My Trip to Italy: Rome Part 1

It has already been a week and half since our return from Italy and I still haven’t worked through all my photos. These were all taken during our first three day in Rome. This brings back so many sweet memories, scents and of course all the opera.

We arrived around midday on the first day of our ten day journey and were completely exhausted! We only managed to walk around our neighbourhood and saw the Colosseum for the first time-we stayed quite close by. After a quick rest we tackled the Spanish steps and foolishly decided to walk all the way there. We should have rested our feet whilst we had the opportunity.

The advantage of renting an apartment is obviously being able to cook your own meal and pasta was really easy. We also had the worst pizza (by Italian standards) on our first day at the Colosseo station. We were desperate…

On our second day we headed to the Villa Borghese gardens and were sad to find that we couldn’t enter without having pre-booked online (keep that in mind if you do plan to visit). The gardens were by no means a disappointing consolation prize as there is so much to see! It is also the place where we got engaged so will forever be special to me. If you’re looking for a seriously romantic spot you can’t miss the pond. There were several rowers and an elderly man playing Bach on his guitar.

We spent the entire day there and on our way back to apartment we stopped at the Pantheon. The atmosphere in the evenings was electric as the temperature was slightly cooler than during the day and there were opera singers to find on every piazza.

On day three we walked kilometres upon kilometres to get to the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums and it was totally worth it! This was very high on my list of must-sees as I loved learning about in art history and it was so much better in person. The only problem we had was that (aside from dead feet) every room before and after the Sistine Chapel was just as impressive so it didn’t really stand out as much as we expected it would.

The Vatican Museums also offered a lot with regards to beautiful gardens, endless amounts of amazing art, sculptures and even a few rooms dedicated to Etruscan and Ancient Egyptian artefacts.

We already felt dead on our feet by the time we headed to St Peter’s Basilica but  I simply had to see Michelangelo’s Pieta. It was so beautiful to behold but surprisingly difficult to capture on camera (damn you protective glass). The complete scale and level of detail inside and out was absolutely amazing and I still can’t believe we saw it all. Apparently you can even climb the dome, which we were sad to learn of after we finished so that would definitely be something we can do the next time we visit, as we are already talking about our return!

P.S. Some of these beautiful pictures were snapped by my talented fiance. You can check his Instagram account here for more images.

Update

DSC_7229Hi everyone, just a quick little note to apologize for my absence from my most beloved form of self expression. We only got back late last week from the best trip ever and all my best intentions to upload posts on the airport kinda became impossible as my tablet didn’t want to charge overseas. To cap it all, my PC broke and doesn’t want to switch on and my finance’s laptop with all our images on is giving problems. Hopefully all this will be sorted soon and I will be able to share this incredible trip with you and return this blog to its usual self.

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And yes, you did read correct I’m engaged!  :D I hope you all had a great weekend!

Much love,

Astrid

Autumn in Europe Outfit Ideas

Helo everyone!

So I am tackling the whole packing-for-Europe -for-the-first- month-of-autumn thing (2 weeks before – can you say over enthusiastic :D ). A quick Google proved that we can expect mild weather, around the 25C mark, during our entire trip. So I might not have to pack my melton coat quite yet, but I don’t want to be freezing my way through this trip. So here are a few outfits I’ve got planned during my trip. All I need are those divine Superga lace sneaks (I’ll take them in black please!) and the perfect trench (mine isn’t). I hope this helps if you’re also packing for a autumnal European trip. And don’t forget the cat eyes!

Please share  any additional tips, I’ve noticed most are geared towards summer/winter.

Much love,

Astrid

Trends off the runway: The off-the-shoulder

I have been struggling to keep up to date this fashion month, but I’ve kept a firm eye on some of my favourite street style stars and one trend that has emerged that I totally love is the off-the-shoulder shirt or dress. Whilst its presence wasn’t completely absent  from fashion week, I really liked how these girls interpreted it in their own way. It proves that it doesn’t necessarily have to be hippy, it can even be sporty or girly! I can’t wait to try my hand at replicating that polka dot dress- LOVE it!

Italy Trip

HewittHello, as some of you might know (because I’ve been rambling on it about it for months!) I’m heading to Italy next month. Whoohoo! Sorry, I just had to get it out there as I am so excited. Italy has been on my list forever! We’ll be visiting Rome, Florence and Siena. So if any of you guys have got some tips, must-visits or just simply amazing places we have to see please leave me a comment. It is our first time in Italy and we’d really love to see more than just what you’d find in a travel guide. I’m already preparing for all the amazing pizza and gelato, so if you’ve got a favourite place you can recommend please do so. I am also looking to narrow down the best food markets and shopping districts. I hope to bring back many beautiful photographs to share with you guys. :)

 

DIY Sequin Tote

DIY Sequin Chanel ToteHello everyone! I recently realized that I had this gaping hole in my life that only a massive canvas tote could fill.  Unfortunately it proved quite impossible to find one with a zip so I decided to make one. If you’ve got access to a sewing machine (or consider yourself one), this is really easy and very affordable. You can even customize it!

DIY Sequin Chanel ToteWhat you need:

  • 1/2 m thick cotton like canvas in cream/white
  • measure tape
  • scissors
  • 35 cm zip
  • 1 m stringed sequins
  • Fabric or Bostic Glue
  • pencil

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Steps:

  1. The first step is to measure and cut out all the pieces. I like using a pencil and measure tape for this. Measure out a 1 m by 38 cm piece for the bag’s body and cut. Check weather your fabric frays as you might have to zig-zag it to keep it from unraveling.
  2. Down the length of your fabric cut two pieces for straps. I wanted mine quite thick and long so I cut two pieces about 80 cm long and 12 cm wide.
  3. As I wanted a pocket on the inside, I used a contrasting stripy fabric swatch of about 20 x 10 cm.
  4. Start by folding over what will be the opening of the bag and sew neatly in place.
  5. If you want to create a side pocket in the bag as I did, you’d have to sew a small piece of fabric (20 x 10 cm) about 8 cm below one of the fold. This will be the back of your bag as the sewing will be slightly visible, but if you carefully match your thread to your fabric this will be barely noticeable. I chose to sew mine simply down the sides and below and then again in the middle, creating two smaller pockets.
  6. The next step is to sew the sides of the bag together. Once this is done, you can flip the top over once more (about 5 cm) and sew about 2,5 cm in leaving a small flap on the inside. This is where you’ll sew in the zip.
  7. I also wanted to box out the bottom of my bag, which was way easier than I imagined even though it is the hardest thing to describe! I struggled to follow others tips as I had used one large piece of fabric instead of two pieces for the body. The simplest way is to flip the bag inside out and draw a pencil line where the bottom of the bag’s fold is. Then take the corners between your fingers and flip them open aligning the side seam with the pencil line on the bottom of the bag, creating a triangle. I hope this kinda makes sense! See here for a pictorial guide. Then you’ll sew the triangle in place and do the same on the other side, taking care to make the two triangles the same size.
  8. The next step is to take your straps, fold them in three and sew it in place. Next you’ll attach it to the bag. Take care to only sew it onto the 2,5 cm you left above the zip. I chose to sew it on the outside and used a square with a cross in it. This is a pretty secure way to sew the strap on so that it can take heavy loads.
  9. BAG done! Phew! Take a breather and decide on which words you want to write on your bag. I liked playing with it and draping a few words onto it to get a rough idea of how it would look and whether it would fit. I finally decided on Chanel, but cities like Paris and Rome and French Words like Merci or even Meow could also have worked.
  10. Once you’ve chosen your word, write it in pencil and then place glue over it and press the sequins in place. I cut a few pieces to avoid having to go over the same line twice, which made it easier to read.
  11. Voila! You’re completely done! If you had any trouble following my steps, please ask and I will clarify. :)

Stripes and Sequins

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Hello everyone!

I’m so excited as summer is definitely starting to bloom! We’ve tried to take advantage of the great weather we’ve been having by spending as much time outdoors as possible. I always love days spent in the city and usually can’t resist a pit-stop at the Company Gardens. The outfit I reach for most often when the sun comes out is usually some kind of striped top and jeans. I think I’m pretty much sorted if I want to wear a variation of this every day of the week (pfff…not that I’d really consider doing that…) On this particular occasion I decided to throw on a diamante necklace which makes quite a statement against the sequins on the top, which was a DIY job. Funny how I knew that it was a successful DIY when my brother commented that it looked it like someone had messed a bit of sequins on it…

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One Lovely Blog Award

one-blog-lovely-awardHi there,

I was nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award by Tori from the beautiful site Halfway Amazing. I’d like to thank her for the nomination, I really appreciate it! There are a few rules attached to this award to help spreads the love over the blogosphere so here goes:

Rules for winning this award are very simple, here they are:

1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.

2 List the rules and display the award pic.

3. Include 7 facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.

5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Facts about me (lets make them random!):

1. I am going camping for the first time ever tomorrow.

2. I only started drinking coffee in my twenties!

3. My favourite magazine is Harper’s Bazaar.

4. I would love to explore the whole of Europe.

5. I almost exclusively wear fruity-floral scents – current favourite is Joe Malone’s Peony and Blush Suede

6. The combination of chocolate and nuts is the best.

7. I love Cape Town!

Bloggers I nominate:

1. My college friend Crisna from Nunkilief – She makes some of the best clothes!

2. Lexa S. from ModelJourney – A very beautiful model who shares her beauty tips and travels.

3. Eveline from Fashion Food and Flirts – For the latest Red Carpet and Runway looks and obviously her Baking with Booze series! Seriously, I wish I was gutsy enough to make YouTube Vids.

4. Fashion Follows Her – For beautiful photography and clothes!

5. Maison Bently Style – This is my favourite blog when I need a little inspiration.

I know the rules require you to list 15, but these are the 5 bloggers I look forward to reading every day so they deserve special honour! So ladies, time to get cracking on your lists! I apologize for the lovely ladies whose names I can’t remember, but I regard you all as long-distance friends (who’ve never met)!

I’ll also take this opportunity to thank my readers! Shopgirl is nearing its 2nd birthday and even though I’ve kept it relatively small, I’d still like to let everyone know I appreciate all the comments, likes and followers. They’ve clearly got good taste ;)

Much love, Astrid

September Inspiration

Happy first day of Spring!

I went jogging yesterday and the change of the seasons has never been more apparent. The sun was beating on my back but in the distance I could see some snow left on the mountain peaks. I am glad summer is finally on its way!

Whilst there is no way for me to wish away another cold front, I do plan on indulging in some summer traditions like a fun manicure and over-wearing my stripes.

I also want to find the perfect shirt-dress and somehow master the cat eye, any and all tips welcome! If the amazing weather we’ve had this weekend holds up, a trip to the beach would definitely be on the cards.

Lastly I’ve found this really cute DIY bow bracelet on A Pair, A Spare and couldn’t resist sharing. I have no idea where I am going to find a gold bow, but it is so pretty that there was no way I could keep it to myself.

I hope you enjoy the first month of spring! For all my Northerners, keep warm this autumn with loads of hot choc, I might join you when the next cold front hits.

Much love,

Astrid

Best Dressed: Emmys 2014

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I almost can’t believe that it was already a year ago that I did my last Emmy’s roundup – well almost, as this year’s ceremony was held a month earlier than usual. Some of my favourite actors and actresses were in attendance, amongst them Mindy Kahling (The Mindy Project), Claire Danes (Homeland) and Zooey Deschanel (New Girl). Rounding up the best dressed of the evening (in my humble opinion) wasn’t easy as I don’t think there is one look that truly stood out, but nevertheless here goes!

1. Allison Williams in Giambattista Valli Couture

I love a good princess moment, so this was surprisingly easy to decide on. I love how unexpected the punch of yellow is and obviously the cutesy bow detail. Keeping her accessories minimal was a good call, I just think a brighter lip would have been even prettier.

2. Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier

I love this modern equivalent of Julia Robert’s iconic Valentino monochrome look. It struck the perfect balance between opulence and minimalism. The deep side part was pure genius on Lizzy’s part!

3. Julliane Hough in DSquared 

All white can easily look bridal, but this elegant and simple look keeps it looking sleek along with Juliane’s laid back style and attitude. White and a great tan is unbeatable.

4. Heidi Klum in Zac Posen

She rarely dresses age appropriate, but this goes to show what is a great colour and good fit can do for you. The dress really makes the best of her figure without looking too garish or sexy. I wish she’d dress like this more often.

5. Kaley Cuoco in Monique Lhullier

Come on, tulle, a-line and my favourite colour combination (pink&red) all in one? Love! Kaley’s new edgier hairstyle adds some edge to an expected look for her and I love it.

6. Behati Prinsloo in Prada

I love how this Prada dress reminds me of my dancing days yet is elegant and understated. The sweeping train adds just the right amount of drama to this low-key look. Best pony of evening as well!

7. Julia Roberts in Elie Saab

Breaking all the ‘age-appropriate’ rules is Julia Roberts in a low-cut mini. On book it doesn’t sound like something I’d like, but on her it just looks amazing. The large embellishments make it more playful than sexy and the hemline hits just on the sweet spot.

8.  Michelle Monaghan in Giambattista Valli Couture

Another beauty in white! It is very evident that red and white were the dominant colours of the evening. I’d like to start off with a note on how beautiful her hair was styled and finish by saying that her minimalist approach beats the runway cape look by miles! White and gold is always a winner, even if you don’t get to deliver your speech!

9. Halle Berry in Elie Saab

Another actress who usually treads the line between sexy and inappropriate. This look is firmly on the sexy side with the perfect slit and a modern grecian-goddess look.

10. Julie Bowen in Peter Som

I wouldn’t say this look is exactly the most memorable, but I felt it deserved a spot as Julie looked very pretty. The soft side-swept waves do it for her! I also like the halterneck and pleated skirt combination to make the best of her svelte frame. Add to that a fun print and I’m sold!

Which were some of your favourite looks of the evening?