Going for Seven with Missus Smarty Pants!

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I love Missus Smarty Pants – the sassy style guru of the Flylady family who helps us to not only look our best but feel our best.  While beauty comes from within, the right clothes can make us feel fabulous!  (You can see my previous posts about Missus MSP by clicking here.)

In the spirit of Flylady’s motto “Let’s go for seven in 2011!”, here are seven things Missus Smarty Pants has taught me:

  • always think of the CPW or ‘cost per wear’ when buying clothes – a classic jacket may be pricey but it’s better than any ‘bargain’ buy that you’re never going to wear or have nothing to go with
  • belts – I’ve always been good at wearing scarves and lots of jewellry but belts are a new addition to my accessories family 
  • good basics, good basics, good basics – shall I say that again? ;D
  • eyeliner – I never go anywhere without mascara, lipgloss or lipstick but have started using liquid eyeliner for exra pizazz – every single day – ‘cos who doesn’t need daily pizazz?!
  • the right fit and the right colours: I’ve had a subscription to the Missus MSP Personal Profile for the past 3 years and also have the Seasonal Colour ID (Ha! I’m a spring, just like my favourite weather season!) and I’ve saved tons of money by avoiding impulse buys. Wearing colours that suit me has given me more energy and plenty of compliments! 😀
  • check and replace underwear regularly – we go swimming once a week and my new rule is that, if my underwear isn’t fit to be paraded in front of the other ladies in the communal dressing room, then it needs replacing! ;D
  • pamper myself – a cornerstone of the Flylady programme. This week I decided to go ahead and do something quite scary but very exciting – I had an appointment with a Personal Shopper at Denmark’s oldest department store, Magasin. It’s a free service: anyone can book a two hour ‘wardrobe makeover’ or a one hour consulation if you’re looking for a wedding outfit, good basic trousers or a specific item.  I had the two hour treatment and it was fabulous – I’m still reeling!  Details to follow in a separate blog post, watch this space…
The final contenders after my appointment with a Personal Shopper! 🙂

Have a fabulous Friday – and hey, let’s keep it stylish out there! 🙂

Scaredy Cat Challenge…we’re baaaack!

How are you all getting on with your Scaredy Cat Challenges? What – you don’t know what a Scaredy Cat Challenge is? Sit back, relax, think of a warm, tropical beach and let me walk you through it…

You’ve got a lovely (read: painfully expensive) sewing machine. But the thought of a sewing pattern (and following instructions on said pattern) makes you hyperventilate. You’d really like to get out on your bike more (read: set a good example for your kids) but you’re scared you’ll lose steam before you get to your destination and end up having to getting the bus home. Your toes are in dire need of a pedicure but you’d rather walk through flaming coals than let a stranger (okay, if we’re being totally honest, even a trusted friend) touch your feet…

These were just some of my own personal challenges earlier this year. My very first Scaredy Cat Challenge post is here.

A Scaredy Cat Challenge is any project you’d like to start (and hopefully finish?!) but keep putting off. I started them in January and friends, blogfriends and twisters have been joining me ever since. Tempted? But nervous? Then join our merry little band and sign up with the McLinky below… ;D

Let’s hold hands and be scared together. Bring on the Challenges! 😀

A rare sight – a belt.

PS: A word of thanks to MissusSmartyPants for the very nice mention in her blog! She’s issued her own Scaredy Cat (Style) Challenge – go look! I couldn’t, of course, resist her throwing down the fashion gauntlet, so here I am wearing a belt – belts are my least used accessories. (My love affair with my scarves is, of course, a completely different matter…)

Scaredy Cat Challenge – The Flylady is coming! :)

Dearest Flylady

Fantastic news that you and the Flycrew are visiting Copenhagen as part of your ‘Moving in May‘ virtual tour. I can’t wait for you all to get here! Thanks to three years of Flylady routines and decluttering, my house is all ready for you and the crew. Though the basement is still a work in progress…not perfection! 😉

My Scaredy Cat Challenge for the next few weeks is going to be whipping our garden into shape. Because when you come over we’ll hopefully be sitting outside, enjoying the Danish spring, my very favourite season. Funnily enough, Missus Smarty Pants says that’s the seasonal colours I look best in… I know Leslie loves scarves and shoes, so a shopping day in Copenhagen is definitely on the cards while you’re here 🙂

Just like my house, I’m going to get our garden ready 15 minutes at a time. I started off the Scaredy Cat Challenge this morning by mowing the lawn – it’s the ‘shiny sink’ of my garden. It’s quite a tough job (takes three 15 minute sessions) but I make it into a NEWO workout (I even wear my heart rate monitor) so it doesn’t seem like so much of a chore.

Talking of NEWO exercise, I’m looking forward to taking Jonathan on an interval run down to the beach at the end of our street. Has he seen the North sea before? It’s so beautiful at 9am in the morning…

But back to my garden… I found some bags of potting earth at the back of the garage (during a declutter session), so I’m going to plant lots of pansies and bulbs, so there’ll be lots of colour when you get here.

See the French balcony doors at the top of the house? That’s the guestbedroom, where you’ll be staying…

Our guest bedroom is always ‘company ready’. There are towels in the cupboard – just help yourself. There’s also a hairdryer and straightening irons in there for the Dinner Diva, Leanne. I heard she had problems with those on her visit to Ireland… Normally when we have guests I make Parmesan Chicken (from her ‘Saving Dinner‘ book) but I’ll make some traditional Danish dishes for her to try 🙂

Anyway, my work on the garden has started and I’m doing it the Flylady way. So now it’s time for the most important thing you’ve taught me – maybe the hardest habit of all – 15 minutes of pamper time!

See you all next month! Can’t wait!


Diane, Denmark

PS: Tell Nikki that I’m taking her to The Tivoli Gardens, Denmark’s famous attraction. We’ll do all the rides (she likes rollercoasters, right?) and finish the evening with a rock concert! 🙂

Pamper Monday – Best Foot Forward!

Welcome back to another week and another Pamper Monday! Is it hotting up where you are? It’s certainly been sunny in Copenhagen this last week. Alas, the heat is dragging its feet. So – on that note, boom boom! – this week I’m going to focus on pampering my pins!

Here are my brand new, metallic strappy sandals. I needed a new, fairly flat pair for pottering around in, and these are going to be great with all my white and silver/grey things for summer. (I already have two pairs of high-heeled Ecco sandals, the same model in two colours, that I love!) And, yes, they have zips at the back – just like the ones Missus Smarty Pants bought! You can see her gladiator sandals here 🙂

Have the shoes. Now the legs… I had a nice long shower yesterday morning and followed it up with some fake tan, especially on my feet and toes. And then applied some nice dark purple nail varnish on my toenails. Do you remember my Scaredy Cat Challenge at the end of January when I got myself a professional pedicure? You can read it here, Twinkle Toes. Well, that one session gave me a really good base to start on and I’ve been applying foot lotion etc (which I got for Christmas) almost every night since. So I’m almost good to go!

All we need now is the heat… Here’s DD8 at 7.30am this morning. I actually had to go and dig out our gloves (which I had just put down in the basement) for the bike ride to school – yikes, it was chilly!

But I can’t go wandering around in big boots until it heats up outside can I? So I was ‘forced’ to get these too. And if you read yesterday’s Scaredy Cat Challenge – Declutter Time 2 – don’t worry, lots of old pairs of shoes have already been flung 😉

Have a marvelous Monday. Best foot forward! 🙂

Scrambled Saturday

Now, you all know how much I l.o.v.e my kitchen appliances. You met my new breadmachine yesterday, didn’t you?

Missus Smarty Pants, the style diva, is always talking about Cost Per Wear. Getting your money’s worth out of your clothes. Well today I’m going to show you how to get your money’s worth from your ricecooker.

Of course, you can use it for cooking rice. Basmati rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, brown rice, pearl barley, bulgur wheat, spelt and any other grains you can think of. (My menu plans – every Thursday here on the blog – are my witness.) I’ve even used it for cooking pasta (don’t tell the Italians!!) and boiling potatoes. And if you have a dinky steamer basket, you can steam veggies (maybe some chunked carrots) and fish (salmon fillets) on top of your rice and have an easy meal in 20 minutes flat.

A ricecooker is basically an electric cooking pot (a non-stick one…) with a lid. So you want to start thinking creatively. Here’s DS10’s favourite hot breakfast that he can prepare himself. Røræg (Danish scrambled eggs). Med ketchup. No need for me translate that, right? 😉

To make scrambled eggs (or an omelet) you’ll need:

  • eggs
  • milk
  • salt n’ pepper
  • and a ricecooker, obviously

Crack the eggs straight into the ricecooker pot.

Break the yolks up a bit with a wooden spoon (because the ricecooker pot is non-stick). And then add a spot of milk.

Freshly-ground salt n’ pepper. A dash of herbs, if you’re so inclined.

Clamp down the lid, plug in to the wall. Or kitchen worktop in our case 😉

Use either

  • a) the rapid cook function for scrambled eggs in 5 minutes
  • b) the normal cook function which will take about 15-20 minutes (great if you want to go shower and get dressed or…spend 15 minutes decluttering?)

Stir/break up the egg mixture with a wooden spoon a couple of times whilst cooking, or at least just before you serve.

Or you can be a real lazy bones – don’t stir it at all – and you’re non-efforts will be rewarded with an omelet! 🙂 When making an omelet for lunch, I like to add in some veggies like mushrooms, a handful of fresh spinach or some chopped red pepper. You can fry the veggies in the ricecooker pot in a little olive oil before you add the eggs. Yum! 🙂

Do you now understand why I love my ricecooker so much? Need an extra reason? Hmm, how about easy peasy clean-up thanks to that non-stick bowl?

Yes, I’ll also ‘come clean’… I love my ricecooker so much, I even took it with us on our summer holidays one year. All the way in the car from Denmark to the south of France and back. Oh, la, la… 😉

Hope you have an eggs-tra-special Saturday! 🙂

Pamper Monday – Top Gear 2

In last Mondays’s pamper post, I announced I was on the hunt for some new running gear. Hey, I deserve to look good out there! 😉

Not just any old thing. Some new stylish and flattering sports tops in my seasonal colours. Thanks to Missus Smarty Pants colour analysis, I know that I am a spring – guess what, it’s also my favourite season! 🙂 So I went into town last week and trawled the major sports shops and department stores. And came up with…nothing! Who knew it would be so difficult?

I thought it might be easier finding something online. After all, there are plenty of Danish catalogue companies these days that sell major sports brands like Adidas, Nike etc. But then I did that old SHE thing of getting sidetracked by the computer and – several mouse clicks down the line – I was in the virtual nightwear department looking at new jimjams instead! Which, by the way, are another thing I have difficulty finding. Have you ever found stylish sleepwear? This big, old Danish house is too cold for wearing nighties (unless it’s high summer) and I refuse to walk around with Snoopy or any other cartoon character on my pyjama top. That’s something my children do! 😉

So I’m back at square one and still wearing the same old, same old… I’m thinking that I probably need to change tack and cast my net a bit wider. Maybe look for flattering t-shirts in good colours first, and then make sure that they’re in a suitable fabric for running. (Or sleeping, for that matter.)

So the hunt is still very much ‘on’. And I haven’t given up hope! Hope you all have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

I heart scarves!

I did a Friday post on scarf love (Fridays here on the blog are all about the things I l-o-v-e) back in October. If you want to read it, it’s right here! But here we go again because Missus Smarty Pants (the Flylady‘s style sidekick) mentioned how important they are on her radio show on Tuesday. (Tee hee, Leslie, thanks for indulging my addiction!)

I told her I had bought a new scarf that very day. She asked for a picture and I said I would post one. I realised when I took the photo that – oh my goodness – I’ve bought not just one, but three (count ’em) new scarves in the last couple of weeks. Yikes, they’re multiplying! 🙂

Here’s the one I bought on Tuesday…silk, patterned with fringes, in pink, purple and yellow. I wore it with the yellow cardi on Wednesday, folded in a triangle and with the big triangle hanging down at the front (or bib style, as Leslie calls it).

Here’s a big cotton one (could double as a sarong) which goes with all my coral, orange and pink tops. I wear this one swathed around my neck a few times. Good for keeping me warm in these (never-ending) freezing Danish winter temperatures and makes my ‘fronts’ look full! 😉

Same scarf, same clothes, different angle. The orange waistcoat (Samsøe + Samsøe) I bought recently (isn’t it a great happy colour?). The pink fitted cardi (Oasis) I’ve had for over 15 years. Love the fit, love the colour. Have worn it, washed it, worn it, washed it, for years. Takes me everywhere. I will seriously need therapy if anything ever happens to it! 😉

And, the last one for today…a long, fine-knit woollen, coral/orange scarf. I bought the matching batwing cardi (Bruuns Bazaar) before Christmas (it’s also great for wearing over dressy evening tops). The pushy sales assistant wanted me to buy the matching scarf but I wasn’t convinced. Until, of course, I saw it reduced to half-price in the January sales…

Funnily enough, I’m actually using the scarf on it’s own on a daily basis right now as it’s extremely warm and brightens up my black winter trenchcoat…

And whaddayaknow…now DD7 wants to get in on the act! Here she is today, Friday, wearing her – first – very own scarf (kids’ range at H + M) [please excuse me for a moment, I need to wipe away a small Mum tear…]

When we got to school and she was changing into her slippers she said, “Mummy, I want to have lots of scarves like you.” Aww, that’s my girl! 😉

Hope you all have a fabulously fashionable Friday! 🙂

Scaredy Cat Challenge – 24 January 2010

I’ve started a ‘Scaredy Cat Challenge’ for myself – following the advice of Jonathan Roche (see my previous post I’m in Stitches!). He talked about it in connection with exercising, but it can be applied to anything really. So for the duration of 2010, I’m going to do things I’ve been putting off. I’m not procrastinating about tasks in the Flylady sense of “I haven’t got the time to do that right now”. It’s more things I would like to do but “I’m too scared, I don’t know how” sense. If you get my drift… 😉

Last Saturday I started sewing an apron from a pattern. You can see how I got on here.

And what can I report today – one week on? The apron is finished – yippee! 🙂 And très nice it is too…here’s DD7 modelling it. Though it’s all mine! 😉

And here’s the other side. You’ll remember it’s reversible 😉

The pesky bias strips which I had – of course – been putting off, turned out to be very easy to do. I set my Flylady timer and whaddayouknow…it took less than the magic 15 minutes! The only tricky thing turned out to be sewing on the neck straps (I chose in the end to do them by machine, life is too short for handstitching). The problem was that the front and back of the apron (it’s reversible, you’ll remember…) didn’t quite match up. Well, nobody’s perfect – right? And it’s only me who knows. And you lot.

Anyway, it’s finished, it’s blinking lovely, and now I’m ready to tackle other patterns and sewing techniques. Gathers?? Go home!

So what is my next ‘Scaredy Cat Challenge’ for myself? Well, I had a twitter conversation with Missus Smarty Pants the other night and I was pampering my feet and painting my toenails. She always paints hers in light colours, I always do mine dark (today they are purple, Gosh #99 Isabel). Because I like to cover them up. I really should have my feet done by a chiropodist (various imperfections, not just my toenails) but…I hate people touching my feet, I’m so ticklish! 🙂

Oh yes, I’ve been for manicures and pedicures before. But the pedicure part was half-heaven and half-nightmare. So I’ve decided to get these tooties looking lovely for the onslaught of spring and summer. 2010 will be the year! So that’s my next Scaredy Cat Challenge. To take the plunge, make an appointment (or two) and get it over and done with (and definitely grumble about the expense). Who knows, maybe I’ll even enjoy it? [simpers]

Have a simply super Sunday! 🙂

These are a few of my favourite things (Scarves)

Missus Smarty Pants, the style sister of the Flylady family, often mentions accessories when putting together an outfit. I’ve never been a shoe fetichist (though I have been known to buy the same shoe in two colours when I do find some that I love…like my sweetie sandals from Ecco).

But if you’ve ever been in the Missus Smarty Pants chat on BlogTalkRadio, you’ll know that I love, love, love jewellry and scarves.

I’ve been hoarding collecting them since I was a child. My Granny loved (bright) jewellry and scarves, my Mum not so much, so I think the gene skipped a generation and reappeared in me 🙂 I got lots of stuff from Granny when I was a child and, when I started Secondary School (age 11), I started buying them myself from charity/thrift shops. And, joy of joys, when I started earning my own money working as a secretary (age 19), I was able to buy them from the department store!

I have (literally) two boxes full and the ones I’m currently wearing are in a drawer. Or three. There are lots of days when I wear two scarves – one as an accessory for my outfit, another for warmth if I’m going outside and wearing a coat. I never throw a scarf away these days. Unless, of course, the colours just don’t suit me…Missus Smarty Pants has taught me well! 😉

You can almost tell the decade I wore them by their shape and material: small, cotton, squares (late 80s, worn in a jaunty French style) large, square silky Hermès type ones (90s, used them tucked inside or outside the dark business suits I wore at the EC Court of Justice), long thin knitted ones (early 00s, in bright colours worn over jumpers and coats).

These days I’m back to the large, square scarves – but wearing them this way, see photo above. The current Danish trend is to have an exaggerated v-shape at the front. This is the outfit I’ve got on today. I bought the jumper yesterday for a pittance from Mango (they have great colours and their prices are similar to H&M). Came home from town and discovered an old scarf in the very same colour, pale rose pink.

And this is my current ‘I’m-in-love-with-this’ scarf. From one of my favourite scarf producers, the Danish company Erfurt. Paisley pattern, also very ‘on-trend’ here in Denmark right now. The base colour (green) is not one I wear very often these days, but the colours in the scarf suit me and it goes with everything else in my wardrobe. And it’s got bells on…or at least green, white and pink pompoms! 😉

Wishing you all a stylish Friday 🙂