Tuesday, 31 January 2012

winter rebellion

Hey you winter, take this cold and shove it!

photo credit:

Monday, 30 January 2012

la marinière

Going to the library on Saturdays has become a family ritual. They have a great selection of DVDs so I watched a few films this weekend. One of them was Coco Avant Chanel (2009), starring Audrey Tautou. It was only available with Dutch subtitles, which have little meaning to me, so I simply enjoyed it in French, understanding maybe every 50th word while taking in the mise en scène. The film is pretty straightforward and if you know Coco Chanel's story there is nothing in it that surprises you.

I also watched To Catch a Thief (1955). I was under the Ada-of-Classiq influence, as I call it, when I borrowed that one. She once wrote a post on the costumes of the film, with beautiful photos of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, and I've been meaning to watch it again ever since.

These two films have something in common. Okay, they have a lot in common, amazing clothes, beautiful scenery, etc., but I'm talking about the Breton shirt – la marinière as the French call it. It's an essential piece in one's wardrobe, you simply cannot go wrong with it. You may not know that the marinière was originally created for the French navy, before the fishermen and sailors began wearing it. It was then Coco Chanel who adapted the look and made it classic.

So, the next time you find yourself trying on a top that becomes out of style almost the minute you walk out the shop, abandon the idea and go get yourself a classic marinière instead. Choose one of good quality because you'll be wearing it for years!

photo credit:
top: via Video Buster
bottom: via Esquire UK

Saturday, 28 January 2012

paris je t'aime

"Paris is always a good idea."
Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)            

To provide an outlet for my Paris obsession I recently created a travel Paris board on Pinterest. Pretty much the same photos are roaming around on Pinterest so I've begun expanding my search to add to my board. This morning I found the black & white photo, taken by Elliott Erwitt (b. Paris, 1928) on the 100th Anniversary of the Eiffel Tower in 1989. (For those interested in his photography, here is his website.) It's the cover photo of his book Elliott Erwitt's Paris. I have to visit the Copyright bookshop on Nationalestraat street to see if they have it so I can browse through it.

I found the photo of the merry-go-round yesterday on Tumblr but unfortunately I had no luck in finding who the photographer is. I love its soft colours.

photo credit:
top: Elliott Erwitt
 bottom: unknown source

Friday, 27 January 2012

fashion friday – valentino haute couture

I'm turning this into a series, so Fridays from now on will be 'fashion fridays'. I hope you're okay with that. (Those of you not interested in fashion can simply avoid my blog on Fridays. wink) Today I'm showing you a few details from the Valentino Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 Collection, designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who described the collection as "pervaded by a desire to return to a real, more intimate dimension of life and style."

This show definitely felt different.

In his review for Vogue US, Hamish Bowles noted: "In their own soft-spoken way this design duo have been able to take Valentino’s uniquely feminine ideal, remove some of his va-va-voom, but gently refashion it to create a unique and compellingly modern glamour that is all their own."

I couldn't have said it better. Well I probably would have phrased it: "remove [a lot] of his va-va-voom". For me this show felt very down to earth, which probably has something to do with seeing heeled pumps and lace slippers instead of high heels on a sisal/seagrass runway.

Bowles also noted: "The program also revealed that 1,000 hours of labor, for instance, went into the handwork on the opening dress of elaborately smocked organza; 1,250 hours into the sparkling silver embroidery on a chine taffeta redingote based on an eighteenth-century version; and 800 hours just to weave the warp-print faille for one of those ball dresses. These breathtaking figures reveal just what makes the haute couture so special—but it is the hands of Valentino’s skilled Roman atelier staff that really spin magic into material that is, of course, far from base, and bring the Chiuri and Piccioli vision so beautifully to life. "

Have a fabulous Friday!

photo credit:

Thursday, 26 January 2012

dior haute couture ... very chic!

I'm going a little haute couture crazy these days and who can blame me with all these beautiful outfits appearing on the runway? I have to say that I was especially happy with the Dior show and I think Bill Gaytten deserves a well-earned praise. (He failed to impress me with his last couture collection; it probably wasn't easy to create that one after the whole Galliano fiasco). I find the Spring/Summer 2012 Collection beautiful. I'm especially drawn to the colour palette, I love the use of these solid colours; they give off a classic and timeless look.

That dress in the top-left corner took my breath away, it had me swooning for hours. I'm telling you, hours! By the way, the song I included is from the September Issue (2009), in case you were wondering where you had heard it before.

Happy Thursday to you all!

photo credit:
Dior Haute Couture SS 2012 details: Vogue Italia
Vogue poster: unknown source

 YouTube: Ladytron / Destroy Everything You Touch

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

birthday & brighter days

Today you get another sneak peek into my home. Today is also hubby's birthday. He's now a happy owner of a new Sherlock Holmes collection. Well, he's read all these stories before, many times, but we gave away most of our books when we moved abroad so I thought it was time for my man to have Holmes and Watson back in his life. Today he'll also get his two favourites: apple cake with whipped cream and home-made pizza for dinner, with red wine from Corsica. There will be coffee and chocolate too. And yes, we'll be listening to Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, replaying Corcovado (see bottom of post) and The Girl From Ipanema.

When you grow up in Iceland you get used to very dark winters (winters in Belgium are not nearly as dark). Hubby's birthday was always an indicator that the days were indeed getting a little brighter. Yesterday I was thinking about that and decided to add more brightness to our sitting area. So, I switched the chaise lounges. I moved our neutral coloured one to the sitting area and the dark grey one to the TV area. It's amazing how a small change like that transforms a space (here is the old look).

Actually, I've had this look before but it feels different because now I only keep blue glass accessories in the windowsill. I have a light blue blanket on the chaise lounge and its neutral colour brings forth these blue hues in a delightful way. Everything somehow looks crisp.

I like crisp.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

photo credit: Lisa Hjalt

YouTube: Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto / Corcovado

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

bringing france home

So, what do you do when you love French style but you cannot move to France? Maybe you could do what these house owners did: bring France home et voilà!

This beautiful French-inspired country home is in California. The owners had travelled to France on many occasions and simply decided to bring it home. Mainly everything in this house is custom-made, even the bed, which is designed like the one of Diane Keaton's character in the film Something's Gotta Give (2003). I love the exterior. I love the hallway with all that brightness. I love the family area with the wall of glass. There is just so much to love.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

photo credit:
James Ray Spahn for Homes & Gardens

Monday, 23 January 2012

crazy lamp lady

I'm drawn to photos like the one above. Sometimes I call myself the crazy lamp lady; I don't collect lamps and my home is not filled with lamps, I simply love beautiful lamps. A lamp is often the first thing that catches my attention when I view photos of interiors, and believe me, ugly lamps or misplaced ones can completely ruin my experience.

I have this idea of finding one or a pair of matching lamps for our living room. If I find one I'd like to buy a chest of drawers. If I find a pair I'd like to buy a long and narrow table or a sideboard. The chest of drawers is excellent for storage but I can only place it in one corner of the living room. A sideboard is excellent for storage too but a table feels lighter and leaves me with more options; it would look good up against a wall or behind the sofa. If the table had an extra shelf it would be perfect for coffee table books. Then there is another option for a pair of lamps: buying a desk. One lamp goes on the desk, the other on a side table. But I find desks in living rooms a bit tricky, either they work or they don't.

Back to lamps. I don't want to buy just any lamp; I want to find a lamp that speaks to me, either a new one or in a thrift shop. So far I've seen many but not the one that really speaks to me. So, in the meantime I keep calm and continue my search. I'll let you know if I have any luck and finally decide which look to go for. 

Do you happen to be a crazy lamp lady/gentleman?

Enjoy your Monday!

photo credit:

Sunday, 22 January 2012

sunday photo & links

I find myself looking at this photograph by Julia Hoersch again and again. Holly Becker of decor8 shared it on her blog last summer with other photos by Hoersch. There is something about the colours and that old table that entices me.

Here are some of my favourite links this week in random order:

  • Kimia of Alkeemi opened my eyes with her visit to a slum in India
  • Vicki of French Essence shared the funniest 'the French and their food' story I've heard in years  
  • Scott of The Sartorialist was at the awesome Dries Van Noten AW 2012-13 menswear show in Paris – the idea of having artists on the runway too was ingenious!
  • Eliana of Just White shared her wonderful day at the Belcampo farm in Uruguay. Note to self: Start saving for a trip to Uruguay and visit Belcampo!
  • the yummyblogsisters shared photos from Brasserie Gustav in Antwerp. I had no idea they had taken these wonderful photos before I arrived; later my delicious club sandwich was photographed
  • Debby at Inspired Design touched my heart with her post Things I Tell My Teenage Daughter

Got any plans today? I don't have any but hubby just got back home with a delicious baguette from the bakery so it's time to set the table and enjoy good food. Have a wonderful Sunday!

photo credit:
Julia Hoersch via decor8
stylist: Dietlind Wolf

Saturday, 21 January 2012

quiet saturday morning

A morning that starts with good coffee and freshly baked baguette followed by reading of books is a guarantee for a good day.

I wouldn't mind being able to take a better look at the titles in these tempting shelves above. Are you reading anything interesting these days? I'm still reading Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room and then I have a few non-fictions on my table. One of them is Lonely Planet's travel guide on Corsica. I plan to go there one day.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

photo credit:

Friday, 20 January 2012

fashion friday – diane kruger in valentino

For some time I've had this beautiful photo of Diane Kruger in my files. This German beauty is one of my favourite actresses and I think her fashion sense is amazing. She doesn't use a stylist and clearly she doesn't need one. She was on the cover of the October 2011 issue of InStyle UK, photographed by Ben Watts. This photo is part of the editorial; she is wearing a gown from the Valentino AW 2011-12 Collection, designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli.

For those interested, here is a video of the photo shoot. For the rest of the editorial click the Tom & Lorenzo link below.

I have to say that InStyle is not my favourite magazine. In my opinion there are way too many clichés in it and endless talk about must-haves and need-to-knows, and don't get me started on the overuse of the word super. However, I like to honour when something is well done and this editorial definitely is.

Have a fabulous Friday!

photo credit:
 Ben Watts for InStyle UK
stylist: Amanda Bellan

Thursday, 19 January 2012

biscotti in the rain

I'm one step of sanity away from taking my coffee and biscotti out on the street and singing in the rain like Gene Kelly. The European Continent has changed me into a weather-spoilt brat; I no longer can stand cold weather so the rain that hit my face this morning made me ecstatic ... I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I'm happy again... 

How fabulous is that photo? It's from a wedding fashion shoot in New Orleans, photographed by Carla Ten Eyck. Of course I'm more interested in the table setting because I'm not much of a wedding/bridesmaids dresses kind of girl.

Want to know how I picked my wedding dress? I was having lunch with hubby and our carpenter Siggi (who has now passed away). After lunch I asked Siggi to come with me to this shop close by that sold new and vintage dresses. I found a dress, tried it on, Siggi said it was beautiful and I bought it. It maybe took about 20 minutes.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

photo credit:
Carla Ten Eyck for Datura: a Modern Garden
via Pinterest

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

bright blue mood

How is this Wednesday treating you? I'm relaxing at home with my daughter who's feeling better than yesterday (thank you for the get well wishes). I'm reading Jacob's Room by Virgina Woolf while she's watching The Lion King. A little dose of hakuna matata philosophy never fails to lift the spirit.

Bright blue colours do so too. I think I may have to buy a Paris tea towel for my kitchen. Isn't it fabulous? If you check out Ingela P Arrhenius's link below you'll also find London and Stockholm tea towels. I found them on Pinterest a long time ago and I've been meaning to squeeze them into a post.

School finishes early on Wednesdays so I'm off to pick up the other two kids. Enjoy your day!

photo credit:
top-left: Paris tea towel by Ingela P Arrhenius
bottom-left: Maisons du Monde
bottom-right: Dior AW 2010-11 Haute Couture Collection
 Gianni Pucci for Vogue Italia

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

let's go to dordogne

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw the exterior of this gorgeous 18th century manor house in Dordogne, France (east of Bordeaux); I love the brick walls and light blue shutters. When I saw the rest of the photos I wanted to move in. I'm all for exposed beams and brickwork; they are my idea of cosiness. I really like the use of neutral colours and the bleached floorboards in the living room are so beautiful. The kitchen is a little bit too contemporary for my taste but it has some balance so I like it. And look at that wood burner! sigh

Our younger daughter came down with a fever yesterday so it'll mainly be a relaxing day in bed with books and DVDs. I've decided to make a chicken noodle soup for dinner with a lot of ginger because after my December experience I've had it with sickness.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

photo credit:
Brent Darby for Country Homes & Interiors

Monday, 16 January 2012

harper's bazaar uk & red carpet

Yesterday was one of those relaxing Sundays. I got myself a copy of the February issue of Harper's Bazaar UK and enjoyed reading it with my coffee and biscotti. It was of course Milla of Not Just Another Milla who reminded me to buy it. What I love about the magazine is that it's mainly free of clichés. Not entirely though. I started rolling my eyes when I read the intro to Carine Roitfeld's interview by Justine Picardie, who describes Roitfeld as "the woman we all want to be." Really? I don't know about you, but I admire Roitfeld and I think she is a wonderful inspiration but never ever have I felt the longing to be her. Why do journalists have to fall into these pitfalls? It's so naive. And the first paragraph is all about Picardie's indecision about which clothes to wear when meeting this style icon and former editor of Vogue Paris. For crying out loud woman, get a grip! However, the interview is fine and there is also an interview with Uma Thurman and the issue is filled with Spring/Summer fashion – totally worth the money.

Right now I'm in the mood for watching a film and eating popcorn. I guess it has everything to do with the Golden Globes. I went very early to bed yesterday and then I woke up to watch the show, red carpet and all. It was fun and now I'm dying to see The Artist, which won in the category 'Best Picture, Musical or Comedy'.

Just a little red carpet talk before I finish. I'm not posting any photos, as most of you have probably seen the dresses. Did you have any favourites? Mine were Angelina Jolie in a stunning Versace gown, Shailene Woodley in Marchesa and Claire Danes in J. Mendel. Another favourite of mine was Emma Roberts who attended an after party in this beautiful navy Zac Posen gown from the AW 2011-12 Collection.

Enjoy your day!

photo credit:
1: Lisa Hjalt
2-3: Alessandro Viero for Vogue US

Sunday, 15 January 2012

peonies & links

The first thing that came to my mind as I was drinking my coffee on this bright Sunday morning was pink peonies. Then I remembered the photo above, which María of EclecChic posted last year. In my opinion pink peonies and beautiful coffee table books are a match made in heaven. Now I cannot wait for the florists at Groenplaats square to appear with their beautiful flowers.

Let's wrap this week up with some links:

  • I have added Brasserie GUSTAV to my list of favourite restaurants in Antwerp; I had so much fun yesterday with my friends and the food was delicious
  • happy that Christel of Captivated by Image is back in blogosphere with a beautiful layout and gorgeous posts
  • proud to see the scent Ella Day by the Icelandic fashion label Ella featured yesterday in the beauty section of the Telegraph with big labels like Dior, Guerlain and Clarins
  • also proud to see Icelandic artist Björk nominated for a Brit award in the category 'International Female Solo Artist' with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Feist and Rihanna
  • I loved this fun interview with Madonna on The Graham Norton Show last Friday
  • I have a bit of a Golden Globe fever

Enjoy a beautiful Sunday!

photo credit:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

touch of red

One cannot go wrong with a touch of red.

The fashion editorial is from T Magazine, August 2007, styled by Marie-Amélie Sauvé. I especially love the vintage hat she used. It's from the vintage shop One Of A Kind in London (Notting Hill). The outfits in the first photo are by Prada and Miu Miu (Versace gloves) and in the second by Azzedine Alaïa. Click the link below to view more photos.

We're enjoying a bright winter day in Antwerp. I'm looking forward to meeting my friends later today at a restaurant in the city centre, where we'll enjoy good food and have wonderful conversations.

Is someone else having problems with commenting on Blogger blogs? Yesterday morning everything worked fine but later in the day the box to type the comment never appeared so I wasn't able to do anything, and it's the same today. However, everything works fine with blogs that use the pop-up window comment form, so I've changed the settings on mine. I would love to comment on your blog posts but unfortunately I cannot do anything.

Have a beautiful Saturday!

photo credit:
top: Willy Vanderperre for The New York Times
middle: Harlequin
bottom: Saipua

Friday, 13 January 2012

settee meets painting II

Another gorgeous settee-painting look that made me sigh and swoon. I love the simplicity; so beautiful and stylish.

I'm so glad it's finally Friday because I've been feeling a bit tired for a couple of days. Maybe it's just the grey weather that is making me long for spring with blooming cherry trees. Do you have any plans for the weekend? Friday in my home means home-made pizza and red wine for dinner and tomorrow I'm going to a restaurant with two friends, who happen to be great food lovers. One of them is even learning to become a professional chef. I'm predicting a lot of talking and laughing.

Have a fabulous Friday!

photo credit:
The cover of Western Interiors April/May 2009