Spring revival (a.k.a. obsessive shopping)

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I’ve been going through a shopping phase recently because I felt like I didn’t identify with my clothes anymore. That and the fact that online shopping just gives you so many ideas you can’t help yourself. And as I was packing for Luxembourg and my room and wardrobe were already a mess I decided to take advantage and take some photos. I’ll go through most of them individually, the only one I haven’t got a proper photo of (whoops) is the Swissological hand cream which is the most amazing smelling thing you’ll ever find and it moisturizes amazingly.

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My old Clinique foundation is running out and it has lasted a surprising whole year. Whilst I liked it because it covered the redness of my skin and didn’t block my skin, it felt a bit plaster-y and dry. My skin is much better now so I thought I’d take a risk and venture out my comfort zone. I’m not very big on makeup and will stick with something forever if I find it works but I thought I’d have a shop around for a new foundation. After going to the beauty halls of numerous department stores (which I highly recommend if you’re unsure about what to buy) I decided on Estee Lauder Double Wear that feels really light on the skin, is medium coverage and smells super nice. The packaging is not very practical for travelling but could be worse I think.

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Ring from a local jewelry shop called London Zu.

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My favorite brand of lipsticks; it gives just a subtle color to the lips and it lasts for hours.

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The very end of winter saw me finding the perfect pair of slouchy jeans and I was so happy I couldn’t believe my luck. The Gap jeans are always perfect for me and as they always have 30% and 40% discounts it seemed like the ideal buy. The second pair are denim shorts from Anthropologie that were on sale 70% off and only ยฃ15. They’re a little big at the waistband but I can easily take it in when summer – hopefully – arrives. I liked the fact they’re not super tight on the thigh and not ridiculously short either so they have a very relaxed fit.

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Ok…this has just gotten ridiculous. All who know me know that I absolutely love knitwear but this is getting a bit out of hand. I have added to the collection these 4 beauties. I recently realized that most of my things are now either blue, black or grey so I went on a bit of a splurge with the orange sweater, just to bring some life to it.

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No one can have too many striped things, that is a fact of life. I’ve been searching for the perfect classic striped t-shirt and found 3. The Cos one is the traditional, ‘clean’, version whilst the Gap one is really soft and with 3/4 length sleeves and that really cool added color at the trim. Not long ago I discovered & Other Stories, a kind of designer meets model minimalist store opened on Regent Street. Some of the things are really out there but they also have some pretty cool stuff such as the black t-shirt with mesh stripes.

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Finally, the my 2 loves right now are these two bags. The small bleumarine one is from Gap (so surprising) and it’s perfect for going out and not wanting to drag a massive bag with you. It’s the exact opposite of the other one, I know, I know, but it was a donation from my aunt and it’s just so beautiful and spacious that I couldn’t say no. And why would I?

This is all for now, God knows what I’ll find in Luxembourg and France…maybe some shoes??!? ;)…. I think I need professional help at this point.

Ana

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Scottish Borders Top 10

As promised, here are the most beautiful places I have visited in the Scottish Borders all squeezed and compressed into a top 10. For those who know me -or not, that’s cool too- I am very indecisive so please appreciate the effort and stress that has gone into this selection.

First off, the breathtaking glacial valley of Tweedsmuir which I think translates into the valley of the river Tweed – geography and linguistics for you. It was added on the itinerary by chance as we needed the quickest way home and our GPS, whom I shall call by his name (Marcel) from now on, saw a narrow road that slithered solitarely through a mass of uncharted land and chose that one. Lesson number one: a vast green area on the GPS display signals either a natural park or a mountain. We had the second option. Nevertheless, it was a stroke of luck since the place was so beautiful and the weather just right for some great photography.

Silver then goes to Edinburgh, a city which left me very impressed and wanting to see more of it – and in better weather. Excuse the somewhat posh label I’m going to make but it’s such a bourgeois city that I felt like I was in France or Belgium. To be fair, Scotland does have a very tight friendship with France and they have taken some cultural influences but I was certainly not expecting such a vibrant and rich city. The Royal Mile pretty much sums up the entire center and while I loved the views from the palace, the Royal Jewels exhibition was, although informative, a tad bit kitsch… you’ll see the photos of the sculptures coming out of the walls, don’t worry. One big regret: I wish we had time to visit the gallery! Next time ๐Ÿ™‚

Culross is the next place on my list, which is so different from my top two. This is probably one of the most picturesque villages in the world, if not then just in Great Britain. Peaceful little place next to the bay with coquettish little cottages with flowered English gardens and Provencal windows. What more could you want?

Floors Castle, next to Kelso, was another place that I really liked. The castle is quite flamboyant in architecture compared to the more austere Scottish traditional buildings so it was quite impressive as it sits on top of a small hill overlooking the valley. We suspect we have even met the 10th Duke of Roxburghe just casually walking his dog on the estate. Casually being the key word here.

Loch Chon and Loch Katrina – 2 pretty lakes quite close to the famous Loch Lomond. What was so spectacular about these was the amazing landscape and what looked like very very expensive houses lined up on its shores, making it seem like the Scottish version of the Italian riviera and the exclusive areas of Lake Como and Garda.

Although not a touristic destination per se, I absolutely loved the house that we rented, it was absolutely perfect and what I have in mind when I think of Scotland. Acres upon acres of fields (therefore amazing views), an amazing garden and my favorite – one of those little sofa tings on the windowsill…I honestly can’t wait to go back. Oh it’s called Corbett Towers, almost forgot to mention it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rosslyn Chapel I found very interesting; it’s so small and so ornate that it actually looks friendly, which can’t be said about most religious buildings I think. The sculpted ceiling with stars and flowers was really impressive and wherever you look there are so many symbols. We also got to listen to a guide who told the humoristic version of the chapel’s history; this was around 12 or 1 o’clock, so if you’re ever around at that time don’t miss it.

Glasgow high street was also fun, a bit of a city escape for half a day, where I bought a new grey jersey dress. Don’t judge, I wanted it for a long-ish time and they had a 20% off so I couldn’t help myself.

Because my dad is a passionate collector of whiskey bottles, we naturally had to visit a distillery – heck, we were in their home country! So we went to Glengoyneย for a tour around the factory where we got to see all the different techniques they use in the process of making whiskey and a look around their shop. It was all so good that we couldn’t possibly have left empty handed. Well obviously I had no role in the buying of a whiskey bottle but I did get a box of handmade chocolates with whiskey filling… they were so good I had to limit myself to just one a day so it would last me longer.

And last but not least – St. Andrew’s! A charming little town by the sea, best known for the university which gave it its name (or maybe the other way round). It’s the third oldest in the UK and the oldest in Scotland, dating from the 15th century. I loved walking around the city center with all the boutiques and pastry shops and around the amazing campus and by the harbor. This place really has it all! P.S – take your time to visit the Glass House restaurant for lunch. Such good food!

 

 

 

 

I realize this took ages to post but just loading 43 photos takes about 5 hours…but I’m finishing off with a pretty photo! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Il faut du temps au temps

Friday was shopping day! With a purpose this time : to celebrate the end of exams. I think I take too much pleasure in seeing all my media sheets and old homework torn up in pieces… Westfield was our venue of choice, although personally I’m not that keen on it. That day I was wearing a Uniqlo t-shirt which I love because of the sleeves, TKMaxx leather belt, Massimo Dutti bangles (they make noise the equivalent of a flock of bell-ed up sheep), Fred de la Bretoniere bag from amazing Amsterdam, M&S maxi skirt (the wind was really something that day) and Aldo tan boots.

* Shoes numero dos

My summer dream dress from Jack Wills…maybe next time *sigh*

Summer wishlist

1. Zara tunic dress ย 2. Massimo Dutti sandals ย 3. Lacoste trainers ย 4.Brindle and Aubin coat (love it!) ย 5. Zara TRF jumper ย 6. Whistles sunglasses

I just had my English Language GCSE exam and I feel a bit disheartened as it was very bad timing to find out that I can’t finish in the time given. So it’s just a matter of luck now, which I am terrified of :S.

And, knowing me, I turn to retail therapy to take the stress away, the result of which you can see above. It was positively boiling in London last week, but apparently it’s back to 15 degrees on Friday, so my fashion buys will have to accomodate a bit of both weathers.

Ok now, enough running around wild on estores, back to studying. Some ‘fun’ Business Studies and Science gonna happen soon, great!

 

The art of getting by…

Which I have skillfully mastered while in Holland. To me it comes naturally, I just gravitate towards the smaller boutiques and subsequently either great buys or limited designer pieces with stupendously high prices. So it’s a thing of luck really.

However, Amsterdam has a particularly impressive range of shops, good enough quality to justify the prices but also very reasonable compared to London. Shopping advice numero 1 is get shoes! As many as you can carry, for as many seasons as you wish and in as many hues as you can find! It’s a girl’s dream to be quite honest.

I particularly loved Invito for the amazing biker boots I got for virtually half the price I would have ever gotten in London. There are at least 3 Invito shops on Damstraat which goes into Amsterdam’s main square. Also there you can find a great place for shoes off course on Kalverstraat meets Olieslagerssteeg (I’m having so much fun typing these names in) called Dunglemann from where I got my beloved pair of suede high heels of 7 cm thank-you-very-much. The sales people are very friendly too… you might even get an invitation to go clubbing that evening. I politely declined as my mum was eyeing me from across the shop.ย 

While you are there, you should also explore some of the more Amsterdam-esque fashion brands such as locals and Saporo. And if you’ve really got ‘money in your hands that you’d really like to blow’ as Justin Bieber puts it in his new single, then head out to P.C Hooftstraat, aka Amsterdam’s luxury shopping destination. That’s where I fell in love with the new Escada collection…

Alternatively, go to De Bijenkorf which is right in Dam Square (back to point 0) where you can buy from Celine bags -things of beauty- to Thakoon day dresses. The women’s department could be improved but I can’t complain because I found the bag that i had been looking for. Tan leather, simple shoulder strap, outside pocket AND on sale from Fred de la Bretoniere. Photos of those some other time (don’t hate I just haven’t got time to photograph them).

However, Utrecht is as good (well not really but close) as Amsterdam when it comes to shops. Take for instance the cutest home deco shop Dille & Kamille. They sell the most french house accessories I have seen, Paris included.

And if you need some more shoes (as one does) walk along the Oudegracht, Utrecht’s main canal that slithers through the old quarters of the city. You’ll most definitely see these beauties, sporting this year’s aquatic hues. It’s eye candy to me!

While out shopping, I naturally had to look as fashionable as humanly possible in 4 degrees Celsius weather (yes yes, with rain). I am especially in love with my tie die Zara shirt paired with Whistles burgundy coat and Aldo tan ankle boots. Equally as happy with the purchase of the red-white-black Moschino Cheap & Chic silk scarf, that I cannot wait to wear with red chinos and striped black t-shirt.

 

Ana x

Birthday Lunch at Whole Foods Restaurant

As a small gap in our whole Amsterdam extravaganza, it was my mom’s birthday today and I took her out shopping. My gift to her was free stylist’s services including the very important ‘persuade-the-dad-it-was-worth-it’ task at the end. She got some pretty cool stuff some from Cos and some from Massimo Dutti (that for some odd reason isn’t online) which I love so much.

http://www.cosstores.com/Store/Women/Tops/Printed_batwing_top/46885-341052.1

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And after that, we went to the Whole Foods restaurant at the Sushi Bar and had the most amazing Crab Deluxe Rolls they were called I have ever tasted. If you ever find yourself in the area, do try it. And while you’re at it, don’t miss the Jasmine Green tea with the blossoming flower included. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Amsterdam day 2

I am eating my last macaroon as I am writing this, which may affect the accuracy of my post :)).

Today we were meant to go cycling in a tulip park but the lovely temperature of 5 degrees and strong chilly winds kinda stood in the way. So instead, we visited the former royal palace called Het Loo ( yep, it doesn’t mean what you fellow Brits think ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) which is considered Holland’s Versailles. It was really nicely renovated and the collection of vintage cars on exhibition in the stables was pretty cool too, but personally I wouldn’t go as far as dubbing it a ‘Versailles’. It must be because of its more modern history and lack of French flamboyace that influenced my opinion, but what’s done is done.

After that, we drove off to Utrecht through a very nice natural reservation and by now the Sun was up. We walked around Utrecht and what struck me the most, appart from the idyllic canal, was surprisingly the melody of the tower bells, which sing from a huge tower that can be climbed to see apparently stunning views. If you feel up to the challenge of going up some 500 stairs! Naturally, we didn’t:).

We did however have a lovely dinner of lobster soup, terrine of brie and haddock in saffron sauce, followed by an amazing cup of hot chocolate with espresso. And to top off a perfect evening, I found the cutest and most comfortable pair of red suede flats! That demands a post of its own that’s for sure.

Ana x