Thursday, 30 June 2016

My Classic Look Challenge

style challenge

This is my 'Grace Kelly look'...

Well, inspired by Grace Kelly. Or any of those always perfectly polished, super ladylike women. You know the type of woman I mean: never a hair out of place, the most elegant woman in the room in her simple yet sophisticated, crisp white shirt and understated pearls. Like Grace Kelly, or Natasha from Sex and the City. The woman who instantly makes you feel that you're not in the same league. Hell, you're not from the same planet! Does it surprise you that I want to look like her?

Yes, sometimes I do want to look like her. Because secretly I am in awe of her: how can anyone look so flawless and put-together and matchy-matchy and polished all the time?

But don't worry, I'm a realist. I have unruly curly hair, I drop food on my clothes and trip over my own feet. And then there's the angry, leather-jacket-wearing rocker side of me who wouldn't waste a second rolling her eyes at anything too polished.

No, I could never be that woman. And maybe it's for the best. Perfection may be alluring, but it also lacks personality. Personality, by definition, must allow some quirks and flaws...

summer style
Seasalt Cornwall skirt

And because I'm a realist and know that I will never be that woman, never mind what I do, I don't go for the full works: all neutral tones, pearls, pretty shoes and a tidy hairdo. Well, some of that is beyond my reach, anyway (the tidy hairdo in particular). And I make concessions for my pale skin, too. So, let's add some bright colour. This is a look inspired by Grace Kelly, not a copy, after all. I don't do copies, that's just not cool.

But I am wearing a white top. It's one of the two (yes, only two) sleeveless white tops I have. I may have a white t-shirt lurking around somewhere at the back of my closet, maybe even a small cardigan, and I have a white sundress. But I can assure you I don't have, or need, a crisp white shirt. That's just way too much white for this pale girl. Even if I'm just itching to pair a classic white shirt with this skirt. But that's an outfit for another woman, someone with olive skin, maybe. And yes, I'm envious...

classic style over 40
Marimekko aurinkolasit

Outfit details:
skirt: Seasalt Cornwall / top: KappAhl (old) / cardigan: Club Monaco (old) / 
sunglasses: Marimekko / bag: Furla / shoes: Gabor

How do you wear white?


Sunday, 26 June 2016

My 'Boho' Chic Challenge

Boho over 40

I don't do Boho...

It's just not me; there's absolutely nothing hippie about me, never has been.  Yes, there are times when I imagine I'm one of those sun-kissed women in magazines, on the beach somewhere, frolicking in the sea wearing one of those floaty dresses and tons of long bead necklaces...

Then I remember that I can't swim and never sunbathe, and hot weather just makes me want to stick my head into a refrigerator. In other words, the beach is my idea of Hell...

And those floaty dresses... I know women who look glamorous and bewitching and wonderfully creative in their hippie regalia whereas I just look like a crazy woman. And that much fabric flying around drives me crazy. Besides, my ideal hot weather outfit is a bucket full of ice cubes on my head...

What this rather lengthy introduction is trying to say is that this is about as Boho as I will ever get. But hey, I'm wearing a silk kimono, with fringe! And I'm breaking my own style rules (= no more than one pink item per outfit), doesn't that count?

OK, fine, so it's more Chic than Boho, but I think the outfit should fit the woman, not the other way round...

boho chic
over 40 blogger

Outfit details:
silk kimono: Esprit / dress: Ghost (old) / bag: Furla / sunglasses: Marimekko
shoes: Clarks (old) / pearl necklace : Portobello Road market
location: Esplanadi, Helsinki

What about you, do you like Boho Chic?


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

What to wear on those cool summer evenings, the British edition


British summer can be a bit moody

It may be hot one day and rainy and chilly the next. Or a warm day may be be followed by a cool evening. This means that some sort of a cover-up is necessary. Preferably something light and easy to put on when the temperature drops.

A wool poncho is a good alternative for a jacket, easy to throw over both a casual or a more formal outfit. Trust me, I know: I have this poncho in white, red (worn here with stripes, and a lace skirt, and stripes again) and blue (worn here with a plaid shirt and with a Breton top), and couldn't resist getting it in purple plaid.

40plus blogger

I thought the poncho would look great with my favourite Custo Barcelona top and olive trousers. A casual look with a bit of flair, just what an evening walk in the neighbourhood calls for.

Sissi Rossi bag

Outfit details:
poncho: Marja Kurki / top: Custo Barcelona / trousers: Marks and Spencer /
 shoes: Clarks (old) /bag: Sissi Rossi (old) / sunglasses: Chanel (old)

How do you wear ponchos?


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Less is More when Packing

travel in style

Packing is not rocket science

So, let's not make it more complicated than it needs to be. We don't need lists or charts or hours of planning. Of course, if that's something you enjoy doing, by all means do it. As far as I'm concerned, that just sounds like a lot of work, and can do without it. 

So, where do we start? 

The weather, destination, duration of the trip and airline luggage allowance, that's what we need to keep in mind. In this case I was packing for a 3-day trip in Barcelona in early June (= hot weather, casual wear), and travelling with cabin luggage only. In fact, I was travelling Business Class, so I could have taken an extra piece of cabin luggage, but I was fine with my cabin-size trolley and a tote bag.

Cabin luggage dos and don'ts 

Cabin luggage means a bag or a trolley that fits into the aircraft overhead locker and a handbag / small(ish) tote (or just the one bag / trolley, depending on the airline) that you place under the seat in front of you.

It does not mean half a dozen bags and parcels of various shapes and sizes that you try to smuggle past the cabin crew. Don't be that space hogging egomaniac who thinks aircraft overhead lockers are just for their personal use. There is absolutely no excuse for such rude behaviour; it is stealing, plain and simple. Remember, your fellow passengers have paid for their share of the overhead locker, too. In other words, if what you plan to take with you doesn't fit into one trolley, either leave it home or check it in. 

Worried about potentially losing your checked luggage? Use a Trakdot or other similar gizmo to keep track of it. That way you can see your suitcase moving around the airport where it got stuck when you changed planes (yep, been there...).

What about cosmetics and toiletries? Well, you know those resealable plastic bags you're supposed to fit everything in? Repeat after me: if it doesn't fit into the plastic bag, leave it home or check it in...

over 50 blogger
packing for hot weather

What to pack for 3 days?  

First things first: the bag. A small crossbody bag always works: hands-free and bag-snatcher safe (this is a real concern in Barcelona). And two pairs of sunglasses should be enough. What, one pair should do it? NO WAY! I always take my favourite (of the moment) pair and a spare.

And the clothes? Well, what goes with the bag? The orange and navy maxi dress you saw in an earlier post, and this jersey maxi skirt, for example. I wore the skirt on two days out of the three (mainly because I like it so much). I also had another maxi skirt that I was wearing on the flight over, but there are no photos of that. Oh well, another day and another post...

OK, making progress...

Next, let's find some tops that go with the skirt, non-iron only. A linen shirt (or two) is always good as it also protects me from the sun. No, I don't iron them. It's linen for heaven's sake, it starts wrinkling the second you take it out of the wardrobe...

OK, where were we? A couple of t-shirts and two pairs of shoes. That's a lot of walking around in 3 days, so let's make that 2 pairs of walking shoes. Well, that's easy: all my shoes are walking shoes (as I have no car or a chauffeur, I have no use for impractical shoes). Let's make the other pair sandals, it's summer after all. I could probably manage with just one pair of shoes, but it's nice to give my feet an alternative. You know, when they get sore and angry after a long day of walking, a 'new' pair of shoes might fool them into thinking they're being pampered...

OK, now all we need to do is toss a couple of necklaces into the mix and we're done. So, to revise, that was one cabin-size trolley containing a maxi dress, 2 maxi skirts (well, obviously I was wearing one on the plane...), 2 t-shirts, 2 linen shirts, underwear and a nightie, a big round hairbrush, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 4 necklaces (I only wore two, hmm...), a sun umbrella, a pashmina (to wear on the plane), a crossbody bag, a Longchamp le pliage tote (to toss magazines, handbag, etc into for the flight for easy access), some toiletries (yes, I bring my own shampoo and conditioner; my hair is a real diva...).

Yes, there was enough room for some shopping, too...

maxi skirt
travel wardrobe

Outfit details: 
maxi skirt: lexington / sunglasses: Marimekko / bag: Furla / linen shirt: Marks and Spencer (old) / 
t-shirt: KappAhl / white shoes: Clarks (old) / sandals: Clarks / sun umbrella: James Smith and Sons

And if was going away for a longer period, a week maybe? How would I fit everything in, then? Well, that's easy, I'd take a suitcase and check it in...


Saturday, 18 June 2016

Bad Tourist in a Museum

la Pedrera

Been there, done that...

I finally visited La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, as it's also known. Yes, I have been visiting Barcelona for the past 12 or so years once or twice a year, and it has taken me this long to see one of the top attractions...

You see, I don't do queues. Nope, I'm not spending hours waiting to get into a museum (yes, this is just one of the reasons I call myself a Bad Tourist...). Life is just too short for that, and I don't need so see anything that badly. And I hate crowded places. And I don't like big museums...

But I'm digressing here. This time Professor M and I just happened to be passing Casa Milà and there was no queue!!! That just doesn't happen. Or at least I've never seen no queue in front of this building, ever. It didn't hurt that it was my birthday (that was way back in early June when we were in Barcelona), so it felt extra special. Because of course I've been wanting to see Casa Milà for ages, for the past 12 or so years that I have been visiting Barcelona...

The tour consists of the rooftop (with this fabulous view of Passeig de Gracia), the attic and a model apartment. The rest of the building is off-limits: some lucky people actually live there...

Casa Mila

The ventilation towers on the roof terrace look as if they had stepped out of an early 20th century science fiction film... But it was the ventilation courtyards in the middle of the building that really fascinated me:

la Pedrera
casa Mila
Casa Mila

Small is beautiful...

I have to admit that I don't particularly enjoy touring huge museums (actually, I'm quite good at finding excuses not to visit them because they wear me out). I prefer a curated collection that is big enough for me think I've seen something worthwhile but small enough so as not to overwhelm me. Such as the small and compact Museu del Modernisme.

This is my kind of museum: a small collection of interesting items that you can see in 30-45 minutes. The museum houses a collection of Art Nouveau (or Modernist, as they call it in Barcelona) furniture, sculptures, paintings and advertising posters, originating from a private collection of two antique dealers.

The collection of furniture is big enough for anyone not familiar with Art Nouveau / Modernisme to get an idea of what it's all about. Yet, it is small enough to entice you to study the details of each piece. And that's what a museum should be about, in my opinion: giving you an overview of something while letting you get absorbed in the minutiae if you so desire.

art nouveau
art nouveau

There are other interesting (and small) museums in Barcelona, too: Chocolate MuseumErotic Museum, and the Motorcycle Museum, to mention just a few.

And then there are the beautiful buildings everywhere, my favourite way of studying art and architecture. This time around I was particularly taken by various textured facades. Look at these pictures, for example: it's as if these buildings were covered with wallpaper...

Barcelona architecture
Barcelona architecture

Do you like museums? 


Thursday, 16 June 2016

'Cruise Wear', sort of...

casual wear over 50

No, not that sort of cruise...

I'm sorry to disappoint you... I meant a Dinner Cruise around the Helsinki archipelago. Yes, we call it archipelago, there are some 300+ islands, after all... No, we didn't tour them all. Just what you can see in 2.5 hours while having a buffet dinner and some bubbly.

Professor M and I love playing tourists in our own neighbourhood, whether it means island hopping and dinners in summer restaurants or dinner cruises around Helsinki (when in Finland) or day trips to London (in the U.K).


A small boat, a windy day... that calls for a rather casual and relaxed outfit with sturdy shoes. Of course, a wind-proof parka is a must.

50+ blogger

And what did we see? 

Well, this time we took the more easterly route, with the soundtrack (in Finnish and in English) regaling us with stories about smuggling during the prohibition... To be honest, the scenery  is quite similar all around, never mind which route you take. It's islands of varying sizes, some of them in natural state, some with recreational areas,  old villas or holiday homes (often partially hidden from view by trees), or posh houses with docks or beaches.


A lot of these island are open to public, although there are also areas that are private or off-limits (e.g. in military use).

casual outfit spring
Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses

Outfit details:
parka: Seasalt Cornwall / top: Boden / trousers: Marks and Spencer / bag: Adolfo Dominguez / 
shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: dolce and Gabbana / scarf: Alexander McQueen

Do you ever play tourist in your own home town?


Sunday, 12 June 2016

What to Wear in Hot Weather?

maxi dress over 40

This is I was wearing on my birthday

That was last weekend, in Barcelona. It was a short trip, just 3 days. And the weather was quite hot, especially the last day.

Now, hot weather makes me very uncomfortable and I find it difficult to find something to wear. I tend to prefer slightly more streamlined clothes and fitted dresses, or at least a dress or a skirt with a clearly defined waist. Yet, when it gets too hot (for my comfort), the last thing I want is something sticking to my skin and making me sweaty. So, belts and tight clothes are out of the question... And then there's the sun protection issue. Yes, I know, should wear sun screen, SPF over-the-roof, if possible, but I hate the stuff. If possible, I hate it even more than I hate hot weather. For starters, it usually smells revolting, and it's sticky. And it stains clothes. Did I mention it's disgustingly sticky?

So, that's why I'm wearing a maxi dress and an over-sized linen shirt: it's sun protection. The dress covers the lower half of my body and the shirt covers my arms and shoulders. Of course, I also carry a sun umbrella...

Given my body shape (big boobs and an even bigger bum and a small waist), an empire waist maxi dress is  a bit risky: anything that's not nipped in at the waist easily makes me look bulky. In other words, there's no hope whatsoever to achieve that slimline, ethereal, breezy look that we usually associate with maxi dresses. This is called managing expectations: I'll be  happy if I don't end up looking like a hippo in a muumuu... But that's the risk I have to take: it's either a roomy dress that allows me to breathe and move freely or I could just walk around wearing a bathtub filled with ice. Actually, I don't quite know how that would work, so I guess I'll have to go with the muumuu maxi dress...

40+ blogger
hot weather outfit
what to wear in hot weather

Outfit details:
maxi dress: Boden / linen shirt: marks and Spencer (old) / 
sandals: Clarks / bag: Furla / sunglasses: Coach / necklace: Purificacion Garcia

What's your favourite hot weather outfit?


PS: Have you seen the new Dilettante Artist post yet?


Thursday, 9 June 2016

What to wear on those cool summer evenings, the Finnish edition

striped maxi dress

What to wear on those cooler summer evenings?

I don't like wearing jeans in summer. Maybe it's because I wear jeans so often in winter that by summer I can't stand seeing them anymore, let alone wearing them. At least not when I'm going to a nice restaurant (even though the dress code in summer restaurants is casual or smart casual). So, for summer I need something to wear instead of jeans. Something you can wear anywhere, anytime, and dress up or down. 

And here it is: I just love this jersey maxi skirt. It's my new no-jeans jeans-substitute. Or something to that effect. I wear it on a hot day, and I wear it when the temperature drops. Did I already say how much I love it? And not just because of the stripes... the A-line shape is perfect, too: it allows me to move without restrictions but without too much fabric to drive me crazy.

over 40 blogger

A wool poncho is one of my summer staples for cooler evenings as it can be worn over any outfit. I have this poncho in white (you've seen it before with a pink top, red (worn here with stripes, and a lace skirt, and stripes again) and blue (worn here with a plaid shirt and with a Breton top).

And where did I wear this outfit? This is what we call a summer restaurant. It is located on a samll island, accessible by boat (the restaurant has a shuttle service, the crossing took about two minutes...) and open all summer. There are plenty of restaurants such as this one on islands around Helsinki. This particular restaurant is owned by a yacht club, so there's also a marina on the island. By the way, the neighbouring island also has a restaurant...

summer restaurant
maxi skirt
leopard print sunglasses

Outfit details:
max skirt: Lexington / silk-cotton sweater: Jigsaw / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana / shoes: Clarks  / 
necklace / Kenneth Jay Lane / white poncho: Marja Kurki / bag: Adolfo Dominguez
location: restaurant NJK, Helsinki

Do you wear jeans in summer? 


Sunday, 5 June 2016

My Colour Blocking Challenge

colour blocking over 40

This is analogous colour blocking

Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel, and colour blocking means wearing big chunks of solid colours instead of mixing them up in prints. I often wear analogous colours together (read: I wear blue and green), as I like the effect of harmony it creates. 

Of course, pink and orange are not quite 'neighbors' on the colour wheel (there's red between them) but they're both made by mixing red with another primary colour (blue and yellow, respectively). So, there's enough contrast, yet the colours are close enough to create a harmonious colour scheme. And to further increase the harmony, I prefer the lighter shades of orange (peach or coral) together with hot pink.

What you see on the mural behind me is both analogous colour blocking (red, orange, yellow) and contrasting colour blocking (using compelementary colours i.e. colours on the opposite sides of the colour wheel, orange and blue in this case). It may be more striking, but I prefer harmonious colour schemes in my outfits, especially when  wearing solids.

OK, lesson over...

orange and pink color blocking
over 40 blogger
40+ colourblocking

Outfit details:
pink dress: Ghost (old) / linen shirt: Marks and Spencer old) / bag: Furla / 
sunglasses: Marimekko / shoes: Clarks (old) / necklace: Purificacion Garcia

Do you like colour blocking?

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