Quirky Xmas Chic

It all got a bit Christmassy at home last night. The 25th of December has always been about family traditions. Back home on the Isle of Man, that meant spending the day with family and close family friends.

We alway did the same but it never lost it’s joy, Christmas lunch with Auntie Mercy and Namita, then off to Auntie Kate and Uncle John’s (my English grandparents) for the evening. I love everything about Christmas but one of my favourite moments every year was always picking out a decoration for Auntie Kate. I don’t even know how or when this tradition started but every year my sister and I would gift her one we had carefully selected. Auntie Kate treasures them for the very same reason that we treasure giving them to her.

This year I wanted to start my own holiday traditions with Ahmed to be shared and cherished for years to come. Given that Christmas decorations have always been something I’ve treasured, I thought we could start making our own. Although they don’t cost much to make, they are priceless because fond memories become attached to them.

We went with a rustic chic theme and all of these are really easy to make and so beautiful. I didn’t follow any guidelines, we got inspired, employed some imagination and went for it.

Button Bauble

IMG_2163.JPG

I picked up some styrofoam baubles, covered it by gluing buttons and pearls. I attached the string with an eyelid screw.

Paper Mâché Baubles

IMG_2161.JPG

Can’t take the credit for making these, the hubby unleashed his inner child by creating paper mâché baubles. Make it sophisticated by using old fashion magazines and books for your mix. To my hubby’s horror the silver and gold glitter and was all me, he managed to save a couple from being sparkled.

Classy Disco Bauble

IMG_2164.JPG

The stars are glam but pearls are a classic, that’s why this decoration will never go out of style.

Elevated Ornaments

IMG_2165.JPG

I saw these cute little things in the dollar store and loved the seal, I changed the string to give them a rustic touch.

Stylish Snowman

IMG_2166.JPG

No Christmas is complete without the iconic nostalgia of The Snowman film. These decorations remind me of my childhood and the dream that snowmen live.

Bottling Festive Spirit

IMG_2167.JPG

All things festive captured in a little bottle and turned into these stunning keepsake decorations. The only thing holding you back is your imagination.

IMG_2168.JPG

You Can Always Have Paris

IMG_1921.JPG

It’s refreshing that someone out there knows how to turn bad habits into endearing qualities. How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits is my favourite read en ce moment. My British stiff upper lip has often quivered at the sight of the Parisienne pout, is there anything in this world quite like it? Writers Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline Maigret and Sophie Mas, know this and so they take you to the root of that pout and much more.

In a perfect world I would have been born in Paris during The Age of Enlightenment and become a notable host or figure of the French salons and live on as an echo in their art, film and literature. I suppose every girl starts to have a long distance (and often unrequited) love affair with Paris at some point in her life. I think mine started around the time I discovered the first perfume I truly loved, Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. My friends and I became obsessed with Two Lipsticks and a Lover and I vividly remember Carrie losing it with Big for going to Paris without her. I even wrote a script called What’s French For Butterflies during my Masters in Feature Film Screenwriting trying to explore that certain je ne sais quoi.

My sister went off to Paris once for a human rights conference, she was so immersed with the city that she lost track of time, her group left without her so she ended up missing her connection and got lost trying to get back home. In any other place, this scenario would be an utter nightmare but when it happens to you in Paris, somehow it becomes romantic. I mean, she contemplated what to do next on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur, for heaven’s sake.

Two Lipsticks and a Lover was all about how to emulate the quintessential French Mademoiselle. Something I have recently learnt is that there is the French woman and then there is the Parisienne and of a book that can bring some of that allure to you no matter where you are in the world.

Parisian women never try to appear to be something other than what they are. In truth, more than wanting to look young—which is but a fleeting illusion—they want above all to become the best possible version of themselves, outside and in, at any age. [How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are]

IMG_1920.JPG

So then how to be Parisian wherever you are? Cover your bases it would seem. Eat croissants, Camembert cheese, drink red wine at lunch and know it’s absolutely okay to ditch the gym. Get cultural with theatre, museums and your opinions.

Discover your signature item and take really good care of it so it lasts you a lifetime. The writers of the book recommend you wear it with everything, no matter what it is, a trench, a pair of heels or a chic purse. Mine would be my precious sunglasses that were a steal, which according to my friends I use to be ‘dramatic.’ Oversized sunglasses are also on their list of essentials alongside other favourites such as ballet flats, a black blazer and jeans. Label name-dropping is a serious faux pas as is saying bon appétit incidentally.

For the Parisian woman less is always more, less make-up, less jewelry and the less of a fuss over everything, the better. Her jewelry though, always tells a story and this is a habit I have cultivated most of my life. While I keep my heart at a safe distance from my sleeve, ask about the trinkets at my ears and neck and you will have me gushing.

Dig a little deeper and you will find her thoughts on being in love with love, solitude, what mother knows best and even sadness. If you have “ever [felt] as though the world’s troubles are flowing through [you]” chances are you have been living in the wrong city, for a Parisian this is just the right kind of shade for feeling blue.

This book made me laugh and even cry a little over the fact that I’m not living in Paris. While I won’t be jetting off anytime soon and am more than happy to be a British and Pakistani citizen of the world currently living in Toronto, it’s nice to know I can have a little piece Parisian chic wherever I am.

IMG_1922.JPG

 

Model Road Trip

The writer behind, Model Journey, shares her thoughts on “quirky” and other things

Lexa Schevchenko’s beautiful eyes and smile stay with you and she carries a dress effortlessly, with an ethereal sort of quality. A model with a decade of experience, she writes a blog sharing her work and travel experiences, beauty and skincare tips. Model Journey, really is something. You get to go on a vibrant trip into the world of modelling with stunning pictures and cool collaborations as Shevchenko’s voice leads the way. You might discover anything from a snack, to a thought or two on lust, love and marriage, or a memoir from a visit to a school in Sri Lanka. Model Journey isn’t the typical “behind the scenes” peak, it is a lot more spirited than that.

In one piece Shevchenko’s discusses how she was once told that she would lose a client if she didn’t put on weight, the exact opposite of what we’ve come to expect from the modelling industry. Shevchenko’s response was inspiring, “I’m healthy, I eat healthy and I like it, I work out once in a while or take long walks when I can. And I have always been this way…I do not diet…I had put myself on a cake and carbs diet for the past few days. But, I figured, I should just stay the way my body and I feel good. Because, if that’s what they tell people who force themselves to become skinnier in a harmful way, to love their body and stay healthy, I want that for myself too. And I can’t help it if my ‘healthy’ doesn’t match someone else’s idea of a perfect size.”

Courtesy of Lexa Schevchenko, fashion story for Stylebop.com shot by Ulrich Knoblauch.

Courtesy of Lexa Schevchenko, fashion story for Stylebop.com shot by Ulrich Knoblauch.

What are you up to at the moment?

Same old, working, traveling a bit, writing a blog and exploring!

Do you have any go-to wellness tips you can suggest?

Drink plenty of water. A good tip is squeeze half a lemon and have it with a bit of hot water (less than half a glass) every morning. It’s also always handy to have vitamin C in the house, like Airborne and Emergen-C, and have a few throughout the day whenever you feel like you are tired or getting a cold.

What are your favourite products and beauty rituals?

I love Estée Lauder Night Repair serums. But sometimes my skin tends to get very sensitive and I switch to more gentle products. Recently, I purchased an Aesop toner and face cream and have been happy with this organic line.

The most important thing in modelling is to learn to deal with rejection and keep your self-worth.

 What book have you read that every girl and woman should read?

I don’t believe there’s The Book but The Bible. I think it’s great to read small excerpts from it every now and again, many answers lie there.

What gives you confidence?

I would call it serenity rather than confidence. In times of stress, I remind myself that everything is in God’s hands at the end of the day and I only can do my best.

What makes you happy on a bad day?

Little things, like a favourite sweet treat, something funny on TV, and of course the most important is talking to my family and friends.

Some of Schevchenko’s beauty rituals. Photo courtesy of Lexa Schevchenko, fashion story for Stylebop.com shot by Ulrich Knoblauch.

Some of Schevchenko’s beauty rituals. Photo courtesy of Lexa Schevchenko, fashion story for Stylebop.com shot by Ulrich Knoblauch.

How do you keep going and glowing like a pro?

Funny and flattering the way you put it! It’s life, you’ve got to keep going and doing your best!

How do you relax when you aren’t working?

My favorite thing is spending time with my friends. I love having a girly talk over a cup of coffee, getting nails done with girlfriends and of course, shopping! A good read is always relaxing too.

Finally, what are your thoughts on the word quirky?

I guess cute and funny in an unusual way.

You can read more from Schevchenko here.

Fall Princess

Fall Princess