Three gorgeous table setting ideas

Is your table boring? Do you keep interesting dinnerware hostage in your cupboards?

I caught myself in the boring-table-setting tunnel, and I said to myself: “Wait a minute, where’s the fun, the style, the spark, the joy? I should know how to do this…”

We all have beautiful table runners, glasses and plates somewhere in the cupboards. I say it’s time to get them out so we can look at them while we eat every day, and feel like it’s a special occasion, even though it’s just another day at home.

I’ve got three ideas that I hope will inspire you to put together a gorgeous table setting!

First and most simple to recreate, it’s the organic look: white, brown, green. Simple shapes, natural textures and rustic touches.

img_7797

On a wooden table I’ve put a lacy plastic-coated placemat,  white ceramic plate and small plate with mushroom (West Elm, 2010 collection), Spanish terracotta tapas dish, French wine glass, green candle and bamboo bowl (Ikea), mismatching cutlery and taupe cotton napkin.

Here’s another one: a classic white and blue, revisited with lots of different patterns and styles, so it’s more fun and less formal.

img_7806

On a baroque blue and white tablecloth, I’ve used white china and traditional ceramic of Delft. On melamine silver tray there are Polish handmade mug and vase, and a blue sugar bowl by Danish brand Everyday Greengate. Next to the yummy apple pie my mum made for my husband, contemporary French cake server by Sabre.

Third and last: a gorgeous magnolia motive inspired me a clean and feminine table setting in white, pink and brown.

Magnolia table setting

This table runner was a lucky find in a Swiss supermarket. I love the floral pattern. I’ve added white china, simple classic cutlery, white napkin, a pink Moroccan tea glass, and a floral ceramic bowl by Italian design brand Seletti.

I hope you’ll feel inspired to use some of your forgotten table beauties now!

Buon appetito!

How my Saturn return changed my view on fashion

 

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Saturn return, let me tell you about it in simple terms. Saturn is the slowest planet of the solar system­, it takes almost 30 years to revolve around the sun. That means you are around 30 years old when Saturn goes back to the same position it was at when you were born: that’s your first Saturn return. For example I was born with Saturn in Scorpio, and on the 5th of October 2012 the planet moved back in Scorpio: my Saturn return began, and continued for two and a half years, which is the time Saturn spends in each sign.

A Saturn return is supposed to be a strong moment of change, growth, new responsibilities, but to get there you have to endure obstacles, waits, even losses – hence Saturn’s bad reputation.

In psychology it’s called the 30-years crisis: a moment of deep personal growth that often brings drastic changes to lifestyle, family status, career and personal view of the world.

If you trust neither astrology nor psychology, just call it growing up.

 

I knew nothing about all this, until it hit me. I was feeling frustrated and tired, I couldn’t understand why things were so complicated, slow and hard to achieve, I felt out of place, lost.

Then I read about Saturn return and it sounded exactly how I felt. Small consolation, but I think it helped me going through it consciously and patiently.

­

During the process, I ditched some of my old habits and discovered yoga, astrology, spirituality and holistic medicine. I found myself a lot more empathic about social and humanitarian issues, I even became a vegetarian for a few weeks. But the biggest life-changing step I took during that time was to become a mother. And when my boy came, oh boy!, another 360 degrees revolution happened: stronger than any planet, he took my life to a higher and deeper level, and forced me to question everything with a whole new seriousness.

 

When I started this blog, my dream job was being a writer in a top fashion magazine: living and breathing fashion shows, writing about clothes and accessories, working with luxury brands, getting to know new hip designers.

But all of a sudden something in my dream sounded out of tune.

I started putting everything under the microscope. Everything I was so sure about until then, I wasn’t anymore.

There are many aspects of the fashion industry I started to feel uncomfortable with.

Buying expensive garments and accessories every season, for example, is what the traditional fashion industry wants people to do. But I believe people have to make wise decisions with their money, and there are lots of things I can think of that can make you happier than a $2000 pair of shoes.

On the opposite side of the industry there’s cheap fast fashion, which allows you to accumulate large amounts of stuff you will eventually have to throw away, together with a waste of resources used to manufacture something meant to last so little. Absolute disaster. That behavior has already proven to be killing our planet, which is the only one we have so far to live on, and I can’t stand behind this and ignore the consequences.

I also blame Saturn for depriving me of the pleasure I used to feel flipping through the glossy pages of fashion editorials and gorgeous photo shoots. High-maintenance beauty that is only possible if you have the best professionals around you, from hair and makeup specialists, to a great photographer and photo editor. Women and young girls chase that fake perfection through cosmetic surgery, unbalanced diets, high-maintenance beauty routines. And most fashion brands continue to prefer unhealthy-looking bodies to showcase their creations.

I could not go to sleep peacefully with myself at night anymore if I contributed to this on my blog. It’s easy for me to preach that beauty comes from the inside, given that I’m blessed with a healthy, toned and naturally slim but curvy body (thank you mother nature), but I’d rather want my daughter to have an open heart, a curious look, a thirst of knowledge and take good care of her soul, rather than seeing her competing against other girls to get a job as a model.

Not to mention the cost of fashion shows: why throwing away half a million Dollars for a show, when that money could dress hundreds of people, save lives, rescue thousands of dogs, feed a whole village for a month, start many small businesses in remote areas and change the life of many?

 

But despite my new believes, I still have a passion for beautiful fabric, for well-sewn and perfectly fitting garments, and unique handcrafted pieces. This I know for sure.

How can I reconcile these two natures: the yoga-pants, chakra-balancing-meditation me, and the high-heels, eclectic-outfit, fashion-obsessed me?

One of my new favorite magazines is called Living Now. I could get it for free at the health shop near my house, and I loved its inspiring stories. It’s on there that I read an article about your two natures: heaven and earth, yin and yang. Even his Holiness the Dalai Lama loves his collection of Rolex watches even though he is beyond question a spiritual lighthouse on the planet.

This article explained how normal it is to have two different natures inside us: a mundane one, and a more noble, spiritual one. They may seem in contrast with each other, but they can live harmoniously in us, if we find the way.

After a completely black-or-white approach, I decided I should try to make peace with myself, and find a balance. And that’s when I consciously rewrote my fashion blog pillars.

 

I believe in careful buying: be wise with money, buy the best quality you can afford, stick to what suits your style and body shape, and only buy what makes you feel beautiful.

Borrow clothes and accessories from friends and family, and share yours with them: this way you will be able to vary your look without overspending, and be ready for a special occasion without buying something you’ll only wear once.

When something has served its purpose, or doesn’t fit anymore, or it’s been sitting in your wardrobe for too long, consider re-using it for a different purpose or donating it to a charity.

And as for fashion brands I write about, I will favour companies that have a sustainable conscience. I can focus on the good, I can give space to who is doing well and trying to change the business, and in that way I’ll be doing it myself too.

I have also decided to include in my blog home styling and kids decor, with bits of my everyday life. This is more in line with my new sense of style and ethics.

Although there’s still a lot of work, in my opinion, to make fashion sustainable, I believe I can give my unique contribution to the world in this area.

And similarly to the famous Elsie De Wolfe quote, this is my new motto: I aim to spread beauty and style to make our lives even better while being respectful towards people, animals and nature.

 

I am going to make everything around me beautiful.

Nursery styling for a baby girl

Ok, this time I have a valid excuse for being absent from the blog: I just had a baby.

My baby girl and her 2 years old brother are keeping me occupied on a level I never experienced before. Time flies, and not because I’m having fun, but because I have too much to do and I just don’t like leaving things behind or for others to do. It might be slightly pathologic, but… TA-DAAA, that’s me!

Although there’s nothing more creative than creating a baby inside you and giving birth to him or her, I have been pouring more creative energy into shopping and styling for my baby girl.

When I had my first, Oliver, I was renovating, on a budget, and – let’s just say this – it’s not as much fun with boys! Clothes and accessories tend to be boring, repetitive, stripy mostly. But if you haven’t already, please check out my post about my little boy’s room here: ideas for neat, efficient and colourful ways of decorating for kids.

This time around I have a master bedroom big enough for a nursery corner next to the king-size bed, and it’s nice to create a lovely little place where she sleeps, gets changed and dressed.

Pictures have not been edited, because if I wait until I find the time to do that, I might end up posting when she’s one – please forgive me!

 

September shoe shopping: 10 end-of-season investments full of personality

It’s the end of summer and I’m not ready to let it go. This will be my first full winter in Switzerland and I’m afraid it will be freezing snowy never-ending cold. Especially after spending the last 8 winters in Australia…

I’m looking now at shoes: something on sale or under $300, but not too summery, so that it can be worn in the next few months, but still be great for next year.

These are my favourite 10, full of personality and available to buy now online.

11039338js_14_f

KI6? WHO ARE YOU? décolleté, €159 on Yoox.com/it

11077091go_14_fDolce e Gabbana white pumps with black stars, €257 on Yoox.com/it

44929432dq_14_fGianbattista Valli, hot pink and silver ballet flats, €124 on Yoox.com/it

9102427_fpx.tif

Bill Blass sutton embellished loafers, $194 on Bloomingdales.com

44892238pq_14_f

Dsquared2 green décolleté with gold leaf, €230 on Yoox.com/it

8970475_fpx.tif

Kate Spade go glitter taxi flats, $278 on Bloomingdales.com

11001848ej_14_f

Charlotte Olympia printed high-top sneakers, €233 on Yoox.com

 

image2xxl

Steve Madden Pampered Pewter Heeled Shoes, $86 on Asos.com

TE411B011-T11@10.5

Ted Baker Savveniers multicolor pumps, £139.99 on Zalando.co.uk

44887902ve_14_f

Just Cavalli ankle boots, $159 on Yoox.com

How colour coding will please your eye.

I am a colour coding activist. My husband rolls his eyes at me when I lay our grocery shopping at checkout organising it by colour. And even if I may come across as OCD, I do it whenever I can.

And wherever I can: the lingerie drawer, the glass cabinet in the dining room, my child’s toys in his room… And I would like to convince my readers to try and do it somewhere in the house and see the difference.

Even something as boring as a raw of detergents can be eye-pleasing:

colour coding detergents

Detergents out of reach but not out of sight? Colour code them!

More delicate and pretty glasses deserve to be organised in a gorgeous display cabinet, just like this:

colour coding glass cabinet

Rainbow effect in the glass cabinet.

And last but not least, a classic: colour coding for your library. My library is white so it offers the perfect blank canvas for the colourful books to pop:

colour coding bookshelf

Colours separated by white, a classic library styling.

Give it a try! Any attempt you would like to share?

 

Colour coding ideas

 

Kids room styling

kids room styling

This is the room I have most fun styling in the whole house – who would have said that only 3 years ago!

I think kids room must be bright, organised, easy to clean, uncluttered, playful, and relaxing at the same time.

This is what I did with my 2-year-old boy’s room in our Swiss apartment.

SPACE

The room is rectangular, simply white walls and ceiling, light timber floors, one large window as wide as the whole back wall.

As a basic feng-shui rule recommends, I placed the bed as far as possible from the entrance door, in a corner, so that feet don’t point at the door, and head rests against a solid wall.

Alongside the bed-head wall, I placed an open bookcase for books and toys, and on the opposite wall the 2 metres wide wardrobe.

At the centre of the room there’s a generous space for Oliver to play, on the floor or on his little table that travels often between his room and the living area.

Here’s a sketch of the layout:

kids room layoutCOLOURS

To create a playful but uncluttered space, I opted for white furniture, against which the many many colours of books and toys are even more fun, without creating a visual mess.

I had in mind painting the walls a dark shade of blue-grey, to create more contrast with the furniture, but this past winter has been so wet and depressing I am not so sure (sometimes I forget I’m not in Australia anymore!).

kids bed styling

 

BOOKSHELF STYLING

I chose an open bookshelf so that we could have a beautiful display of colourful toys and books, which are the soul of the room.

Our white lacquered IKEA bookshelf is divided into 16 cubes, and for each I picked a theme or a main colour. In this simple way, objects are grouped nicely and look even more attracting to kids: we have the vehicles cube, the animals cube, the blue books cube, the white books cube, the soft toys cube, the timber toys cube…

You can do this with floating shelves as well, but I find these cubes are easier to keep clean and tidy.

kids bookshelf styling

 

WARDROBE ORGANISING

I am a recently converted to to the Mari Kondo method of home (life?) organising. It gives me such a sense of calm and satisfaction when I see all the clothes almost-perfectly rolled, aligned, all visible at the same time for a conscious and effective choose of outfit!

If you haven’t read the book, get it here, if like me you’ve got no patience and just wanna now NOW, search for Mari Kondo interviews, videos, articles, and Pinterest pins.

I find the not very deep drawers of IKEA wardrobes are perfect for storing clothes, and I organise my boy’s neatly among 4 sections:

  1. underwear, sleepwear, swimwear
  2. pants, tops and sweaters
  3. bed linen and bibs
  4. larger blankets and towels

wardrobe organising

Finally, I gave a warm, personal touch by hanging or displaying handmade timber items that were carved or painted by friends, or that I bought at the fleas markets.

Hand-painted timber keepsake box and hard-carved timber toys

Hand-painted timber keepsake box and hard-carved timber toys

 

Italian nursery rhyme painted on a timber star

Italian nursery rhyme painted on a timber star

 

Timber stars 1 metre wide, with name bunting (one is for baby coming in a few months!)

Timber stars 1 metre wide, with name bunting (one is for baby coming in a few months!)

 

 

 

kids room styling ideas

Desperate styling of a dining bar

tulips and gustavo fring

I was living with my husband in a temporary accommodation during the months of my renovation. It was a dark, small, dusty studio apartment in a complex of 24, directly on a busy intersection.

What we used as a dining table was a wall shelf, 30cm deep. That was the “table” of the apartment (I should really say of the room). Eating was hilarious: we were sitting on high chairs, side by side, with just enough room in front of us for a plate each, and when bending slightly forward to eat, we almost hit the wall. Staring at the wall was inevitable, as looking at each other was too uncomfortable. Not to mention catching a glimpse of the tv, which required turning our heads by 180 degrees.

That’s why I thought I had to come up with something to save

as ironic as the whole dining situation we had to face every evening.

I decided to hang a print of Gustavo Fring, the amazing double-faced character from the HBO series Breaking Bad, and placed a huge vase of red tulips in front of it. It reminds me of the offerings of flowers in front of sacred images in a church – but between a saint and Gustavo Fring, the distance could not be bigger!