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Summer rituals

A few years ago I was completely obsessed with SPF. I was terrified of the sun. I would cross the street searching for shade (picture this: a person frantically crossing streets in Madrid, not caring about traffic… OCD much?), I would wear long sleeves ALWAYS, even in those scorching Madrid’s Summers, I would never go to the beach… I wanted white porcelain skin and being the hypocondriac that I am, skin cancer was a permanent threat. But then I moved to Germany and everything changed. I discovered the benefits of the sun in my skin, in my mood and in my health. Mostly because there was no sun and my Vitamin D levels dropped so much that I got sick. Of course, my approach to the sun is different now. But I’m still hypocondriac and I still want porcelain skin so I’m still obsessed with SPF, but in a good way. That’s why every year, when we head to the beach for a much needed sun recharge, I look for the highest SPF possible. But I demand a light formula, a non chemical scent and, most importantly, I run away from those lotions that leave you looking like Casper.

Well, I’ve found a range that really works for me. Last month, during our stay in Ibiza (check our slow-paced weekend guide to Ibiza here!), I took The Ritual of Karma SPF range with me and loved it. To be honest, I had used the SPF 50 sun protection milky spray before and really liked it but somehow I had forgotten about it. This year I added the SPF 50 face protection cream and the after sun hydrating lotion and I have to say that even though I sunbathed every day (25 year old me would have been shocked) my skin was safe, moisturised, not greasy and I didn’t look like Casper even though I reapplied frequetly. The after sun lotion was calming, refreshing and delightful after showering.

But then we came back to Germany and I wanted to maintain that  sunkisssed skin because, let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how tanned my skin is, the moment I set foot in Germany I turn green again. Not white, no. I turn green with a grey undertone. Beautiful. Cue: the self tanning lotion. I never fake tan but this time I thought that maybe if I applied a tiny bit after the shower for a couple of days my skin will maintain that caramel shade a little longer. The result was very natural and smooth after the first application. Really nice. Then I got excited and applied it a second day and… well, I shouldn’t have done it. One day is enough for a perfectly natural light tan.

In short, this range is fantastic and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m curious about the sun protection hair spray, maybe I will throw it in the cute waterproof toilet bag that I received as a present next time, since I have finally found another hairdresser that keeps my balayage in shape… (hair drama here).

PS: our favourite scrub, also by Rituals.

PS2: This post is not sponsored, we just really like these products.

The slow-paced weekend guide to Ibiza

We’ve finally published our slow-paced weekend guide to Ibiza! We uncover for you the other Ibiza: the rustic, lonely, magical, calming island that we fell in love with a few years ago. From the most secluded beaches to the most picturesque villages, we have listed our favourite spots in the island.

Check the Weekend Guides section in our front page… or just click here!

Moodboard: Sardinia

Do you remember this post about travel FOMO, coming back to the same places over and over again and not being able to visit Maldives like a 20 year old Instagrammer? Well, we create these moodboards to encourage us to travel more and explore new destinations. And this time we almost made this moodboard came true before we even published it! Last month we spent a few lovely days under the sun in Ibiza (slow-paced weekend guide to Ibiza coming soon!) but the first destination we had in mind was Sardinia. The fact that it was almost impossible for us to get there without spending less than 12 hours travelling was crucial. So we went back to Ibiza, which we love. But we still want to visit Sardinia, specially the North of the island.

Let’s call these moodboards our aspirational motivation. That includes posing like an influencer with a towell glamorously wrapped around our heads at the beach, yes. Because how can you get a nice picture at the beach in real life? Respect for all the people who take gorgeous pictures without hair all over the face, a weird sunscreen stain in the most ackward place or an old man photobombing in his neon speedo. Because that’s how we look in all our beach pictures. But I digress! Let’s focus on Sardinia. Have you ever been? Any tips in case we finally make it? And, ehem… any tips on how to look good in pictures at the beach without looking like a croquette?

Egg white scramble with asparagus and prawns

I honestly don’t know which intro I can write to get you into reading this post, which is an easy, healthy protein-packed recipe. Well maybe the fact that this is an easy, healthy protein-packed recipe does interest you. Maybe if I tell you that this is a great recipe to make the most of the last asparagus of the season, which are not the best but still are very nice to mix with other ingredients? And what if I promise you that this recipe is perfect for bruch, lunch and dinner? Well, if you are intrigued, which I hope you are, scroll down.

Scrumbled egg whites with asparagus and shrimps_2

You will need (serves 2 hungry ladies):

8 egg whites
Two bunches of asparagus, chopped
200 g cooked prawns
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

First, bring water to a boil and cook the asparagus for about 8 minutes.

In the meantime, sauté your prawns: in a large nonstick skillet heat extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and when they start getting a golden colour, add the prawns and cook for a few minutes more.

Drain the asparagus, tap them dry with paper towel and add them to the prawns. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and cook for a couple of minutes.

Scrumbled egg whites with asparagus and shrimps_5

While the prawns and asparagus are cooking whisk the egg whites.

Finally add the egg whites to the asparagus and prawns and cook over medium heat. Here you can use diferent techniques but basically we stir, mix and stir with an spatula. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. And voilà!

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Isn’t it easy? Serve it over bread (and butter) for brunch, add some strawberries as pudding and you will have a nice Summery lunch or eat a plate for dinner if you want something extra light and healthy.  Make the most of your seasonal produce!

Starskin masks

A few weeks ago we confessed our recent obsession with face masks. You can read the post here. We tried a few brands for the purpose of research and the Starskin Anti-aging Silkmud Green Tea Clay Mask really stood out. In fact, we loved it so much that we inmediately bought a bunch of them, not only for us but also as a present for our friends. Since the change we saw in our skin was so impressive, we decided to widen our research and try more Starskin products. A few dead cells later, here you have the results…

We started with the Foaming peeling puffs. The yellow package contains a patented Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Carrot and Broccoli extract infused puff that, once you have added a few drops of water, creates a rich lather that claims to slough away dead skin, help reduce wrinkles and bright up skin tone.  We were a little bit afraid of this one since we both have sensitive skin but, apart from a light sting in my left cheek the first time I used it, we can guarantee this product suits sensitive skin. No discomfort. Our skin wasn’t red or irritated afterwards and we’ve used it once every week since then. However, one thing we would advise is to use it gradually: start by applying it for just a minute and a half the first time, two the minutes the second time until you get comfortable with the three minutes recommended by the brand. The puff can be used up to three times which gives you a great value for your money. And it smells like sweet lemon icre cream, which is a plus in our books.

The veredict: once you’ve rinse the light foam off you will immediately notice that the skin is softer. Immediately! Most black heads will be gone and your skin will be clearer and brighter. As we’ve said before, this product is now part of our weekly beauty routine.

Then we tried the Hydrating Bio-Cellulose face mask because it was recommended as a second phase of the peeling program. Really comforting after the first step, it has a texture between gel and lotion. Like the first Starskin face mask that we tried, this one was also quite difficult to put on but once it was on, it adapted very well to our faces and was quite comfortable.  It smelled like clean clothes and left our skin moisturised and toned.

The veredict: this face masks is good, even more when used after the peeling. However, it leaves your skin quite sticky and after an hour we washed our faces because we couln’t stand the stickiness. We won’t buy it again because of that.

Finally we tried the Brightening Bio-Cellulose face mask. We left it in the fridge for 10 minutes, as advised, and the cold feeling was quite nice on the skin. Again, it was complicated to put on (that must be house brand). This mask is formulated with naturally fermented, vitamin-rich coconut juice and it’s an after party face mask. Since our parties consist in late night MasterChef marathons, we can’t tell if it really helps with skin hangovers, but it sure left our skin brighter, dewier and kind of whiter!

The veredict: we will definitely use it again. It’s a bit sticky but not as much as the Hydrating face mask. When you are close to your 40s dewy skin is the goal, so we will keep this face mask in our “let’s pretend we are younger” cabinet. And if we ever party hard, we will use it and report back.

To sum up: the Starskin Anti-aging Silkmud Green Tea Clay Mask is the best face mask that we’ve tried so far. Buy it (you can find de direct link in our shop!). And if you have a little bit time every Sunday for a peeling, try the Starskin Foaming peeling puffs, they are great! We won’t lie to you, we are looking forward to trying the Starskin Lip Mask. If putting on a face mask makes us laugh like there’s no tomorrow, those lip masks guarantee more laughs. Oh, and they also have feet and hand masks!! I’m sensing a new order coming up…

Bibo Madrid

The moment we booked our latest holidays in Spain we made our reservation at Bibo Madrid, the new restaurant of Spanish Chef Dani García. We finally got a table at Bibo Madrid! It’s a long story: last Summer, when we heard this new concept, a mix of traditional classics and nomadic cuisine, was opening in Madrid we tried to book a table, but sadly we came back to Germany before it opened. Bad timing. Last Christmas we tried again, but couldn’t make it because it was fully booked for the whole holidays. So this time we were determined: we were going to make it! And we did!

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After all the waiting and failed attempts, Bibo Madrid did not disappoint. Quite the opposite, we were mesmerised by the incredible food, the attentive service, the fun atmosphere… and the bathrooms, graced by the sound of birds! They’ve thought about every detail to make a dinner at Bibo Madrid a delightful experience. Everything was perfect.

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We started with a cocktail, of course. The innovative menu in the form of original playing cards is full of fresh proposals to work up an appetite. We chose the Thai Cooler, sweet yet sour, refreshing and served in a gorgeous coconut glass, and for me, a non alcoholic cocktail with red berries, lime and mint. We drank both of them quicker than we should have, but they were so tasty we couldn’t help it. And while we were sipping our cocktails and getting in a real good mood, a couple of appetizers were brought to the table: homemade bread with French butter and crunchy fried pork rind. I’ve never liked fried pork rind, a traditional Spanish tapa, but we fought for the last bit of this fried pork rind. It was that good.

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The waiter came to our table to take our orders but we honestly didn’t know what to do. Everything looked so tempting that we were in awe. We knew we wanted fish and seafood. Here in Germany we can’t eat it and growing up in Spain you eat plenty of fresh fish and seafood, so you learn to love it from a young age, appreciate it…. and, therefore, we miss it terribly. When we discussed our doubts with the waiter he recommended a few things that we never thought we would like, but we loved. And that’s one thing that you should do at Bibo Madrid: let the staff advise you, pay attention to what the waiters recommend because as weird as the dish may sound, you will love it. So we ended up ordering a few plates to share, that way we could try a little bit of everything.

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We started with braised artichokes with payoyo cheese and smoked wagyu ham. It was delicate and light and we loved the touch of cheese, that added a really nice creamy texture. Then we had the oxtail brioche. This was one of the wonderful recommendations of our waiter and the proof that maybe something you wouldn’t order at the beginning can become your favourite dish. And what a dish! Creamy, rich, full of that classic Spanish stew flavour. It’s tiny because it’s strong and dense, but we were tempted to order more of that insanely good brioche. Luckily we controlled ourselves, because we still had lots of food coming. And we wanted dessert.

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We continued with Dani García’s version of the traditional Andalusian fried dishes. If you have ever visited Andalusia you will know that you can have the most amazing fried dishes, mainly fish and seafood, in its restaurants, bars and beach huts.  Dani García has taken that traditional technique to another level and offers in his menu plenty of different options. We opted for the creamy ham croquettes and the crunchy Sanlúcar langoustines.

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The croquettes were very different from your average croquette. They were covered in a rich dough that made quite a contrast with the creamy interior. To be honest, this is the only dish we wouldn’t order again. It was delicious, but really, really, really fulfilling. On the contrary , the langoustines were so good  you could eat dozens of them. Wrapped in basil and a light crispy dough, they came with a sauce that probably was nectar of the gods. One of the best options of the menu, no doubt.

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And last but not least, the incredible smoked tuna tartar. This dish is a complete experience for the senses: on the one hand is absolutely beautiful and tastes amazing and, on the other hand, it smells heavenly. During our dinner we were sometimes surprised by a delicious smoked scent, and every time we would notice it we would start looking around asking: What is that? Where does it come from? Well, when the waiter brought the plate with a glass cover full of smoke and opened it in the table we were all oooohhhs and aaahhhs, that was it and we were lucky to have ordered it! Once you mix all the ingredients in the plate you get a creamy, soft, rich tuna with fresh and citric touches. The best tuna tartar we’ve ever eaten, hands down.

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And it was time for dessert, but sadly we just couldn’t order it. I blame the croquettes… well, that had been a feast so no wonder we didn’t have space for one of the amazing desserts in the menu.  I left my heart with the Nutella to dye for and the chocolate and extra virgin olive oil but we ordered a couple of herbal teas instead. That’s a reason to come back, isn’t it?

And just like that our two hours in the table came to an end and the waiter brought our check. This you should know: during the most crowded times, you can have the table just for two hours. At first we were a little bit worried, but the truth is that we weren’t rushed at all and the timing was perfect. All in all, we can’t recommend Bibo Madrid enough: we left planning our next visit (maybe for their Sunday Brunch?) and sending pictures to all our foodie friends. The restaurant is fun, it’s beautiful and the food is out of this world. The music in the background gets you in the most lively dance mood (we, grannies, almost went out dancing afterwards… almost, because we had a very early appointment the following morning and we are very responsible ladies), there is a wonderful relaxed vibe that combines perfectly with the fine dining experience, the decor is a modern twist on classic Andalusian kitsch and the service is really kind. So, next time you are in Madrid, book your table here.

Bibo Madrid, Paseo de la Castellana 52, Madrid.

Travel FOMO

Last month we spent our Easter holidays in Copenhagen. We love Copenhagen, in fact our first slow-paced weekend guide was dedicated to this delightful city. We rented an Airbnb and we ate in our favourite resturants, we took long walks in our favourite parks and we went back to our favourite pastel coloured streets. We had a fantastic time! It was our 13th visit Copenhagen.

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Fast forward one month. We are planning a few leisure days on the beach, trying to decide on the destination. Sardinia is high up in our bucket list, Santorini has been under our radar for a couple of years as well, Maldives sounds like paradise… but finally we choose to go back to Ibiza.

What can we say? We love what we love. However, there’s always that question: Should we explore new places or should we come back to the destinations we already know and love? We have to choose: we are normal people and we don’t live in a perpetual vacation. Besides, do you know how much a trip to Maldives cost? I looked it up because, judging by Instagram, everyone and her mother has already been there so I thought it had to be pretty affordable. Turns out, it isn’t. I don’t know how people do it. Are we missing some kind of secret about travelling?

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Back to our travel planning. We have to admit that deep down we suffer from travel FOMO. Even more when it comes to blogging. Inevitably, every time we travel we think about the content of the blog and we always fear that another post about Copenhagen or Seville won’t be interesting for our readers (hi, readers!!!!)  but at the same time, we want to stay true to ourselves and to our lifestyle. We have corporate jobs, we are expats, hence half our holidays involve travelling back to Spain to visit family and friends… again, we are normal people. We love blogging and while we always think about new interesting content, we don’t travel to get the perfect Instagram shot or to attract more readers. However, we are humans and everytime we see a fellow blogger checking a new country out of his or her bucket list we wonder: should we be more adventurous?

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But, let’s be honest: now that everyone seems to be living out of a suitcase and a trip to Maldives is the equivalent of a weekend getaway… who doesn’t suffer from travel FOMO? We surely do. But, have you seen a sunset in a small cove in Ibiza? Have you spent a sunny morning having a delicious breakfast in Atelier September in Copenhagen? Have you felt the joy of flying back to your country and hug your mum after a few months apart? Have you seen the impressive Dolomiti Mountains in Cortina d’Ampezzo? Then you will understand why we forget our travel FOMO and go back to our favourite places again and again!

Chocolate and mascarpone pots

This week has been particularly long. It has been one of those “just give me a pint of ice cream and a Big Bang Theory marathon every night” kind of week. But since everytime we buy our favourite ice cream we eat in in one sitting, we decided to create our own substitute for ice cream. Just to keep fitting through the doors, basically. Fear not, we are not going to give you a recipe with frozen banana / stevia / avocado cream / black beans / whatever “healthy” ingredientthere’s left in the market. These chocolate and mascarpone pots are as naughty as it gets, but we’ve tried to minimized the damage (and the guilt) by using skimmed milk, bio yogurt, dark chocolate and just one tablespoon of sugar. And no palm oil, the latest enemy of human health. Is this good for you? Well, it’s better than supermarket bought ice cream, that’s for sure. You can lick a pear if you want to stay skinny, but we need our chocolate fix no matter the muffin rolls.

Chocolate and Mascarpone pot_5

You will need:
100 ml skimmed milk
100 g dark chocolate (we used 85% cocoa dark chocolate)
5 bio chocolate yogurt
250 g mascarpone
1 tablespoon sugar

The steps are ridiculously easy: first melt the chocolate using a bain marie. In case you don’t master this easy technique, you can find this video very useful. Once the chocolate is melted, pour the skimmed milk in the same pan and mix well until you get a smooth, creamy consistency. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for a few minutes. Then pour the chocolate in your pots to create the base for this delicious dessert. Let it cool completely.

In the meantime whisk the chocolate yogurt and 125 gr mascarpone together. In a separate bowl, whisk the rest of the mascarpone (125 g) with one tablespoon sugar for just a few seconds. It’s important that the mascarpone keeps a creamy, heavy consistency.

Finally, it’s time to assemble the pots: with the help of a spoon pour your chocolate yogurt and mascarpone mix over the chocolate and then add the creamed mascarpone over the top.

Chocolate and Mascarpone pot_2

It’s messy, it’s fresh and it’s delicious. Bear in mind that it’s not overly sweet, so you might want to add more sugar. But remember, according to the news, sugar is the devil. It’s up to you…

You can serve it in a huge pot and share it like you would share a pint of ice cream or you can prepare five to six smaller pots and serve it as individual dessert. We prefer the two spoons, just one pot with a touch of Netflix serving method. But if you want to control your portions or serve it for pudding when entertaining, go for the small pots.

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The best thing about this recipe is that it admits all kinds of variations. You can change the chocolate for strawberries, banana, mango… be creative. You can use jam as base, mix a fruit yogurt with the mascarpone and then top it with the creamed mascarpone and some fresh fruit. I personally always go for chocolate, but if you want a fruitier version, the sky is the limit!

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Capsule wardrobe: one month, one piece

During the last couple of years I’ve been reading about the capsule wardrobe concept. It’s something incredibly simple but it attracted my attention from the beginning. However, my interest was not achieving the perfect wardrobe or being more conscious about what I was shopping. Not at the beginning, at least. It sounded appealing to me because everytime I looked at our walk-in closet I would get scared thinking that eventually we will move away from Germany or relocate. And the mere thought of such a big move gave me the heevie-jeebies. So, during the last year we’ve been donating lots of items: from homeware to, of course, lots of clothes. We owned too many things, everything looked untidy and I hate moves.

But in January I really thought about how I was going to approach the capsule wardrobe trend. It’s a trend, yes, but I find that it’s a very clever one. I really wanted to reduce the amount of things that I was purchasing, I wanted to own just a few edited pieces of clothing that I would really use and that resonated with my lifestyle. Of course, I wanted a better looking wardrobe as well, with more quality and less quantity.  I’m in my late 30s so by now I know that I won’t wear heels even if our best friends get married and put together an ultraglamorous wedding (that happened and I wore flat sandals because I wanted to dance all night long, run to take lots of pictures and be super comfortable. I had a blast), I know that in my line of work jeans and sweaters are office appropriate pieces of clothing and I know that if there’s no food involve, I won’t get out at night. So I only need casual, comfortable clothes with the occasional nice dress for special occasions and the basic monochrome blazer to make the jeans + sweater combo more office-like in case I have a meeting.

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And since I’d rather spend my money in boutique hotels, flight tickets and breakfasts in cute cafes, cutting down my clothing budget was the logical thing to do. So I came up with the idea of buying just one piece of clothing per month and do so only if I really needed it and the piece fitted in my new, edited wardrobe (bearing in mind my needs and lifestyle, obviously). I started by making a list of the things that I’ve always wanted to own and the brands that I really love. The list was surprisingly short.

Five months later this is all I’ve bought:

January: I have a thing with sneakers and I wear them a lot. They make almost every outfit look cooler and they are the epitome of comfortable. So, why spend money in pretty heels if I don’t wear them? I’d rather spend my money on sneakers. I’ve always wanted a pair of Adidas Gazelle and when I found this grey pair in our local Adidas outlet, in my number and 30% off, I knew I had to buy them.

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February: a black, soft, comfy turtleneck has been a basic in my wardobre for years. So when a washing machine accident left my beautiful COS black, soft, comfy turtleneck looking like a Barbie-size sweater, I decided it was about time to give in and buy what I really wanted from the beginning: a black, soft, comfy cashmere turtleneck. I made the most of the sales and bought this amazing cashmere number from The Kooples, one of my favourite brands (fortunately, it was on sale).

March: I’ve always wanted an Equipment shirt. Shirts are one of my favourite pieces of clothing and I find them very stylish paired with jeans and sneakers, with power suits or even as beach coverup. Since I had an Equipment shirt on my radar for a long time, I had been browsing the web to look for a reasonable priced one (they are quite pricey, to be honest). And one day of March I saw the perfect white and blue striped Equipment shirt in The Outnet. Score! As a little review, I have to say that the quality of the fabric is outstanding and the cut is tremendously flattering. So if you want to invest in a shirt, let it be an Equipment one.

April: on April we went to Copenhagen. That was dangerous. Copenhagen offers the best shopping in the world, I think. Everything is stylish. However, by then, my one month/one piece mindset was going strong, so no temptations. Besides, we wanted to spend all our money in incredible food (#priorities). But I did buy something in the end. A wonderful white Spring/ Summer dress. It checked all the boxes: midi, with sleeves and timeless. I believe I will use it a lot over the years. You might think that living in a cold weather country this could be a not very sensible buy. On the contrary, since I moved to Germany I own an extremely edited Summer / holiday wardrobe because I don’t feel the need to buy a thousands of cute sandals or flowy Summer dresses like I did when I was living in Spain. In my opinion, this dress looks very nice paired with boots or sneakers and a denim jacket as well, so when German Summer hits (usually a Tuesday in the middle of June), I’ll be prepared.

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May: no shopping done for the moment. However, I’ll be spending a few days in Spain at the end of the month so I might find one of the items of my shopping list, who knows. I’m looking forward to lots of meetings with friends and family, so I don’t think I’ll have time for shopping, though. No complains: Spanish food, sun and my family is all I need right now!

This wardrobe and shopping analysis has completely changed the way I shop. First, reducing my pruchases hasn’t been difficult at all. I have to admit that shopping for clothes has never been easy for me. I’m kind of amoeba shaped, so shopping usually ends up with me swearing I won’t eat a carb ever again (but heading for pizza afterwards to make me feel better) and cursing my 155 cm height. But I love fashion and I’m human and addicted to Instagram, so I thought it would be more difficult.  It turned out it only made the experience more exciting! Knowing that I have to select carefully what I purchase whenever I want to buy something, forces me to spend a fair amount of time browsing possibilities, choosing the right pairings to the clothes that I already own, making lists and… well, that’s pure fun for me. Besides, if I’m buying just one piece, I’m making sure it’s timeless, good quality and, therefore, I will wear it for a very long time. The result: my wardrobe is indeed better looking and more concious.

Another perk: following sales and new collections is easier when you already have something in mind. Browsing online shops or shopping the traditional way can be really overwhelming, at least for me, because there are too many options, brands, sales, shops… argh! But when you know exactly what you want, everything makes more sense and shopping is way easier. By the way, you can find the links to the pieces I’ve bought (or to similar ones) in our shop!

But most importantly: in case we move (and I really hope we do one day) all my clothes would fit in one tidy, edited box! Mission accomplished.

PS: I’m planning on writing an update on this extremely fascinating and important matter, probably in November. Let’s see how it goes…

The slow-paced weekend guide to Lake Como

Our slow-paced weekend guide to Lake Como is live! We’ve put together all the information you need to enjoy a fantastic weekend in the heart of Lake Como, full of great food and long, serene walks in the most beautiful gardens and promenades. If, like us, you just want to relax and eat well while travelling (granny style much?) and you’ve always wanted to visit the area, you will love it. Check the Weekend Guides section in our front page… or just click here!