Sunnies et Voilà! 👌

In my day-to-day, I’m a no makeup 🚫 💄 but statement sunglasses type-of-girl 😎 & must confess that I enjoy blending into the overwhelming identity of each of my carefully selected statements… so you may find me acting slightly differently depending on the pair I’m wearing! 😜 What I love most about statement sunnies though is that they look even more decadent the more dressed down you are, which frankly works very well for me these days juggling the bambina and the tot… While I might not be ballroom dancing my way through my daily errands, I definitely get a boost knowing that I’m sporting sunglasses in my quotidian that can compete pretty well in a masked ball!

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Routine Sweet Routine

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Coming back to the routine can be tough after an exciting and eventful vacation but I’ve learned through the years to appreciate returning to the order and predictability of my routine and particularly now that I have two kids, the routine’s structure makes it easier to manage them (as they inevitably get spoiled and lose good habits due to gifts and treats here and there by friends and relatives… one of my main concern was their eating and sleeping schedule which was, despite my best efforts, a bit chaotic during the vacation as I could not control relatives insisting to spend more time with them or giving them this or that treat!) The transition back though is inevitably though as you have to deal with the unpacking, cleaning and the very early morning run to the grocery store to get your daughter breakfast before her first day of school and then convincing her that she has to now go back to school! Ultimately however there’s a time when you feel that the wheels are in motion again, and precisely then you should look for a calm moment and take a small celebratory / reflective tea break! In any event I think that small daily rituals like a tea break make a hectic routine much more bearable so make sure to carve out some time for yourself on any day!

Bohemian Beards 👨

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A trending must-have accessory for many young women this season seems to be a bearded hipster man! Beards which were favored by men in the late 19th century had gradually given way to mustaches in the early 20th and then to a no facial-hair clean look which symbolized the 20th century modern man. However as with all things post-modern, bohemian and fashion you go back to earlier forgotten trends to stir the pot… and so facial hair is back from New York to Beirut and with it an entire industry of facial hair grooming is booming! As usual, leave it to the Lebanese to take a trend to the next level: in Beirut these days you can have your beard degradée or with a ombré effect and some men are even having facial hair transplants to join the hairy club! So how do you tell apart a hipster beard from a religious beard? particularly the long Victorian preacher-style beard that some hipsters go for ?!? Hipster bearded men often sport other anti-convention hints, a carefully crafted non-challant look, tight pants and often a mix of flashy expensive fashionable items (e.g. new shoes, large bag or sunglasses) with simple items (e.g. a white, black or plaid shirt). One place you’re not likely to be confused is the Mar Mikhaël street in Beirut where you will be be surrounded by the latest beards sipping on the latest beers!

Let me know what you make of this trend? Would you date a hipster bearded man or ask your man to grow the extra facial hair in 2015?

The Anglesea Arms

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There’s a pub in my neighborhood called The Anglesea Arms, as soon as there’s a shred of sunlight, its terrace gets flooded with drink and sun-seekers… the mood in it is often contagious and the crowds overflow to the streets. One way or the other I end up passing by this place on weekend afternoons with my family and just as my eldest is throwing some sort of fit and my baby daughter is demanding to be held…My husband and I inevitably look at the crowds, then each other and grimace a nervous resigned smile and keep on strolling our two kids away into a non-pub / kids friendly environment. I’m sure many mommies out there have that place in their neighborhood, which just like The Anglesea Arms, is the constant reminder of how much their lives have changed since they used to hang out carelessly sipping a drink with friends at a bar terrace on a weekend morning. These days my weekend ritual starts, not much later after the last Anglesea Arms enthusiasts are forced to go home, inaugurated by my morning alarm / aka my 3 year-old daughter shouting in my ear: “maman j’ai faim! / mommy i’m hungry!” (an earlier stint occurs as well sometimes, while Anglesea Arms revelers are probably counting down their shots, by my daughter shouting “maman, pipi!”)… So she’s got my attention, I remove all the bed linens and open the garden door to let in the freezing air to force my husband out of bed to help. I head to the kitchen to prepare my toddler’s breakfast and then head back to the bedroom to find that my husband has still managed to stay asleep and before I get a chance to say a word, inevitably, baby # 2 starts crying and I have to go breastfeed her. It’s at that time that my husband usually wakes up and passes by the nursery to ask me what we’re going to do today and it’s usually at that point that my baby # 2 burps all over me and that my daughter starts shouting from the kitchen that she wants more Cheerios…

Despite the increasingly grey and wet weather in London these days, I refuse however to be imprisoned at home over the weekends caught in attending to one then the other or acrobatically attending to both and generally find that it’s easier to distract the kids outside the house so I endeavor to make my best to head out of the house as soon as possible. There’s of course a lot to get done for that to happen: showers x 4, getting dressed x 4, etc… Slowly but surely however we do head out (I’m glad to report that we hit a 10am record yesterday!) + 2 strollers and having gone through our 100 items checklist of things we need to have done or need with us on the go… On our way, we often pass by The Anglesea Arms again, which by then is of course empty and my husband and I stare at the place, our well-groomed and calm kids, then stare at each other, take a deep breath of fresh air and unreservedly smile and keep on strolling into our new parent identities…

Halloween Mal-“BOO”-ffe

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Thumbs up Whole Foods for this healthy halloween campaign!

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Love it! ambitious + impactful

Halloween arrives this year as my daughter completes her transition from a toddler to a preschooler and therefore, unlike last year, I will have less control over her choices, and this time around her trick and treat experiences are much more likely to impact her eating habits… I will therefore want to make sure that this highly marketed and colorful occasion doesn’t turn into a celebration of unhealthy eating which risks creating a fascination with unhealthy sugary treats. Furthermore, as I’ve noticed at my NYC building last year with children racing to my door, Halloween literally becomes a competition of who hoards the most treats and therefore kids end up amassing loads of candy, which can last them for weeks or months! So, while I cannot control the neighborhood, I have plans to make the Halloween experience as wholesome as possible for my daughter and her friends by coordinating with a couple of moms and her school to create a fun event focusing on the pretend-play and the costume side of the event as well as line-up healthy replacements in Halloweeny disguise (i.e. themed packaging or presentation) to give them a chance to compete with the shiny packaging of the typical sugary and highly processed treats.

Below is my list of suggested replacements:

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My clementines celebrating Halloween!

Cereal and granola bars

Trail mix, unsalted plain roasted peanuts or pumpkin seeds (careful with allergic trick-or-treaters)

Cheese strings or individually wrapped mini cheese shapes

Unsalted plain popcorn

Mini boxes of raisins

Unsalted plain pretzels

Unsalted crackers

Single serve boxes of ready-to-eat cereal

Individual juice boxes (100% juice)

Apple or pear sauce

Dark chocolate bites

Fruit strips

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Healthier Goodies

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Handmade BOO!

Finally, what’s also important is that when the kids return home with their big bag of goodies (hopefully with more healthy than unhealthy stuff this year!) you should try to explain that while the treat wraps are colorful, those treats are not gift-wrapped toys! and they are not to be all opened and consumed in short order but rather they should be left in a “treasure box” and consumed as snacks and in moderation.