Porto, I Feel You {OOTD}

The best part about travelling, for me, is getting to experience new places. The best part about travelling in my own country is to get to see it from new perspectives.

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I had only been to Porto a couple of times before, and only in passing. This time, we decided to take a few days to visit this beautiful old city, the capital of the north, and see what makes it so special that people have been calling it a city for over a thousand years.

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This was an outfit picked for train travelling and city wandering. Comfort was a key priority but also ease to adapt to changing temperatures, as we travelled from the warm south to the cooler north (or so I thought).

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These trousers are one of the items that I purchased on this trip. Well, technically, I purchased it before I went on the trip as I took advantage of the Mango Summer sales and placed the order online just before I left. By the time I arrived at my parents’ it was there waiting for me.

The shoes are from my home-town shoe shop and are perfect for walking. Right thing too as, it turned out, so is Porto!

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We walked around the old city, with its old buildings but new life springing up everywhere, until we came to this amazing feat of engineering. Across from it, on the Gaia side of the river, we found all the cellars of the magnificent Porto wine.

I had never really appreciated the significance of Porto, the Douro valley and the wine that is produced there until I went on this trip. It turns out, there’s no other place in the world with the right combination of geographical and meteorological conditions that would allow the production of a wine like Porto.

There’s nothing like travelling to learn about the uniqueness of a place and free one’s mind from all sorts of pre-conceived ideas.

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For instance, as a southerner, I always believed Porto to be this cold, rainy place. Well, this trip also taught me that Porto can display the most beautiful, and warm, sunny days too.

The trench, umbrella and foulard never got to leave my Cuyana tote and see the face of day!

On the other hand, this old top got all the glory. Believe it or not, this top will be 10 years old next year. It’s from a place called Promod and still feels like new.

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Travelling teaches us all sorts of good stuff, including how to keep an open mind and not be afraid to try new things. Travelling in our own country, however, challenges our most deeply ingrained pre-conceptions of the places we’re visiting and that’s a whole different level.

I was indifferent to Porto before. On this trip, I got to finally feel Porto to the point of deciding that if we ever move back to Portugal, we will get a flat in the old city. If that’s not saying something about the power of travelling, I don’t know what is!

Have you done it lately?

Spring Time

Happy weekend everyone!

I know many of you are now starting to enjoy Autumn – my favourite season. In Auckland, we’re just now getting to have warmer, Spring days. The sun has been out these last few days and I can’t help but be inspired. We’ve all had enough of cold, rainy days.

I almost bought these trousers in Lisbon but then thought I’d give it a bit more thought, just not to be too impulsive. Of course, when I then had the chance to go into another Zara, they didn’t have it anymore…Ah, the irony! At least I can still imagine how I’d wear this season’s bold prints…

Spring Time

On Shoes

Growing up in Portugal, I’ve never even considered buying shoes anywhere else. Every town, no matter how small, will have at least one shoe shop where you can find a good pair of, often locally made, shoes at very affordable prices.

Your mum buys your shoes from there when you’re a kid, and you buy your shoes from there when you grow up. Often, these places sell shoes that are produced in-house by generation after generation of shoe-makers, so you’re supporting the local economy and specialised trade in all its glory.

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Those three on the left? Yup, all bought/made in Portugal…

But not all shoes made or found in Portugal are of excellent quality and you learn to tell the difference. The fact is, in recent decades, only a handful of Portuguese shoe factories still produce the good stuff for the internal customer. For most, the best goes overseas while a lower quality shoe is sold internally. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad. They’re just not the best.

While I will still purchase some of the lower quality stuff in one of those small town shoe shops (because really, they’re better than some of the best stuff available in Auckland), I always like to know where to find the best Portuguese-made shoes, just in case I feel like getting an investment pair.

And, in Lisbon, you’ll find some of the best in this cute, little shoe shop right in the centre of town – Sapataria do Carmo.

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My lovely cousin Marina captured this one

After following them on every possible social media platform like an absolute fan-girl, I couldn’t wait to check them out in person. I knew they stocked some of the best Portuguese shoe brands and I very much wanted to invest in a pair of those shoes. The hubby was also very keen to check out their stock for men.

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We weren’t disappointed. The shop is a cute little gem but it’s filled with plenty of desirable options. Monk shoes, oxfords, derby shoes, moccasins, loafers, ballet flats, tassels, no tassels, ankle boots…You name it, they have it. And if they don’t have your size or the colour you like in-store, well, worry not – they will have it made for you!

After our experiences shoe-shopping in Auckland (a story for another day maybe?), we felt spoiled. Honestly, the hard part was to choose the pair to bring home!

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We spent a lovely couple of afternoons there (yes, we went twice in two days, that’s how much we liked it), chatting away to the lovely couple who now owns the shop and has carried this lovely place into the XXIst century. Alexandra and Joao Pedro were absolutely patient with us, all our questions and indecision. No wonder they have the best reviews on TripAdvisor!

We left with one pair for me, two pairs for the hubby and a promise to come back next time we’re in Portugal, which we know we will keep – we know a good pair of Portuguese-made shoes is worth the wait!

Lisbon Still Stands {OOTD}

After Paris, Lisbon. We went west, following the sun and Summer to this beautiful city.

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I always enjoy going back to this city that was my home for over 5 years.

After Paris, one could have felt underwhelmed but Lisbon never disappoints, even after 3 years of a government with an active strategy to empoverish the country and its society.

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I chose to wear something new I picked at Uniqlo in Paris. This dress was a no-brainer: its colour, design, fabric, price, quality… It all added up to a good purchase.

It turned out to be perfect for a travel wardrobe: doesn’t wrinkle, is versatile and very comfortable to wander around during hot Summer days.

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It felt good to be back to a much loved place but also experience the city in slightly new ways.

They say you shouldn’t go back to a place you were happy before. I say go as often as you can.

Just remember to stay free to enjoy it as it presents itself to you at that moment, and it will just give you more happy memories.

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Do you have such a place?

Style Crush {Ines de la Fressange}

Still inspired by airs of Paris, today I just really wanted to share with you all my biggest style crush: Ines de la Fressange.

Ines has a style that I absolutely love. She tends to pick up clothing items, shoes, colours…traditionally masculine but turns them into this perfect feminine style that, to me, reflect a strong, confident woman. She’s also quite funny and doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. To top it off, she has the cutest French accent. She is the Parisian woman.

What about you? Who’s your biggest style crush?

 

 

 

 

A Functional {Travel} Wardrobe

As in my day-to-day life, I’ve been trying to make my travel wardrobe a functional wardrobe.

This is not just because I’ve had enough of carrying heavy suitcases, but mostly because I think that holidays are better spent enjoying the moment, not wasting time wondering what to wear.

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Wandering through old streets in Porto: Travel is for wandering, not to spend time wondering what to wear!

As you may be able to tell by my previous posts, I recently spent a few days in Paris. I took with me exactly 5 outfits – one for each day I was there, plus travel day. It turned out that even that was one outfit too many. It never got cool enough to wear my long sleeve black dress.

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That was fine because, with an ever more functional wardrobe, most items I took with me could easily be mixed and matched to create a new combination if need be.

I didn’t always pack this way in the past, and pretty much always ended up overpacking. But this time around I decided to put some thought into it – how many days I’d be away, what I was going for, what the weather would be like…

Then I made a list of the items I thought would work, including shoes and accessories. I worked on that list, trimming it and writing down possible outfit combinations. A few days before packing, I laid out the outfits and removed anything that appeared unnecessary (a foulard here, a cardigan there).

And that’s how I ended up with a perfectly functional travel wardrobe and a light suitcase, with plenty of room for some annual shopping. The hubby introduced me to Uniqlo and we took the opportunity to replace some basics. But that’s a story for another day!

:::Thanks for reading and happy weekend!:::

Paris Day 3 OOTD: Le Breton à le Musée d’Orsay

While the Louvre is definitely a museum not to be missed, le musée d’Orsay is my personal favourite. I love the history of the building, its architectural style, and, above all, it contains some of my most adored pieces of art.

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I put some thought into planning this outfit before I left. Initially, I thought about wearing my Popbasic’s Le Breton with navy trousers. That works well too. But I wanted something a bit more special for this museum and for my first outfit with Le Breton.

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I’ve had this Mango skirt since early 2010 and it’s a constant in my Summer travel suitcase. It’s very light, doesn’t wrinkle easily and works well both day or night. It’s a very special skirt as my aunt gave it to me for my birthday and first visit to New Zealand. So, it was only fitting that I’d wear my special skirt to see my favourite paintings.

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I have to say it was a bit of an emotional encounter. Honestly, I’d never experienced such a reaction at the sight of a painting. Maybe it was all those years admiring Monet’s work. Maybe it was the waiting – it’s been about 14 years since I’d last been to Paris and Orsay was closed at the time so I couldn’t visit!

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Whatever it was, it resulted in an unforgettable museum experience. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

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The outfit: Popbasic’s Le Breton, Mango polka dot foulard, Mango skirt, ShoeDazzle leopard print flats, Cuyana Tote (stone). The makeup: Chanel Vitalumière Aqua foundation (30 Beije), Bourjois little round pot blush (Rose Coup De Foudre, 16), Antipodes Hit Me With Your Best Shot lipstick.