Thursday, November 17, 2011

Queen of my Castle

I find commitment hard to do - it's true. After years of moving about it is in my genes, I am sure of it.

But only recently have I managed to find and make my flat just to my liking and I just had to share.
I have lived in some pokey furnished flats in London and New York and have had my fair share of nightmare landlords to deal with (I am sure we all have a tale or two to share about those).

One of the reasons I wanted to move to Holland was space - I wanted a flat that 1) could fit my wardrobe comfortably so I can colour coordinate the contents (sad I know) 2) was large enough to let me place my families heirloom furniture in it and 3) light & bright to never ever be pokey again.

When I saw my flat for the first time it was love - just like that. Even though it is in Holland the huge industrial-like windows reminded me straight-away of New York and with a view (from the 12th floor) of the city there are always pretty lights to stare at. Although today it is super foggy which makes you feel as though you are floating in mid-air without any idea of your surroundings and that too is pretty spectular.

The reason I wanted to share this pics of my flat with you is because I am a firm accessories believer in fashion and in my home. Ok some of the furniture is inherited (which means 3B's : big, bulky and brown) but the majority of items are from that well known Swedish furniture haven Ikea and I love it. So style doesnt have to be expensive just clever. Plus the eye can be decived. What's looks silver doesn't have to be real silver or even silver-plated for that matter to give the same effect. I love how mentals reflect light from candles or sunshine. Plus with darker elements in my house I wanted to make sure there was a enough light and airy elements to balance it all out.

I personally believe that we in Holland have some amazing home decorating stores. The likes of Lifestyle and Riviera Maison but even borrowing from our neighbours I think Flamant is fantastic and adore getting inspiration from Eric Kuster, Piet Boon and Jan de Bouvrie. I am after all LUSTING after a velvet sofa from Eric Kuster (if you dont know what to get me for Christmas - that was a subtle hint, no?).

But I also love Rofra Home for deco items, Graham & Green in the UK (divine) and the creative cleverness of West Elm and Crate & Barrel in the US is never to fail (shame we cant even access the website from abroad but I have ranted before about how some US shops are still US only - sad face).

These pictures were taken on a particularly glourious day, so anyone who thinks it only rains in Holland is mistaken and I think this is when my living room is at its best.

I have moved around alot but this home definitely makes me feel like staying just a little longer.

Hope the pictures give you a little inspiration and I added the websites of the others I mentioned for good measure.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

She's a lady ...

Although fashion in recent years has been rekindling lady-like fashion from decades ago - with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton at the forefront -  I cant help but wonder does it really translate to today's woman. In the cruel business world does being lady-like help or work against a girl about town? Or is it maybe lady-like in doses depending on the industry you are in?

Source: Louis Vuitton
For example Angela Merkel is without a doubt the strongest lady in Europe with the French president throwing her a flash of a smile or a nudge here and there as a show of partnership - saving the Euro and the world together. But does she come across as lady-like? It is really important for her? Or is she maybe in a boys club and needs a bit more masculinity to be taken seriously?

Same case, different rules - Christine Lagarde - granted is in pencil skirts and feminine fashion but does she strike you as lady-like? In the hard world of finance (let alone the politics that mix in) she being lady-like a good thing?

And what is lady-like in today's world anyway? Am I meant to be the one in a meeting to ask if anyone wishes anything else to drink? Am I supposed to wait for some one to hold the door for me? When trying to make a point do I gently nudge my male colleagues and make it seem like it was their idea? Ok some of these examples could be straight out of  Mona Lisa's Smile but what I am trying to say is that today's world means lady-like is refined, smart, savvy and ballsy with a touch of male attitude and a splash of rough and ready. The world demands a clever approach for anyone really and maybe the lady-like look in fashion is just that a clever approach in today's world. Perhaps the gentle touch a hint of curve and the illusion of skin flahsing through are a new hint of mystery that we havent seen earlier - in the years of bandage style minidress - stunning and seductive but less subtle. The midi length in flowy dresses add for kicks and twirls. In my opinion fashion makes you feel confident - a better version of yourself. Just what you need really to take the world by storm.  I think I will be putting lady-like fashion to the test and watching for results...with the ultimate result being how I feel. We shall see.

PS one last comment just because you're a lady doesn't mean you can't mix in a but of the femme fatale...seductive comes in various lengths and styles - now won't that be fun experimenting with.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The best moments ...

Sometimes when you are glum it helps to remember you favourite moments and try to recapture how you felt right then and there in the moment. For some it is a much needed girlie lunch, or the day you were proposed to but for others it is just a walk in the park with a loved one. So I tried to really think hard about a top 10 list (obviously the fact that there was far more than 10 moments to choose from made me feel so fortunate)… Maybe this inspires you to do the same.

1. My Mint Green & White Princess Dress
My grandmother had the habit of bringing clothes from her favourite children’s clothing shop to us when she came to visit. And my 6th birthday I remember so well. We still lived in Germany and I was in Holland to celebrate my birthday it was just before we were to move to America so it was an extra special birthday and I had seen THE dress. I imagine this is what brides feel when they meet THE dress but this was my moment. It was a princess dress that my mother would hate and I loved it. So thanks to my granny I was given the dress. And to this day I will be ever so thankful

2. The 9 year old Saks experience
As a little girl we would go to Chicago for December 5th (a holiday Sinterklaas in the Netherlands) and would always do a spot of shopping. I think this instilled the need for shopping at a young age (I blame my parents). On one occasion in the children’s clothing section I think my father just couldn’t be bothered so he simply sent the sales lady on her way to pick the best of the bunch and my sister and I spent hours trying and twirling I was in heaven (not realizing she works on commission – the greedy reality of the world). I will never forget the pinstriped YSL navy dress I came away with. I felt special for moments to come.section I think my father just couldn’t be bothered so he simply sent the sales lady on her way to pick the best of the bunch and my sister and I spent hours trying and twirling I was in heaven (not realizing she works on commission – the greedy reality of the world). I will never forget the pinstriped YSL navy dress I came away with. I felt special for moments to at a young age (I blame my parents). On one occasion in the children’s clothing section I think my father just couldn’t be bothered so he simply sent the sales lady on her way to pick the best of the bunch and my sister and I spent hours trying and twirling I was in heaven (not realizing she works on commission – the greedy reality of the world). I will never forget the pinstriped YSL navy dress I came away with. I felt special for moments to come.

3. My first designer handbag
My mum has always been a handbag fan (as has my grannie maybe its in the genes) but all those tiny lady-like variations. Me I like my handbags BIG, voluminous and with enough space to carry silly things like my filofax, 2 blackberries, make-up, a camera and a brally (in some case a plant, light, measuring tape but only if a spoon full of sugar is in the picture). So there she was a classic Gucci black bamboo handle hobo with my name on it and one sale so the dream could become reality. I had just been given a EU subsidy for EU students studying abroad and it was immediately put to good use. This is now 12 years on and I still adore this bag and just yesterday was complemented on it. Bless.

4. The Madeleine / L’Opera debacle
My first year away to university, away from home in Paris with the most charming of Frenchies and yes a little homesick when my at the time 16 year old sister came for a much needed catch up trip. There are two classic moments from this trip (see number 4) but when walking through the streets of Paris specifically down Boulevard l’Opera and standing in front of the Madeleine only to look at my sister and say look here is the L’Opera will in my family remember a classic.

5. These boots are made for walking
We did huge amounts of walking that first sisterly visit in Paris and obviously needed a theme tune (doesn’t everyone – think Ally McBeal). Ours for that trip was the Nancy Sinatra classic. It kept us happily stomping away to the Les Bains, visiting the Louvre and to this day is my sister and mine favourite karoke tune. The song has brought us a long way and I smile each time I hear it.

6. Christmas – Home where my mum’s tree is
I am sure everyone feels this way but as a child we had the most beautiful Christmas tree. With glass balls and wooden figurines from Germany. When we used to decorate the tree my sister and I would tell each other stories under the watchful eye of our mother. The queen figure lived high in the tree in the shiny beautiful ball and the rest of the tree was the village. Accompanied by the required Christmas Carols I can now wow you all with my rendition of "Do they hear what I hear?" . To this day I search the tree to find my favourite baubles and still (yes even now) find my mother’s Christmas my favourite Christmas – even in comparison to my own.

7. Grown-up Dinner Date with Dad
During my first year in Paris at university I lived with this terrible French family (a feeble attempt by my father to teach me French but I do speak it now so maybe he was on to something). On one occasion my dad came to Paris for work and I met him after school at Café de la Paix and felt so grown-up having a pre-dinner drink and then followed with Fruits de Mer. It was such a lovely time. I have the fondest memories of Paris with my father.

8. Windows of the World
When I first moved to London, my sister was first to visit. We met on November 5th a few days after her birthday at the London Park Lane Hilton at their bar all the way on the top floor and had an amazing view of London. All the better that it was Guy Fawkes night and all over London you could see little fireworks scattered about. Magical.

9. The BIG 3-0 and 29+2
I really lived up to the moment of turning Dirty Thirty and wanted to do something with friends and family separate. So the weekend of my actual birthday I flew my grannie (81) and mum to London and all the usual suspect things – high tea, dinner here, drinks there but for my birthday itself we had dinner at the Oxo Tower restaurant thanks hugely to my sister working there and us being able to get a discount otherwise it might never have happened. The was an amazing night, and all the better for having my family there with me. 31 was funnily enough an equally brilliant birthday with post bday celebrations in Holland with my mum in grannie at my grannie’s favourite restaurant (where she wined and dined with my grandfather). I am silly in that I get very excited about birthdays (yes still) and truly enjoy each and every one for very different reasons.

10. Lying on the beach with dear, dear friends
Cannes is very special to me and every year I return. It started as a girlie holiday for partying and now has transformed to a girlie holiday for nice wine, good food, glorious sun, a bit of pampering and much needed catch up with friends. I think you can make Cannes as crazy as you want but I love the city for its glamour and laid back-ness all in one. I have the best chats with my girlfriends on the beach and come back inspired, recharged and ready for the next visit. My dream is it to own a little haunt of a flat there with balcony and crisp white sheets to grow old with the heavenly drops of Cotes de Provence rose at my finger tips.