Colours accross the world – what to wear when travelling for business?
Take a moment when you are dressing for work to consider the colour/s you put on and what image that portrays. You may need the boost of confidence from wearing your favourite red dress and you want to project a bold image to the world.
We don’t all interpret colours in the same way. When travelling accross the world it is worth keeping in mind the key colours to avoid or wear for particular occassions.
For instance, traditionally South Africa red is a colour of mourning and in Thailand it is to be worn on Sundays. This website lists some cultural colour meanings and as they say these are traditional meanings but things change in cultures and it is worth doing some research if you are going on a business trip.
I first encountered Marlene Dumas’ work in New York at the MoMa museum. I found her work strange and beautiful, refreshing and stark, modern and classic. I had to have the book Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave when I saw it in NYC. I am booking tickets for this exhibit in London.
What is luxury? – The V&A (25th April – 27th September 2015) A variety of craft discipline from haute couture to a watchmaker. This exhibition will explore the future of luxury ask questions about its role in society.
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture For A Modern World – Tate Britain (24th June – 25th October 2015) This is the first major exhibition in London for almost 50 years of the work by Barbara Hepworth. I love Hepworth’s work and find it to be very inspiring as a designer, especially her sculptures.
If you are ever in Cornwall, go to St Ives, her home, garden and art studio are well worth a visit.
Exploring the Chinese influence on western fashions. The exhibition will juxtopose high fashion with Chinese objects.
Sadly I will miss this one, I do with the big fashion exhibitions would go on for a bit longer. 4 months is not long at all and I think fashion exhibitions are a big draw for those going to the visit the museums.
and whilst you are there (because the entry fee to the museum includes everything) go and see;
Networking events – If you aren’t at them then you are missing out.
Sure, I’ve been to a few duds. But more often than not, I have met some very interesting people and formed some good connections. They are opportunities to help one another forward our lives, business and career. This could be in the form of joint ventures, creating opportunities for talking at events or recommending a mentor for you.
Don’t think of it in direct correlation of networking = sales if you are in business.
Do offer something you can do for the other person when you make a connection. We all have something to offer – it is a two way connection.
I was determined to go to some exhibitions in January. With so many exciting looking exhibits coming up in both art and fashion, I needed to get on and see some!
I decided to start in London with Women Power and Style at the Design Museum. It was a lovely bright day out but bitterly cold in the wind. This kind of weather is perfect for walking in London as long as you stay off the main wind channels! So I walked from Liverpool Street to the Design Museum. I crossed the Thames over Tower Bridge and it all looked beautiful.
I arrived, had a coffee and pastry and then headed in. The exhibition starts off in a modest fashion, with pictures of women from the past such as Boudicca, Eve (from Adam and Eve!), Queen Victoria. As well as the present for instance; Angela Merckel, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Looking at what they wear and how they create/created a powerful look.
The exhibition then follows in chronological order.
It starts with corsets, then suffragettes and then moves through the 20th Century and right into the 21st Century.
The Suffragette clothing were costumes from the upcoming movie ‘Suffragette’ which is going to star Meryl Streep as Emily Pankhurst. I’m really keen to see this. I’ve long been an admirer of Emily Pankhurst!!
There are clothes on display from women in power that are not necessarily ‘famous’ but are high achievers and powerful in their fields. For instance Megha Mittal, Anna Jones and Julia Peyton Jones all have outfits on display. It is interesting reading about their achievements and how their outfit or fashion plays a part in their world.
I had lunch at the Design Museum before walking along the SouthBank to Somerset House.
At the Somerset House they have an exhibition of Guy Bourdin’s work. Guy Bourdin was a photographer, best known for his fashion photography. This exhibition was £9 for adults. Great value for this (for me unexpectedly) huge exhibition with video, tons of photo prints and ‘behind the images’ sketches and ideas.
I love Guy Bourdins fun, tongue in cheek, slightly surreal and beautiful images. Well worth a visit if you like a bit of fashion photography.
Just a little side note on working with 2 colours in an outfit. My personal feeling is that you need a neutral colour in there as well. Neutral colours such as black, white or grey. In my opinion if every accessory you add is red, it looks very much like you’ve tried way too hard!
I like to think of it as a recipe. For example:
70% main colour (Look 3. A blue dress)
20% Accessory colour (Look 3. Red belt, necklace and bag)
10% Neutral colour (Look 3. Black shoes and tights)
So now you need to pick your blue dress. These are some of the best ones for work I have found in the shops at the moment.
If you want a stylish, practical handbag that fits your laptop and personal effects in then I’ve done the leg work and found a range of bags for you. Each blog entry in this mini series about laptop bags is about a different size of laptop.
15″ and 15.5″ Women’s Laptop bags
If you like a big screen laptop like me then there is less choice of stylish laptop bags that will fit your lovely laptop in. The following are the details and a breakdown of my top picks for handbags that hold 15″ and 15.5″ laptops. I have sectioned it by brand.
I personally love all the Milli Millu bags. The Founder, Mireia Llusia-Lindh, has managed a very careful balance of attractive designs and practicality. My one criticism of the website would be the lack of filter to narrow down the bags by laptop size – this would have saved my disappointment of going through each bag and finding I only had one choice for a 15.5″, The Zurich.
For a 15″ laptop from Milli Millu you have the option of The Rio or The Zurich.
Two very different options, The Zurich is very structured and The Rio has a much softer laid back luxe look. Both bags have a great shoulder strap length which makes them both perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
The Rio Handle drop: 23cm and The Zurich Handle drop: 20cm.
The Zurich is a perfect handbag for a busy professional with its five separate compartments for laptop/tablet, papers, pens, smartphone and a zipped pocket for personal items. It’s always good to think about the security of your items when commuting so the zip at the top that closes the Zurich completes this bag.
Knomo is another great brand that has really focused on providing a more attractive bag combined with the practicalities we all require! For the 15″ laptop you will find a larger range of options.
Let’s start with the Great Portland and Portland Place – two very similar looking bags. The main difference is in the size of laptop you can fit in. The Portland Place can hold a laptop up to 17″ but only comes in black whereas the Great Portland can hold a laptop up to 15″ and comes in 4 colour options.
They are both made from lightweight and soft nylon. With EVA foam and a double stitched diamond quilting. Are you wondering what EVA foam is and why it is worth mentioning?!! Yes so did I …..
Benefits of Eva foam:
Impact and vibration absorption
Weather and chemical resistance including splash resistance to oils and fuels
Acoustic and thermal insulation properties
Buoyancy with low water absorption
Suitability for thermo-forming and thermo-moulding
Zip across the top to close
Have an internal quilted and padded compartment to protect the laptop
To fit in extra items – both sides of the bags unzip and expand
Soft padded shoulder straps
Internal pouches and zip pockets for all your extra bits
Hanna and Picton
These are probably my favorite bags from Knomo for combining style and function. Two stylish leather handbags that will both fit over the shoulder and easily carry your 15″ laptop and other belongings. Both bags have a quilted and padded compartment to hold and protect your 15″ laptop. The leather for both bags is quite different. Hannah is made from a soft pebbled leather and Picton is made from a hard durable Saffiano leather.
Inside the Picton there is a panel in which you can store items like pens, memory sticks or business cards. A front pocket on the exterior is great for items like your Oyster card that you want to grab quickly. There is also an additional interior zip compartment – maybe you can keep some personal items in here. A nice long shoulder drop of 25 cm means Picton will easily sit on your shoulder.
Hanna (available in red, black or grey)
The sides of Hanna unzip for easy and maximum access to the main compartment. The handle drop is 24cm and will be very comfortable on the shoulder as they are made from padded soft pebbled leather. The top zip fastening adds that extra bit of security.
Aspinal of London
The Marylebone Tech
Aspinal of London have obviously put a lot of thought into this bag design. With its mobile phone pocket and padded ipod compartment both designed with a cable path. The bag is designed to carry a battery charger for both mobiles and ipads, so you can charge on the go! But I wasn’t so impressed that this charger had to be purchased separately (£100).
The bag is made of navy pebble textured Italian calf leather. The handle drop is quite short at 5.5″/13.5cm. So to me this is more of a grab tote or crook of the arm bag than an over the shoulder handbag.
In addition to the padded ipad compartment and phone pocket there is a large main compartment and two external hidden pockets. The large main compartment means you should be able to get a laptop in too and potentially fit up to 17.3″ laptop in there – but I would check with Aspinal of London first. For added security the bag closes with a full length zip.
Also available in deer (beige shade), black or black and cream. Or the option is there Marlyebone Tote which is the same size but doesn’t have the option to carry the charger or have the cable paths. It comes in brown or black.
Another brand I am totally loving at the moment is Bobelle. Although the designer has not done a many work bag/laptop bags the styles and designs are gorgeous.
Spacious enough for a tablet or small laptop (up to about a 15″ laptop), wallet and other accessories.
The lovely suede lining is quite different to all the other grosgrain linings other handbags are wearing!
The bag has a lockable external pocket, an internal zip pocket, an internal mobile phone pocket, pen holder and spare holder. The handle drop of 21cm is perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
This is a smart looking laptop bag from Kate Spade. This is a padded nylon bag so it’s light and it has some smart patent leather trims. I really like the fact you have the two strap options – the long (23″/58.5cm) adjustable strap for across body or shoulder wear and the handheld handles (5.25”/13cm). The bag fits a 15″ laptop and you have room for more items in there too with an interior double slide pocket and middle divider.
The bag style is more your traditional laptop case than all the others but it is smart and has a more subtle stylishness!
Other brands for colour and patterns!
You could go for a bright colour or nice pattern to jazz up your commute. Try Marc by Marc Jacobs or Orla Kiely. Some practical bags with some nice bright and interesting covers.
So to sum it up, my laptop is 15.5″ laptop (screen size): is 27cm height and 38cm length. Really there aren’t many options at all for a stylish handbag for a 15.5″ laptop… it’s the Zurich from Milli Millu or the Marlybone Tech/tote from Aspinal of London. Hopefully your laptop is a 15″ or less! All my favorite Milli Millu bags come in smaller sizes! Please Milli Millu do one of your bags bigger because my laptop is a 15.5″ but won’t fit into your Zurich bag!
Fallen in love with a lace back dress but not sure what bra to wear underneath it?
With a lace back then your best bet could be to go strapless. Straps could add visual confusion behind the lace pattern.
Always choose a nude/skin tone. Even if the bra can be seen through the lace it will be not as obvious as a black or other coloured bra.
A smooth seamless cup can increase the illusion that you are not wearing a bra (no bumps and lumps) but with all the benefits and support from wearing a bra!
Last but not least you could try a strapless bra (like the picture above) with a clear back. This clear plastic back will mean that your bra will disappear to the naked eye and your skin will show through.
I’ve been thinking that I need to make a change to my diet, add a bit more energy to my step! I’ve been looking into what I can add or change in my food to improve my energy and mood! Perhaps you could do with a bit of a mood or energy pick me up too, especially when you have a busy work and personal schedule!
A sugar-free museli will keep your blood sugar levels even – stop mood swings.
Walnuts are great for energising iron and mood stabilising zinc.
Suggested meal no.1: For breakfast try a sugar-free museli and add your own fresh fruit, nuts and yogurt. This one on Pinterest looks good.
Nuts are rich in omega-3 fats.These help restore the structure of cells in our brains so they communicate better. Boosts mood and memory.
Great quality dark chocolate (70% + cocoa content) in moderation has some great health benefits – such as improving blood flow to the brain and possibly improve brain function. For more great chocolate benefits head here. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium. This calms muscles and reduces anxiety. Also rich in antioxidants which regulate the neurotransmitters associated with mood function – keeping them stable!
Suggested meal no.2: Snack time for me. A little tub of my favorite mixed nuts like almonds, waltnuts and some broken up dark chocolate make a great pick me up between meals.
Tomatoes and avocados are rich in B vitamins. Lack of Vitamin B can lead to irritability.
Soy Beans (Edamame) have very high tryptophan. Trytophan is converted to serotonin in the body. This is the hormone that makes you feel happy!
Lemon juice on top of carbohydrate based foods can lower their GI. This could reduce any blood sugar swings. “Fat and acid foods (like vinegar, lemon juice or acidic fruit) slow the rate at which the stomach empties and slow the rate of digestion, resulting in a lower GI.” (full info here)
Or perhaps an afternoon snack like a piece of fruit can beat those afternoon sweet cravings! (A twist of lemon in a glass of water can help beat cravings.)
Choose slow-releasing carbs such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and oats- encourage a gradual release of sugar into the blood. This will stabilise your moods.
Spinach and Kale contain great vitamins which are great for stabilising the brain.
Suggested meal no.5: Try and combine slow-release carbs where ever you can. This salmon and oatmeal burger looks good and is a different twist to the normal fish dish. Serve with a peppery salad of mixed leaves like rocket, baby spinach leaves and watercress and dress with a squeeze of lemon.
Try not to have too much coffee. Studies show more than 700mg of caffeine (about 5 cups of coffee) is associated with depression and mood swings.
Avoid patent leather as the top layer has a coating that prevents the natural breathable quality of leather.
Don’t wear shoes that are tight to start with – the heat can make feet swell up and then your shoes will be very tight!
Always try on summer shoes in the middle of the afternoon – your feet will be at their hottest and when you make the purchase you can be sure they will fit your feet when they are at there hottest.
If you can bare it then a small pop sock or pair of tights could help with feet becoming too sweaty and slipping in the shoes.
How to make sure your feet are sandal and summer shoe ready:
Use a pumice stone around your heels to get rid of dry and hard skin
Moisturise your feet and pop on some cotton socks before bed
Give your feet a nice soak – this will soften the skin and sooth them after a long day. Pop in a couple of drops of some tea tree oil and this will get rid of any potential infection on your feet – sweaty feet are a breeding ground for infections
Trim your toe-nails and polish them in a lovely summer colour