Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Blogger Meet-Up in Vancouver

blogger meetup

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've noticed that I've been to Vancouver, Canada. I was there to attend a 40+ Blogger Meet-Up - organised by Suzanne, Sue and Melanie - of 18 or so bloggers, none of whom I had ever met in person...

I follow a lot of bloggers, most of whom have very different styles and tastes from mine. Some of these bloggers look fantastic in outfits that I would never wear in a million years. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they may like colours that wouldn't suit me.

But that's OK as I'm not looking for style tips: I don't want to copy or imitate anyone. What I look for is expression of individual style, and many of the bloggers I follow know how to match their outfits to their personalities. It is this coherence, the harmony between the outward appearance and the perceived personality that appeals to me.

The Vancouver blogger meet-up was a chance to meet, face-to-face, some of the bloggers I have been following, and see what they're really like... because there is always more to a blogger than what they choose to share with you on their blogs.

Greetje taking a photo of me...
I'm sure that all bloggers think very carefully how much and what to reveal about themselves and their lives. I certainly set myself some limitations when I started this blog: I would focus on a few selected topics, never discuss my day job, and keep the overall tone of the blog positive, light-hearted and sufficiently shallow. The last bit was not so much for my readers' but for my own benefit as for quite a while now I've been working very hard at being shallow (yes, I know how strange that sounds...). You see, I'm a 'glass-half-empty' kind of girl, prone to a rather negative outlook on life and worrying about everything possible (and impossible), and this blog is part of my ongoing attitude adjustment project of learning not to take life so seriously.

And it was in that spirit that I left for Vancouver to meet with a bunch of people I had never met in person before...

That's me, with Sheila (left) and Pat (right)
I had decided not to have any expectations, and force myself to step outside my comfort zone. You see, I'm not comfortable meeting new people... which is strange, of course, given that meeting new people is what I do all the time in my day job. Except that usually I would be in charge, and in total control of the situation, calling the shots, bossing everyone around...

So, what I mean is, I'm not comfortable meeting new people and mingling with them as equals...

No, that doesn't sound good, either... How about this: I'm an introvert, a bit shy, and somewhat insecure? And all of my friends reading this just choked on their coffees... Yes, I know I don't seem shy or introverted. I boss people around for a living, after all... Yeah, I'm good at faking it. Confidence, I mean.

Oh hell, my jet-lagged brain is just not up to the task of explaining this. Which is fine: overanalysing everything is something I need to let go anyway, in order to reach my goal of being more shallow...

Pat, Anne, Patti and Louisa
Anyway, let's get back to the blogger meet-up...

There were dinners, a clothes swap, trift shopping... I had a chance to observe how other bloggers put an outfit together, how they find the components of their unique style.

But more importantly, we talked.

We talked about style, fashion and shopping. And about life, our challenges and insecurities.

We connected and shared stories.

I may not be very good at starting a discussion (yeah, cultural differences: I'm a Finn, we don't talk to strangers...) but I can talk about a lot of things to people from all walks of life once I get over the initial awkwardness.

In all gatherings, I'm always drawn to outliers, or  'outsiders', those who feel they are out of their comfort zone, or just a bit uncertain of their role in the situation... Maybe because I always feel a bit like that myself. And I'm not in the least bothered by it. And I also know that sooner or later there's a group of 'outsiders' talking about everything possible. And this, for me, is always the best part of any get-together... because then I'm finally in my comfort zone.

I think its time to put a stop to this incoherent rambling for now. I blame jet lag: a day of travelling and my brain is a mess... I think I should do myself, and you, a favour and get some sleep...

But first, here's a list of the fabulous bloggers who attended the meet-up, in case you want to see what they had to say about the event:

Suzanne: Suzanne Carillo
Melanie: Bag and a Beret
Sue: A Colourful Canvas 
Patti: Not Dead Yet  
Sylvia: 40+Style 
Greetje: No Fear of Fashion 
Trina: Tea Time With Trina 
Tami: Thrift Shop Commando 
Sheila: Ephemera 
Pat: Project Minima 
Ally: Shybiker
Louisa: Damselfly’s Delights
Anne: Spy Girl  
Shawna: The Director Of Awesome 
Tiina : Elegance Revisited 
Jodi: Day 2 Day Wear
Wendra: The Looking Glass
Tracey: Fashion Forward 40 

I will of course be posting some more pictures of Vancouver later, as soon as I get my photos, and my head, organised.


Linking up with: 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Casual chic separates

casual summer style

Casual, relaxed, easy...

That's what we want from our holiday or weekend outfits, right? No fuss, just get dressed and go. Easy-peasy separates that can be mixed and matched are the cornerstone of any wardrobe, of course, but they could just as well be all you need in your wardrobe, especially in summer.

40+ casual style

If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably know that I have a really serious aversion to ironing... And if I don't really iron my work clothes, I'm certainly not going to iron my more casual clothes. And as I commute between two homes, I need my clothes to multitask and lend themselves to several different outfits, from casual to smart casual. You see, I don't really spend much time packing, either: I just toss  something into a suitcase and go.

This is what I wear on most days: cropped trousers and a t-shirt, a jacket or a cardigan and flat shoes. And as there are quite a few of the above-mentioned clothes in my wardrobe, all I have to do is choose the colour combinations I like on a given day.

And what I wanted to do here is put together a relaxed, casual look in my favourite colour combo of blue and green. Of course, it should be suitable for the somewhat unpredictable British weather: sunny and warm one moment, cool and rainy the next.

casual sequins

I'm wearing:
t-shirt: H&M / trousers: Marks and Spencer / cardigan: Gap / sunglasses: Miu Miu / 
shoes: Van Dal  / bag: Adolfo Dominguez

Do you like mixing and matching separates?


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Thursday, 23 July 2015


My husband is a bit of a dandy...

He probably has more clothes than I do, especially when it comes to formal wear. No, he does not wear a suit and a tie every day, maybe once or twice a week. Well, that's often enough to need some variety as far as ties are concerned, for sure. And he certainly makes the most of his impressive collection. Or what do you think of these examples:

over 40 menswear
stripy tie

Hmm... Looking at these pictures now it seems that he's been a bit partial to stripes lately. You know what they say about old couples, that they start looking alike? I wonder if there's something to it...



Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dressing for hot weather: the minimalist maxidress

I have just one maxi dress

I usually buy one, every other year or so, thinking that it's just what my summer wardrobe needs: ethereal, floaty fabric gently swaying as I walk, enjoying the sunshine and warm summer breeze...

Except that I don't enjoy the sunshine, and hot weather makes me want to stay indoors, preferably submerged in a bathtub full of ice cubes...

And anything long and floaty is something that I'd rather admire on other people. As far as I'm concerned, long floaty dresses seem like a good idea, in theory, but don't really go with my personality... or my uncanny tendency to trip over my own feet. So, I'm usually disillusioned quite quickly, and the maxi dress ends up unworn at the back of the closet...

maxidress over 40

So, this is last year's maxi dress, I thought I should maybe give it another chance...

I got the dress for a trip to South Korea (you've seen it before HERE), and it's shorter than maxi dresses usually are because it's from the petite range. I thought that if the dress is a bit shorter and only reaches my ankles, there's less of a chance of it getting caught on doorhandles (don't ask) or making me fall face down...

And hot weather hairdos...

I have naturally curly hair, so I have very little control over how my hair looks like on any given day. Trust me, I've tried everything... And on a hot day, the last thing I want to do is spend time blowdrying my hair into submission. So I just let it do whatever it wants, which explains why it's such a mess. You know those magazine pictures of shiny curls tumbling down? It takes a lot of work (and tons of product, curlers, blowdrying, staightening irons etc) to make hair look like that. Naturally curly hair is dry and frizzy, and to make it shine you have to blowdry it using a big, round brush (then it looks wavy rather than curly), which is what I usually do.
But on a hot day... Who cares what my hair looks like? I sure don't...

I'm wearing:
dress: Boden (old) / shirt: Marks and Spencer / bag: Gloria Ortiz (old) / 
sunglasses: Chanel (old) / sandals: Clarks (old)

How do you wear maxi dresses?


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Thursday, 16 July 2015

What to wear with leopard print shoes?


Impulse buying

can create some wardrobe challenges. What if the fabulous leopard print shoes you just bought match absolutely nothing in your wardrobe?

I'm usually quite a good impulse buyer: I hate looking for specific items, but if I just happen to come across something that I fall in love with, I buy it then and there because I invariably end up wearing it a lot. And this is actually how I do most of my shopping: see something, like it, try it on, like it even more, buy it, mix and match it with everything else in my wardrobe.

So, the other day I saw these leopard print shoes... and loved them , and bought them, and... What the hell am I going to wear them with???

 Let's see... I don't really have anything beige or brown (except for two pairs of trousers) in my wardrobe... The obvious thing would be to mix leopard print and Breton stripes, of course (watch this space: it's just a matter of time...), but for now, I'll try the most boring outfit I can think of. You now, to see if the shoes have the magic to lift the entire look to the next level. A tall order, I know...

casual outfit

How do you feel about impulse buying? Does it work for you?


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Dressed for Dinner: Smart Casual

40+ style

What should I wear to a dinner in a fancy restaurant?

Well, in this small English town smart casual should do it, anything more formal would be overkill. And as it's summer, and we're in the middle of a heatwave... Something light-weight, comfortable and with minimal fuss would be perfect.

So, my plan is to put together a very simple look with navy separates and accessorise it in a way that looks both understated and  luxurious at the same time...

gold shoes

And accessories?

Minimalism is the name of the game here: it's way too hot for statement anything... So, nothing heavy but enough bling to turn this simple, rather plain outfit into something more special.

That means gold, not silver. I don't have to pile it on: just a couple of rings, a thin bracelet and a watch is enough. Pearl ear rings and a red necklace for a splash of colour. And gold loafers should be the icing on the cake: very casual, yet super glamorous...

40+ smart casual summer

I'm wearing:
top: Jigsaw (old) / trousers: Marks and Spencer / shoes: Van Dal

So, how do I look? 


Linking up with: 

Friday, 10 July 2015

The No-Denim, Denim-Inspired Hot Weather Look

over 40 syle

This is my 'fake denim' look

Why fake denim? Why not just wear denim? Well, I find denim too uncomfortable on a hot day, and I want to wear something a lot lighter and less tight that keeps me cool. Well, as far as anything keeps me cool: I just don't like hot weather...

And denim is definitely something I associate with much cooler weather. But that doesn't mean I couldn't imitate the denim look... by wearing a light blue linen shirt and chinos.


This pretty little silver pendant is a souvenir from Barcelona, and it can also be worn as a brooch. I just a love such a versatile piece of jewellery...

linen summer outfit over 40

I'm wearing:
linen shirt: Marks and Spencer / linen t-shirt: InWear (old) / trousers: Pure Collection / shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Chanel (old) / bag: Adolfo Dominguez / pendant: Masriera

Do you wear denim in hot weather?


PS: Check out the new Dilettante Artist post...

Linking up with: 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Hot in the City...

over 40 fashion

London weather is so unpredictable

One day it's hot, and the next day it rains... Well, in this outfit I'm prepared for both. The linen shirt provides protection from both the scorching sun and the sudden drop in temperature that often accompanies showers. And the skirt looks smart enough for a visit to a museum and a casual lunch.

bead necklace

In my opinion, simplicity is the key for dressing for any weather, 

but it is even more important when it's getting hot. What we mean by simplicity may vary, of course...

Now, I like my clothes close to the body, with simple shapes and clean lines. And I prefer to wear as little as possible, so layering is not really my thing (my idea of layering is throwing a cardigan over a dress...).

 But I do find it more challenging to adhere to these ideas in summer. I mean, wearing a fitted dress (with the shape underwear that it requires) in winter is one thing. In summer it makes me really uncomfortable. I'm not ready to experiment with muumuus and kaftans, though (way too much fabric for my liking...).

So this is a sort of compromise solution: a fitted, unlined skirt and a relatively loose-fitting linen shirt. To give the shirt a bit more definition, I tied it at the waist. Then I just added sunglasses and comfortable shoes (for walking).

over 40 blogger

I'm wearing:
linen shirt: Marks and Spencer / skirt: Hobbs / shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Coach / 
bag: Adolfo Dominguez / necklace: vintage via Hirst Antiques

This is the 'smart casual' version of this outfit. In my next post I will show you the 'casual' version...

What's your solution for dressing for hot weather in the city?


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Friday, 3 July 2015

Outlet Shopping Near London

designer outlet

Outlet Shopping...

I'm totally out of my element with this post, and no doubt it will be reflected in my review. However, as I usually just see Ashford Designer Outlet from afar, passing it on my way to London by train, I thought it was high time I take a closer look. So, here we go, outlet shopping with a self-confessed snob. Hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride...

First of all: it's huge, which means a lot of walking (but the outlet is wheelchair-friendly, so accessible for disabled shoppers, too)... Second: if you're not used to outlet shopping (that would be me), you may not get much out of it. And third: some shops are OK, some totally disappointing (Clarks and Marks and Spencer come to mind here).

Ashford outlet shopping

What to look for? 

You can find most of your usual high street brands here, but I found the selection a bit limited. In some cases, I also got a sense that the quality of the merchandise was not what I've come to expect from the brand (the Clarks outlet in particular was a huge disappointment in this respect). Also, you may find that your size is not available... Probably that is to be expected, though, when it comes to outlet shopping...

Any highlights? 

I would definitely go to the Barbour shop again, even though this time my size was not available. And there were quite a few shops selling luggage and sunglasses, and even chocolate.

And for lunch?

There are several restaurants. I would avoid the food court, though, unless you're happy with the usual unhealthy fast food options. For those looking for a more nutritionally balanced lunch, there are a few coffee shops and a Wagamama scattered among the shops.

Ashford retail outlet

And what did I buy there? 

Well, as I said, I'm not a seasoned outlet shopper, so I was a bit out of my depth as to what to look for. I did, however, have a 'shopping list' of things I wanted to find. And it worked about as well as it usually does when I go shopping with such a list, which is, not at all...

So, here's what I bought: a t-shirt and a cardigan (yes, one of these was on my list...)

ashford shopping

Ashford Designer Outlet is about 37 minutes' train ride from London (trains from St. Pancras: take any train stopping at Ashford International Rail Station. There are also trains from e.g. Charing Cross, London Bridge and Victoria). The Designer Outlet is a 5-8 minute walk from Ashford International Rail Station, and the route is clearly marked with signs.

How do you feel about outlet shopping? Any tips?


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