Friday, May 17, 2013
Although I love many things about the chillier months (an excuse to indulge in hot chocolate as often as I like, a roaring fireplace, snuggling up in bed and reading a good book), winter fashion is not one of them. I feel short and frumpy in just about everything I wear - thick jerseys, jackets and coats were not created to flatter women with big busts or a bit of padding around the middle, that's for sure! Every year I end up browsing the racks with hope and optimism, only to find nothing but unglamorous knits, boxy jackets and unflattering trousers. Now I know that this is likely down to my own mindset and personal taste, particularly since I see so many women rocking winter fashion, so I've decided to approach winter differently this year. I'll be updating my wardrobe bit by bit; building the basics and adding a few fashionable accessories as I go. My first step? Several pretty scarves to add a bit of interest to my go-to winter look, which is usually either my denim skinnies or a pair of tight-fitting black trousers from Guess, paired with a basic black or white tee. The best thing about scarves is the fact that they're a pretty easy way to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank. You could pretty much wear the same outfit daily, but by switching up your scarf you'll end up with a different look every day.
1. Blue swallow print scarf (R69,95) from Woolworths
All you need is a pair of denims, a white tee, blue pumps (these are great) and a bold, orange lip and you're set for a casual brunch with friends.
2. Punkte Design scarf by Passigati (R549) from Zando
I simply adore polka dots and can think of so many ways to wear this scarf. For a chic, stylish look that's perfect for the office, pair this with a black shift dress, a pair of patent heels and a quilted bag, a la Chanel.
3. Jivanta Scarf by Just Cruizin (R250) from Spree
Looking for a way to wear those mint denims? Simply pull on a white tee and tie this scarf around your neck. Then pull your hair into a low pony, dab on some BB cream and add a of dab cream blush and pale pink gloss for a pretty, fresh look.
4. Skull print scarf from Fred Tsuya (R149) from Spree
For an edgy look, wear this scarf with black skinny jeans, a black tee and a pair of studded ankle boots (I want these).
5. Floral scarf (R99,95) from Woolworths
I am loving this season's floral trend and I've already bought myself a pair of floral trousers, but if you're a bit weary of going all out and would prefer to dip your toes into the proverbial water to begin with, this scarf is for you. It's a quick and easy seasonal update that can be worn in so many ways.
6. Animal print scarf by Slick (R299) from Spree
I've always been a bit intimidated by animal print and tend to stay clear of it, because I worry that it will look a bit old fashioned on me. But what I love about this scarf is that it doesn't scream 'ANIMAL PRINT', so it's a subtle way to try the trend. I'd wear this with my denim skinnies, a light brown knit and a pair of brown over-the-knee boots.
7. Cream tube scarf by Pieces (R269) from Zando
This is an easy piece that can be used to style up so many outfits, from printed trousers and a plain tee to denim skinnies and a polo neck.
8. Tribal print scarf by Lily & Rose (R120) from Spree
The great thing about a bright, colourful scarf like this is that it's almost guaranteed to create a stir all on it's own, so it's perfect for days when you're running late and are forced to throw on a pair of jeans and a plain tee. No one will guess that you slept through your alarm or that it's laundry day!
** This is not a sponsored post. These are all scarves that I fell in love with, considered buying or purchased for my own winter wardrobe **
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
SET THE MOOD
Add a touch of warmth and create a cosy atmosphere with the clever use of lighting. I hardly ever switch on the main light in our bedroom and stick to pretty lamps and candles. This porcelain candle cuff by Lisa Firer (R240 from Room Online) will make a pretty addition to any bedside table, and it's functional too!
A BLOOMING GOOD IDEA
I don't know what it is about a vase of fresh flowers, but this quick and easy add-on has the ability to instantly transform a space from so-so to magazine-worthy. And there's no need to blow your budget on expensive flowers every week; even one or two blooms picked from the garden and placed in a pretty tumbler on your bedside table will do.
THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL
Yes, it's true that mirrors create the illusion of space, so you may be wondering why I've included one when trying to create a more cosy space. I find that a mirror (this one costs R360 at Mr Price Home) is great way to ensure that light bounces around a room, and I can't think of anything more wonderful than being surrounded by a warm glow from every direction.
Scatter cushions and pillows are my favourite way to change the look and feel of a room in a flash. My husband maintains that a bed full of pillows is his worst nightmare, but I have a feeling that he won't be complaining when he sits back to enjoy a movie while propped up against these pretty pillows, both from Mr Price Home.
I doubt there's anything more indulgent than snuggling up underneath a luxe, faux fur throw and there are very few items that pull a bedroom together quite in the same way that a throw does. I like to fold mine lengthwise and arrange it diagonally across the bottom of of my bed, but you could also arrange it horizontally or spread it out over your bed entirely. This one from Woolworths might set you back quite a bit to begin with (it costs R500), but you'll thank yourself every winter for years to come.
** This is not a sponsored post. These are simply items that I fell in love with while browsing my favourite online stores **
The classic ballet pump gets a modern update in the form of a studded toecap - and I love it! I tend to live in skinny jeans and a basic black tee, so I'm always on the lookout for interesting accessories to add a little interest and I think these pumps - worn with a pretty scarf, statement earrings and oversized sunnies - will do the trick. I found these studded toecap pumps from Madison (R300) on my latest online shopping obsession, Spree.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I shared my list of essentials to pack for when you're about to go into hospital to deliver your baby. Today, I've compiled a list of the baby things I packed in my baby's hospital bag that I found most useful. The hospital I delivered at (Medi Clinic Cape Town) provides new mothers with a baby bag packed with all the essentials, including one pack of newborn nappies, wipes, vaseline, and cotton wool. There were lots of other goodies included too - I just can't seem to remember them all (must be all the morphine I was on after my c-section!). They also provided babygros (which belong to the hospital), so parents who plan on giving birth at Medi Clinic Cape Town only need to take a 'going home' outfit for their baby. However, I packed about three outfits for every day that we were in hospital (so a total of 12 baby outfits) because I knew that I'd want to dress Bean up in his own little clothes. Here, my list of baby essentials to take along:
1 pack of nappiesAs I mentioned above, the hospital provides one bag of nappies but I wasn't sure how many nappies Bean would go through in one day, so I decided to pack an extra bag, just in case. I ended up not using the extra bag, but I think it's worth packing all the same, because you never know!
1 pack of baby wipesAgain, the hospital provided these for me, but your hospital may not necessarily provide you with a pack. I found that cotton wool and good old water worked just as well, though - especially on a newborn baby's super-sensitive, brand-new skin.
Baby washPack the gentlest baby wash you can find - I'd personally recommend Naturals Beauty RR Baby Range Gel Body Wash and Shampoo, which is a gorgeously silky wash that's free of parabens, sulphates, soap and allergens. It's not necessary to bath your newborn baby daily as they don't get very dirty, but it's a good idea to ask the nurses to show you how before you head home.
Baby lotionAgain, something gentle and free of parabens and other nasties is a good bet. Naturals Beauty RR Range also does a fabulous, all-natural baby lotion that contains avocado oil, shea butter, jojobo oil and aloe to soothe and nourish your baby's delicate skin. (The Naturals Beauty RR range consists of the gel body wash and shampoo, body lotion and a milk wash and costs only R200 for the set on Hello Pretty).
Bum creamThe nurses at Medi Clinic Cape Town recommended that I use vaseline, but I prefer using a specially-formulated bum cream. My ultimate bum cream is Fissan Baby Paste but I find that Clicks Baby Bum Cream is a similar product that works just as well, but at a fraction of the cost. (Think over R50 versus R18!)
I don't know where I came across the idea to pack three outfits per day, but that's what I did. I figured that babies have a tendency to spit up and have other 'accidents' all over themselves, so I wanted to be prepared. In the end, I didn't use more than about two outfits per day (so a total of 7 for my four day, three night hospital stay), but I'd still recommend packing three outfits per day so that you have several outfits to choose on, depending on your mood, the weather, etc.
The hospital also provided us with blankets for the duration of our stay, but I was glad that I packed my own as well.
What were some of your baby bag essentials for your hospital stay?
Friday, May 10, 2013
I recently discovered Lauren's gorgeous blog and I love her 'High Five for Friday' feature so much, that I thought I'd join in with five of my own highlights from this past week.
1. A stroll to the Noordhoek Farm Village to indulge in coffee and the richest, most delicious lemon meringue with the two men in my life was the perfect way to end this week.
2. A surprise gift from a dear friend made me smile. I can't wait to start reading The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes.
3. Earlier this week, I tested my culinary skills and made the most divine homemade burgers (stuffed with mozzarella and basil pesto), followed by peppermint crisp tart. Having this treat in the fridge kept me happy all week long!
4. Lady Luck is definitely on my side! I found out that I've won two competitions this morning alone - a decadent Lindt hamper (thanks to Fiona at Super Mom Blog) and a Sorbet voucher. Just what this exhausted new mom needs - chocolate and some pampering!
5. My week started off with big bunch of flowers and Terry's Chocolate Orange from my love. Turns out that hubby had his dates mixed up and thought last Sunday was Mother's Day - not that I'm complaining!
There were lots of other highlights, too: morning conversations with Bean are my best, breakfast in bed from my darling hubby, Woolworths cake pops, an unexpected email from an old friend, gorgeous gifts for Noah from family in Pretoria... life is good!
If there's one thing that really makes a difference to both your complexion and your mood, it's a good face mask. I've always made time to go for a regular facial at least once every two months (my favourite facial is the QMS MediCosmetics SK-Alpha Treatment), but since becoming a mom almost four months ago I've found it really difficult to keep up with this habit. Instead, I've made it a priority to look after my skin at home so that it isn't a complete wreck by the time I do go for my next treatment. I've experimented with many face masks over the past couple of months, but these three are at the top of my list:
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Hydration Boost Night MaskThis rich, creamy rinse-off mask is the answer to winter dryness. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth, and I immediately noticed that the fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes were a little less obvious, proving that these lines were a sign of dehydration, not age! I'd recommend using this product two to three times a week for best results. As with most skincare products, results become more obvious with prolonged use.
Sisley Black Rose Cream MaskThose of you who follow me on Twitter would have seen me raving about this product a couple of weeks ago. This is, quite possibly, my favourite face mask. Of. All. Time. Why do I love it so, you ask? It's a leave-on treatment, for one. Yep, that's right folks. You simply slather on a thick layer, leave it for 15 to 20 minutes, tissue off any excess and voila! Firm, hydrated, radiant skin by morning (that's another reason I love it). As the days have gotten cooler (and my skin, drier), I've noticed that there's no need to wipe away any excess product - after 20 minutes or so, my thirsty skin has literally sucked up every last bit of this mask.
Sanctuary Spa 30 Day Youth Revolution SystemThis is a fairly new addition to my arsenal of skincare products, but I've enjoyed using it so much (and the results have been so amazing) that I simply had to include it. This treatment works in two stages: first, apply a thin layer of the Skin Renewal Glycolic Peel Mask using the brush included in the kit and leave it to work it's magic for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the mask has dried, peel off the mask, starting from your jaw and peeling upwards towards your forehead. The glycolic acid contained in the peel removes dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and stimulates skin cell renewal for a younger, more radiant looking skin. Once you've peeled off the mask, you'll apply a pea-sized amount of the Anti-Wrinkle Activation Serum. When I first saw the size of this serum (and read that you're supposed to use it on a daily basis), I doubted whether it would last for the entire 30 days but, as it turns out, a little really does go a long way. What's more, this serum is so moisturising that I often skip moisturiser altogether - there's simply no need for it. I've definitely noticed an improvement in the appearance of the fine lines on my forehead after using this product for two weeks, and even my blackheads seem to have cleared up slightly (emphasis on slightly. Blackheads have been my biggest beauty bugbear for as long as I can remember. Is there any magical potion out there that will rid my pores of blackheads for life?!) This product comes highly recommended by me, regardless of your age or concerns. It works well to address both dullness and wrinkles, and the glycolic peel should work well on minimising the appearance of blemishes and dark spots too.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
What would winter be without a brand new pair of boots? I usually spend the first two months of winter going into every imaginable shop to find the perfect pair of boots, and eventually find the right pair just as the weather starts to warm up. This winter is set to be different, thanks to these gorgeous leather riding boots (on sale for R829) from Diligo. I'm very, very tempted but will have to hold the credit card until payday...