Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Dress Code for Afternoon Tea

smart casual

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know that I spent Christmas in Madeira. And this is what I was wearing on Christmas Day, for afternoon tea at a posh hotel...

Afternoon tea at Reid's Palace has become sort of a Christmas tradition for me and my husband, and we always look forward to it as the highlight of our holiday. And of course I would like to share a few pictures of the decor in the hotel lobby and the lounge, as well as the magnificent Christmas tree.

Reids Palace
Madeira Christmas

The dress code is 'smart casual, no jeans or t-shirts'. It sounds easy enough, but as the weather can be quite unpredictable, it can get a bit challenging. For instance, last year it was really windy, and I was just freezing on the terrace (where the tea is served). And this year? Well, I could have done without the jacket...

Anyway, this is the first part of a series of posts on my 'holiday capsule wardrobe': how to pack as little as possible yet be prepared for, well, anything. This means that I should be able to come up with a range of outfits with the same few items. For example, the next time you see this jacket it will be dressed down, for a more casual look.

smart casual

I'm wearing:
jacket: Gerry Weber / trousers: Pure / top: Esprit / sunglasses: Prada / 
bag: Chanel /necklace: Masriera / shoes: Clarks

For more posts on Madeira, go to Bad Tourist in Madeira


PS: Have you seen the latest DILETTANTE ARTIST post yet?

Linking up with: 

Monday, 28 December 2015

My 5 Favourite Photos

styleblogger 2015

It's time to say goodbye to 2015 and welcome another year...

This time of the year a lot of bloggers post lists and pictures of their favourite posts and outfits, and I thought I'd do something similar. Except that instead of outfits, I wanted to highlight some of my favourite photos. I like these pictures because of the mood they capture, and I have happy memories of these photo shoots. This is also my way of saying thank you to my very patient photographer, Professor M, a.k.a long-suffering husband, who takes all of my outfit photos. He did a good job, didn't he?

40+winter wear
pink dress
40+ cape

Original posts from top:
Meanwhile in Finland, Pink Dress: Glamour, Bad Tourist in Barcelona, Sunshine after Rain, Merry Christmas

                                  Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments.

                     PS: I even managed to snap a photo of the slightly camera-shy photographer:


Linking up with: 


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Let's Do the Time Warp...

jeans and plaid over 40

Remember the 80's?

This post was supposed to be about casual weekend wear, but looking at these pictures now I'm having a bit of a déjà vu moment: jeans, belt, scarf, checked shirt... I have a distinct memory of wearing something very similar throughout the early 80's...

Here we go: this photo was taken on a family holiday in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife in 1980, when I was a few months short of 15.


Damn... I would have thought my style had evolved a bit more since then. I mean, look at this: even the colour scheme is the same! Well, almost...

And the hair! Yes, I've had more or less the same hairstyle since the early 80's... I blame my genes: I have very fine, very curly hair. It really makes no difference whatsoever if I use this product or that; my hair does its own thing as soon as I step out of the door. And trust me, as a hairdresser's daughter I've tried pretty much everything...

So, am I hopelessly stuck in a time warp?

Maybe not... Obviously, this old photograph shows my style DNA, or the roots of my signature style, so to speak. And besides, classics transcend trends and decades.

40+ jeans
studded belt

Speaking of the 80's...  Remember those high-waisted trousers from the mid-80's? I miss them... I'm getting really tired of having to constantly pull my trousers up. That's the reason why I'm wearing a belt here. The obvious solution is to go one size smaller, you say? Err, no. One size smaller wouldn't fit my somewhat sizeable behind and thighs... BTW, these jeans are supposedly cut for a curvier figure, i.e. they come higher up in the back and have a smaller waist. And I still keep yanking them up all the time. And yes, I had the same problem back in the 80's, too: my hip-waist ratio has always meant that I need a belt, or those wonderful mid-80's high-waisted trousers...

I'm wearing:
coat: Marks and Spencer (old) / jeans: Next / shirt: KappAhl / belt: Tosca Blu /
 ankle boots: Clarks / bag: Chanel  / scarf: Zara (old) / sunglasses: Tiffany & Co (old)

So, what do you think: is this outfit caught in a time warp or a sophisticated update?


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas Decoration

Christmas ornaments

Traditional, glitzy, vintage or modern?

What's your Christmas decoration style? Do you bring out the bling, drown the tree in tinsel? Or do you carefully unwrap the vintage ornaments handed down from generation to generation?

My Christmas decoration is a bit of a hodgepodge of this and that: items my husband and I bought together at various Christmas markets mixed with old ornaments from our respective childhood homes. There is no theme, and I have to admit I put very little effort into decorating. Professor M, on the other hand... Well, let's just say that if it wasn't for me scaling back the ornaments, he'd probably have a Christmas tree in every room... But, as I need a tinsel-free zone, Christmas decoration is usually confined to a few rooms. Still, there are a few ornaments I look forward to seeing every Christmas. I thought I'd share a few of these with you.

There's the vintage German decoration from my husband's childhood home:

And both traditional and modern Finnish Christmas decoration:

And of course a bit of heavy metal just for fun:

What's your Christmas decoration style?


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Restyling an old coat

plaid coat

I've had this coat for years

And I've even featured it on the blog before, with the same scarf, no less. I admit, I find it a bit challenging to style this coat in a new way. Maybe it's the bold pattern: I always think I need to tone everything else down a bit. Yet, at the same time I think the coat needs a dose of colour around it.

plaid coat

So, this is why I'm carrying a hot pink umbrella... I like mixing a bold pattern with bright colour, as long as they are sort of separate elements within the outfit...

pedestrian safety reflector

And safety is important, of course. 

This is not a brooch but a pedestrian safety reflector. When it's dark, it reflects the light from headlights of passing cars, making sure the drivers can see me. This is rather important when we have only about 4-5 hours of daylight this time of the year...

40+ winter style

I'm wearing:
Coat: Manuela Conti (old) / jeans: Next / scarf: Fraas (old) /
bag: Furla / shoes: Tero Palmroth / gloves: Pia Rossini / umbrella: L'asessor 

How would you restyle this coat? Let me know in the comments.


Linking up with: 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Evening Bags

evening bags

I'm fascinated by evening bags...

I even have a few. Well, I have some small(ish) bags that I use as evening bags. I don't have a proper evening bag, though. Maybe that's why I love looking at them...

An evening bag is the ultimate luxury item, isn't it? So pretty, yet completely useless.

For starters it's difficult to carry, as it often has no shoulder strap. What exactly are you supposed to do with it? Carry it in your hand? Tucked under your arm? Not very practical, trying to sip a cocktail while balancing a plate of hors d'oeuvres...

And then there's the size. Most evening bags are way too small to be of any use: nothing fits in. OK, maybe you don't need much when you go out, but still... There should be enough room for keys, a credit card, the bus pass, a phone and a lipstick. That's the minimum I carry with me. Just try stuffing all that into one of those envelope clutches...

Clearly, I have minimum requirements when it comes to size. And I don't like my clothing or accessories complicating my life. Then why am I so fascinated by these useless, pretty little evening bags?

Well, I'm convinced that it is possible to find a bag that would meet my number one requirement, being practical, while making a statement in the way only a proper evening bag can: adding a bit of luxury and embellishment to an outfit.


An evening bag is a luxury item

and it should look, and feel, like one. I admit that I'm a bit of a snob, and can't stand fast fashion. But isn't an evening bag a prime example of something expendable? As in something we use once or twice  a year at most, or something we get for a particular purpose or outfit? And as such, what's wrong with something cheap and cheerful that we won't mind tossing when we get tired of it?

Well, nothing, really. Except that it's a complete waste of money, bad for the environment and bad for the soul.

Yeah, that last bit may need some explaining...

We live in a throwaway culture: everything has a built-in expiration date, be it clothes, gadgets or relationships. As a result we don't appreciate what we have anymore: when we get tired of something, we just replace it with the latest upgrade. Not too bad, maybe even necessary, when it comes to technology, but as for anything else...

So, as a luxury item, an evening bag could be a one-off piece: something to cherish, the same way we would cherish a family heirloom or a piece of art.

What's the price of luxury, then?

Lets say there is an evening bag out there that can fit  my keys, phone, bus pass, lipsticks etc. As a one of a kind, special piece it should also be breathtakingly beautiful, made of quality material, a true paragon of craftmanship. Sure, if only we could afford to pay the equivalent of the price of a car...

Let's be realistic: money's tight. And while we don't want to waste our hard-earned cash on some crap that probably breaks before we get it home, we don't want to spend a fortune, either. If we had a fortune to spend, we'd be spending it on something a bit more useful, anyway, like a holiday home or stock portfolio or an everyday bag...

Sorry, digressing here. A reasonably priced, good quality evening bag (or two), that's what we need. An evening bag that is expensive enough so that we'll want to take care of it and make the most of it, i.e. make it part of each and every festive outfit we have, for the rest of our lives. Because let's be practical here: who really needs a dozen different bags? And who in their right mind needs a dozen different evening bags? And, most importantly, who has the space to store all those bags??? Well, I'm used to living out of a suitcase, so I'm a bit obsessed with having less rather than more...

clutch bag

One style fits all?

But we have many different outfits, it's impossible to find one bag to suit them all. Unless it's a really boring bag... You know, beige, no embellishment, no details, nothing to keep it from fading into the background. Doesn't that defeat the whole point of having an evening bag?

My fantasy evening bag would be understated and classic, so that it would transcend trends. And it would be a neutral colour (not beige, maybe grey or silver) so that it would not clash with outfits in pink or fuchsia (my go-to colours when I want to make a statement). And it would be made of luxurious material: soft leather, lace or metal. But there would be no bells and whistles, no dangly bits (they just drive me crazy), no embellishment that requires constant replacing (which also drives me crazy).

What's your fantasy evening bag like?


Linking up with: 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Winter Blues

40+ winter coat

Blue and White

is a  classic colour combination, always fresh, and so much more forgiving than black and white for someone with my colouring. Blue and white combo is also a good, neutral background for a third, accent colour.

winter wear

So, several good reasons for wearing blue and white, none of which are really relevant here. I wanted to wear something (mainly) blue and white because this post goes live on 6 December (Independence Day in Finland), and I thought I should wear my national pride on my sleeve, so to speak.

long wool coat over 40

I'm wearing:
coat: Reiss (old, seen on the blog many, many times...) /
dress: Phase Eight (seen before HERE) / s
carf: Fraas (old) / bag and sunglasses: Chanel / boots: old

To my Finnish readers: Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää! (= Happy Independence Day)


Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Same Coat, A New Colour Combo

over 40 blogger

Yes, it's the new coat again...

Come on, even fashion bloggers don't have an unlimited supply of new clothes; we have to make do with our old wardrobes day after day, just like everybody else. And I wouldn't be much of a blogger if I couldn't come up with at least a few outfits around this coat, now, would I?

Besides, I really wanted to see if this blue-green (teal?) shade would look good with with something pink and purple.


The umbrella isn't just a prop: according to the weather forecast, there was supposed to be some snow... I think I saw two snowflakes. Maybe three.

winter trench coat

But as it was almost  4 pm, we didn't have time to wait for snow and had to get on with the photo shoot while there was still some daylight.

winter coat over 40

I'm wearing:
coat: Hobbs / jeans: Next / cashmere cardigan / Johnson's Cashmere /
ankle boots: Tero Palmroth / bag: Furla / umbrella: Bisetti /
cashmere scarf: Lochmere / gloves: Randers Handsker

So, what do you think, does this colour combo work or not?


Sunday, 29 November 2015


styling a tote bag

As far as accessories go, I like bags...

Couldn't care less about shoes. And yes, I often plan an entire outfit around a bag. You see, I usually have a favourite bag: either 'the love of my life' (my Chanel) or the 'flavour of the month'  (= the bag I'm currently infatuated with, and thus want to carry it all the time). 

But the last couple of years I have been trying to limit the number of bags I buy, both for financial and logistical reasons. Finances aside, I need to find space to store the bags I buy, which can be tricky in a small flat. And as I keep commuting between two homes in two countries, my life is just simpler if I have one bag (or two) that goes with anything. So, less is more, that's the idea...

However, in spite of my best intentions, I still manage to buy at least one bag every year, mainly because love at first sight makes it impossible for me to resist a nice bag... That just goes to show how successful this plan was to begin with...

But, it has been quite a while since I last bought a bag specifically for work. That is, a bag big enough for all the paper the average teacher carries around every day (that is a lot of paper, trust me). So, while I'm not one of those women who carry half of their possessions with them all the time, my work bag needs to accommodate several A4 size files, an occasional book (for work only) and an umbrella. However, as I need to carry the bag around the whole day, I prefer something small(ish) and simple. Not too many compartments, as they take away valuable space (needed for those A4 files and paper), but a few so that I can still find my keys / bus card / phone without having to dump the contents of the bag onto the street.

And I'm happy to report (after carrying it for a couple of months) that this pale pink Furla bag seems to tick all the boxes. Yes, my dear reader, it's official: I'm in love...

So, now that we know that the bag is functional (always the first concern in a work bag), I just have to make sure I have the wardrobe to match. And that's what I've been doing these past couple of months: finding everything in my wardrobe that goes with the new bag.

As you can see, the bag complements my coats:
(original posts: left / right)

tote bag

It seems to like my favourite wrap dresses:
(original posts: left / right)


It can do smart casual:
(original posts: left / right)

Furla tote

But it also works with casual outfits:
(original posts: left / right)

all-purpose bag

Do you ever create an outfit around a bag (or shoes)?


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Stress Management

stress management

I'm stressed...

Too much on my plate at the moment, nothing new there. We all have busy periods at work, and we get through them well enough, give or take a few sleepless nights, wrecked diets, and an occasional temper tantrum. But, should we wish to manage our stress levels better, there's no shortage of helpful advice, in the form of numerous magazine articles, self-help books and blog posts. And they all more or less sum up stress management as eating and sleeping well + physical exercise + mindfulness. And doing less and doing better, of course, or something to that effect. So let's stop wasting time and get down to the business of managing stress, i.e. me telling you how I plan to get through the busy, stressful period without losing my mind. It's all about being more efficient, in less time, of course, and trying to avoid temper tantrums in spite of numerous sleepless nights.

OK, first things first: physical well-being.

So, eating well, sure: there's nothing like a healthy, home-cooked meal to boost the immune system. Only the purest of ingredients, no processed food or sugary treats. Except chocolate, of course. Chocolate is nature's own Prozac, after all. And it contains protein. And flavonoids, or something... Or maybe that was red wine? Well, I guess I should have both, just to be sure, but only after I'm done with the marking, otherwise it gets a bit too Bad Teacher...

OK, what next? Oh yes, I need to relax... People always rave about meditation, maybe I should try that? How does it work, exactly? You just sort of stare straight ahead and repeat a mantra? I can do that. OK, here goes...

Oh boy, that bookshelf needs dusting!

I should just get the... OK, focus! Right, I'm back: let's do this. Yes, meditating now...

What was that? Hey, someone just sent me a cute cat video! Aww, I wish I could get a kitten... Oh no, back to business, no distractions... OK, meditating... How hard can it be, just 10 minutes, for heaven's sake!?

Wait, I need a mantra, right? What the hell's a mantra, anyway? Is it supposed to mean something?

No! No, thinking! Just go with the flow, relax... the mantra will come to you if you just let it... now, empty your mind, focus... focus... chocolate.... chocolate...

I think I still have a chocolate bar in the fridge... WTF??? Who ate my chocolate??!! Oh, wait, I think I had it for breakfast...

Right, no meditation, then... at least till I have an off switch installed in my brain...

Physical activity! That's what I need! Nothing to quiet the mind like a good old workout. Now, let's see... the gym takes too long... But I really should go, I haven't been there for at least a week.  But I'd need to get dressed and walk there, and that would take at least 5 minutes... And I have a million things to do at home, and it's cold, and... Is it snowing?!?

YOGA! I can do some yoga! No need to go out, and it's relaxing, right? And fast, because I can just do it while waiting for the pizza to be delivered. That's what I call multitasking! Now, where did I put that Yoga DVD? Oh shit, it's 45 minutes! No problem, I can do it in 20, if I fast-forward all the boring bits. Or in 10, who needs all those repetitions, anyway? Good! Why waste time when you can just be more efficient, right?

Oh blimey! Downton Abbey's on in 10 minutes! AND WE'RE OUT OF CHOCOLATE!! Quick, if I run I can still make it to the shop and back... Sorry, no time to chat, catch you later!


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Yes, I'm a Trench Coat Addict...

40+ wool coat

Hello, my name is Tiina and I'm addicted to trench coats...

Yes, I have a short, blue one, and a longer one in black leather, and even a classic Burberry trench... And now I have a trench made of wool, for autumn and winter. Well, depends on your definition of winter, of course... As a Finn, I'm no stranger to heavy-duty winter wear, and this coat is about as far from it as possible. But I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear out of it, nevertheless.

Anyway, I'd been stalking this coat online for a while, and then I saw that it had sold out... Except for the Covent Garden Hobbs, which seemed to be the only shop in London that still had it. So, that was my first stop last Saturday. I call that 'grab-and-go' shopping: know where you're going, get the coat, and get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

Hobbs trench

Would it surprise you if I said that I actually hate shopping?

And by shopping I mean wasting hours looking for something that does not seem to exist, and trying on dozens of ill-fitting / poorly constructed / oddly-shaped garments that seem to serve no practical purpose whatsoever. I hate crowded places, and I can't stand over-eager shop assistants pestering me when I just want to look around and hiding from me when I have a question to ask...

Why not shop online, then?

It's a good question, and I have an even better answer. In the U.K, we've had too many parcels getting lost, or delivered to 'a neighbour' (without a name and address, just try tracking them down...) and in Finland I have been told more than once to go to a 'depot ' in the middle of nowhere to get the parcel I paid to have delivered (that's just not going to happen, I don't have a car; besides, if I paid for a delivery, then I expect to get the delivery, even if it requires me yelling at someone on the phone)... So, no, I will only shop online if I can get the parcel delivered to my local post office, thank you very much.

Given what I just told you it's a miracle that I manage to buy any new clothes at all. Well, I hate shopping (i.e. looking for something specific), but I don't mind browsing (i.e. just killing time in a shop, checking if they have anything interesting). And I saw this coat about a month a go. Why I didn't get it then and there is beyond me. Probably I was on my way somewhere, had a lot of stuff to carry or was experiencing a momentary cash flow problem (= feeling guilty for spending too much already). Never mind, I got the coat in the end, and now I have yet another trench coat. I'm sure I will wear it a lot.

leopard print sunglasses
how to accessorise a trench

I'm wearing;
coat: Hobbs / jeans: Next / shoes: Clarks (old) / bag; Chanel / 
sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana / Scarf : Shanghai Tang

Do you love or hate shopping? Let me know in the comments, and be honest...

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