Hello, megababes! I don’t know about you but now that September is in full swing and the days grow ever shorter, I feel that there cannot possibly be any more doubt that summer is well and truly over. Sob! It’s the end of an altogether too short era, isn’t it? I feel like us Parisians only had two weeks to enjoy the (slightly warmer) weather! Never mind; I never was one to mope (too long). Instead of pining over what was, how’s about we start looking forward to what’s coming? No, I don’t mean Christmas (although HELLO, Santa); I mean the lovely, crisp autumn days, the hot cups of tea by the fireplace (be nice to me, I’m having a moment) and the fashion. Oh, the fashion!
Don’t get me wrong, my favourite season of all will always be summer; from a strictly sartorial point of view, though, autumn and winter are when I really shine. I live for the darker hues, the dramatic make-up and the knitwear; I adore boots and (faux-)fur and leather. Above all, though, I love discovering the fun ways designers reinvent classics and come up with new trends. I’ve been keeping my keen little peepers peeled and have loved what I’ve seen of A/W fashion so far. One of my favourite things for the upcoming season? The (re)birth of camel as the new It neutral, baby!
Camel is such a wonderful colour. Think about it: it’s universally flattering (I used to think it made me look yellow when I wore it but no! I just chose the wrong shade for me!), it does wonders for our sallow autumn/winter complexions and it’s a wonderful departure from the classic black, white and grey. It can be a bit of a daunting hue to approach for the uninitiated, though, so I’ve compiled a little guides of different, fabulous ways to wear camel with advice on how to match it with other colours and how to avoid looking like a giant biscuit – unless that’s what you want, of course! I’ve looked at how to wear camel with other neutral colours, how to wear camel from head-to-toe, how to wear camel with a pop of colour and, last but not least, I’ve given my pick of brilliant camel accessories!
Ready to dig in? Munch on (Sorry!)
Marc Jacobs cashmere blend sweater | Marc Jacobs wool blend midi skirt
As camel is considered as a neutral, it follows that it pairs exceptionally well with other neutrals like white, black or even grey. These muted, classic colours create an elegant and sophisticated look that absolutely screams urban chic and is perfect for kicking arse and taking names in concrete jungles where dreams are made! Choose separates with interesting details and exceptional fit to elevate your outfit even further (and avoid looking blah). I love love love the grey cashmere Marc Jacobs sweater paired with the midi skirt on the right (also shown above): the volumes work wonderfully together! The outfit to the left, from River Island, pairs camel with black for extra sex-appeal and edge and would be perfect with heels for a night out on the town.
1. River Island cropped sweater | 2. River Island leather skirt
3. Marc Jacobs sweater | 4. Marc Jacobs midi skirt
Joseph cashmere sweater | Altuzarra skirt (similar by No 21)
Wearing camel head-to-toe isn’t for the faint of heart but for those who dare (and those with the know-how to navigate these murky sartorial waters), the pay-off is huge: think retro après-ski goddess with an effortless, modern vibe. Yum. The secret to pulling off camel-on-camel action without looking like a giant biscuit (although let’s be faire, there are far worse things to look like, am I right?) is to play with hues and textures: if you’re going to be wearing the exact same shade on top and bottom, you’d better choose interesting, contrasting fabrics, like in the outfit on the right. Even though the colours are very similar, the lace (and crystals, are you kidding?!) in the skirt play off the cashmere of the sweater very well.
Of course, the easiest way to do head-to-toe camel is by investing in a dress: no fashion faux-pas in sight! Pair this Isabel Marant wonder (on sale!) with this cute box bag from Zara and pumps, or fringed ankle boots. What do you mean, too much?!
1. Isabel Marant suede mini-dress | 2. Zara box bag
3. Joseph cashmere sweater | 4. No 21 lace pencil skirt with crystals
Shrimps faux-fur coat
Surprise! As a bona fide neutral, camel looks amazing when paired with strong colours. You just need to look at the adorable Shrimps faux-fur coat above: bright hues bring this rather subdued shade to life, making it perfect both for the colder and the warmer months. There aren’t very many rules here: simply choose an accent colour that compliments your skin tone (Pop Sugar Australia has a fun quiz for finding out just that) and go all out! One word of caution: avoid picking too many hues. Stick to one accent colour – that’ll be your key colour-blocking component, along with the camel – and, if you like, a complementary detail colour for your accessories. No more, lest you go overboard!
1. Roksanda draped blouse | 2. Roksanda felted wool skirt
3. Shrimps faux-fur coat | 4. Zara sweater | 5. Zara skirt
Maison Martin Margiela ankleboot
If camel is a totally new addition to your wardrobe, it can be a little daunting to incorporate large pieces all it once. As wonderful as looking like a giant pastry can be (don’t you try to deny it!), there’s nothing wrong with wetting your toe before taking the plunge! When choosing a camel-hued accessory, you can’t really go wrong: as a neutral, it’ll go with pretty much anything so go forth with confidence! I particularly love the gorgeous Baggu bucket bag – right on trend and in the most fabulous of caramel colours. I could eat it right up! If you fancy being fashionable from your head to your tippy toes, go for a camel nail polish, too!
1. Carrano “Madelyn” chunky-heeled pump | 2. Maison Martin Margiela ankleboot
3. Baggu camel leather drawstring bag | 4. Cle de Peau Beauté luminizing face enhancer
5. Maison Martin Margiela belt | 6. Burberry nail polish
I hope I’ve made de prospect of incorporating a new neutral into your wardrobe a little less daunting for you! What was your favourite piece out of my selection? How will you be wearing camel from now on? Please share in the comments!
Photo credit: Net-a-Porter
Hello, lovely people! I’m sorry I haven’t been around much of late. I’d like to say it was all down to The Big Project taking up all of my time but while I have been incredibly busy, that wasn’t the only thing keeping me from updating this blog. If I’m being completely honest (which I always strive to be here), I’ve been struck by a rather annoying lack of inspiration lately, coupled with a distinct lack of love for the posts I have lined up in my editorial calendar. (Has this ever happened to you? Please tell me I’m not alone!) In times like these, there are a few things I like to do to get unstuck and one of them is simply “flicking through the pages” of my blog and letting inspiration strike me. Going back to basics, if you will.
This is how the idea for this post came to me. After all, I’ve always been a big fan of gratitude journals - especially now that I’ve found my wonderful Five Minute Journal! – and yet, I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a post about it! It used to be one of my very favourite things to do, so what gives? Going back to my roots and writing about twenty things I’m grateful for right now, has actually been a wonderfully cathartic exercise and has reminded me of why I love these lists in the first place: they ground me, they make me take stock of the wonderful things in my life (even – especially! – the small ones) and they remind me that even though life may be a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes, there is still so much beauty in the world.
So without any further ado, here are twenty things I’m thankful for right now! Fancy making a list of your own? Please share in the comments, I’d LOVE to read it! ♥
…The glorious weather we’ve been having! You may recall that I was whining rather vocally about what I thought was the end of summer a few weeks ago – well, no more, honey! The sun is back and apparently, it’s here to say. Here’s to lunches on café terrasses, picnics in the park and drinks on the banks of the river Seine.
…The fact that I’ve found a Japanese restaurant that serves takoyaki in Paris. Five minutes away from my office. What are the odds? (If you’ve never had takoyaki – delightfully fluffy balls of batter, garnished with octopus, cabbage and ginger and served with lots of different sauces – you’re definitely missing out!)
…My girl tribe. I’ve never been much of a girls’ girl but working at a place where over three-quarters of the staff are women, well… That was bound to change! I was lucky enough to become fast friends with some fabulous ladies that make me feel loved and supported and understood, in a way that few others have. I’m blessed. ♥
…The fact that my relationship with my boyfriend is deeper and stronger than ever, even after three years. He’s my rock, my best friend and the one person who can make me laugh until my face hurts. What a star!
…The delicious, PRE-COOKED food waiting for me in the fridge for dinner tonight. Food prep for the win! Words cannot express how excited I am about digging into the most amazing grilled chicken and Mexican rice when I get home from work. The best thing about it isn’t even that it’s ridiculously tasty (which it is), it’s that I don’t have to make it from scratch! Because let’s face it, having to cook after a long day’s graft is f*cking awful. You know it, I know it, let’s not pretend otherwise!
…The fact that I’m sloooowly but surely getting back into a regular fitness routine. It’s been a long time coming and there have been many half-arsed/failed attempts but I finally feel like I’m back on track. My body is at long last back to doing what it’s meant to be doing and I couldn’t be happier.
…Fast and furious Sunday morning runs with my lover! You know all about this, of course. These workout sessions with my other half are equal parts exhilarating and painful but I wouldn’t give them up for the world!
…The fact that I seem to have found my culinary mojo again and am enjoying my time in the kitchen, discovering new recipes, more than ever. I’ve been cooking up a storm and loving every second! It helps, of course, that I have a bunch of incredibly talented chicks over at Health Bloggers UK keeping me on my toes!
…Feeling inspired on a daily basis. I am surrounded by so much talent that it’s almost impossible not to! It’s incredible and so very, very motivating. It makes me want to do and be everything! What inspires you, lovely people? Please do share in the comments!
…The incredible group of blogger and business babes that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the past few months. The ladies are a infinite source of laughs, support and love; I’m so lucky to have them in my life. ♥
…The fact that my tan hasn’t faded completely… yet! It’s on its way out but as long as the tan lines are there, I’m still calling it summer.
…Discovering wonderful new music. Hozier (hot damn!). George Ezra. The soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy (come on – I dare you to pretend you didn’t LOVE that film and the amazing songs in it!). Glorious, meditative playlists from the goddess-like Danielle LaPorte. I’ve been soaking it all in and I feel elevated for it! On the other hand, I’ve also enjoyed rediscovering old favourites. I don’t know what it is, but some songs just sound sweeter every time you listen to them. Don’t you agree?
…The fact my parents are healthy and happy. This summer has been punctuated by such tragedy, that I can’t help but feel deeply grateful that my mother and father are still in good health and enjoying life in the south of France.
…Cuddling up to my other half in front of a good TV series. We’ve finally caught up on Game of Thrones and are currently enjoying the short-lived but oh-so-fun Firefly. Any other shows you think we’re missing out on? Please please please send them my way!
…The fact that my emergency fund is slowly, slowly becoming more substantial. Saving money is something that’s always been on my Real Adult To Do List™ but has always seemed so far out of reach because of my little shopping, er, problem (see below). Over the years, though, it’s dawned upon me that having a financial buffer to protect me from material harm would be very sensible indeed. After all, who knows when a humongous and unexpected fee might turn up? Better be prepared! Keeping this in mind, I’ve started being a little more grown-up with my expenses and squireling away a percentage of my hard-earned cash every month. It ain’t easy but the way I see it, it’s absolutely worth it and I’m really chuffed with the direction in which that account balance is going!
…Also, the fact that I seem to be getting over my impulsive/compulsive shopping problem. It’s been a long and drawn-out process but babes – I think I’m nearly there! If you’ve read this post, you know that getting a handle on my little spending habit was a priority for me in 2014. I’ve tried imposing a shopping embargo on myself, which worked for a little while (but made me a little resentful, let’s be honest) but predictably didn’t last because I didn’t have something specific to save for. Now that I have (two things, in fact!), it’s so much easier for me to not indulge in fast fashion and investing in more expensive, quality pieces instead. But more about that in a post of its own, later!
…The peace and focus that writing in my Five Minute Journal gives me. There’s something so satisfying and grounding to taking a few minutes in the morning to set my intention and goals for the day, and in the evening to give thanks for the wonderful things that happened and reflect on how to make future days better. Expect to see an in-depth article dedicated to this wonderful journal very soon!
…Delicious rum cocktails at the end of a hard day. ‘Nuff said.
…The quiet hour in the morning. Every day, I get up an hour earlier than my boyfriend, make a cup of coffee (highly necessary), set my goals for the day in my Five Minute Journal and get working on my MITs before the rest of the world gets up. I treasure those moments of peace and quiet, where I’m alone with myself and my thoughts. This is the time when I tend to be the most productive and creative! More on my morning routine coming to a post near you very soon!
…The fact that coffee exists! I’m enjoying a strong, black brew right now and it’s made me think the following, terrifying thought: what if the stuff was never invented? Or was only available in very limited quantities? Sure, we’d probably all get by just fine but damn – I do love the stuff and would rather not entertain the possibility of it not being around! How do you like your coffee, megababes?
Remember that I’d LOVE to read your gratitude lists, so if you’re in a sharing mood, write your heart out in the comments or throw in a link to your list on your blog! If that seems insurmountable right now and you can’t think of several things that you’re thankful for, start with ONE and share it below. I promise it’ll make you feel better and help you gain some perspective!
Photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via Flickr Creative Commons
Hello, fitness buffs! Let me start off by saying that I never thought I’d ever be writing this article. Working out has always been a very solitary endeavour for me: I’ve always naturally gravitated towards solo sports such as martial arts, running or weight-lifting and even if I’m participating in a group class (which, to this day, is still a pretty rare occurrence), it’s still me, on my own, in a sea of people. Doing my own thing. It’s not that I hate other athletes, far from it! I just like to get in the zone when I exercise and I generally find people either talking to me or trying to interact with me… Distracting. Like it throws me off my game. (Again, I love chatting and spending time with people any other time. Just not when I’m on the treadmill, you know?)
Well, guess what? Something happened last weekend that would’ve made me eat my hat, if I’d had one: I went for a run with my boyfriend (which is already a feat, considering that the first we ever exercised together I was so unfit I had to stop ten minutes later, lest I dissolve into a sad little puddle of sweat, vomit and shattered self-esteem) and – here comes the kicker – I had my best run ever. I came closer to a thirty minute 5K than I ever had before (30:34, baby!) and I ran with laser-like focus from start to finish. Not once did I drop out of my “zone” and not once did I feel like giving up. Huh! What if there was something to workout buddies after all? What if I’d missed out on something brilliant?
Last week’s run definitely prompted me to rethink my initial anti-workout buddy stance and I can’t wait to repeat the experience tomorrow afternoon, when we head over to the park for our (now weekly!) training session together! If you’re shaking your head in disbelief right now and remain sceptical about partnering up for your workouts (much like I was!), here are some reasons why biting the bullet and inviting your bestie, other half or colleague to join you for a sweat fest might actually be a great idea:
Why Partnering Up Could Be the Best Thing For Your Workout
It prevents you from making crap excuses for not working out. In other words: accountability! Working out can feel like such a bloody drag sometimes, no matter how good our intentions are and how very motivated we were the night before our 5 am run. Let’s face it: even though we know full well that regular exercise is incredibly good for our bodies and our minds, sometimes, the cosy, comforting warmth of our bed wins over the shrill, persistent alarm clock and the threat of an early morning workout. Recruiting an exercise partner is a brilliant strategy if you’re usually reluctant to make the jump from bed to gym, because while it’s easy to make excuses when you’re on your own and sleep beckons, it’s usually much more difficult to explain your lack of motivation to someone who also didn’t necessarily feel like getting up but did it anyway. Knowing you have an engagement with someone who you know will show up is kind of like having a doctor’s appointment, or a meeting with your boss. You could not go, of course; you’d just look like a massive dickhead.
It makes getting up in the morning far more bearable. Along the same lines as my previous point, if you’re a morning exerciser like I am, having someone to socialise with and push you when you’re feeling like death warmed up is actually quite pleasant! It helps if it’s someone whose company you enjoy, of course, so bear that in mind when choosing your partner (much more about that in the next post of this series). And think! You could treat yourselves to a well-earned breakfast together after the feat and catch up on all the weekly gossip over coffee and croissants. I personally can’t think of a better way to start the day!
It can help you perform better by challenging you to step out of your comfort zone. Not that I want to bring everything back to me or anything, but I think my example is quite telling, here. Like I said earlier, I’d previously always stuck to a certain speed on the treadmill, because it was reassuring to me: I knew I could run for at least thirty minutes at that pace, without dying too much. In other words, I very much exercised within my own comfort zone, even though part of me knew that my strategy was incredibly counter-productive. Working out with my boyfriend was an entirely different kettle of fish: he set the pace from the get go and challenged me to work harder. When I told him I wouldn’t be able to sustain this speed for 5K, he smiled, told me that I had this in the bag (which, incidentally, I did) and sped up, the b*stard! I didn’t die, though – far from it! I thrived. And so can you, if you choose the right partner.
It will help you gain perspective about yourself and your performance. This kind of builds on my previous point, too. When I ran on my treadmill at the gym, I stayed in my comfort zone because part of me was convinced that I just wasn’t fit enough to go faster, for a longer period of time. I doubted myself, which really isn’t a great mental space to be in when you’re training for a half-marathon! When you workout on your own, it can be hard to keep the negative self-talk at bay. This all changed when I exercised with my boyfriend: sure, I sometimes felt like I was dying – that last kilometre (which turned out to be our fastest) was particularly difficult – but the feeling of accomplishment and pride at the end was priceless. I never thought I’d be able to keep up with him (remember my dissolving into a helpless puddle comment?), let alone keep it going for 5K! I realised that I was capable of far more than I gave myself credit for and that I was much too hard on myself. Working out with someone else sheds light on the sometimes limiting beliefs we have about ourselves.
It will enable you and your partner to bond. Perhaps the best part of it all, is that exercising with someone will definitely help you build a lasting relationship with them! Think about it: you sweat together, you suffer together (like I said, that last kilometre wasn’t a walk in the park), you accomplish mad feats together, you devour the post-workout reward brunch together… Your partner will see you at your best, when you triumphantly cross the finish line; they’ll also see you at your worst, when you’re doubled over and trying your damndest not to projectile vomit in the squat rack (hey, it happens). Stuff like that builds bonds – trust me on this! The old adage that says that couples who train together, stay together probably has a lot of truth in it but I reckon it applies to any kind of relationship.
Have I managed to convince you to give partner training a try? Go on, you know you want to! Do you have anyone in mind? If not, don’t fret: in the next post in this series, I’ll be talking about different ways to find your perfect exercise buddy. Stay tuned!
Photo credits: Springfield News Sun & Watergate Bay Hotel