Tag: Milan

How to Live Like a Milanese…

I have been living in Milan for nearly three years now, and although England is definitely still my home, I find it amazing to see how settled and homely Milan feels to me now.  I really noticed it on my recent trip home last month.  I was so excited to go home and had such strong feelings of being home when I arrived, but then when I got back to Milan a week later it felt like I was coming home too.  I found it so interested how both places can feel like home to me but in two very different ways, and it made me happy to think Milan has become my home away from home.

I started to think about all the little personalities traits and Milan-isms this city has for me that makes it different from home.  And though I am definitely still 100% English, I have noticed myself picking up on them and how they have become normal for me.  It reminds me how no two countries or even cities are the same which is why traveling is so exciting and eye opening for me.

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(Photo from Pinterest.com)

Here are some of the things that make up the personality of Milan for me…

Saying Ciao A Lot.   Especially when speaking on the telephone, which Italians love to do.  When you want to end the conversation you have to say Ciao Ciao Ciao and then they say Ciao Ciao Ciao and it goes on for a little while.

Taking Regular Espresso Breaks.  Italians go for espresso several times a day and there are so many coffee shops all over Milan.  You order and drink it standing at the bar and are in and out really fast.  It’s a great pick me up when you are on the run.  Normally there are lots of people bustling to get to the front but the coffee people always seem to know who’s drink is who’s!

Becoming a Regular at Your Favorite Cafe or Restaurant.  If you keep going back to the same place and they get to know you they will greet you like family, bring you things to try from the kitchen and make you feel so welcome every time you stop by.

Having Good Shoes and Handbags is Essential.  Milanese girls always have beautiful shoes and handbags made of high quality leather.  Its a great way to transform a basic outfit into something elegant and chic.

Skipping Happy Hour For Aperitivo Instead.  Nearly every bar in Milan does Aperitvo in the evenings and its so good.  Order a Spritz or Prosecco and get served yummy snacks of olives, cheeses, salads, pasta and savory pastries with your drinks.

The Rules are Made to be Broken.  Italians follow the rules up until a point but they are very comfortable bending them when they need to and are totally fine with you doing the same.  Need to park in the middle of the road while you run into a store to pick something up – no problem.  Don’t have time to buy a ticket before you jump on the train – no problem.  Just flash them a smile and its always fine.

Dressing Stylish is a Priority.  In Milan everyone loves fashion and being stylish and chic is a major priority.  I love it because everyone of all generations always looks beautiful and you can get so much style inspiration from the people you see on the streets.

Taking your Dog Everywhere.  Milanese people love dogs and they bring there little dogs out with them everywhere they go.  In restaurants, cafes, on the trams – once I even saw people bringing their dogs around Ikea!!

Sushi is Everyone’s Favorite International Food.  Italians are really proud of their heritage and their food and don’t often eat the food of other cultures.  However the exception to this in Milan is Sushi which everyone loves and there are sushi places all over the city.

Picking up on these things makes me feel like I am starting to live a little more like the Milanese and makes me so happy Milan has become my second home.

What are your favorite differences about living abroad? Let me know in the comments below…

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Must Have Fashion Items for Spring…

I love to see the new trends at the start of every season and I think it provides a great opportunity to experiment with your style and try something new.  A great way to do this is to choose some of the seasons key pieces and add those into your wardrobe for an easy, on-trend update.  You can mix them into your favorite outfits or use them to breath some life into your wardrobe staples.

Here is my lowdown of eight beautiful on trend pieces for Spring…

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How to Create a Home When you Love Travelling…

As you will well know if you have been reading my blog for a while – I love to travel! Along with fashion it is one of my favorite things.  Before starting university I took a year out with my best friends and traveled South America, Australia and part of Asia.  During summer breaks at university I traveled to Morocco and more of South East Asia and I also studied in Italy.  All of these experiences have been incredible and have shaped who I am as a person and I feel really lucky to have already experienced so much in my life.

Now I live in Milan, Italy – where I moved nearly three years ago.  This experience is a little different from my other travels because I am based in one place and hold down a normal (ish) job.  I still have the adventure of traveling but I am also building a life and a home here and developing my career.  As much as I like to find excitement in taking trips and visiting new places I also love how much I feel at home in Milan.  And I love the beautiful apartment that we live in and are redecorating to make our own.  Maybe we wont be here forever, we might move back to England or move to somewhere completely new, but the more I travel the more I believe it’s important to have somewhere that feels like home to come back to.  Somewhere that leaves me feeling balanced and relaxed and where I can recharge before my next big adventure.  So in today’s post I want to share with you five tips for creating a home when you love to travel…

Display Photos & Souvenirs taken from your Adventures.  These will serve as visual reminders of all the amazing adventures you have already had and make your home feel rich with memories.

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Buy Cushions, Throws & Fabrics on your Travels to Decorate your House.  Whenever I travel to a new place I always look for traditional, ethnic fabrics to buy and place around my house.  We have cushions on our sofa from Sri Lanka and throws on the beds from Costa Rica.  We mixed these with more minimal, neutral items to create colorful focus pieces that remind us of our travels.

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Bring the Things from Home you Care About.  Moving to another country normally involves cramming everything you own into one suitcase and means anything ‘non-essential’ needs to be left behind. But try to make room for a few of the things you really care about – like old photographs, letters from friends or jewellery & trinkets from family.  Having these things close to hand in your new space will make you feel comforted and create a feeling of being home.

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Include Some Inspiration.  Think about what you dream of achieving in your life and fill your home with items that align with that.  My home is filled with travel guides and maps to plan my next adventures and photography & fashion books so I can always find inspiration close by.

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Fill your Home with Love & Happiness.  Don’t just see your house as a go-to base in between trips or as somewhere you are only staying for the duration of your trip.  Fill your home with love & happiness and create positive memories there too.  Play music, cook tasty food, burn beautiful smelling candles, buy fresh flowers and invite friends over for dinners and parties.  All these things will bring life and love into your home so your adventures continue even when you are not traveling.

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(all photos taken from pinterest.com)

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How to Define your Personal Style…

I have always believed developing unique personal style is more important than following the latest trends and buying into the newest craze.  That’s because, for me, personal style is a representation of our identities and lifestyles.  Really great personal style is special, unusual and timeless. It allows the wearers personality to shine through and doesn’t always involve the most high-fashion or on trend pieces.

It is a key area I always help my Image Consultation clients to develop because once you have a clear idea of your personal style you feel more confident in your fashion choices, find shopping for new pieces easier and feel the real you shining through in every look that you wear.  But defining your personal style can be tricky and its sometimes difficult to know where to start.  So today I decided to share with you three tips for rookies who want to define their personal style…

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Milan Fashion Week Survival Guide…

Fashion Week is nearly upon us here in Milan.  My schedule is filling up with cool events and presentations and I am getting really excited about what the week has in stall .  When I am not shooting, a lot of my schedule is spent working at home and online, so I love using Fashion Week as an opportunity to attend loads of events and shows around the city, visit cool exhibitions, check out new bars and catch up with people in town for the week.  I always think the city comes alive during Fashion Week and I love the energy and buzz that comes with that.

Saying that, the week can get pretty crazy running from event to event and I have learnt, that to maximize the weeks success and fun its important to be prepared.  Here is my tried and tested Survival Guide for having fun at Milan Fashion Week…

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Make Sure you Have all your Essentials Packed in Your Handbag.   Fashion week means being on the go all day and often into the night.  So if you want to make it to the end of the day without feeling (or looking) exhausted its important you stock up your handbag with essentials for all situations.  Think portable phone charger, healthy snacks, lipstick, facial powder, nail files, mini perfume and gum to name a few.

Buy Comfortable Shoes.  Pre-Fashion Week, invest in some shoes that are stylish but comfortable.  I literally cannot stress how important this is. You will be on your feet all day running from event to event and partying all night, so there isn’t time for painful shoes.  I have invested in a pairs of heels that are cute and comfortable and some really stylish brogues for when I need a day wearing flats!

Plan your Outfits in Advance.  Once you know your event schedule, take some time to plan out your outfits.  Make a space in your wardrobe and hang your outfits together in groups so you always know what you are going to be wearing.  As a Stylist I always do this when I have important events coming up and I can’t tell you how much time and stress it saves!

Take Time to Sit Down and Eat Lunch.  Food is one of the most important things in Italian culture and there are so many chic and tasty restaurants to try around the city.  Try to take at least half an hour out of the craze to sit down during lunch – your body will reward you by feeling more relaxed and energized during your afternoon events.  Some of my favorite healthy and tasty lunch sports around the city are Cascina Cuccagna, California Bakery, Fluid and Mantra Raw Vegan.  If taking a break for lunch is a bit of a stretch, pop back during aperitivo hour for a glass of prosecco and some tasty snacks.

Get beautiful nails at Bahama Mama I love matching my nails to my outfits but when I have a jam-packed schedule I don’t always have much time to devote to my beauty routine.  Bahama Mama is a super cool nail bar in Milan where you can get amazing manicures and pedicures in no time.  They even have a coffee and juice bar there so you can load up on tasty treats during your pamper session.

Got any of your own Fashion Week Survival Tips? Or have some cool bars, lunch spots or shopping places you love around Milan? I would love to hear about them in the comments below…

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A Fashion Stylist’s Guide to Dressing with Confidence…

When I am doing my Image Consultation sessions the main thing my lovely clients tell me is that after our makeover they want to feel more confident.  More confident in choosing new clothes, more confident in knowing their style and more confident in themselves.  Helping people to boost their confidence and feel amazing is my favorite thing about the Image Consultation side of my business.  I think its such an important thing to feel good about yourself and when you feel amazing it radiates out of you and makes you shine.  So I thought I would share with you today my three top tips for dressing with confidence….

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The Sartorialist Book Signing…

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist at his book signing in Milan.  I have long been a fan of his work and so was really excited when I heard he was coming to Milan yesterday.

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For those who are new to the fashion world, ten years ago fashion photographer Scott Schuman started a blog called The Sartorialist after feeling a strong disconnect between clothes he saw on the runway and what real people were wearing.  He travels around the world, mainly in Milan, New York, Paris and London, and searches the streets for people with unique personal style or that special wow-factor that separates them from the rest.  He photographs these people and posts the photos on his blog.  Some people he speaks to and shares their story, others he photographs from afar and captures their personal movements and emotions.  His work started off the now huge trend of Street Style and to appear on his blog is considered an honor in the fashion world.

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Yesterday’s book signing was for the launch of his third book ‘X’ which marks the past ten years of his career.  Alongside photographers of fashionista’s from around the globe, Schuman has also included a collection of photos of real people from India, Bhutan and Peru.  He focuses on their traditional style of clothing, the interesting colour combinations they wear and how people with supposedly nothing are still able to communicate their own scene of style.  Street Style has always been something very inspirational for my work, but I loved to see this more unusual set of photos mixed into the book.

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The signing was perfectly timed to coincide with Milan’s men’s week and took place inside beautiful men’s wear shop Larusmiani on Via Montenapoleone.  I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the que and it was really amazing to meet a photographer who has inspired my work for such a long time.  Scott Schuman was really nice and enthusiastic to meet each person and so interesting to talk to.  It was such an incredible experience to meet him and I am in love with my new signed book.

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Postive Vibes – 17 Things I am Thankful For This Christmas…

Yesterday I flew to England for ten days of Christmas celebrations and fun! I still have some work to catch up on, but all my important projects and big deadlines have finished for the year and I am really looking forward to taking some time out and seeing my family and friends.  As the year winds down and the celebrations begin I always like to take this time to think about the things I am happy about which happened during the year and what cool stuff I want to do in the year to come.  Here is my what I am thankful for this Christmas…

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1. Being at home with my family.  Living in Italy means I don’t get to see my family very much so when I do see them it is always really special.

2. Catching up with friends.  I miss my friends so much when I am not at home and I cannot wait to have a big Christmas meal together, catch up, drink wine and have fun.  They are the best people I know and whenever I am with them I never stop laughing and loving life.

3. Special time with my boyfriend.  Before I left for England me and my boyfriend celebrated an early Christmas dinner together.  We cooked amazing food, drank champagne and opened our presents to each other.  In the run up to Christmas we have both been super busy so it was so nice to have a night all about us.

4. Taking some time out to chill.  I have been working really hard recently and for the next two weeks I am all about chilling, relaxing and making time for me.

5. Christmas food! As much as I love Italian food you can’t beat traditional turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and mince pies.  My Dad is a chef and he makes the BEST food over Christmas.  I love it!

6. Presents! I know that sounds shallow but presents are one of my favourite thing about Christmas.  Not because I love getting new stuff but because I love buying presents for my friends and family and I love seeing their reactions when they open them.

7. Having a week off in Milan when I get back from England.  For the last two years I have spent the whole of Christmas and New Years in England.  But this year we decided to give ourselves a break from all the visiting and moving around and spend the last week of the holidays at home in Milan.  I am actually really excited to have a whole week at home with nothing planned and I want to do some major sale shopping, try new yummy restaurants and do some sight-seeing in Milan.

8. Cuddles with our new Labrador puppy – she is so cute!

9. Chilling on the sofa watching Christmas films and reading lots of books.

10. Having time to recap and review. 2015 has been amazing for me. I set up my own business as a Stylist, I did some amazing photo shoots and I worked for some really cool magazines. I feel so happy about how everything has started off and I am excited about my plans for 2016.

11. The travel I have done.  This year I visited Amsterdam and Sri Lanka and did a lot of traveling around Italy.  I had so much fun and I am super grateful for the amazing experiences.

12. The cool magazines I have worked for.  Since setting up as a freelance stylist in July I have worked with some really cool international fashion magazines.  I have loved every project I have worked on and I can’t wait to start shooting again after Christmas.

13. The amazing photographers, brands, models and MUA’s I have collaborated with.  I find working with new people really inspirational and this year I have been so lucky to have worked with lots of really cool and talented people.

14. Our home restyling project.  When we moved into the house two years ago we decided we needed to restyle everything.  This year we redecorated the living room and started on the kitchen and it feels amazing coming home to a beautiful house I love.  I am a home interior addict so I can’t wait to start doing more stuff.

15. My girly weekends away.  This year I had a girly weekend at the beach and a weekend away with my friends in a country cottage.  I don’t get to see my friends as much as I would like to so both these holidays were so much fun and super special to me.

16. For finding the most amazing yoga class near my house and discovering how much I LOVE yoga. My teacher is amazing and this year I have learnt so much about meditation, chakras, yoga posing and strength. I never thought of myself as a sporty person before but I go to classes two or three times a week and I love it. My goal for this Christmas is to do yoga every morning to stay healthy and fit.

17. To all you lovely people who follow and read my blog.  Your comments and support is amazing and really motivating and I appreciate you guys coming along for the ride.

And there we have it guys.  I wish you all an amazing week of fun in the run up to Christmas and a magical Christmas Day!

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Secret Milan – My Top Spots for Vintage Shopping

Ever since I started loving fashion I have loved vintage shopping.  I think it is the idea of not knowing what I am going to find before I enter the shop, and the surprise at finding an amazing piece that is perfect for me.  The thing I love most is that the items have their own story to tell and that by owning them, I am becoming part of their story and their history too.  I love to imagine what parties my vintage dresses have been worn to or what foreign cities my vintage jewellery might have once visited.  I started my vintage collection nearly ten years ago, and as well as the usual selection of Levi’s jeans and floral dresses, I also collect special pieces with a unique quality.  Whenever I travel I search for vintage shops and antique markets so I can take a special souvenir home with me.  The favorite pieces I have found are a crocodile-skin handbag I found at an Antiques market in Cape Town, a pocket-watch I found in Buenos Aires and a Dolce & Gabbana scarf I found here in Italy.  So as soon as I moved here, I went on a hunt for the best vintage shops in Milan. Here are my favorites…

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Cavalli e Nastri – This is a Milanese landmark for any fashion lover in the city.  ‘Cavalli e Nastri’ sell an amazing selection of high quality vintage pieces.  The price tag is a little high but the pieces are so special.  Think hand sewn sequin dresses, lace vintage wedding dresses, antique jewellery and vintage designer handbags.

Madame Pauline – I love this cute little boutique with lovely owners who are really passionate about vintage clothes.  They have the most amazing collection of vintage designer pieces, beautiful embroidered kimono’s and special jewellery.  All pieces have labels explaining which designer they are and what year they are from.

‘Lo Specchio de Alice’ –  Found in the cool Porta Ticinese neighborhood, this vintage shop has the BEST collection of Levi’s jeans, Dr Martins, baseball jackets and sportswear.  Think racks and racks of the stuff.  You need to be prepared to rummage but you can find the most amazing pieces and at really great prices.  I love getting vintage jeans and Adidas jackets here.

Groupies Vintage – In the same area as ‘Lo Specchio de Alice’, Groupies Vintage also sells a cool selection of urban vintage pieces with a great price tag.  Denim jackets, woolen jumpers, checked shirts, sports wear, Dr Martins and trench coats.  They also have their own line of customized pieces which is really cool if you want to find something a little different.

Sunday Antiques Market – Held on the last Sunday of every month along the Naviglio (canal) in the south of the city, this market is really amazing.  A mix of flea market and antique sellers, you can find anything from antique furniture, old records, street artists selling paintings and cheap vintage clothing to collectible designer pieces.  Even if you don’t buy anything its so much fun walking around and seeing all the crazy stuff on sale.  I love it here and if I have time I visit every month.

If you want to read about more places I love for shopping in Milan, check out my post ‘Shopping Guide – Exploring Milan’s Porta Ticinese District’…