this year I am excited. I have done the research and think I am work spring wardrobe savy and here is the plan...

Image 1 of Warehouse Colour Block Wrap Dress1) Colour blocking
great colourful dresses that I can combine with a colourful jacket for work and take off for after. The colourful jacket then also works amazingly well with neutrals that I still have in my closet

2) Maxi's

No hiding the light bright skin under bad 3/4 leggings that are just wrong in some many ways. Floaty skirts and dresses here I come. Now finally my lust list item from March is available so online shopping here I come.

3) Nude heels
ASOS HALO High SandalsBeautiful palettes of nudes lengthen leggings, flatter anyone's leggings and arent meant to resemble 2 weeks in Tenerife but rather be elegantly honey kissed

I hope with these few tools to hand I can survive the first few days of spring and then just go for white. I mean really I live in Holland - let's embrace the sun whens its there oh and dont forget sunscreen ...

All images source:


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Lessons of Wise Women

I am always surprised at how in the corporate world we women don't really have each othe'rs back. In fact it's more the opposite. We all know that we women dress for each other but does that really come from a competitive streak or in the fact that we need approval from our same sexed peers. Because only they can understand how important looking our best can be - to us at least.

Over the years I have meet, worked with and learnt from all kinds of female colleagues. But there have been five amazing women that above being colleagues are also my dear, dear friends. I am admire them and I am so thankful for the lessons or my personal rules that they have taught me. This is my way of saying thank you for the lessons, for the listening and above all for being there for me.

1) work hard - The Rule of Achieving
Luck doesn't always save the day in your career. You have to work at it, put in the time but make sure you enjoy what you do. We spend so much time at our jobs with our colleagues that it works out best if we like them and the job. Working hard isn't a magic cure but it does show your inner character and that you believe in what you do. In some cases when everything else has been crazy work has been my safety net - the world where I know I am good at something and working hard boosts my confidence and helps me take that strength and tackle other things that aren't as straight forward to fix. I like working and I like doing a good job. I am thankful for this lesson because in all it taught me that working hard is needing in life and if you put your mind and energy to it you can do it!

2) stand up for yourself - The Rule of Independence
Growing up the one thing I knew without a doubt that a career could give me back was independence. I wanted to be able to take care of myself. Not in crazy 'no man can do for me what I can do for myself' but more in a care-free this is my life and if I want it I can work to get it. It might involve calling some people - drills and I still are not friends - and paying some money but in the end I feel good about it. The friend who taught me this lesson I admire so much having done it all on her own - sorting out the best mortgage, buying 2 houses - selling 1, setting up her own company and most importantly choosing her own life and they way she wants to live. So inspring!

3) caring, nuturing, listening - The Rules of Leadership
I thought for the longest time being a manager was about being tough. This was the example given by other ladies not fortunate enough to make the list. But this lady taught me that being a leader and managing others is about inspiring, mentoring and growing the talents of your team. As a leader you are only as good as your team. The reason you get the big bucks if you are lucky is because you have fight for the team in the tough times and build the team in good times. I learned that it is ok to be a woman in business and be womanly in fact we need more womanly leaders like that around us. Be the manager you would have wanted along the way whilst your were building your career. And remember you are only as good as your team and by believing in the team it doesn't mean you won't shine on your own!

4) use your personality - The Rule of Being Your Best You
Your personality is the most percious thing you have - it makes you you so unique and wonderful to have on this world. The lady who taught me this lets her creativity speak having written books, being a star at behavioural science but above all being my fairy godmother who believes in me - my personality, my talents, my weaknesses just me all of me. She taught me to use my personality and talents to my advantage in my career and explore new opportunities. The corporate world can sometimes feel like you have to conform to the situation around you and whilst I believe in flexiblity - stay true to you. If you know who you are and what you are good and not so great at you can make smarter choices which I fundamentally believe is essential to being happy.

 5) reassess - The Rule of Resetting
We all have our coping mechanisms some times it can be hiding in our work, fleeing in a large glass of wine, or drifting off whilst watching a good chick flick. Whatever floats your boat I say. So when you do look in the mirror and think this isn't me and realize you need to get back to the you that you love and adore. One darling lady said to me it is a simple as resetting. Just like a computer CTL + ALT + DEL and begin again. Like a minature reinvention. I found her words so inspiring - don't make the world or issue bigger than it is you're a woman of the world now just go and be you again. Don't fret in the feeling that you will be socialable again when you as if by magic have Kim Kardashian's body but the reality even Kim has hang ups too. So just reset and get back to living the best version of your life. It's your life - do with it what you like!

So in conclusion I hope you find darling  wise women to pass on equally meaningful lessons. In the meantime you can borrow mine.

love x


Monday, April 11, 2011

Beach perfect on a budget...

I am loving H&M's accessories this season. So much so that I have already started stocking up...

Maybe it is my new found love of coral or maybe that with enough hope and believe it will be sunny and toasty soon. So here are my picks of the selection:

Stretchy bracelets - so many colours I can build my own rainbow
and at 2.95€ a bargain

then an ueber ring is a must have

or skinny stretchies if dangles - how adorable
So much it is just to hard to choose... maybe you will do better than I did... all available at H&M even online


Mixing it up!

I am guessing that if we were all rich girls (Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na - see who said life isn't a musical) we would have all the designer dubs our hearts desired but reality might bring more limitations that we hope for. So we have to be clever in our pursuit of style which inevitably leads to ... you guessed I am that predictable ... mixing it up.

Our best Zara mixed with our favourite Chanel sunnies and LK Bennett shoes and Celine handbag (although I am still pining the Alexander Wang bag). So what are our designer essentials and where can we save a few $ € £.

Here's my go-to list:

Chloe Paraty Bag - my love
Handbags - listen ladies two Curvy Girl rules - shoes and handbags will NEVER make you look fat. If treated with love and care the investment can last a lifetime. In fact I know use vintage clutches from my grannie and love her even more for it.

Michael Kors
Watch - to me a man's watch is the sexiest thing on a woman. It instantly makes a wrist smaller and adds a touch of funkiness in fact it is a true funkifier. But a good man's watch doesn't to cost a fortune. Sure we all would prefer a Rolex Submariner, but in my book Longines or even Michael Kors make equally love objects of desire.

Jacket/Blazers - doesnt need to cost an arm and a leg (after all you'll need that arm hahaha) but it does need to fit you and slenderize you. So spend a little more, look a little more lovely.
Shoes - Zara does FANTASTIC designer to highstreet translations as does Topshop and I love LK Bennett for my party shoes but whenever possible I urge you do go for the plunge and spend a lot on my guru friends Manolo and Christian or Charlotte or Nicholas - you pick I love them all dearly.

T-shirts and fashion moment items - we all have them the one season wears. I whole heartedly believe in the power of ASOS. My go to for all fashion finds. Specifically because my fashion is more UK and NL so I love being able to stay to my fashion me and let my fingers do the shopping plus with paypal I am all but a click away...

so shop away my friends...and dont forget to mix it up!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Can Elegance be taught?

I couldnt imagine what the world of style would have been like in the 1950's when having bare legs was considered a rebellious statement. Today I get the impression that we have far more freedom to express ourselves - in everyway including fashion. Granted this freedom doesnt always work out as well as one could hope as only the pictures at Ladies' Day at Aintree, Liverpool this week demonstrated far too clearly (view at your own risk:  Nonetheless we can all be ourselves through fashion.

So with so many styles: trendy, funky, boho, electic, tomboy it seems that elegance has lost its cool. Yet I love the elegant lady! In fact I envy her. I want to be her but it just isnt my style. I work in the advertising industry where a bit of fashion creativity helps clients buy-in to our added value. It is kind of the same as when you want your banker to look conservative. So the fact of the matter is I am just not elegant - ladylike in some occasions I hope but not classic, not glamorous always more approachable.

So every now again I look for inspiration from another the past, from film or just really well styled. Here are a few of my favourites that inspire me to get a little elegance infusion in my own style.

 Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair a remake but she looks impeccable (apart from that sheer number). Love the hair, clothes it all...
But just like Faye Dunaway in the original, both ladies brought drama and style and lots and lots of attitude to the role...
Of course Audrey Hepburn cant be left out. I agree that some roles and fasions were icon but for me overall it was her gaze or her demeanor it just was elegant from every pore. Amazing.

And with her Grace Kelly is simply perfection. The ladies of the day definitely set a standard.
Kelly Rutherford's role as an UES wife in itself requires glamour and elegance but the style team do a supreme job and she just excudes serenity and calmness. I guess for me true elegance is not trying too hard. 

For me when I think effortless I think Gwyneth and Jennifer. Both predominantly wear classic, refined fashion that looks elegant yet approachable so maybe if I take a cue from them all I too can learn to be elegant but stay true to me...


Friday, April 8, 2011

April Lusting

Ohhlala another month and another lust list... this time I am incredibly aware that the objects of my lust are so not right for me but that doesn't make then any less deisrable.

1) and 2)  Kara Ackerman bracelets

So dainty - so pretty - so lovely - so wonderful -  I can't decide which I like best. Both named GemGirls one lucky charms and the other the evil eye. I think honestly they are so fantastic getting both would be truly acceptable.

Now my only worry is - when will we able to buy these in Europe!

3) Mellow Yellow

I will admit I am OBSESSED with yellow this season. My dad would have been so proud, yellow being the only colour he could properly recognise. Although perhaps he didn't quite mean neon yellow and in particular Christopher Kane. This yellow pleated skirt on Netaporter is stunning. It would make my bum look the size of TEXAS but I don't mind in the world of dreams I am queen and I want Christopher Kane - skirt that is.

4) Bring on the Brights

I think it is even more clear that I have spent the winter in too much black being warm and tough. But to quote Proenza Schouler this isn't the season for being tough. So girlie me - I am back and bright. Maybe in combination with a little black after all it is slimming and as you may have read there is no way that I will be in skin coloured tights so on a still cold spring day black tights it is. But when I do dare to go bare - legs that is ladies - these sandals are stunning.... Miu miu which I found on So worth the day dreaming and the heels perforated I mean come on who can resist!

5) The ultimate must have lust have

I saw this bag on The Daily Mail website (source: whilst getting my celebrity style tips on. I know how embarrassing this is to admit but we are amongst friends, right?! I love this website especially in the summertime - celebs on the beach and on boats all along the Cote which not only gets me completely in the mood to hit the beach but also inspired on what to wear. So back to the matter at hand. I saw a picture of the Saturdays (apparently a girl band from the Uk - I did the follow up) and on a day out in LA. One girl was carrying this ... the ultimate must have lust have

... an Alexander Wang Rocco Mini Duffle bag in neutral suede with the ueber cool studs. I finally found it online at and they have it black and neutral leather too.

Too bad my favourite version is sold out!!!!!! This bag needs more attention editors of the world. It is a masterpiece and I will be keeping my eye out to see if it is purchaseable somewhere.

Actually I will offer my first born for this - maybe that is going a little far for a handbag or is it?!?!?


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Hot Spots

A few more gems I would urge you to try if you get the chance...

High Tea Recommendations London
My family started a tradition that for every birthday my mum would come to visit and we would have high tea somewhere fabulous. It started when I turned 30 and we were lucky enough to have a return performance.

  • The Ritz
This was the location of our first beginning to this tradition and thanks to a very kind F/B manager Jeremy Dover (thanks again) we came back the next year again. The tea room/ garden court is stunning at the Ritz. Definitely a wonderful experience.

This is a London instituion and I might as well add the second part of our tradition - the part I like best - is after all the sweets and delights we head to the hotel bar for an amazing cocktail. I consider it a much deserved pick me up. Claridges scores high on both counts. And whilst you are there have a wander through the hotel - there are pictures everywhere of the icons of the past that have been to the hotel. Also the hotel organizes a 'Claridges Experience' for their employees so that everyone at every level realizes how much their role has an impact on the stay of a guest. Because truly that is what the hospitality industry creates - memories, stories that are part of our dearest thoughts. Thank you Claridges my experience with you is a treasure.

  • Lanesborough
The stunning white house on the hill - ok maybe not the hill but at the corner of Hyde Park Corner. So lovely we went back twice. Great service, great scones just wonderful. Plus the Library Bar is always a treat in fact it was on my route home so on a few occasions if the day was particularly hard I would indulge in one Bellini and drift into a dream world of a posh hotel. Plus the people watching is always a hit.

  • The Connaught
This is a hidden gem - behind Piccadilly tucked on a hidden square it is a fantastic location for any London visitor. We went when the refurbishment was just completed and I have never been treated so well. The staff was AMAZING. Just lovely and so sincerely caring. I wish it hadnt the last birthday we celebrated in London...

  • and for the Sunday cheapies Harrods
This sounds all wrong but we have the Harrods scones as our emergency recovery kit. They arent as pricey as the regular high tea experience but maybe that's why they hit the spot like no other could. We even have to have our fix so badly that we know the exact location of the lift behind the luxury jewellery section that gets us there faster than you can say 'Scones please'.

Global gems
  • The Viceroy
A design inspiration - just stunning. If I could travel to all of their hotels I would just to copy the interior design.

  • The Soho House Group
A members club that is amazing - so many lovely locations and a great concept. Love them all!

  • Le Pré
Not a trendy hotspot but my favourite start to a day in Paris with my sister. On my favourite shopping street where you get fashion inspiration behind my cafe creme - delightful and super close to Mabillon.

  • L'annex
A fantastic beach spot in Cannes - the best menu, great staff ... just the way to start your holiday that an a dip in the Med...


White shoes - love 'em or hate 'em?

This one always puzzles me. You see I grew up in the 1980s (yes do the math that old) and the rules were simple - white shoes only in summer and only up until Labour Day (sometime in early Septembter).

So as so many of us Sex and the City really challenged my idea of what the rules might be. And then it hit me - no more rules. I found my inner shoe diva - the one we women all have inside them regardless of our specific tastes. This new freedom was fabulous - I went mad hidden platform peep toes, studded nude courts, silk griege slip in heels, purple suede wedges, cognac cork wedges, black bow courts, black corset boots, black caged 
source: HBO Sex and the City
bootlets oh my... even just listing them brings a rush. That and I still havent managed to venture to a guru pair from Manolo or Christian (yes we are on a first name basis I think of them so much)

But then the white shoe or more particularly the white boots just baffle me. Carrie Bradshaw and Christian showed me that white courts can step outside even in the colder months and still look elegant. Nothing about them screams TOWIE (The Only Way is Essex) which admit it is a relief to us all I am sure. I even now have a pair of white courts with black little details which just helps to ease me into it. So maybe I am ready to take the plunge - white courts.


But wait - what about the white boot...

I had a totally different feeling about these... nothing but truly nothing can rescue these. I did a through internet search only to help support my fashion fury sighting today on the train. White boots dont work! There is nothing flattering about them, nothing elegant, attractive, appealing or even wearable.

Maybe I am still too rigid in this and I am welcoming examples to proof me wrong but from where I am standing... white boots are a total fashion DON'T!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Does a HUGE ad campaign limit personal style?

So by now I am sure EVERYONE has seen them. The the new H&M campaign with the ever stunning Gisele Bundchen featured.

So feeling the bug myself - well it was a sunny day - I headed over to my nearest store to specifically get my hands on a floral print maxi. I was thinking as the maxi dress on my "Lust List" March 2010 still isnt available I would go after a skirt instead. But somehow I wasnt the only girl with this on her mind it seems. The shop was packed - surprisingly after all it was sunny - so after much searching I find the skirt, loads of them in fact and so many girls, women, people were hovering over the stand. The diversity of all us is unreal. In terms of shapes, sizes, skin colour, style everything and yet we all want this one skirt. As I get my size I take it for a whirl through the shop - its called bonding to see if we really have a click and with such as massive queue to pay I used this time to really see if I still feel as strongly about the skirt as I did when I walked in the shop.

As I see the stand again - still very popular with shoppers - I change my mind. I want my style to be about expressing myself and whilst I am completely aware of the fact that these are mass produced products and there will be people that have the same dress, shoes, outfits etc this was just one step too far. I love the high street, I love Zara, Asos, M&S, Reiss, Comptoir de Cotonniers and the up and coming French brands but they dont have such broad swept advertising campaigns behind them.

I feel that with so much advertising power behind a high street brand its just too visible for me and doesnt give me enough opportunty to make it my own. So in the end no maxi floral skirt for me!