Tips to match your outfits with your children’s

Let’s face it, deep inside we all want our kids to be like us. Like a Mini-me, an improved version of ourselves. Same features, same gestures and why not same style? While they are little and still do what we say, it’s so much fun to dress them up.

Matching parent-kid outfits are just too cute to resist. As long as it’s not unhealthy or uncomfortable for the kid and it’s done within the limits of good taste (of course) it’s a great way to bond with your kids and even encourage creativity.

Nevertheless It’s easy to get carried away. We should all keep a level of sanity when it comes to dressing our kids up. A child is an empty vessel and giving so much importance and attention to physical appearance can have a negative effect on the child. With all the body shaming going around let’s keep the head on the shoulders.

I could spend hours doing a ‘Yay -Nay’ session over the famous Instagram account Fashion Kids, where parents from all over the world submit photos of their fashionable kids to get featured. They cross the borders many times, from cute to over the top. Instead I’m going to give you a few examples and 5 easy  tips to keep it sane.

This is a ‘Nay’ for me. a Big one.

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The vest, the bag, the glasses… Looking back, my own mother didn’t have much of a chance to do this. First, 30+ years ago the choices of baby clothes were limited and they certainly did not resemble adult clothes. Second, I was the kind of child that at 2 years of age asked to be picked up every morning to select what dress I would wear to kindergarten. Read: strong headed and opinionated. The one with cherries was my favorite. No chance to make me wear anything I did not approve of.

How to match parent-kid outfits tastefully

If I had a girl I would of course love to have some matching clothes. It’s fun and playful, but I would rather match subtly than having the exact same outfit in big and small size. That’s just too much to me. (more on this below).

It will be hard to resits buying all those cute little outfits to kind of match my own when you  see them in every high street shop. It’s ridiculous how adorable and overpriced they are! I would  probably need a course on how to be the Minimalistic Scandinavian mum. Still, l would fall in the trap most likely. What I would no do is dress my kid like this. Like an adult. Not even for the sake of the photo. Unless it’s Halloween of course.

Big ‘Nay’. Look at the mini LV Speedy, the gladiator sandals and the gold bangles.

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Instead I would rather use similar items in adult and child version. Like this boho-chic white dress combined with tan sandals and denim jacket

Yay!

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If I have a boy I’m very sure he will be a mini-troglodyte rather than a mini me, but there’s no way I’m going to let those two, Big troglodyte and Baby troglodyte, go around wearing matching football jerseys. Unless they are going to a game. Over my dead body!

There will still be some level of style and matching, just because I love stylish and matching clothes. It could be with my own clothes or making use of The Troglodyte’s collection of Ted Baker flower print shirts. There will no be dressing my little boy as a preppy miniature monster or  a glorified beard-less hipster.

Nay! No way. It’s not even funny. No even the Beckham boys do this.

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Another nay, nay, nay. Trying too hard I’m afraid!

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It’s  a big Yay for both wearing stripes.

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It’s an adorable Yay for matching swimming shorts for father and son.

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 Here’s 5 quick tips to matching outfits successfully:

1- Match accessories. A cute scarf, shoes, a hat, crown of flowers or a bandana make a very nice match.

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2- Match colors and prints, not cuts. Pick different dresses or pieces in the same print or color. Below you will find a few brands that sell mother – kids combos.

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3- No adult like accessories, like chunky jackets necklaces and bracelets or high heeled shoes. Chances are they can’t even walk properly on them no matter how much they like them. Children play all the time and they need to be comfy to run around, and safe!

This to me is a Nay! She’s even wearing make up! I see myself in this outfit though.

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4- Do not do their hair elaborately unless you are going to a wedding or something of the sort. They are not dolls. I have no comment on this one.

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Nay below. Overdone. Let’s set better examples for our kids.

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5- Go for brands that make adapted kid versions. You can find plenty of them online, but if you like to window shopping and have time in your hands it can be a really fun project to find matching clothes by yourself and your kids.

Yay! cute and tasteful with a playful touch

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Mommy and Me collection from Bliss Tulle

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Envie de Fraise – Family collection

 

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Marisya Swim wear

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You can find lots of cute Mum-Kid outfits from Australia Women’s Weekly Magazine here 

To sum up

Dressing kids like adults brings the inner child in every parent, but they are not toys ,they are little people in the middle of development and we are responsible of it. It’s not good for them to be overly exposed to a high level of importance given to external appearance. There will be enough of this toxicity from society later on that you will not be able to avoid, so better to set a good base to face that.

Parents that over do the whole ‘dressing kids like adults’ thing probably do it is a way to channel their own desires or frustrations, but at times I wonder if It’s not keeping in in mind, thinking of what’s best for the child.

Kudos to Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt for letting Shiloh wear boys clothes just because she wanted. Think of how wrecked a lot of celebrity kids become. It’s just very scary to see how some parents encourage them to grow too fast. I know it’s extreme but, Michael Jackson… Macaulay Culkin… Toddled with Tiaras…even the satire Little Miss Sunshine.

New generations like Ivy Blue, Suri Cruise or Harper Beckham are perfectly good examples of stylish kids that still look like kids. Even if they have the most expensive wardrobes you can imagine, they are not dressed to mimic their very famous and very stylish mothers.

I think that when the  moment comes for me to become a parent I’m going to become the most conservative person ever, but until then this is where I stand.

Let’s please keep a level of sanity.

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The Essential Headscarf Guide – in 7 easy steps

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Continuing with my fascination and admiration for stylish Muslim divas, I had to make a post about headscarves. But this one goes out not just to Muslim women, hijab or no hijab, but also to women of all kinds who’ve lost their hair through alopecia or chemotherapy. I hope they find this guide useful too.

Without going too deep questioning the values of today’s society, it is a fact and a reality that how we look affects our self confidence, tremendously. I love fashion, and I do not believe it’s a vain or superficial thing. It’s a way of self expression, creativity, a tool to make people feel good. Women with cancer (just like everybody else) turn to the internet to look for beauty tips, tricks, solutions and illusions. Fashion is a very important tool to lift their spirits. Feeling attractive while going through cancer makes people feel normal, healthy, human.

The woman below, with the eternal smile, went through chemo during pregnancy. She looks amazing in her pregnancy body, post baby body and chemo body. She found ways to adjust her style to the changes and she radiates bliss no matter when or how you look at her. She’s a champion! A true inspiration. This one goes out to her.

Now let’s get down to business. Here’s my Essential Head Scarf Guide – in 7 easy steps

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HOW TO MAKE A HEADSCARF OUTFIT LOOK GOOD

This whole article is based on research and observation, and I have observed that to make a good hijab outfit stand out from the crowd, you need to consider 2 factors.  First is to pick the wrapping style that best suits your features, and then match the scarf nicely with the rest of the outfit. In a nutshell that’s it! but let’s see how to do it.

1- Picking the wrapping style that best suits your.  There’s plenty of tutorials online about how to match a hijab to the shape of your face, and endless videos on how to tie it. If I may add to the clutter, I think taking into consideration to your features is also important when choosing a headscarf. For example if you don’t have very sharp features, an exaggerated hood style of headscarf might not be the most flattering for you. Even if it’s the trend. It will put all of your face in the shade.

Chose the right hijab for your face shape

Image credit: misshijabi.com

Once we have the basics cleared lets look at different styles. From turban knot to high Arab princess crown, fully tucked , half tucked, lose on the sides or all wrapped around scarf. The possibilities are endless. Bloggers like Indah Nada Puspita, Hana Tajima,  or Nuriyah O. Martinez can give you a lot more ideas. Here you have my top 6 styles of headscarves.

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The Turban – with rolled tiara 😉 (by Indah Nada Puspita)

 

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The classic – two folds and fully tucked in

 

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The hoodie – with a bit of side scarf

 

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The full crown – My personal favorite. Lots of folds and texture

 

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The Knot – Playful turban with knot on the forehead (by Indah Nada Puspita)

 

The Turban + Scarf. Hip and modern way to create a full hijab effect combining with 2 pieces

 

2- Adjust the volume. If you are wearing a coat or a bulky structured top, opt for a headscarf with less volume. If you are wearing a very long flowing outfit, or a more fitting outfit, you can play a little and add more volume to the hijab. This is the key not to have an overdone look that can look exaggerated and artificial. Or like my dear boyfriend The Troglodyte says: trying to hard.

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High volume hijab with flowing long top and skinny jeans

 

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Low volume fully tucked hijab with big poncho


3- The one print per outfit rule.
If you are wearing a printed blouse or skirt, avoid an printed scarf, and vice-versa. Mixing prints and colors can look great but it can also look awful. It’s tricky! Keeping it to one print per outfit is a good way to be safe. You can find lots of examples in my Pinterest album.  If you want a few hints about mixing prints and being more adventurous, keep reading. There’s more below.

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Plain scarf with striped top. Mixing black white and orange, a trend for this season. Spring 06

 

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Printed Scarf – Floral patters, another trend for this season

 

4- Don’t make it too tight. One thing I have observed consistently is that ALL nice looking headscarves are not fitted tightly all around the face. Interestingly, that’s the most common style I see in the streets of Singapore. A little volume achieved with the folds of the fabric replaces the volume of the hair in a very natural way, and that makes all the difference.

When it’s 33 degrees with 90% humidity outside, I’m sure wearing an elastic ready made lycra hijab with a visor is very comfortable and cooling. Mmmmm… I get it, and I respect it. It just doesn’t look as good as a proper one in my opinion. Sorry, it reminds me too much of a swimming cap or a balaclava. It’s a bit like sports equipment, and where I come from we only wear that to exercise.

I found a very interesting article on the BBC suggesting that the lack of appropriate hijab options might be hindering Muslim women’s participation in sports.  Again another sign of how little attention has been given to this group of customers on a big scale. This young Canadian lady is Elham Seyed Javad. She started designing her own sports hijabs to fill the gap in the market. Nevertheless we are talking about fashion here.  This is super practical but not the most flattering option outside the field or the court. Kudos for the initiative, of course.

Seyed Javad wears a Resport Hijab, designed by her and to be marketed for female muslim athletes in Montreal on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. The head covering will be available in long sleeve and short sleeve depending on the athletes wish's. THE TORONTO STAR/Peter McCabe

Elham Seyed Javad wears a ResportOn Hijab, designed by her and to be marketed for female muslim athletes in Montreal – THE TORONTO STAR/Peter McCabe

 

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have to PAUSE and throw a little disclaimer here. I am not a Muslim, and I do not wear a headscarf myself. I understand the original purpose of a hijab is not to be a fashion accessory. Nevetheless I’m treating it as such in this post. In the most respectful and entertaining way I can. If you want to learn more about the meaning of the hijab and what it is to dress modestly, I recommend you read this article from Haute Hijab: An Interview “It” girl Farah. There’s also quite a bit of controversy around Muslim women wearing skinny jeans. I decided to leave that aside.

5- Matching an outfit to a print. In my previous post, Modest and very stylish. The rise of Muslim fashion, I mentioned that one of the easiest tricks to pull out a headscarf outfit is to first pick an item with a print, and then choose colors from that print for the rest of the items. This will create a very harmonious look of matching elements. Here you have a few more examples of outfits that follow this tip.

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The colors of the cardigan the blouse and the skirt come from the scarf

 

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Beautiful flower tunic and matching headscarf

 

6- Matching complementary colors.  Although it might shock us at first, this one comes from a scientific base. The chart below will help you find groups of 3 complementary colors. Pick one color, and then find the ones just opposite on the wheel to get the complementary brother/sister. I use this for my coloring too 🙂 To learn more about the theory of color  have a look at this article from Buzzle.

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Red and green with poka dots. It’s a bit Christmasy but it works

 

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Navy goes well will nearly anything. I love he shirt and skirt combination!

 

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Yellow with Navy. Contrast and matching the scarf that’s the same color as the flowers in the blouse

 

7- The ultimate art is to make different prints go well together. I’m particularly conservative when it comes to this. So I only dare to mix prints in monochrome, or stripes with a flowery print. I think that one print has to be very bold and the other very subtle or repetitive.

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Farah featured in Haute Hijab with a print hijab and striped skirt

 

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Bold printed scarf and polka dots skirt. This look is amazing

 

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“It girl” Olivia Palermo for Emirates Woman Magazine. Leopard print dress and heavily printed scarf

There are endless combinations that just work and I couldn’t explain you why so I’m going to leave it there. Layering and mixing of items is the gist of Muslim fashion so have fun!

Until the next one, ilah al-liqah!
إلى اللقاء

My Fat Suit – A story of weight loss and weight gain


Imagine falling asleep one day and waking up three months later with 10 kgs more. That’s pretty much how I felt after weeks in my pajamas, nursing some sort of tropical pneumonia I got at a Christmas party.  Suddenly the brain fog was gone. I felt alive and energized. I wanted to exercise, go places… and then, I discovered The Fat Suit.

I had put on so much weight that my rolls were on the way of everything. I couldn’t bend forward doing yoga because there was something unfamiliar blocking the way between my chest and my pelvis: My pregnancy like belly. I never had much of a backside and now my butt jiggled like jelly as I walked. The feeling was so foreign to me it felt like I had put on butt implants. Sitting was fun. Like having a chair cushion made to measure. It was amusing at times and at times disturbing, but my lovely boyfriend The Troglodyte was more than happy to welcome my new Latin Ass to the family.

My thighs now rubbed each other when I walked. Reminding me with every step that they didn’t use to do that in the recent past. It was entertaining to discover the changes. There was like a soft padding all around them that had a life of its own. Nigella Lawson once described the perfect texture for her peanut butter cheesecake as inner thigh wobble. Perfect analogy. The inner, the outer, the front and the back. It was all wobbling like a gorgeous cheesecake.

For months I could not see the weight accumulating. I was too busy being happy. I was having fun and enjoying life. Going out with my friends, making new friends, dating and falling in love with The Troglodyte. Eating and drinking the same copious amounts he gulps should have rang a bell. I’m half his size and have a fourth of his fitness level. It was not surprising that I put on weight. It was simply not important.

It was going take a while to get used to. My brain did not have any recollection of the new volumes so it still thought I was my usual weight. The brain fog was gone it could not process the changes fast enough so I found myself hitting the furniture in occasions.  It was a bit like having an Audi A3 all your life, suddenly changing to an A4 and drive around hitting every curb. I have to admit it was pretty hilarious.

I was wearing a Fat Suit I couldn’t take off.  I was fat and happy, bubbly like Bubbles DeVere from little Britain.  Very much willing to celebrate I was finally felling well. Champagne for everyone!

It was just a few extra happy pounds. But as you can imagine, I didn’t fit in ANY of my clothes. Strangling bras and panties are the closest to Chinese torture I have ever experienced. When I had to go shopping for a new size of everything, I found myself caught in a dilemma. Should I invest on a new wardrobe or not? Am I really an ogre like Princess Fiona from Shrek and I was just under a spell all this while? Or was this the actual reality? Where did all those tiny clothes hanging in my closet come from? and why where they bothering me so much?

Let’s rewind a bit.

A year ago I was 10kgs lighter. I was super super skinny like I have never been in my entire life. I had lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. Some weight that I wanted to lose, and some I didn’t want to lose and went away anyway. I always thought it was temporary, that I would go back to my normal weight. So I stopped thinking about it or doing anything about it.

All my clothes hanged on me like sacks. I did not look good. I looked sick. I had severe anxiety, hyperthyroidism, and digestive problems. My eyes were sunken. My cheekbones protruded out of my face.  I sometimes didn’t even wear a bra because there was nothing there to hold. My butt was flat. The skin on my face was paper thin. To the point that my dermatologist suggested I get fillers to look better. Yet, a lot of people were so willing to praise my figure and discover the key to my epic weight loss . What diet did you do? What was the magic formula? It was body shaming, but I could not tell them that. I was not aware back then.

The constant body remarks I was hammered with, slowly killed my appetite and wounded my spirit. It was presented to me as a challenge, a chance to try something I have never done before. Something we could do together. How fit could I get, how thin could I get. I never thought my body needed massive renovations, but I did have my insecurities like everybody else. Manipulators prey on insecurities and feed on your frustrations. I jumped to it half heatedly, more to learn about something that was important to HIM than anything else. But HE, the man that treated waiters badly, never had enough. I was never enough. I was never trying hard enough or was committed enough to having the body he wanted me to have.

I lost appetite for food and appetite for life. Why did I jump in? To prove myself I have will power? No. It was to feel accepted by somebody I loved that obviously didn’t love me back in the same way.

When the the body shaming and the relationship finished, I decided to buy a bunch of fancy expensive clothes in celebration. I wanted to feel pretty, attractive and desirable again. Something I had not felt for a very long time. And it did the job. It helped me feel normal again.

Months later the fat suit materialized itself all around me to everybody’s entertainment. I felt happy, I was healthy and even felt sexy, but It seemed the weight was the thing people noticed the most. I found strangers and familiar faces staring and my belly all the time and asking if I was pregnant. ‘I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat. Get over it!’ – I used to tell them. It was like a constant reminder that something was wrong with me, but there is really nothing wrong with me anymore. I have a healthy functional body that allows me to do anything I have to do. There is something really wrong with them, and by them I mean society. We need to teach our children realistic body standards.

What really bothered me at the end of the day is that the tiny clothes were very beautiful and I just wish they were my size. I like beautiful things. Will I go to an extreme to fit back in them? NO. I don’t know if I will eventually sell them or keep them as a reminder of those times. The fact is that It’s really not that important. 

 

 

In-flight guided meditation

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I always prefer to take night flights, but when a day flight is unavoidable, killing 12h on a plane can get a little challenging. The in-flight entertainment system could be your salvation, but if you fly a lot you will exhaust the options soon. What to do then?! Keep calm and meditate.

If you think about it, being alone on a plane for a long period of time is a bit like a spiritual retreat. A chance for some introspection, to get some “me” time and put your head in order. There’s no internet, nowhere to go, not much to look at, no interruptions, you have nowhere to go but inwards. What does it sound like? YES, meditation.

If you are afraid of flying or just stressed by the whole thing, this meditation can help you get in good spirits for your long flight. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed even if you are a frequent flyer. The packing frenzy, the traffic, the check-in queues, that moment when you don’t know if you will get away with those 10 extra kgs in your luggage… Then security scans, shoes off, shoes on, immigration, customs, waiting, boarding, placing your luggage in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you, fasten your seat-belt and switch off all electronic devices…

You made it, now it’s time for YOU to SWITCH OFF

In-flight meditation

Settle in your seat. Make sure you are not cold. Place a pillow or blanket on your lower back and sit up straight, but relaxed. Plant both feet firmly on the floor, rest your hands on your thighs and gently take a few long, deep breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth with a releasing sigh. Keep your eyes softly opened and gazing slightly downwards, to the pocket with magazines in front of you. This elongates the neck and facilitates relaxing the muscles. With each exhale try to remove the tension of the whole of your body. Do this 5 times at least.

Now start to breathe only through the nose. Observe your breath and resist the temptation to control it. You are just a witness of that phenomenon that happens without you even thinking it  Close your eyes gently and use each breath to scan your body from the top of the head to the tip of the toes. Each breath goes through that specific area like a healing wave and releases any accumulated tension. Let the tension leave with the exhale.

Relax your forehead, the muscles around your eyes. Feel the cool air entering the body through your nosetrils and notice how the air feels warmer when it leaves. Relax the sides of your mouth. Let it open slightly if that’s it’s most relaxed position for you. Unclench your jaw and your teeth. Relax the back your neck,  the front of your neck, your throat and collar bone.

Stop a little longer on your shoulders, for four to five breaths. We hold a lot of tension there. Once you are ready and at your own pace, move your awareness down to the chest. Notice the air first fills some areas of your lungs and then others. Do not inflate your chest. Remember you are just an spectator. Your breath is breathing you, you are not in control. Your whole body is breathing and it happens without your intervention. Leave the belly soft, letting it inflate and deflate naturally with each breath. Make it stick out softly, nobody is looking, nobody cares. You are alone in your own air bubble floating over oceans and continents. You don’t hear the noises around you anymore. It’s just you and your breath.

Go down to the belly. Feel it rise and fall with each breath. Stay here if you wish. Feel your arms breathing too. From the shoulder, the elbow, forearm, top of the hand, back of the hand, fingers. The whole of the arm. Do the same with your legs. The back of the thighs, the front of the thighs, the calves, the shins, ankles, top of the feet, toes. Feel the soles of the feet in contact with the ground. Feel the vibration, your whole body is breathing. Keep our whole body in awareness. With each breath feel the air run through you as if you where a sponge. From the top of the head to the soles of the feet. Stay here as long as you wish.

Congratulations! Just by reading this you have already felt the bliss of meditation. You have probably scanned your body  with each line and unconsciously followed the instructions. You might feel sleepy, then sleep. You might feel calm and content, or energized. There’s no magic formula. You are feeling whatever it is that needs to be felt right now in your body.

When you reduce external stimulus the senses stop bothering the mind and it goes quiet. I have my brightest ideas in those moments. Starting the flight with this simple meditation had me writing posts for the last 8h. I think I’m over India at the moment which is very appropriate! I feel calm and inspired, my head bubbling with ideas.

It doesn’t always go this way though, and there’s nothing wrong with you if that’s the case. Keep trying if you are keen. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Calm.com has some nice free audio meditations you can download to your phone before a flight. If your inner Buddha has gone out fishing and your inner jumpy monkey is in charge, check out 10 things to do to entertain yourself on a long flight. Coming soon.

Until then, namaste, and safe travels!

5 really useful tips to survive long flights

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If there’s one thing in life I have lot’s of experience with, that is flying long haul. I sometimes feel like the woman version of Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. OCD basically. I have perfected the art of passing security scans, lifting cabin luggage to the overhead compartments, maximizing your luggage allowance and providing myself with as much comfort as the economy class allows.

People ask me a lot how do I survive, so here’s my list of essential tips and equipment you should carry with you to survive on a long flight.

1- MOISTURIZE

This is THE most important thing I learnt through the years. The long exposure to the dry air of the cabin has devastating effects on my hair and skin. My eyes, my nose, my throat, even my nails suffer badly. The lack of humidity also also contributes to other discomforts one can live without.

  • Moisturize from the outside. Carry at least lip balm, and face lotion. Even my boyfriend The Troglodyte does! I also carry body lotion, face mist, nose spray, hand lotion and Strepsils for the throat. Get travel sizes, samples or just pour your own into small containers like these ones I buy in Muji.  Avoid wearing make up and before boarding apply a thick layer of night cream on your face (I pick from high end Duty Free testers) When you start feeling the tightness, go on and apply from your stock generously.
Muji Travel Bottles & PP Cases - Image from getthegloss.com

Muji Travel Bottles & PP Cases – Image from getthegloss.com

  • Moisturize from the inside. Drinking lots of water helps the skin issue and prevents the other two big ‘dementors’ of flying: water retention and constipation. I carry my own small water bottle that I refill as often as possible because they never serve enough water on flights. Yes, you read properly, you can actually pass a water bottle through security as long as it’s empty. Avoid ice water, and opt for an apple juice instead of coffee or alcohol, they dry you up even more!

If you don’t want to end up like a raisin add these to your bag and you will not regret it.

2 – WEAR COMPRESSION LEGGINGS

They should give a pack of these to every person walking into the plane, seriosyly. Without going too deep into the science, flying is not very good for your blood circulation. Women tend to be particularly sensitive to this. It used to take me days to get rid of the water retention, the discomfort and swelling of the knees, ankles and even wrists and fingers. Now I don’t even get it. I started using Dr Scholl’s compression leggings, but later I bought some exercise leggings and discovered they are so much more comfortable because they have softer parts on the knees. I have the A400 model from Skins but they get a little tight on the belly when you sit down for too long, so I’m considering the Under Armour Woman’s Fly By Legging. They have a big waist similar to yoga pants. I wear the compression leggings under comfy cotton harem pants to stay stylish.

from LuLuBu via Pinterest

Harem Pants from LuLuBu via Pinterest

3- STAY WARM

A big scarf that doubles as a shawl and a blanket can save your life. Sometimes I even wear it over my head since we lose a lot of heat from there. This pink one from Shanghai Tang is a perfect blend of silk and cashmere that’s soft, warm and light. I have a very similar one from a previous collection.

Try to keep your lower back, neck and feet covered.  A pair of thermal socks can also help if you tend to get cold feet. I like Heattech from Uniqlo and I wear them under the ones they usually give you on the flights. They are thin but warm. When it gets really really cold and two pairs of socks plus blanket don’t do the job, the ultimate trick is to put your wrapped feet inside the plastic bag of the blanket. I think the idea came to me in a moment of absolute desperation and this trick has saved me several times from frostbite!

W Peony Pop Silk Cashmere Jacquard Shawl from Shanghai Tang

W Peony Pop Silk Cashmere Jacquard Shawl from Shanghai Tang

4- CARRY YOUR OWN SNACKS

A cereal bar, a piece of fruit or something else to eat between meals. They tend to serve one meal right after take off, and one before landing. In the 7-10 hours in between you are by yourself. There’s only light snacks and it’s like war, the good stuff tends to run out quickly. You don’t want to be cold , tired, bored and hungry on top of that so add that to your bag.

5- ENTERTAINMENT

Carry enough things to keep you busy in case the movie selection is is not good, and you have a long day flight without any chance of having a long sleep. Use the time to read, meditate and enjoy the smartphone disconnection. If you are hyperactive, coming up soon, you will have my full guide of ‘in flight entertainment tips for long day flights’ for people that have ants in their pants

Until then, safe journeys!

 

Modest and very stylish. The rise of Muslim fashion

When Uniqlo launched a collection with blogger with Hana Tajima I realized how little attention has been given to provide off the shelf, easy to combine clothing options for Muslim women in the high street fashion industry. Social Media has given this community a new vehicle to share tips and express themselves creatively (#hijab #hijabfashion #muslimah) but this step forward to brick and mortar validates a smashing online reality: Islam is not incompatible with style.

From my Western European upbringing, I grew up seeing Muslim women mortified in their clothing. It was more of a punishment in my eyes. I remember teenage Moroccan girls wearing thick long sleeve winter turtle necks under spaghetti strap maxi dresses, on hot summer days. I thought: God they must be suffocating! I realize now that part of it was the lack of suitable options available for them. Luckily nowadays I see many young Muslim women dressed nicely, modestly and wearing hijabs like proud crowns. They have more comfortable options at their disposal and they are able to express themselves. Fashion has empowered them. I see them in the streets of Singapore, dignified and with an enormous amount of creativity and style. Writing this article made me aware of this evolution and encouraged me promote the cause, to celebrate diversity in fashion. It will not be the last one on this topic.

muslim2

Faithful to the brand, the Hana Tajima collection for Uniqlo is a combination of comfortable, well cut basics and a few statement pieces you can mix in endless permutations. Lose fitting tops, slacks, tunics, cool airy dresses and subtly printed scarfs in white and deep shades. If you are not crazy about fashion or can’t spend much time shopping and putting outfits together, this is a fabulous option for you. If you want a little more this might be too bland.

It is bland for me. I was hungry for more, so I went online to find modest Muslim outfits with more sass and what I found really amazed me.

Here are my top 5 Muslim Fashion Blogger outfits –

Ethnic print scarf worn in the front and tied with a belt. Off white hijab and long black dress, from SincerelyMaryam.com

Jersey skirt and knit jumper in grey and whites. Soft colors and chunky trainers, by Nuriyah O. Martinez – Hijabhaul.com

Ethnic print trousers with matching the turban. Mustard blouse and green jacket are picked from colors of the print. This is a great trick. By Imaan Ali – modeststreetfashion.com

Khaki shirt with distressed jeans, brown stripped hijab and pointy heels, by street hijab fashion

Black, white and gold maxi necklace. Win win win! By blogger Essra Azim from Valessie

Out of all brands it was Uniqlo the one to move forward on this area and not Zara or Top Shop for example, high street fashion companies that come from countries that have much bigger Muslim populations than Japan. It surprised me because Japanese is not a very diverse and tolerant culture, from what I have seen myself and what I learnt from my friend Lara, producer of the documentary Hafu – the mixed-race experience in Japan. So kudos to Uniqlo for taking this step with Hana Tajima!

To be continued…

Check out more inspiring modest looks (and more to come) in my Pinterest Album:

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2044949/Does-disastrous-marriage-make-second-likely-succeed.html

5 thoughts on second weddings

Pinterest doesn’t know that I’m no longer married. It keeps sending me suggestions of beautiful dresses, locations, shoes, earrings etc. And I kept pinning like a maniac. Why not? I look at the whole thing with different eyes for sure, but weddings are still a beautiful thing.

My marriage didn’t last very long, it was wrong, I but I loved my wedding and I will never hold any grudges against it.  I never saw those pins with any hint of remorse, longing, regret, envy or anything like that. I even joked with my wedding planner Andrea Vágvölgyi that my wedding was great except for the groom 😉 – In all seriousness. It’s important to celebrate life’s key moments with your loved ones. Every step is part of the journey.

How to get married again

According to this article in DailyMail.co.uk your second marriage is most likely to be successful than the first one. That makes a second wedding more important than the first one to me. Yet everywhere you look it seems the other way around. They want you tone it down or make it less wedding like.

A lot of articles I found online about the topic are addressed to divorcees that have children or are 40+, but I also found to my surprise a lot of protocol BS that pretty much suggests that when you marry for the second time you are not to expect the same kind of big celebration as the first one. REALLY?

This one is my ‘favourite’ – How to get married again – Jill Curtis via hubpages.com. No big group of bridsmades or groomsmen, no train no white dress, no veil, no princess dress, no traditional wedding reception, no bridal shower, no gifts, no registry and a long ETC.

It has pearls like:

  • “The dictates of good taste do state that is it more dignified for a second wedding to be a smaller and more ‘intimate affair” – What if it’s the first for the groom? Doesn’t he deserve a big party?
  • “The guest list for a second wedding should be comprised of those who will be happy enough for you to be entirely hopeful for the success of the new marriage” – I have no words about this one

While I was rebuilding my life I spent as much time in Pinterest as in Elephant Journal. It’s a much better read if I may suggest. Forget all that BS!

Helena Mareque Novias

Image from Helena Mareque Novias – @susaeta, @misbalinesas

The only thing I agree on is to chose a different location, different flowers and different style of wedding cake. I would even add choosing a different style of dress. This is when the first wedding experience is useful. The plan Bs and Cs can now come in handy! The rest should be ignored if you are not an aristocrat, royalty or someone who cares about those things more than what really matters. The point was to obtain a satisfactory version of the childhood ‘dream wedding world’ all women secretly have, like Andrea says.

I found love again. It’s great news! I’m 33, and if I were to marry again I would want to celebrate it BIG TIME. Because this is so much better, this is it, and sometimes you just know. Divorced women tend know better what they want in a man. I would celebrate that there’s sunshine after the rain, that one should never bury those deepest dreams and desires because they seem impossible to achieve, and settle for less. It’s important to keep them alive. Those dreams are what you really want deep deep in your heart, and the moment you are true to yourself defending them, the universe has a way of making them come true.

So here’s 5 thoughts on second weddings:

  1.  It’s not fair at any point to even call it or treat it as “second”. I few years ago I met single mum that told me how she dealt with explaining adoption to her little Guatemalan girl. They talked about birth mum and mum for life, not first mum and second mum. I think the same should apply to weddings and marriage.
  2.  Creating a moment to remember is to me a wedding’s most important purpose. Sharing makes happiness happier. The paperwork is useful but It’s a separate thing. Commitment is most likely there before the wedding, it should be, and it’s unrelated to the other two.
  3. There are a million little details no blog or person tells you until you face wedding planning yourself. Now you are more prepared and know what you would do again and what would you skip
  4. Why not breaking all cliches for this wedding and liberating yourself from stereotypes? #bendtherules
  5. Worry less about it an enjoy it more (see the photo above again)

 

-Hindu Marriage Poem- 

You have become mine forever.
Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours.
Hereafter, I cannot live without you.
Do not live without me.
Let us share the joys.
We are word and meaning, unite.
You are thought and I am sound.
May the night be honey-sweet for us.
May the sun be all honey for us.
May the mornings be honey-sweet for us.
May the plants be honey-sweet for us.
May the earth be honey-sweet for us