Tutu Tuesday

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Shirt: Bohemian Traders, Skirt: Zara (similar here), Boots: Rubi Shoes (similar here), Bag: X Nihilo

Autumn Shmutumn. We are having The craziest weather in Melbourne at the moment. First it was an extended summer with about three weeks of heat and now the rain and humidity has set it. This kind of cool-then-sticky-then-hot-then-wet weather makes getting dressed in the morning incredibly challenging, but luckily for me, I usually just ignore the weather and wear whatever ‘speaks to me’ ;).

This morning my pink tulle skirt practically jumped out of the closet so I paired it with this mid weight denim button down and my trusty Chloe-esk studded ankle boots from last season. Now as you can probably imagine, rain and tutu’s don’t really mix. We were super lucky to get these pictures before the rain poured down again this afternoon. Its safe to say that as soon as I got in from picking the kids up from daycare, this outfit came off and the trackies went straight on, haha. Who else does that??

I am so happy to be back to regular programming this week as hubby is finally home and VAMFF is finished. I will blog about my experience working at the Fashion Festival later this week but the short version is, it was amazing and I am exhausted :).

Hope you all have a great week. Talk soon.

Caitlin xo

Early Valentines Day and Your Closet Hire

Dress: Nicolas via Your Closet Hire ($150 for 4 day rental), Shoes: Witchery (similar here $107.95)

Who else loves Valentines Day? I know it’s a “Hallmark Holiday” and I will admit that since having kids, it often ends up being pretty low-key but I can’t help it, I still love it. I think because I’m a girlie girl at heart, any excuse to wear a feminine dress, have flowers in the house and be surrounded by everything heart-shaped just makes me happy!

With all that being said, I think hubby will be travelling this Valentines Day (sad face) so this weekend we decided to celebrate a little bit early with a special date night on Sunday. We actually had a day date as well. We woke up early on Sunday morning, got the kids ready, piled into the car (with large coffee’s obviously) and headed up to the Yarra Valley. Our first stop was the Lavender farm which was absolutely stunning and of course smelt amazing.

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The rest of the day was then about the kids until we came home, cleaned up a bit and headed back out to one of our favourite restaurants in Hawthorn. I felt so amazing in that beautiful red dress from Your Closet Hire.

As I mentioned in this post, this past weekend I was lucky enough to be sent a few pieces from the girls at Your Closet Hire to help me out with my busy weekend. From hosting an Australia Day BBQ to a Girls Night Out and then an early Valentines Day dinner, I had the perfect outfits from amazing designers and what’s better; all the items I chose were $150 or under for a 4 day hire. Here is a little bit about them from their website:

“Your Closet is Australia’s premier online luxury dress rental destination. Your Closet allows you access to luxury Australian and International designers collections at a fraction of the retail price.

At Your Closet, we are rethinking the way Australian women have previously approached their closets. We exist because we believe a beautiful product shouldn’t only be experienced through owning it. Our team is prepared to go the extra length to ensure you sparkle in the perfect dress at all of your special events. We have experienced stylists on board to help every step of the way and to assist with your dress decisions.

By giving women access to remarkable luxury experiences, we’re changing the meaning of ownership and revolutionizing retail in the process.

We deliver Australia wide.”

As you know, I have worked with companies who do a similar thing with designer handbag hire and I have had great experiences but I wasn’t quite sure how it would work with clothing. How would I know my size? Surely clothing is much harder to maintain and keep at a high quality? What if I stain it, will I be paranoid all night?

Well first things first, all three pieces I chose arrived in pristine condition, you would never even know that they had been worn before let alone shipped all over the country. I was particularly impressed with the Camilla products as they are so light weight and delicate, you would think they would show signs of wear and tear but no, they were perfect. In terms of getting your size right, each product has a sizing guide online but you can also correspond with the girls via email and they are so helpful. I was undecided on my size for this Nicolas dress and the lovely Briella helped me to decide which size to go for, and in the end it was the perfect fit.

Finally, will you be paranoid to wear a dress that’s not ‘yours’? Personally I found that I wore it the same way I would wear a special or expensive dress whether it was mine or not. As I’m sure many of you can relate, when you wear something new for the first time, or that one item in your closet that you absolutely  love, you instinctively take a little bit more care and are a little bit more aware of your surroundings. With that being said, when you select a dress for hire you will pay a $5 insurance fee and that covers minor stains and damages. All dresses are dry cleaned once they are returned and before they are sent to the next lucky  customer.

If you head to the Your Closet website you will see a whole list of FAQ’s if you have any more questions, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use this service again and recommend it to everyone I know (like all of you :)). Perfect for weddings, hens nights, special events and celebrations, hiring an amazing designer outfit for a fraction of the price will allow you to look and feel a million bucks. Thanks again Your Closet Hire, I’m already scouting dresses for my next events ;). xxx

Diary Of An Expat: Week 14

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Hi everyone! Thanks for all your comments on last weeks craziness, it was a bizarre week that’s for sure! One of my friends actually said to me that it was good that I was in India during such a momentous time cause it will make a good story in future :). So let’s get into this week!

Highlight: Well the issue of the discontinued currency is still making waves across the country. Every morning we drive past tremendous queues at every bank and we hear stories of people we know struggling to feed their children or to send money to their families in the village. We still haven’t been able to get to a bank ourselves but we are very fortunate that it’s mainly by choice and a decision to wait until the rush dies down a little. We have however been able to help out a few people that we know are struggling and it feels really great to know that even small gestures like providing milk for another family, or giving the security guard at the kids school enough money to buy himself a chai each morning, really makes a difference during a time like this.

What I am loving: As I mentioned last week, going back to Melbourne means that I’ll be picking up some Personal Styling clients again. Given that it’s the party season I have been talking to a few people back home who have asked me to bring back some jewellery and accessories to pep up the outfits they already have planned. I have so many statement pieces from India that I love and shopping for finishing touches is one of my favourite things to do.

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See anything you like?

What I am missing: I didn’t miss much this week actually. I think I hit a sweet spot with knowing that it’s only a few weeks until we are heading back and hence I was able to enjoy what’s going on here and just take it all in as an experience. Anyone else find that as soon as you make a decision to make a change in your life, your current situation suddenly seems fun and like new opportunities are happening? haha, maybe it’s a grass is always greener scenario…

The biggest thing that I am missing in my life in general is SLEEP! My son is nearly 18months old and STILL doesn’t sleep through the night. He’s never been a great sleeper but the past two weeks have been tortuous. Multiple wake ups in the night, unsettled unless I’m with him then up for the day by 6:30am at the latest. I was really at my wits end but this morning I found another little tooth making its way up through his gums, so hopefully that is the explanation for the ‘worse than usual’ sleeping patterns.

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Permanently attached, lol. 

What I am looking forward to: Christmas!!! We’ve gone Christmas mad here as Hazelle is finally old enough to really get into it. Every afternoon we watch a Christmas movie or talk about Santa etc and it’s making me feel like a little kid again too. For the past two years we have had our picture with Santa at Chadstone Shopping Centre and I can’t wait to get another to add to our collection. Fingers crossed that this year the kids are happy enough with Santa and hubby and I don’t need to get in on the picture too haha.

Your questions:

Over the last two weeks I’ve had a mixed bag of questions, some of which don’t necessarily pertain to living in India but I love an ‘open forum’ so I’m just going to answer them all here.

“Do your in-laws live there with you? Will they move back as well?”

My MIL lives here in India and she will stay here but when we go back to Melbourne we will be staying with my parents for a little bit until we can find our own place. So we are going from one set of in-laws to another ;).

“Do they celebrate Christmas in India?”

Many Christians in India will celebrate and thanks to a more ‘westernised’ world there is much more acknowledgement of the holiday but it definitely isn’t recognised as much as it is in other parts of the world. There is a short break from school and businesses but it is only about a week or so.

“Do you catch public transport in Delhi?”

No! haha! Although to be honest, I don’t even take PT in Australia lol.  I wouldn’t want to take a bus here but I’ve heard that the train and newly installed metro systems are quite good.

“Your family is so cute, are you going to have anymore babies?”

haha! well thanks :). I guess my answer depends on how hard of a day I’ve had with my two ;). No, I think a third is on the cards, yes, but seeing as Hazelle and Xander are SO close in age (14months), the last 2 years have been crazy busy and we definitely need a little breathing space before we think about number 3.

“Can you help me find a dress for my work Christmas party?”

Yes!! 😉 Email me: themummystylefiles@gmail.com x

“Do you think you have to wear red or ‘festive’ colours for Xmas and New Years events?”

No absolutely not! Whatever the occasion I always recommend wearing something that you are comfortable in first and foremost. If red is not your colour or you REALLY aren’t a sparkly sequin kinda gal than forget it. Wear that killer LBD or a perfectly tailored pair of pants and blouse. If you are attending an event or function you DO have to adhere to the dress code to make sure you get the standard or dressing right. Other than that though, don’t feel pressured into gimmicky or ‘festive’ attire that is going to sit in your wardrobe for the rest of the year.

“You mentioned ‘hard water’ on snapchat. What is that?”

Here is a proper definition : Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with “soft water“). Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates.

So I was talking (aka complaining) about hard water cause the tap water in India is considered ‘hard’. That means that you can’t drink tap water but it also means that when you shower you are using hard water which can be really hard on your skin and hair. I always notice when I’m in India that my skin breaks out a lot and I put that down to the pollution in the air and the salt and minerals in the water. Even after washing my hair it still feels salty and crunchy. I can’t wait to go back to ‘soft water’.

and I think that’s it! If you sent me a question in the last 3 weeks and I didn’t answer it today please just send it again and I promise to include it next week. I hope you didnt mind me going a bit off the ‘expat’ track today but a few of you seem to be curious about my life in general, which is totally fine with me :).

I hope you all have an amazing week and enjoy the downhill run to the end of the year; seriously where does time go? xx

Diary Of An Expat: Week 9

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Well, what can I say? Week 9 hasn’t been pretty! If you follow me on social media you probably already know this and whilst I am conscious of not being a total downer, I promised that I would share my expat experience exactly how it is, so that’s what I have to do.

With that being said, I am only here to talk about my life and my experience so I don’t think it’s fair to talk about anyone else but the one thing I will say is, pwwwwoar, in laws! Why is the MIL-DIL relationship so fraught? I know that some of you out there are lucky not to experience this but I’d hazard a guess and say that many of us are in the same boat. The only difference is, you are not all LIVING in the same boat, together and to be honest,  I’d advise against that! 😉

So that aside the beginning of this week saw a myriad of other challenges. Firstly I had a hefty dose of mum guilt thanks to my 15month old son constantly looking like a boxer with cuts and bruises and scratches on his face. He seems to have entered that stage where he has a never ending quest for independence and adventure which often ends in a tumble. Secondly, I had my first experience with an online troll reporting a perfectly innocent (faceless) photo of my daughter on Instagram, resulting in it being removed as ‘inappropriate or offensive’.

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Not quite sure what is ‘inappropriate or offensive’ about a 2 yr old dressing up for a play at school but haters gonna hate I guess!

To top it all off on Tuesday we all got our first case of ‘Delhi Belly’ which left us quarantined for 2 days and hence we missed the Dussehra celebrations on Wednesday night. I’d been looking forward to going to this festival for weeks now and had even planned to relax my strict bedtime policies so that the kids could stay out and watch the burning of the effigy and fireworks but alas it wasn’t meant to be!

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You know I’m not feeling well if I’m drinking Coke!!

Ok, so lets get in to the rest of the week and focus on some positive things 🙂

Highlight: The kids were on school holidays this week and although we didn’t get to do much, having them home and not having to rush from here to there of a morning was nice. I’m sure that they could sense that I was feeling a bit down cause they both stuck close to me all week and the cuddles, kisses and “mommy I lub you toooooo”‘s were endless. Pretty much all the photos we took for the blog this week were hijacked by mini people, but having my two munchkins at my feet is exactly what my everyday looks like anyway!

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Tired eyes, tired arms, happy heart. 

What I’m looking forward to: So just to totally contradict myself, after a full week of school holidays, no gym, no spare time, I’m looking forward to the kids getting back to school tomorrow and our routine to start again. It’s crazy because up until 3 weeks ago, the kids were always with me. All day, everyday and that’s the way it’s been for almost 2.5yrs, but now that I’ve had a little taste of freedom and independence and of course socialisation and learning for them, I have to admit, a full day at home with them feels LONG.

What I’m missing: Feeling motivated. This week I had my first experience of losing motivation with the blog and my business. After my photo was removed from Instagram I felt hurt by the online community and then I had a few opportunities in Australia fall through because I am not currently a local. Of course this is all part of the expat experience and I’m happy to say that I feel like I’ve managed to roll with the punches and get back on track but it wasn’t a nice feeling at the time.

Your questions:

Are there many Indian Fashion Bloggers?

Yes there are quite a few! I’ve slowly been finding bloggers and stylists that I connect with and there are a heap of cool people out there. Most of the big bloggers are from Mumbai though as that is the fashion capital of India. I’ll compile a little list and next week I’ll share my favourites for those of you that are interested.

You look so happy, are you having the best time?

Haha! This was asked on Instagram underneath this picture:

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You know what, despite everything that I’ve said about this week, I still found PLENTY of reasons to laugh and have fun. Yes, my expat experience might be difficult and challenging at times (as I’d guess most expat experiences are) but I am still happy because I have my family with me. My husband and I are completely rock solid and on the same page as to what the next step for us should be. Our kids are happy and healthy and the rest really is just noise. I know that’s easy to say but I do really believe it. Maybe the answer to that question is, no I’m not always having the best time but yes I am really happy :).

Can you get me a recipe for Naan Bread?

I got this question a while back and whilst I am yet to come through with the recipe, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten!

So that was week 9. As I said, I am really aware that everyone has their own ‘stuff’ going on in their lives and if you take time to connect with someone online, you don’t really want to be brought down by them too. However, I’ve always maintained that honesty and authenticity is so important, especially in this mum community of ours and honestly, even if I tried I don’t think I could have faked a ‘everything is perfect, my life is SO fun’ post this week lol! Having said that, it’s Sunday night and I am ready to let week 9 just be week 9 and wake up ready for an amazing week 10! Thanks for all of your continued support, I hope you all have an amazing week too. xxx

 

 

What I Wore Wednesday

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Dress: Fabindia (sold out online, similar fabric here and similar colour here), Shoes: Marks and Spencer. ps YES my son is wearing crocs. I still maintain that they are not an attractive shoe, but omg are they comfortable (I’m assuming) and practical for little kids. I’m just sad Fashion Blogger 2.0 in the background wouldn’t have a bar of them, cause they are amazing. 

Hi Friends! As you can see the kids well and truly crashed my photos for todays post but that’s mum life for you isn’t it? I bought this dress over the weekend thinking that it would be perfect for a Kitchen Tea I’m attending in December (with different shoes of course), but me ‘saving clothes’ is like that experiment where children are tested for self control. You know the one? The kids are set in front of a bowl of lollies and told not to eat any but then the parents walk back in the room 5 minutes later and most of the kids have sugar all over their lips and an empty bowl in front of them. Me wearing this dress only three days after I purchased it for December, is the equivalent to having sugar on my lips, lol!

But, how could I not? It’s 100% pure cotton and feels super soft thanks to the natural die used to make it this cornflower blue. It is ridiculously easy to wear with the right amount of classic class and a little bit of interest with the twisted knot in the back. Its from a store here called Fabindia that sells clothing, food goods, natural beauty products and manchester. It really is fab! Whilst there are quite a few traditional Indian outfits sold, I can always find something that is the perfect balance of ‘modern ethnicity’ for me. By that I mean, something that I could wear anywhere in the world and not feel out of place but also not feel generic or boring. They have a great selection of jewellery that you could add to a simple outfit and immediately lift it, or like my dress,  which doesn’t look particularly ethnic but has the highest quality of cotton thanks to the Indian suppliers. Everything is great quality and interesting.

Anyways, of course I paired it with my slides, because I love them and they are so easy but I would love a pair of tan leather slides, or  strappy metallic heels to go with it too. You could also do a statement necklace but I just opted for my usual delicate gold jewellery because we weren’t doing anything too special and Xander is a nightmare with pulling and tugging at all my jewellery lately.

Sorry that I was late with this post this week and that I’ve been quite on social media, I’ll explain it all in my weekly recap on Sunday but for now I’m just happy to be back up and running, talking to you fine people and enjoying my babes being on ‘school holidays’. I’ll see you all on Friday xxx.

Mom Jeans

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Tee: H&M, Jeans: Zara, Shoes: Marks & Spencer, Headband: H&M,  Lollypop: Courtesy of my toddler 😉

So you’ve probably noticed that this year, our beloved skinny jean has had a rather dramatic fall in popularity. Yes, this style that has reigned supreme in all our wardrobes for the past few years is now being surpassed by other, more relaxed styles. Think The Boyfriend, and The Girlfriend and yes, The MOM.

For those of you unfamiliar with ‘Mom’ jeans, They are the high-waisted, straight legged, relaxed fit style that was popular in the 90s but had the unfortunate ability to make bums look huge, waists look puffy and legs look stumpy. Thankfully style and design has come a long way in the last couple of decades and now with some interesting styling and better cuts they are no longer jeans to be feared.

Today I’ve got 3 tips for finding the right (and most flattering) fit and then 5 styling tips for you.

Fit:

  1. Make sure it fits you snuggly, but comfortably around your waist. You will want to keep the shape of your waist to create some femininity and draw attention to your silhouette.
  2. Make sure the leg is slightly tapered at the bottom and the fit is not too baggy. These are the two key differences between Boyfriend Jeans and Mom Jeans.
  3. Wash is everything. The perfect pair has to be in a great, expensive looking wash. If you are going for blue, black or charcoal make sure the colour looks true but worn in. No sandblasting or whiskering.

Style Ideas:

  1. Keep it modern with details like fringed hems, distressed patches, embroidered details or uneven cuffs. You can DIY pretty much all of these things if you can’t find the real deal.
  2. Go the whole ’90s’ hog and style with a silky cami and choker.
  3. Show off your ankles. Roll the hems once or twice if they are too long or DIY them (see point one)
  4. Wear an interesting shoe. The tapered legs and cropped ankle length means a greater chance to play up your shoe choice and add interest. A heel with a pointed toe will help to elongate your legs and dress the look up as well.
  5. A cropped tee and slides (like I am wearing above) will give you the right amount of ‘modern-retro’ vibes but will feel like a modern update, rather than a vintage throwback. Also ridiculously comfy.

These guys are from Zara and they come in a million colours. The blush pink pair nearly got me but I knew I’d get more wear out of these charcoal ones, and plus light colours and India do not mix well! I can’t wait to keep playing around with the styling of these and I can already tell that the relaxed but not baggy fit will make them my go to casual choice for jeans.

Happy Friday everyone, see you all on Sunday with week 7 of ‘Diary Of An Expat’. Can you believe I’m creeping up to TWO MONTHS?!?! xxx

 

What I Wore Wednesday

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Kimono: Anna Sui (similar here and here), Dress: Witchery (similar here and here), Shoes: Marks and Spencer

This week is a little bit less fancy than last haha but I thought I’d show you what an easy, go-to outfit looks like for me. Despite being in the country of all things bright and colourful, black is still my favourite shade to wear. For mid week especially it is so easy to throw on, pair anything with and it stands up well to all the dirt and pollution of Delhi (and mess from the children).

I’ve had this dress for probably 2 years now and I think a casual LBD is just as important as a formal one. This particular one is sleeveless and is cut in slightly at the back so I added my trusty white kimono over the top for some modesty. I probably could have gotten away with not wearing the extra layer as today only involved a coffee date with hubby and gym / daycare runs but I decided to throw it on at the last minute for peace of mind. I love the laser cut floral details on the bottom half of this kimono, although the 3/4 sleeves and heavy weight did make it a bit hot.

As I said, neither of these items are new but all I had to do was slip on a pair of on-trend slides (see this post for more details) and my look was instantly ‘current’. Staying on trend doesn’t always mean you need a whole new wardrobe, just stick with your classic pieces and add new additions here and there to freshen the look up. It really can be very easy and inexpensive.

Happy hump day everyone, I’ll see you on Friday for Fashion Friday. I’ve got two trends i’m tossing up writing about, but either way I promise it will be a good one ;). xx