29 July 2010

all you need to know about fashion for next Summer, from Europe

Greetings all,
This will be my final big-time-bragging-post about my trip to Europe earlier this month.  Now i'm a long time fashion slave & i can't wait until my girls are tall enough to done a Pucci frock & rock some high fashion ensembles.  Of course my investment in their style will be economical as they'll ALWAYS love eacher other, share their clothes & never fight over fashion, right??!!

The most beautiful word in the Italian language is 'SALDI' which means sale.  I paid full price for my Miu Miu sunglasses as they were fresh from Paris Fashion Week (i haven't had expensive sunglasses since i was a teenager & my then boyfriend/ now husband accidentally broke them!!)  These i treasure like gold in the giant hard velour case.  Even with the weaker Australia dollar, when Europe is on sale, designer shopping is affordable. I went a tad nuts in Guess on blouses, but this time i didn't buy shoes. Benetton is a no brainer for children's fashion - there's one on every corner in Italy!!
So here goes, my eye witness street wise account of . . . Summer European fashion - the wearable version for we mortals!! If you're leggy & slim, you have an edge on any fashion trend, congratulations.
Shoes . . . gladiators are still in, so i hope you didn't throw away last Summer's strappy sandles, ditto for wedges & don't be afraid of patterns or colours; NEW are flat ankle boots which are open sandles on the foot with leather boot covering the ankle (follow??) 
Accessories . . . either go the huge, colourful, chunky, mixed gems/ beads/ metals on a long or multistrand necklace direction, or minimal to no accessories. These ladies don't often adorn their clothes with brooches or jewellery, they let the clothes do the talking.
Clothes . . . to put it simply DRESSES!! Patterned silk (Pucci) or plain cotton dresses - strapless or shirred (rows of elastic around the bust) are totally in, or strappy, with high belts or waist ties. Jersey dresses are also still in, not shirt or wrap style though, more the fitted bodice to A line simple style above the knee. All these dress styles can be teamed with leggings just below the knee, in monotone colours. The ONLY pants to wear are belted, white & tailored slim with a fitted patterned blouse tucked in. There are plenty of ruffles getting around - on blouses, tanks, skirts, in different fabrics (from chiffon to silk to cotton) & they are flirty fun. If you must wear a T - make it stripes, wide, narrow, red or navy on white, a bit of nautical chic.
Hair . . . neat & short or long hair slicked back to perfection & touseled - like you're at the beach & both at the same time, nothing inbetween. As it's Summer, everyone is wearing panama, fedora or trilby style hats, worn low with big sunglasses.
Bags . . . Louis Vuitton reigns supreme, especially the beige on brown logo style (i got one for my middle girl so she'll be hip for life).
Bras . . . the shops are selling neutrals & monotones, but stores aimed at young & fun, leopard print never seems to fade!! Alas, it's Europe & bras are optional (as pointed out by my husband over & over). I'm not taking the chance though, i've breastfed way too many children!!
Nail Polish . . . found the awesome Kiko Milano cosmetic shop, bought gazillions of nail varnish here in every colour (i can cheat by 'sharing' with my daughters) but i haven't noticed coloured nail polish on fingers or toes on the locals, but we like colour in Australia so i say go for it regardless!! Tourists are still into their dark nail polishes, but i say bright Summery colours instead, especially if you're young, or young at heart.

Now for the men, i'm afraid if you're built like my husband, 32" waist & 45" chest + he's over 6' tall - absolutely nothing in Europe fits this shape, no idea where their rowers or rugby players shop.
Clothes . . . I've never seen so many slightly built & narrow chested men in my life, really slim cut fitted shirts & tiny boy jeans. I can't quite get past this uber tailoring. Those who have some bulk in their build still opt for cargoes or Ralph Lauren trousers. All shapes & sizes are wearing polo shirts, wide grey & white stripes are de rigeour.
Shoes . . . sneakers seem to be huge, trendy expensive types or outdoorsy style, something you'd find at Merrell.
Watches . . . my husband & father are classic Omega fans, have to say it's a once-in-a-lifetime super expensive purchase & the SeaMaster Professional is hard to beat (like it better than the George Clooney!!) Best prices in the world (outside Switzerland & the UAE - we did our research) are in Omega, Via Condotti Roma (on your way to the Spanish Steps). All the guys here are wearing big faced, flashy, expensive looking watches.
Swimming . . . speedos of course, it's Europe!! I had no idea it's a hygiene thing in countries like Spain, it's the law: speedos only (who'd complain if their world cup winning soccer team rocked up to the local pool in speedos??) I hope it's law in France & Portugal too. Personally i don't care, my husband has to wear speedos for water polo at work, but chooses board shorts for play.
Bags . . . again, a bit androgenous for me, lots of men carrying large Louis Vuitton satchels. If you're travelling, The North Face have an amazing selection of sporty luggage, buy on line from America, good luck finding a company who ship to Australia.
Hair . . . either short or slicked front & messy at the back, that overdue-for-a-hair-cut look but not too long & certainly not like a boy band (small mercy).
Hats . . . like the ladies, range of monotoned or natural coloured fedoras, some with striped bands, they look great on the right guy. Please no more boaters, we're not in Venice anymore!! The guys are also wearing large sunglasses, or thin rimmed Ray Bans, the big Aviator style, even mirrored ones (best left for actual pilots me thinks).
So good luck recycling your last Summer Seasonal fashion. I've ruined my white trousers by sitting on sticky resin THEN i dripped chocolate gelato down them, nice combination!! I have new jewellery, shoes, clothes, make up . . . just realised i've not mentioned yet that i had to dump about $200 worth of Clinique at Sydney airport!! Argh - even though i had less than 100ml of anything, if the capacity of the container is greater than 100ml, you have to toss it (Australian Customs rules are so tough)?? Cruel irony, the Duty Free Clinique counter was 10m away, so i restocked the essentials immediately (imagine 27 hours fly time without moisturiser??) THEN on the ship, make up & perfumes are 25% less than US RRP, which is like 65% off Australian retail prices. My husband actually said the words "you're losing money by not shopping" so while in a state of shock as that man loathes shopping, i armed myself with a swipey card that charges everything back to the cabin (read: husband's credit card) i stocked up on make up, moisturiser & facial products for the whole family. Even the birthday boy got the brand new Gucci Sport aftershave for his birthday!!
So now very much resettled into reality, children, school runs, children's parties, grocery shopping, P&C BBQ fundraisers, Shop Handmade & tomorrow a school Athletics Carnival . . . i've finally gotten over my jet lag & deep sadness of having to start missing my husband all over again.  A week in, i've replaced my driver's licence, Visa card & mobile phone, life is back in order. 
Have lovely weekends, love Posie

25 July 2010

it's over so quickly . . .

Greetings all,
Thanks for the great comments, i feel like i'm home with friends, love you all!!  Coping much better today, with sleep + the concept of children resuming school & me returning to Shop Handmade in the morning.  I have a new focus, ideas & energy for my work.  For now, while i get my act together, here are some more images to gaze at, ahhhh . . .
So glad i had Italian tags on my luggage, i was waved through DIY customs with the big boarder security question of "do you have any cheese in your bag??" 
Crystal clear waters of Croatia, chandelier from the Duke's Palace in the Old City & that square paver is the ONLY square one - marking the centre of the Old City.
More glorious sites about Greece - check out the insane colours against the pool at the Olympia Resort!!  Little side story about the few remaining columns at the Temple of Zeus, the Persians took 90 marble columns from here, ground them to dust to lime wash their mosques - OMG, how short sighted are these vandals!!??
More sites around Rome, the Palace, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum & authentic Roman Gladiators on their mobile phones??  Special mention that we went to the Vatican, did it for you Corrie from Retro Mummy!!  My husband was stopped over & over to take photos for people, he had our big Nikon around his neck so looked like a much better photographer than me with the little camera.  Either that or i look like the kind of person who would run off with your camera??

The horse statue is from the Palace in Rome, but i couldn't move the image from the rest of these snaps of Venice.  A peek at some woodwork, gelato & Murano glass around San Marco.  Just for Brenda of Red Stitch Design - some more tassell porn.  Very hard to resist but extremely expensive, that helped me part tassell-less.  I have my fabrics, ahhhhh . . .

Have lovely weeks, the Euro Fashion blog post will be next, bring on Summer, i have quite the tan already!!  Love Posie

24 July 2010

& so i'm back . . . oh how i love Europe!!

Greetings all,
I'm back from the most wonderful holiday. Meeting up with my husband was the highlight & what a back drop for our reunion - Rome & Venice (Italy), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Athens & Katakolon (Greece) - sailing on a luxury cruise ship!! Yes TOTALLY spoilt. I had seen my husband for 18 days this year, this trip just added another 15 to the total!! Our children had a great time with Grandpa in Sydney & their aunties hung out with cousins to keep them busy in the school holidays & boy were they happy with their gifts!!  This was the first & only time we'll ever holiday without them. 
Now for some highlights & very limited images, or you'd get all 800 photos i took on the trip.
First stop was Rome, lots of kisses, tears & hugs at the airport, after my Canberra-Sydney-Hong Kong-Munich-Rome 30 hour travel epic. Handsome soldier had a short trip from the Middle East (this was his 2 week war leave) for a 2nd honeymoon after 13 years of marriage. Hotel was fantastic . .. . room, food, location, price . . . visited the Coloseum, Via Nazionale, Palatino. Termini.
Onto Venice, by train & a hotel just off Piazza San Marco. I do love Venice . . . designer stores, food, souvenirs, stationery, ferries, gelato, jewellery, Rialto. I found a fabric shop (of course) which makes soft furnishings for royal families around the world - fabrics start at 500E (about $aud750) per metre & clever me found a remnant bin. Handsome soldier bought me 3 pieces, OMG, love him!! He did draw the line at me buying tassels & was embarrassed when i took photos in the shop (after permission). Lots of stores say "NO FOTO" but in my quest to get shots of chandeliers, i did some walk by photography . . . hoping for the best. There was a ferry strike on the day we were going to visit the beach at Lido & glass factories at Murano, so we couldn't add to the glass we bought on our 1st honeymoon!!
From Venice we boarded the cruise ship & had the most fantastic relaxing holiday. Wow, where do i start in my excitement on our first cruise - the state room, balcony, food, cabin boy, sunshine . . . i wanted to kidnap our evening waiter Jose, from Chile. Of course everyone has a story in this world . . . gorgeous Jose joined this cruise ship to learn English so he could return & teach his village (barely anyone in Chile speaks English) & get a better job in his home city of Santiago. After 5 years on ships this was his last cruise, his English was impeccable. He also teaches children to ride/ care/ camp with horses - i offered to post him our 4 horse loving children (& me)!!
After hours of gazing at the mountainous Albanian Coastline, where the water is deep purple, we docked at Dubrovnik in Croatia. There are lots of Croatians in Australia so to see their homeland was incredible. A population of only 4.5M & crystal clear aqua waters, it's clean, inexpensive, friendly, uncrowded, spring water, interesting history & sites to see. I really enjoyed the old city, surrounded by walls to keep the pesky Persians out, we went all over the Duke's Palace, heard the bells ring & ate delicious creamy ice cream. They will be the last country to join the European Union.
Sailing on to Athens, a very busy & crowded industrial city centre with apartment buildings. Again, Australia has a huge Greek population so their food & customs are familiar. We chose a walking tour of Athens which included everything from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & Parliament House to the Plaka & Parthenon at the Acryopolos. Hmmm . . . would loved to have walked up to it, alas, a strike had it ALL closed!! Did you know their flag is blue & white to represent the seas/ sky & clouds/ crashing waves?? Greeks also live for today, they smoke & don't want to know about cancer?? Taking an owl from Athens will give you wisdom (i took a few!!)
Final port on the cruise was Katakolon, near the birthplace of the Olympics. They have an Olympia museum & even the original marble start line for the ancient races!! We took a bus to the Olympic Village Resort (don't think it was the Ancient athletes' accommodation) where we relaxed on sun lounges & swam in the sea. We had lunch of freshly caught octopus & the most juicy lamb souvlaki ever + taramasalata (caviar) dip, yummy. They have amazing handmade cotton & olive products in Greece.
Back to Venice where my husband had to drag me off the ship to semi reality, like filing a police report for my mobile phone, coin purse, cash, driver's licence & Visa card, which all went 'missing' between checking in luggage at the port & our state room, argh!! The police sergeant rolled his eyes at me & in tune with most customer service in Italy - serving customers is simply annoying!! Such a contrast to the many Italians in Australia who are so friendly.
We finished up the trip with 4 more nights in Rome, staying at the boutique 400 year old hotel next to the Pantheon that we stayed in on our honeymoon. More shopping, food, sites & ruins to see . . . i love the touristy part of Rome, the fountains & the history, so easy to do on foot. My best friend from preschool (she still hasn't escaped me) is Italian & i grew up with her family's cooking, restaurant & customs. If i wanted the real taste of Italy, i'd plan a joint holiday with her family. 
My big tip would be to take a cruise, what a glorious way to visit different countries, travelling by sea & sight seeing when you reach each port, brilliant!! My parents are on their 3rd Queen Mary 2 cruise this year & i can see why, i think cruising could become quite addictive. We dined with a fantastic English/ American family & got involved in lots of activities like rock climbing, eating, mini golf, eating, tours, eating, shows, eating, shoping, eating . . . you get the drift!! We've even looked into a Pacific Cruise with the children out of Sydney in 2012, THEY would love it - the sport, activities, food & be at great ages too.
Thanks for all your pre-holiday well wishes, i really appreciate your interest in my blog, life, work & family. In a few months my husband will be home with us & we'll sort out what is happening next year - are we moving to Brisbane or staying in Canberra, big decisions to make for 2011 - including choosing a high school. For now, the reality of 4 school children to parent solo, a business to run & a husband to love long distance + my work with Handmade will keep me busy & distracted. I'm still recovering from my 40 hour trip back, i couldn't sleep either!!  Now i miss my husband more than ever too.  Love Posie
PS next post will be travel tips & Euro fashion!!