Wednesday, 22 May 2013

My wish-list capsule travel wardrobe

I don't own any of the items of clothing below, so unfortunately I won't be packing this capsule for my forthcoming holiday to the UK, however I thought it would be fun to browse through Polyvore and create a wish-list travel wardrobe. Who knows, if I win Euromillions on Friday, I may be buying this at the weekend! This wardrobe would be more versatile than my rainbow capsule, as there are only two bright colours to liven up the neutrals. The tops would go well with most of the bottoms and the jacket could be worn with everything, as could the ballet flats.
I totted up the cost of my wish-list travel wardrobe and it came to a mere 2,795€, which is nothing if you're a Euromillions winner, though beyond my current fashion budget. If I'm the lucky winner, I'll post some photos of myself in my new outfits, so watch this space!

Monday, 20 May 2013

A practical capsule travel wardrobe

If I was being totally practical, and choosing a completely versatile travel wardrobe like all good fashion bloggers do, this is the capsule that would be packed in my suitcase next month. Looking at the selection below I already own many similar items of clothing. I don't possess a little black dress, but I do own a navy polka dot dress that would easily fit in. By using navy and grey rather than black I could devise a capsule very much like this one.

Holiday wardrobe - traditional neutrals

What are the key pieces if you want to build a practical capsule wardrobe?

1. The white blouse. Please note that it doesn't have to be stark white if that doesn't suit you. If either cream or off-white looks better on you, choose that instead.

2. Classic neutral jacket. Many fashionistas would insist on black, which no doubt would be a Frenchwoman's first choice, but the majority of over 60s would be wise to choose navy or whatever neutral flatters them the most. It goes without saying that the jacket should go well with the skirts and trousers in the capsule.

3. Flattering classic trousers and skirts. I have chosen a pair of denims, two pairs of smart trousers that can be worn either in the daytime or at night plus a skirt. You may prefer one pair of trousers and more skirts, or just skirts: select whatever suits your personal style.

4. A little black dress. What else?! However I would advise over 60s to choose a more flattering neutral shade such as navy or dark brown.

5. A selection of sleeveless or short-sleeved tops. The ones shown are black, white (look closely at the screen!) and grey, but I would recommend navy, dark brown or your own favourite neutrals.

6. A sleeveless or short-sleeved dressy top. To make this capsule marginally more interesting I have included a polka dot top, as polka dots seldom look dated.

7. A long-sleeved top. This one is in stripes, which never seem to go out of fashion. I'm wearing a similar one today!

8. Classic footwear includes boots and ballet flats, as shown, or loafers and maybe a pair of evening shoes, if you are going to any dressy events.

9. Accessories. I like scarves, necklaces and bracelets, but those of you with pierced ears will no doubt opt for earrings. This is where you can brighten up an otherwise neutral wardrobe.

There you have it: most fashion bloggers and fashion writers would approve of my choice and you have to admit that it would prove versatile. My next post will show a totally different travel capsule for those of you who find this one a bit too bland and - dare I say it? - boring.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Capsule travel wardrobe: packing a rainbow

The sensible side of me - the fashion blogger who is inspired by countless other fashion bloggers, all of whom recommend packing a coordinated, versatile travel wardrobe - is taking a break today. The slightly rebellious fun-loving side of me has decided to look at one final capsule travel wardrobe option.

"Don't worry about making sure everything matches perfectly," she is saying. "You're going on holiday, so just pack what you love wearing and have a ball!" She has based her choices on the colours of the rainbow, though she isn't totally crazy so she will pack one or two basic colours too. This is her selection, and I have to say that it's tempting me.

Although the sensible side of me insisted on the navy trench-coat being included in this capsule (as well as an umbrella, of course!), you can see that four brightly coloured scarves have been added to liven it up. I will also have a white jacket, smart dress and pair of heels in my suitcase for the wedding,: these will be useful if we go somewhere smart while we are on holiday.

I am sure that most fashion bloggers would throw up their hands in horror at these rainbow hues being allowed into a travel capsule. I don't think I have spotted any other travel capsules containing more than a couple of bright colours, but this isn't a business trip I'm going on, it's a holiday. What do you think? Should I let my fun side take over?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Capsule travel wardrobe: green to go!

I'm still looking for the perfect capsule travel wardrobe for my forthcoming trip to the UK. The only limitation is that it must come from the contents of my wardrobe, which obviously is a bit limiting in itself!  I'm also thinking of creating a virtual travel wardrobe on Polyvere, choosing items that I would buy if money was no object - there's no harm in dreaming, is there? Being practical though, the only clothes that I will be packing for my holiday are ones that I already possess, such as the clothes shown below.

This time I have picked mainly navy items for my basics, with green to give a pop of colour.


In case the colours don't show up well on your monitor, I would like to assure you that the dark shades are all navy and not black, having banished black from my wardrobe!  If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that I am going to a wedding at the beginning of my holiday, so I will have a white jacket, a smart dress and pair of heels in my suitcase in addition to the above clothes. I will also have an umbrella in my carry-on bag, as we are going to Scotland for a few days and rain isn't unknown there, even in June!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Capsule travel wardrobe: peaches and cream

Once I decided to banish black from my wardrobe, I couldn't decide whether navy, grey,  brown and/or stone would become my new basics.  At the moment I have several items in all four colours and I have already used navy as the basis of a capsule travel wardrobe. Although I have called this alternative travel capsule "peaches and cream", strictly speaking it is coral, yellow, brown and stone. We fashion bloggers do like to take liberties with accuracy for the sake of a catchy headline!

To recap, we are flying to Newcastle on 7th June for a family wedding and then having a holiday in Scotland - so, what should I pack?  In theory the weather could be sunny and warm all week, however we can't rule out the possibility of cold weather and rain, which makes packing for our holiday a wee bit tricky!

The main colours in this capsule wardrobe are brown, coral, yellow and stone, however you may also spot the wildcard: my trusty navy jeans. I did think of choosing a skirt, however I  have included a brown trouser suit that will be fine for smart daytime and evening wear, plus a floral dress, and there's something very comforting about having a pair of denims in case the weather turns chilly. I will pack an umbrella, no matter what the forecast is - having spent many rain-soaked summer holidays there, I don't trust Scottish weather! Do you have a favourite item that always gets packed, no matter where you are travelling to?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Capsule travel wardrobe in shades of blue

This is the time of the year when many of us start panicking about what clothes we have (or don't have!) for our summer holiday.  If you are going on a beach holiday it is fairly straightforward: a selection of swimwear, cover-ups for going to and from the beach, sandals, sun hat, sun glasses, beach bag and suntan lotion, with a smarter outfit for the evenings and maybe a pair of heels.

However if you are planning a city break, or a trip to the UK like we are, the possible permutations are endless. Throw in the likelihood of the weather fluctuating from warm and sunny to cold and rainy (we are talking Scotland here!) and will one suitcase be enough?!

As we are going to a wedding at the beginning of our holiday, I am going to take a larger case that will go in the hold, as the dress, jacket and shoes that I will be wearing for the wedding would take up most of the space in my usual carry-on cabin bag. Apart from that, I am hoping that a capsule wardrobe will be enough.

Based on the clothes in my existing wardrobe, this is one of the capsule wardrobes that I am considering taking with me to Scotland. In my next post I will show an alternative capsule wardrobe based on other colours.


You will notice a lot of navy in this travel wardrobe: navy is my new "black"! Being optimistic I have included four lightweight tops as well as two with long sleeves. I will wear the blue linen trousers and a sleeveless top for travelling - as it is guaranteed to be warm in Spain next month - plus a pair of comfortable walking shoes. I will carry either the cardigan or my trench-coat (maybe both?) for when we land in Newcastle, having checked the forecast just before we board our flight!  I also plan to carry a large tote as my hand luggage, which may very well contain an umbrella (if not, I will definitely be packing one), plus my sun glasses and suntan lotion, though I may not need the last two items until we return to Spain.

As I like a pop of colour, and the navy and blue clothes shown are monochromatic, I will throw in these two bright scarves plus some colourful jewellery. The jacket that I will be packing for the wedding is white so, if I manage to keep it clean, I can also wear it over the navy and white polka-dot dress in the evenings, or with the navy skirt and a top for a smarter look during the day-time. Similarly, the low-heeled shoes that I will be wearing for the wedding can also be worn with the navy dress or skirt.

How do you pack for your holidays? Do you choose items that will mix and match for versatility, or do you just cram all your favourite items into your suitcase?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

How different is Spanish cooking?

My recent posts have been based on fashion, so I thought it was time to throw something different into the pot - cooking pot, that is!

We were persuaded by our lovely Spanish friend Cristina, whose family happens to own the bar where we meet fellow Brits on Tuesday mornings, to attend a cooking demonstration there this week. We were impressed by the advantages offered by the AMC cookware, especially the apparent savings on time and energy, though not enough to justify the price of the system. However what struck me as particularly interesting were the obvious differences between Spanish and British cooking.

The salesman was demonstrating how people usually boil vegetables in water, whereas his cookware didn't need water to cook the vegetables to perfection. We agreed that the vegetables cooked his way had a lot more flavour, but when he talked about throwing away the vegetable water in the traditional way of cooking, the British unanimously announced that we wouldn't do this, as we would use it to make gravy!  Gravy? What was gravy? Spanish people don't make gravy!

Sunday roast with gravy
The next difference was the use of olive oil when cooking.  I probably use more olive oil than many of my compatriots, as I make a lot of Spanish meals on the basis that I prefer using local produce, but even so when he was talking about the number of litres used per month I had to say that we use a lot less.

I think the highlight of the demonstration was meant to be how quickly you can cook a whole octopus. Octopus? It's not a common ingredient in British kitchens, though I am sure that a group of Spanish seƱoras would have been impressed.

Pulpo anyone?
We already knew that Spanish meal times are different to ours: if you are going out for an evening meal with Spanish friends, expect to eat no earlier than 21.30, and that's when they are making allowances for British customs.  However this demonstration highlighted how many other differences there were between our culinary habits. I think that the salesman definitely needs to update his sales pitch if he hopes to sell anything to British customers!