Monday, 31 December 2018

A new year

The end of 2018

2018 has been a year of progress, for my body and my wardrobe.

The winds of change came from Down Under when I tried a new type of personality test.

The 16 Style Types programme by Inside Out Style blog’s Imogen Lamport Imogen Lamport and Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe, revealed much about my personality and how I make my choices around shopping and getting dressed.

The system is based on the more familiar Myers-Briggs personality test. It turned out I'm ENFP.

What was most significant was seeing that I’m a choices person. Not having several opportunities to choose from makes me feel constricted and depressed. I kills my creativity.

It was quite a surprise to learn that my focus on what I wear would often leave me no time for anything else. All too true! I need to set a timer that allows me to do make up and hair as I often kept that to a bare minimum where I could do better. 

A fashion photo shoot (my first ever!) in September showed me what a difference proper make up makes. I have the photos but not the rights to publicise them so a couple of selfies will have to do.

I'm rubbish at selfies!

A close up - my skin has never looked this good!

As I like to have several opportunities to choose from I’ll never be a minimalist and a small capsule wardrobe will never make me happy. There goes my carefully planned colour palette - it is just too limiting.

It took such a long time to come up with this, but it's too little

These facts sort of set me free. As the study also says I like to make up my own rules. I translated that into keeping my colour choices within a certain part of the colour wheel, in mid to lighter tones in the brighter spectrum, as they suit me the most. With my (external) Trumpification warmer colours work best. That narrows down the field but still gives me an endless number of colours to choose from that for the most part will mix really well.

After my trips this summer lots of items in my wardrobe had given up. Travelling was just the last straw! They were completely worn out, with holes in the fabric and frayed hems. Replacing them was a chance to change track.

Ever since the late  1970’s disco has had a huge place in my heart. During this last year there’s been so much shimmer and shine in fashion - and I can’t get enough. I wanted that to be a main feature in my outfits, in clothes, shoes and accessories.

Disco version of me in shiny everything!

By now my wardrobe consists of satin tops in lime and coral pink, shimmer knit tops in tomato, aqua and lime plus a single top in white sequin! Even some of my outerwear is sparkling. A little tweed jacket in a black-white-pink-blue-mix and a pink coat, all with some shimmer in the fabric. 

At the last Monies sale - a new purchase, and my aqua glitter top

New orange trousers and lime glitter knit top with old Monies necklace

Around Christmas last year I bought two pairs of trousers, in shimmering cobalt and black. I would like to have more trousers with some shine to them, but every one I ordered had to be returned as they didn’t fit. Instead I have orange trousers, and lighter, dusty blue trousers, plus the two identical pairs of cream trousers from spring.

Trousers are the most difficult piece of clothing for me. The advice in many books is to have them altered to fit. I tried a few months ago, but the result wasn’t good. I’ve found another place to try but is still debating with myself over which pair of trousers to risk!

The biggest problem however, is and will always be shoes!

My feet have been a problem my whole life. They’re very wide and very sturdy. In fact they’re so wide that one shoe brand labeled my width “jumbo wide”. How nice to know you have elephant feet! 

Since many of the shoes I’ve worn over the years have hurt my feet, and others just not fitted well enough to be actually wearable (no matter how much “stuffing” I added), I decided it was time to save my health and invest in a pair of bespoke shoes…

Handmade Italian shoes made to measure sounds terribly expensive - and it is. But I counted the pair of shoes I got rid of during just one year (when I finally realised I would never be able to make them work), and added up the cost - about the same price as my new pair of shoes!

The trick is that my shoe maker has a number of lasts that he customises and so makes it a lot cheaper than if he had to make a special last just for me. My price is then around £ 350,00 or a good 300 US Dollars. That’s not too bad. Especially since these shoes potentially have a decade of wear in them depending on how well they’re cared for.

With my lust for shine, and a few old pairs of shoes in remembrance, I chose to have a pair made in silver leather.

New shoes - hand made in Italy and so shiny!

The fit is amazing! It feels like I can’t fall in these (I’ve fallen so many times due to ill-fitting footwear) and they go with almost everything - LOVE!

Finally, my daily training is beginning to show. I can walk up to 5 kilometers per day maybe three times a week now - a huge improvement!

For days when I want to be really grown up and serious I've found myself a pair of leather look leggings - very contrary to everything in my wardrobe. Adding a gifted, floor length kimono, heels and better make up I felt very dramatic Saturday night at a restaurant with friends and husband. I'm back to disco for New Year's Eve though.

For rock n' roll days

After a night out and still fighting a Christmas Cold

The beginning of 2019

Equipped with perfect shoes and a disco wardrobe I’m looking forward to 2019. I’m going to work on my make up skills, on my health, and possibly look for a part time job, to get me out of the house more regularly.  It all depends on my body. 

In any case, I’ve decided that my life needs more party so I'll start every day in 2019 with loud disco music!

I’m wishing you all a very happy New Year

Love Kaffesoester

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Fine tuning the travel capsule for hot weather destinations

The travel capsule in reversed order

Due to illness I haven’t been abroad for years. I haven’t even been away from home for one single night for the past three years.

However, this year I’m much better, so I travelled!

First to Sweden with my husband. We went up to a small coastal village called Fjällbacka, and met with my BFF and her husband who sailed up there, as they do every summer.

Kungsklyftan, Fjällbacka, Sweden
The dramatic Kungsklyftan with huge boulders wedged in the cracked rock

My husband and I went by car bringing our tent (a Vango AirBeam 600xl). The weather was amazing, though very cold at night.

Kafesoester's tent at night with "hygge"
We didn't spend much time in the tent, but still appreciated a bit of "hygge"

A small walk in closet with a very hot bottle of Chanel topping the clothes stand

The Swedish packing list was the first edition of my travel capsule.

Kaffesoester's travel capsule for camping in Sweden
The white kimono sadly had a washing accident and now fits my daughter!

The Swedish trip had to include practical clothes for a bit of hiking as well as shopping and restaurant dinners. The village has a famous mountain used several times in film and on TV, as well as in the novels by local author Camilla Läckberg

The Swedish village Fjällbacka
This is around 21:30, still warm and no wind. It doesn't get any better

Veddeberget rock in Fjällbacka
The famous rock Veddeberget, used in film and TV
Fjällbacka summer evening at the waterfront
Nobody wants to go home and go to bed when the weather is like this

In all the travel capsule guidelines I’ve come across, the main point is to pack as few separates as possible, that all mix well, and add different accessories for change.

I do the totally opposite!

Due to various medical reasons I have to change clothes mostly twice daily. That means packing several "full" outfits, except for outerwear. Since I can’t carry a ton on my own I have to “save” on the accessories. Hand washing is not an option as there isn’t drying possibilities. 

Luckily I’ve been travelling with light weight summer clothes. Jersey trousers, skirts and t-shirts are manageable items, as a spare pair of ballet flats, just to give my trainers the occasional breather. We did a lot of walking in Paris, husband, daughter and I, so I only brought flats.

Kaffesoester's travel capsule for Paris
Paris trip packing list, 8 outfits

When it comes to outerwear things are quite easy too. An all-round denim jacket is more or less mandatory for tourists. Less obvious is a cream jersey jacket. However, the colour is a neutral, it’s perfect for the season, and since the fabric of this particular jacket contains a good deal of polyester, it’s somewhat resilient to dirt and dust. It’s the third trip that I’m packing it for in addition to a denim jacket. For this last trip to Berlin I also brought a longer jacket since we’re later in the season, and the weather report promised lower temperatures. It’s by Marks and Spencer, in a poly-tweed since I can’t wear wool, a longer length and a lovely bright pink with lime green specks! 

Kaffesoester's travel capsule for Berlin
Berlin trip packing list, 8 outfits

The difference on the three travel capsules is that the one for Sweden was more relaxed, the one for Paris was for hotter weather, even though it turned out to be almost as hot in Berlin! For city trips I like a bit more refinement, like the white sequin t-shirt that I've worn many times this summer. I'm desperately needing flat sandals. Those flats I brought to Sweden just comes off my feet - so annoying! So I was stuck with my old and worn ballet flats.

In Sweden we visited Kungsklyftan that has been used as a dramatic background for film and tv. After the initial bit of hiking, there’s a staircase on one side to “ease” the access, like 21 storeys high!!! But it’s so worth it when you see the view from the top!

The view from the top was amazing!

The sky just doesn't get any more blue than this

Later we had drinks of BFF’s boat, and dinner at a lovely restaurant. In summer the sun doesn’t set until 23:00, and the quiet, sunny evenings were magical!

Aperol Spritz on the boat
BFF's husband mixes a mean Aperol Spritz!

BFF on the boat
BFF with her biggest holiday smile, anticipating cocktails!

Kaffesoester and husband at restaurant in Fjällbacka
Husband and I enjoying life!

Shortly after returning home we packed for Paris. 

I visited Paris many years ago, and was underwhelmed. I found the French an arrogant lot that couldn’t be bothered with tourists who didn’t speak French!

What a difference now! Everyone were so friendly and helpful, I couldn’t believe it. We all enjoyed ourselves so much, and all want to return soon. 

We took the train (three different ones) and it was fantastic. From Essen to Paris we went on the Thalys train, which runs 300 kilometers per hour. Just look at those velvet seats (and husband). I want trains like this at home too!

Kaffesoester's husband on the Thalys train to Paris
Husband loving the train ride - at 300 kilometers per hour!

Our hotel was located in Passage Jouffroy, built in 1846. After opening back then, the hotel hasn’t locked it’s door as it has been manned by a concierge at the front desk ever since! The hotel is called Hotel Chopin, and the story goes that Chopin himself often visited the piano sellers shop in the passage… 

Interior of Passage Jouffroy in Paris
This is one of the first shopping malls in the world!

Interior of Passage Jouffroy in Paris
Just look at the lamps and the hand rail - gorgeous!
Interior of Passage Jouffroy in Paris
Every day we had to pass the cafe on our way out. Well, we tried!

Kaffesoester in front of Hotel Chopin in Paris
Hotel Chopin's entrance - and me!

The interior of the hotel is very appropriately kept in a historic and romantic style. Doors, floor boards, fireplaces and more, are all original. With a mix of modern conveniences like flushing toilets, a lift, electricity and wifi, we didn’t feel we stayed in a museum. Neither were the interior very precious, so we felt completely relaxed and at home.

The breakfast room at Hotel Chopin in Paris
The breakfast room. Our daughter had a feast every morning with those freshly baked croissants

The breakfast room at Hotel Chopin in Paris
Small but very pretty, and with original panelling and built in mirror

We did go and see a few of the sights, and that was fine. 

The Eiffel Tower in Paris
For the second time in my life I sat below the tower waiting for the others to come down

Place de la Concorde in Paris, the obelisk
Amazing that it's 3300 years old, and still looking this sharp!

Place de la Concorde in Paris, the obelisk close up
The gilding was very new!

Place de la Concorde in Paris, the fountain
I think this was where a cell phone was dropped in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada"?

Arch de Triumph in Paris
The arch is so big that a pilot flew his plane through it at the end of WW1 as celebration

However it was our afternoon cakes that are the most memorable!

Afternoon cakes in Paris
The red to the left is mango mousse, at the back there's dark chocolate, and milk chocolate with nuts to the right

Afternoon cakes in Paris
Savarin with rum with the liquor in the pipette for self distribution. Fun!
Afternoon cakes in Paris at Laduree
These are my daughter's and husbands choices at the famous Laduree. Eclair au Chocolate and the Plaisir Sucré
Afternoon cakes in Paris at Laduree
Now my choice was the Religieuse Rose Framboise - not as good as the Honoré I had in London in 2014, but still!!!
Afternoon cakes in Paris at laduree
You have to see the inside too

Afternoon cakes in Paris at Laduree
The Interior is original and lovely, with lots of gold everywhere

Afternoon cakes in Paris at Laduree
I highly recommend Laduree for an extraordinary cake experience!

What also stayed with me are all the little details: A door handle here, an old shop facade there, another shop only selling mustard, people having lunch outside.

Close up of brass door handle in Paris
Brass handle on marble in the middle of a red lacquered door. Love!

Beautiful antique shop front in Paris
The original painted glass facade of an old sweet shop. Just fantastic. With husband in front, also fantastic!
The mustard shop in Paris
If you love mustard this is the place to go!

Street food in Paris
That seafood arrangement looked so delicious!

There’s just so much to see in this beautiful city that this visit just feels like an appetizer. We all want to go back!

On to Berlin a week later! My family and I visited Berlin some years ago. We went to see the usual sights, and did a bit of shopping. The most memorable was a trip to an outdoor specialist shop that was so vast that they had an indoor pool for customers to try out their new kajak before  purchasing!

This time I went with the mother’s group. What a party! Not only did we see lots of fantastic places and enjoy some amazing food, we just laughed so much, I swear my belly was flatter when I got home!

Kaffesoester on the ferry to Germany with friends
On the ferry in the late afternoon sun having hotdogs

We stayed at a lovely flat by the river. The busses were only a couple of minutes away, but mostly we took a good walk along the river since the weather was perfect and the scenery so beautiful.

This was the back of "our" house, right next to the river and the walking path to town

The flat was fully equipped, and we had a large breakfast every morning!
The view of one of the balconies, where we had breakfast and good night drinks

Like in Paris we had cake every day! The best were at KaDeWe, the big Harrods-like department store in Mitte

Cakes at KaDeWe
M's choice, rather heavy with nuts, dried fruit and milk chocolate bits

Cakes at KaDeWe
C's choice, a vanilla Eclair which was PERFECT!
Cakes at KaDeWe
My choice: Again a mango mousse, this time with white chocolate ganache on soft sponge, HEAVEN!
Cakes at KaDeWe
This is the second best cake I've ever had, after the Honoré I had at Laduree in London in 2014. Cakes matter!

Cakes at local bakery in Pankow district
From the left: Sachertorte, Mango-chocolate gateaux, Apfelstrudel and red currant meringue pie in front

And in the evening we were lucky to visit some amazing restaurants, the favourite being Monsieur Vuong, a Vietnamese restaurant, close to Rosa Luxemburg Platz, that was so popular they had a waiting line down the road. The waiters came out and took orders for cocktails to be enjoyed while waiting.

Cocktails at Monsieur Vuong, Berlin
Exotic cocktails for starters - too small!

Spring rolls at Monsieur Vuong, Berlin
Little crisp spring rolls with fresh vegetables inside - so good!
Chicken soup at Monsieur Vuong, Berlin
Chicken noodle soup - THE BEST ever! I've tried making it at home afterwards, not too bad
Fried pork at Monsieur Vuong, Berlin
Marinated, crisp fried pork with another type of noodles, fresh vegetables and topped with mango - lovely!

Another great place was the Italian restaurant A Mano at Strausberger Platz, which is actually at a round about! While we were waiting for our food, there was suddenly a lot of police on the street. Traffic was stopped, and we were all very curious. Then there was a van playing music, followed by thousands of people - on roller skates! It was totally unreal! Apart from the first van everything was so quiet. An absolutely amazing experience along with our gorgeous pasta.

Sea food pasta at A Mano in Berlin
Sea food and chili

Sea food pasta at A Mano in Berlin
Salmon and lobster sauce

We also had the traditional Schnitzel and beer one evening, and more Italian at another Restaurant - and the prices were low everywhere. At Monsieur Vuong we paid like 7 pounds or 10 dollars pr course. That's about half the price we paid in Paris. The same with the cakes, even at KaDeWe.

On our way home (by car) we stopped at the McArthur Glen outlet just outside the city. I was so lucky to walk through the door at Michael Kors, and instantly see this gold bag… It was “mine” even before I had paid for it! The price was less than 100 dollars, or 70 pounds. Having saved so much money I couldn’t leave this cute little purse behind, at just 30 dollars, or 22 punds!

Purchases from Mcarthur Glen in Berlin
The gold bag now brightens many of my days

Kaffesoester in new green tunic with new green purse
The little green purse plays very nicely with my green tunic, another Berlin purchase

Back home it was supposed to be the end of summer. But no, this is the summer that never ends! During these many months I’ve been swimming a lot in the sea, which has been great for my skin problems. 

Kaffesoester at the beach in Denmark
The never ending summer

Just after my previous post I attended the sale at Monies, enjoyed cocktails in the afternoon with my family and looked after my allotment. My produce was eaten by pests, so even if the weather was perfect, it was nearly all in vain.

Kaffesoester trying jewellery at Monies sale
No, too low - does the man behind me agree?

Kaffesoester trying jewellery at Monies sale
I'm being strangled!!!

Kaffesoester trying jewellery at Monies sale
Still too narrow on my throat - but gorgeous colours!
Kaffesoester trying jewellery at Monies sale
Lovely but maybe a bit too small? The top is from Boden, v-neck Ravello, bought on sale

Kaffesoester trying jewellery at Monies sale
It looks like I'm wearing three strands, but it is just one - I'll take it, thank you very much!

Kaffesoester's family "hygger"
Family hygge with G&T's

In late spring I bought this sequin top from Next, that I included in both the Paris and Berlin travel capsules. It’s not my preferred shape, but look how easy it is to dress up and down:

Kaffesoester wearing white sequin top from Next
Apologies for the dark photo, it was difficult with the strong sunshine

Kaffesoester wearing white sequin top from Next
White sequin top with leggings from Danish brand Zhenzi, by the old Royal Exchange

Kaffesoester wearing white sequin top from Next
The sequin top dressed down at the physiotherapists

On the first picture I was going to the opening of a small square, all in memory of my late friend Karen. The weather was beautiful, there was a band playing jazz and the mayor gave a speech. It was all so appropriate and emotional. But lovely to see how she’s being honoured. 

Later this summer I went to the cinema to see Ocean’s Eight. It was entertaining as expected, but the real joy was the clothes! I loved how Cate Blanchett looked like a 1970’s rock star. It’s a style I’d love to experiment with. But for this hot summer evening I just tried to keep cool.

Kaffesoester wearing white Evans trousers and silver knit top
The trousers are from Evans, and a wardrobe workhorse. Sadly the top had itchy edges..

In late August my friends and I went to the annual Copenhagen Jewellery Fair. I wore my new Zara t-shirt and an older, but unworn Pure Collection gold brocade skirt, along with my Marks and Spencer suede sandals. The skirt has been waiting for it’s first outing for more than a year. It’s so beautiful that I was a afraid I’d ruin it!

Kaffesoester and BFF at Copenhagen Jewellery Fair 2018
Me wearing lots of gold - I love it! BFF is super cute in summer colours -and nice tan!

They're just the sweetest girls one could ever hope to meet!

Last month we did experience a few days with slightly lower temperatures allowing me to wear my pink M&S coat again, with that very gold handbag.

Kaffesoester in bright pink tweed coat
A very light weight poly tweet in bright colours - my coat! The dog was too shy for a photo

Now before the weekend I met up with my BFF. We visited an old village on the outskirts of Copenhagen, called Dragør. It’s remarkable because of it’s origin. Back in 1515 the Danish King invited Dutch farmers to come to Denmark, to learn from their farming skills. They were given this piece of land, and settled. 500 years later a lot of people in Dragør still have Dutch names, and we met quite a few Dutch tourists. The village is charming, and the weather called for al fresco lunch by the seaside! 

The small village Dragør built in 1515 by Dutch immigrants
Typical yellow houses, hundreds of years old - the weather is just unbelievable!

Kaffesoesters BFF enjoying lunch al fresco in Dragør
we had lunch by the seaside - enjoying every bit of sunshine!
Kaffesoester in Dragør wearing dusty blue and light pink
In the distance to the right of my shoulder is the bridge to Sweden, Øresundsbroen

As mentioned earlier, I suffer from some annoying skin problems, among other things. I decided to let it show (on my neck) on the last photo, even though I do know my way round Photoshop. If a princess can show a foot long scar on her wedding day, I should easily be able to live with this little patch of what-ever-it-is on my blog! The trousers are new from Asos, the pink top is old, from British brand Jacques Vert. It has taken me around two years to finally find a way to wear it!

It turned out to be a monster post after a very long time. I have had the best summer ever, despite many health issues. And with 23 degrees celcius still outside it’s not over yet! I’m so grateful for that.

Next time I’ll be posting my treasures from the apparently last sale at Monies ever, which is on October 31st. and November 1st. I’ll be going with a few friends, and spend too much money, since it’s the last time. An era is at it’s end. From now on it will be out of my reach - sadly!

I want to promise all my readers that I will post more frequently, and leave lots of comments on other blogs, but it all depends on how my body behaves. I hope everyone is having a great time and enjoyable weather like in Denmark!

Last photo is from a secret meeting that I'll tell you about later!

Kaffesoester in leopard coat at secret meeting
Leopard coat from last winter, red trousers from spring - and new satin top from Mango outlet, and gold accessories!

Lots of love