Currently Coveting #15: The Perfect New Year’s Eve Dress

New Year's Eve dress

A dense blanket of fog has covered our part of the world all day, making driving difficult and halting some flights in and out of London. It has been cold, damp, grey and miserable so I’ve cheered myself up by looking online for the perfect New Year’s Eve dress. I don’t actually know what we’re doing for New Year yet – we have been invited to a 1920s themed party, which sounds fun, but it’s grown-ups only and finding a babysitter is proving rather tricky…

Last year we had some friends and their children over for a three-course dinner and it was one of the best New Year’s Eves I’ve had for a long time (I’m almost ashamed to admit it but since having children I’ve been known to go to bed before midnight on December 31st…) But I think that even if you’re ringing in the new year in the comfort of your own home it is nice to dress up and wear something special. I would be more than happy to step into 2014 in any of these little numbers.

{All dresses from Anthropologie. Clockwise from top left: Eclat dress, £178; Honeyed Lace dress, £178; Cabled Garonne dress, £138; Orla Kiely Oasis Hearts Dress, £348; Amalie dress, £198; Glissade dress, £128}

Wrap it up

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Scarves in all different colours and patterns are an essential part of my autumn/winter wardrobe. Not only do they keep me warm but they also instantly update my “boring” uniform of skinny jeans and baggy jumper. I already have a rather large collection of scarves tucked away in my wardrobe but on my Christmas list this year is a warm, tartan scarf to snuggle up in when the really cold weather hits (typically in January/February). A classic Burberry scarf in the softest cashmere would really hit the spot but I have a feeling that Father Christmas will be on a budget this year, so a nice one from Zara or Topshop would do just nicely.

{In the picture above, clockwise from top left, is just a small selection of my current favourites: Grey and white star scarf from Danish brand Becksondergaard; Pink with stars from another Danish label Kudibal; Black & white leopard print from Swedish brand Ester Elenora; Flowery tube scarf from H&M; Another favourite from Ester Elenora; My favourite winter wrap-around in grey and white, also by Ester Elenora; Classic Alexander McQueen skull scarf; The perfect summer scarf in the softest pink with tiny white hearts from Becksondergaard.}

Currently Coveting #14: Vivienne Westwood x The Cambridge Satchel Company

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I’ve been looking for a bag that is both practical and stylish – and, most importantl, not black – for quite a while now. A couple of days ago I stumbled across this beautiful satchel by The Cambridge Satchel Company and I think the search is officially over. To celebrate its fifth birthday, the brand has collaborated with iconic British designer Vivienne Westwood to produce a limited edition range that combines the classic satchel with the queen of punk’s infamous squiggle print. The design also incorporates the pale tan straps and buckles which first featured in Westwood’s Pirate collection from 1981.

The bags, which come in two sizes and three colourways: yellow and black, white and red, and brown and black, retail at £195 for the 14″ size and £165 for the 11″ version. They are sold exclusively at Vivienne Westwood standalone boutiques and The Cambridge Satchel Company stores in central London, so I think a trip up to town is on the cards for me if I want to get my hands on one before they sell out.

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Recipe: Saffron and White Chocolate Cake

Saffron cake

Christmas for me is all about traditions – carrying on old ones from my childhood as well as creating new ones just for our family. Despite having lived in the UK since the age of ten, when I was growing up we always celebrated a traditional Swedish Christmas (with a few English twists). Much of the festive season revolves around food and in Sweden saffron is synonymous with Christmas. For St Lucia Day (read more about it here), which falls on December 13, it is customary to serve bright yellow saffron buns studded with raisins. While the buns are rather time consuming to make as the dough needs to rise (but they are oh, so worth it, I will share the recipe when I do make them), this cake takes hardly any time at all. My eldest son has inherited my love for saffron so I made it for his birthday earlier this month and I’ll make another one for the first of advent to serve along with Glögg (similar to mulled wine) and gingerbread biscuits.

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter
100g white chocolate
0.5g saffron (if you’re near a Scandinavian food store you can usually buy the saffron powder in tiny (but expensive) bags)
2 eggs
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
130g plain flour

Preparation Method:

Melt the butter together with the white chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the saffron and put to one side.Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until white and fluffy. Add the chocolate and butter mixture and stir until combined. Sift in the flour and carefully fold it in. Pour the butter into a prepared spring form cake tin. Bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on the desire texture (I like the cake to be slightly gooey in the middle). Allow it to cool before serving.

Listen up People – It’s Friday!!

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{I love being a mum but sometimes we all deserve a bit of time off}

We have had a lovely afternoon with my sister and her kids who are visiting from Sweden. When the boys came home from school it turned into a bit of a mad house with five children aged from 2 to 10 running around, but it was great for all the cousins to get together as they hadn’t seen each other since August.

Now it’s winding down time, the children have just got out of the bath and are deciding which movie to watch for their Friday night treat. The rain is pouring down outside but it’s lovely and cosy inside. I’m going to light some candles, have a glass of wine and enjoy the peace and quiet before I cook dinner.

A great weekend (I hope!) lies ahead:  tomorrow night I am going out for dinner with my sister – a rare occurrence as we live in different countries. Then on Sunday I am going an even rarer trip to a spa with a friend. We are only going for one night but we have lots of nice treatments booked and I hope it will be a chance to recharge the batteries before the run-up to Christmas.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! X

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The Beauty Edit: A Touch of Pink

Chanel Blush

If you’re pale skinned like me, then a good blusher is essential to avoid looking washed out in the winter months. So let me introduce a new beauty favourite of mine: Le blush créme de Chanel in shade 64 Inspiration.

The creamy texture glides on beautifully and it’s the perfect shade of cold pink to add that ‘I just went for a walk in the park’ glow to your face. It works equally well for day and night and I can see myself using up this compact well before winter is over.

What’s your staple beauty product? Does it change with the seasons?

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Currently Coveting #11: French Chic

From Catherine Deneuve and Emmanuelle Beart to Josephine de la Baume and Lou Doillon, French women have captivated the fashion world for decades with their unending chic and seemingly effortless style.

A new book out this month entitled ‘Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance’ promises to reveal how our Gallic counterparts acquire (and maintain) that certain je ne sais quoi that doesn’t seem to diminish with age. Fashion journalist Tish Jett who also writes the blog A Femme d’Un Certain Age has lived among the French for years and studied them to learn the secrets behind their wardrobe, beauty, diet, and hair rituals.

While I’m mulling over whether or not to buy the book, I’m happy to get my French style kicks from the new A/W 13 collection by Comptoir des Cotonniers. Under new creative director Amelie Gillier, the label has been given a more modern feel, whilst still retaining an urban twist and feminine edge. The result is a contemporary rock ‘n’ roll inspired collection that bears more than a passing resemblance to Zadig & Voltaire, the cult fashion label that Gillier co-founded when she was just 21.

Here are some of my favourite looks:

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Currently Coveting #10: Isabel Marant for H&M

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I realise that this is my second Currently Coveting post in as many days (how will my bank balance keep up?) but, with the excitement building over the forthcoming H&M and Isabel Marant collaboration, I just had to put the spotlight on my favourite pieces. Photos from the lookbook – with its impressive cast of models, including Lou Doillon, Alek Wek and Milla Jovovich – leaked online yesterday, plunging most of the fashion world into yet another frenzy over this hotly anticipated collection.

Those who, like me, lust after the inimitable Mme Marant’s ready-to-wear collection but whose budgets don’t quite stretch that far, will not be disappointed. The French designer’s bohemian aesthetic runs through the entire range, which encompasses not only womenswear but also menswear and accessories.

Some fashion commentators have criticized H&M for putting the price points too high (the most expensive piece is a jacket for £199.99) but, while the collection is dearer than the high street chain’s own brand, in my view the prices are justified as it is a collaboration with a designer whose brand of effortless chic is practically a uniform for off-duty models and movie stars in the know. In any case, the prices are still only a fraction of Marant’s mainline collection (and lower than her diffusion line Etoile Isabel Marant).

The collaboration will hit stores (and online) on November 14 so start drawing up your wishlist now as it’s bound to be a sell-out. If I can’t get my hands on the H&M version of last year’s embellished tie-dye jacket (in the main picture) I would happily settle for any of these pieces:

Marant Collage

OOTD – All Plaid Out

I love the plaid trend for Fall and one of my best purchases so far this season is a grey check roll-sleeve shirt from Topshop.

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The shirt looks like it could do with a good ironing session in this photo but I had just got back from a friend’s birthday party where I spent most of my time trying to stop three-year-old Clemmie from being jumped on by the bigger children on the bouncy castle (in the pouring rain, hence the frizzy hair!).

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Here it is accessorized with the aforementioned three-year-old. I love the muted colours and the crochet detailing on the shoulders.

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Currently Coveting #9: My Scent for Fall

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Some of you may remember my enthusing posts about Marc Jacobs’ new fragrance Honey (here and here). I have worn MJ’s scents (Daisy for daytime and Lola for nighttime) for the last two or three years and felt it was time for a change. Well, dear reader, there is no doubt that Honey is a gorgeous perfume but despite circling around it for weeks and having a cheeky spray every time I ventured into a department store, I never actually bought a bottle.

To me, it is very much a Spring/Summer scent and had it been launched in April or May there is no doubt that I would have snapped it up. But by the time it was released last month, mentally I had already moved on to Fall and wanted a slightly heavier, more sultry fragrance. After much deliberation and sniffing my way around pretty much the entire beauty department I found The One. Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf has been around for a while but for some reason it hadn’t registered on my radar – until now.

With notes of jasmine, orchid, rose, freesia and patchouli it is the perfect scent for Fall and, even better, manages to bridge that tricky divide between day and night by being neither too light nor too overbearing. In the words of Viktor & Rolf themselves: Flowerbomb provides an opportunity to “escape reality and heal the world… It’s about transforming negative into positive”. Sounds like a good motto for Fall/Winter 2013 to me!

with notes of Jasmine, Orchid, Rose, Freesia and Patchouli (but I like to describe it as the most beautiful, feminine smell ever). – See more at: http://www.beautezine.com/db-flowerbomb/#sthash.yQGn7ueN.dpufW
with notes of Jasmine, Orchid, Rose, Freesia and Patchouli (but I like to describe it as the most beautiful, feminine smell ever). – See more at: http://www.beautezine.com/db-flowerbomb/#sthash.yQGn7ueN.dpuf
with notes of Jasmine, Orchid, Rose, Freesia and Patchouli (but I like to describe it as the most beautiful, feminine smell ever). – See more at: http://www.beautezine.com/db-flowerbomb/#sthash.yQGn7ueN.dpuf