TSM Travel: The Whistles Maxi Skirt is my best travelling buddy: A road trip through Spain Part. 2

If you remember my post from Barcelona last year, you’ll know that Spain is another country I’ve grown to love over the years and so it was without a doubt that my final European trip involved at least a full week of sun drenched siestas interspersed with jamon, tapas, sangria and of course, visits to Zara. I often ask male friends which European girls they think are the most physically attractive (in general) and as their faces light up imagining the possibilities, I’m always ready to volunteer my answer: Spanish girls. Traditional older French women may have that effortlessly Parisian chic down pat but personally, I find the girls in Spain stunning (cue memories of feeling uber inadequate in Ibiza!) It’s the confidence, the passion in which they express themselves (Maria Elena from Vicky Christina Barcelona – need I say more?) and their perpetual tan … It’s hard not to be mesmerised! So after having a beautiful week in Crete, we picked up the pace and started our road trip down towards the south of Spain through Valencia, Alicante and Granada…

35. Granada Spain Alhambra 2013 37. Granada Spain Alhambra palace architecture symmetry 37.5 Granada Spain Alhambra palace 34. Granada Spain Alhambra Nazrid palace

40. Granada Spain Alhambra generale life

granada spain alhambra palace 2013

The above aren’t your typical images of Spain. They’re in fact from one of the most highly visited sites in Spain: The Alhambra, in Granada – the tourist highlight of my Spanish trip this time around. If you know me well, then you’ll know that I’m by no means a museum/sightseeing enthusiast (although I must admit I did love The British and Egyptian museum in Tahir square in Cairo) but the thought of a full day of sightseeing and museums brings a whiny sigh and petulant boring! mutter beneath my breath pretty quickly. But there was something so serene about the ancient moorish architecture and peaceful views of Granada from the top of the Alhambra that had me equally mesmerised; I even wanted to spend more time than allocated walking through the grounds imagining what life would have been like for the royals of the Nasrid palace and their time in the general life gardens…

A tip for anyone who does want to visit is to book tickets online prior to visiting Granada as tickets sell out in sessions and when we arrived at 8am with pre-booked tickets, the queue was general admin was already miles long!

32. Museu de Belles Arts de València city or arts and sciences

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27. Valencia fatons and horchata orxata28. breakfast in valencia old town

The stop before Granada was Valencia (my second time) and it was all about the EATING. Wake up late, eat. Shop, eat. Siesta, eat, drink sleep and repeat. I’ve been to Spain over half a dozen times now and although I don’t speak fluent Spanish (it’s on the to do list!) I feel most at ease in Spain than any other European city when communicating with locals. I’m a huge fan of tapas (European dim sum) and we’ve eaten at so many bars through the years that I now know how to push my way through the crowd, order drinks and food in Spanish and bypass all the confused tourists waiting for table service and a menu (hint, they don’t really exist in the really old and authentic tapas bars). I love the food even more as you head down South (Seville has the best tapas in my opinion!)25. valencia beach

Granada from Melia hotel

Granada Spain old down

These days I’m all for casual comfort over stylish glam. Throughout my trip I lazily left the make up bag at the bottom of the suitcase and packed only one pair of wedges (which I never wore!) Without fail, for every Summer trip, I get the most use out of maxi skirts and dresses. The casual ones tend to pack well requiring no ironing and are particularly practical for cooler nights to avoid pesky insect bites and perfect for short haul flights when they decide to crank up the A/C while you snooze. I actually bought this Whistles Jersey skirt for a client in London who was after a maxi skirt and when it went on sale, guiltily bought one for myself tool!

Maxi skirts are always feminine and are great for busy mums and lazy leg shavers like myself (overshare?) and can be best styled with a simple short or long tee and paired with a leather or denim jacket. Accessories with sunglasses and costume jewellery optional.

topshop strappy v neck camiGranada Spain Alhambra travels tstyled meGranada Spain Alhambra topshop cami whistles maxi jersey skirt

khaki jersey maxi skirt topshop strappy v neck camiOutfit Details

I’m curious, which European girls do you think are the most attractive ? 😛

TSM Travel: Summer swimwear in the Greek Island of Crete – Part 1

Opps, it looks like someone forgot to put their out of office on the blog doesn’t it? Well hmm, about that … Can I start by saying that I had every intention to continue on with my weekly blog updates and take you guys with me on my two week Summer getaway in Europe but slowly, as the swimming, napping and constant grazing by the beach took over, I thought to myself “Is it a real holiday if I spend more time on my laptop than enjoying possibly my last real holiday EVER?”(slight exaggeration; it’s true, you can still holiday from Australia). In the end, the lazy in me won and two weeks of holiday bliss became, 3, 4 and 5 weeks away from the laptop. But not to worry – I’m back so let me share with you the sights of one of my favourite places on earth: The Greek Islands. A few years ago, we fell in love with Kefalonia, Santorini & Mykonos so we came back for another Greek fix, this time for the stunning beaches of Crete … Be prepared for a) a whole lot of pasty white skin (hey, it was the start of our trip) b) beautiful views of the endless Mediterranean sea and c) delicious, it still makes me drool, Greek food.

Pink sands elafanisi beach

15. Chania Elafonisi Beach pink sand island

16. Elaphanisi Elafanisi beach17. elafonissi beach beautifl cretan greece crete

21. I love greece

Elafonisi – An hours drive from Chania – famous for it’s pink sand and now one of my favourite beaches in the world…
1. Spinalonga island from domes of elounda hotel view

Domes of Elounda resort private swimming pool

The view from our private balcony and private swimming pool at Domes of Elounda – one of the best hotels we have ever had the pleasure of staying at.

9. Spinalonga from Domes of Elounda Beach

Have any of you read Victoria Hislop’s ‘The Island’? It’s a fictional story set over 50 years ago in Crete and focuses on life in Elounda seen through the eyes of a family affected by life on the island of Spinalonga (the island in the far left in the picture above), a former leper colony (before a cure more recently was discovered). Imagine being ripped apart your family and loved ones for being sick and living isolated across in an island so close yet so far from your home. Anyway, reading the book prior to coming to Elounda, Plaka and Spinalonga made it so much more fascinating for me.13. Best Tzatziki in Crete Greece 3. Elounda mousakka dolmades crete greece 2. Elounda town crete

We stayed in Elounda for a few nights and loved the local Tavernas there. We had such a romantic dinner by the port and gorged ourselves with Dolmades (stuffed leaves), tzatziki and moussaka – oh so much moussaka (eggplant and spiced meat type lasagna but without the pasta)
7. Knossos 8. Knossos Crete RuinsAncient ruins of Knossos 

Summer Swimwear

So along with jeans, swimmwear is my least favourite thing to buy. You almost have to be the right frame of mind and confidence to even feel like trying on bikinis sometimes so this year I decided not to waste any money on new swimming togs (the wear to cost ration is low low low) and stuck to my trusty old Seafolly strapless bikini (to avoid tan lines!).

I find Seafolly bikinis exceptional quality and their designs are contemporary and span across all age groups and body shapes and I love that they last several Summers and keep all your bits in tow. Everybody has a different shape and I think you can always have fun with swimwear. If you need extra support in the chest region, my advice would be go for underwire options (see below) and the halterneck bikinis are always flattering no matter what size you are. If you are conscious of baring so much skin, there are some stunning one-piece darker hued options that would be perfect for you (I wouldn’t mind one for a more retro themed look myself) and if you’re slightly less endowed, the ruffles on the bandeaus always help give you an illusion of not looking like a 12 year old so I’ve been subtly told :)

TSM Travel Diaries: Relaxing under the Tuscan sun in Boyfriend Jeans Pt. 2

I couldn’t blend in as a local in Europe even if I tried. A rustic doorway, snap, I have to take a picture. Food? click, click click, that stuff is definitely going on instagram…Oooh, a pebble, let me rearrange it so it looks extra special snap snap snap. Laugh as you may, I’m actually not as bad as some of my friends 😛 It’s definitely hard not to take so many photos in Europe when every turn of the corner looks like it belongs on a postcard or in a nostalgic foreign film. When I spend time filtering through these images, the embarrassment is long forgotten; I have these unique moments ingrained in my memory and captured on film to share with everyone for years to come.

Siena Tuscany coloured housesI was giddy with excitement over these beautiful and bright coloured residential homes in Siena. Something as mundane as locals hanging their washing out to dry just adds to authentic Tuscan look don’t you think?Siena Duomo


san gimignano tuscany

Sangiminano old town dusk

A dreamy Sangimiano by dusk …

san gimignano hills of tuscany


Antinori WineryWhile in Tuscany, we enrolled a cooking class for a day at Il Vicario with Katia and Fulvio in San Gimignano which was such an enjoyable experiencing making pasta from scratch and then filling our bellies with the fruits of our labour. 
Tuscan cooking School picci pasta
how to wear boyfriend jeans

Psst … these are officially my favourite pair of casual jeans for travelling. Remember how I was on search of the perfect boyfriend jeans here? These Zara Boyfriend Jeans fit my budget (£40 from memory) and are the most comfy pair I own (perfect for over indulging in Tiramisu and wine). I’m yet to dress them up with heels but for now, am content with a more casual look. Hope you enjoyed both Pt 1 and Pt 2 of my Tuscany Travel diary xo

TSM Travel: Weekend getaway to the Keukenhof flower fields in Holland

I’ve been feeling slightly homesick recently (When it snowed a few weeks ago mid April, I cracked it and was really ready to call it quits) but the tail end of April has redeemed itself with the temperature hitting 20 degrees today and for the first time in 6 months, I contemplated leaving my black opaque tights at home (I chickened out last minute for fear of OESK – over eager skin exposure). Many of my friends from Australia are visiting and travelling Europe which has made the weeks fly by so much faster and it always helps to have company and that little piece of home over here.

I amsterdam

Crashing our friends’ honeymoon, a group of us hopped on a quick 45 minute flight to Amsterdam over the weekend to relax, ride our bikes through the picturesque canals of Holland and one of the highlights of the weekend was visiting the Keukenhauf Tulip Festival. Did I hear you just yawn? Well, I know it doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to do overseas but  I actually had it on my ‘Amsterdam to do’ list given the festival only runs from March to May each year and Holland is famous for their tulip fields (amongst other things!) and tulips are one of my favourite flowers.

Yellow and Red Tulips keukenhof

keukenhof flower tulip festival 2013

Tulip festival Holland

Sure, there was a moment’s hesitation when we rocked up to the entrance of the flower festival surrounded by at least 20 tour buses full of more mature aged visitors but as soon as we started wandering through the park with our freshly made StroopWaffels and hotdogs, we became mesmerised by the sea of such vibrant and beautiful colours…

keukenhof tulip fields

keukenhof flower festival 2013

Cherry blossoms keukenhof tulip festival 2013 Holland

keukenhof unique tulips

The tulips above were so unique; they looked like tulips made out of frayed fabric! I love vibrant colours – they bring such a sense of happiness and life to pictures and I found a lot of inspiration for my wardrobe from these colours.

keukenhof tulip fields Amsterdam

keukenhof rose tulips

keukenhof white tulips

keukenhof tulip fields Amsterdam 2013

What are your favourite flowers? 

Tien xo

TSM Outfit Post: T- by Alexander Wang Neoprene Inverted Pleat Skirt

Lately I’ve been obsessed with starting work early so that I can rush home to watch …well, I can only term it how it really is: trashy reality TV. For someone who already spends too much time watching TV, I can’t believe how I haven’t seen a single episode of any of the ‘Real housewives of Orange County’ series until now. *Cringe* I know, it’s so trashy but there’s something ashamedly fascinating about a life so far removed from my own I just can’t help but be hooked! I have now consumed an entire cake (by myself) catching up on the entire series but with the weather being consistently zero degrees every night this week, all I look forward to is to rushing home and plonking myself in front of the TV and getting lost in the world of Vicki, Tamra and Alexis (The ‘OC’ Real Housewives series).

I was very curious to see if the LA lifestyle was that portrayed on these TV shows. We spent Christmas visiting a friend who lives in Los Angeles and we had such an amazing time, shopping to our hearts content and eating like there was no tomorrow. On our first day there, we started the morning with a gorgeous breakfast at Chateau Marmont down Sunset Blvd (an establishment highly frequented by Hollywood stars with a super strict no photography policy) and then proceeded with the lifestyle of the rich and famous by spending the day shopping down Rodeo Drive (Every girl deserves to have a Pretty Woman moment :P). It felt surreal to be walking down the famous Rodeo drive. I can sort of understand the addiction to the lifestyle.

TSM kytography Rodeo Drive Beverley Hills 90210

TSM Rodeo Drive Ferrari Beverley Hills 90210

TSM Los Angeles T by Alexander wang Neoprene Inverted Pleat Skirt

TSM Rodeo Drive T by Alexander wang Neoprene Inverted Pleat Skirt JOSEPH PATCHWORK COLORBLOCK SWEATER

The skirt I’m wearing is my first purchase from T by Alexander Wang. The fabric can be likened to scuba suit material which was surprisingly soft and warm. The skirt was very short for my standards so I tried to dress it down by wearing comfortable flats and a long sleeved warm cashmere colourblock sweater with neon colours that I’m a little obsessed about at the moment (All pieces were on sale!) This skirt has a natural ability to hold you in due to the structure of the fabric but the sizing, in my opinion, is extremely small! I don’t know if it was breakfast at Chateau Marmont or not but it was very … shall we say form fitting around the waist line. Not a buffet day kind of skirt!
TSM Rodeo Drive T by Alexander wang Neoprene Inverted Pleat Skirt balenciaga cumin

TSM Harry Winston Diamonds Rodeo Drive

My double take as we passed the diamonds at Harry Winston 😛

T by Alexander wang

TSM Balenciaga City bag in cumin tan_

TSM Shopping down Rodeo Drive_

TSM Rodeo Drive Beverley Hills 90210

Photos by Kylee, my bf and me :) Thanks to Chai for taking out in LA too !

Outfit Details

Hope you enjoyed some of my holiday snaps and I look forward to featuring more neon pieces and picks in my next post. I’m off to watch a rerun of Keeping up with the Kardashians (I saw Kim and Kanye at a basketball game in LA incidently!) and also to watch ‘Millionaire Matchmaker,’ yet another one of my guilty tv show pleasures at the moment. Has anyone else watched this TV show?!

T-Styled Me’s Insta Tumblr Round up: Happy snaps from Paris

Why haven’t I posted on my weekend travels to Lyon and Paris last week I hear you ask? Well funny story that – You’ll find it amusing to know that I did bring my camera to France only to realise on the first day that I’d left the memory card at home (still plugged into the SD reader to my laptop, of course). Annoying as that were, I popped into Fmac to buy a new one and managed to take a few photos of dinner on our first night. Second morning, rocked up at the Le Halles de Lyon (Paul Bocuse Food market) only to discover I’d left the camera on the entire night and the battery had died! Massive.Fail. I was so annoyed at myself. You’re probably thinking ‘Well… at least you had your iphone to take photos right?!’ Nope, wrong again. I also managed to leave my phone at home; I only realised upon arrival at the airport. Fail.fail.fail. You’d think after travelling veteran by now and have this packing thing down pat but no, even I continue to surprise myself!

Here are a few pictures I managed to take with my bf’s phone:

Still at awe at how French women stay so slim when such rich and decadent food is always at their disposal …

Dessert at Paul Bocuse’s 3 Michelin starred Restaurant in Lyon

I loved the coloured walls and cobble stone pathways of old town Lyon

Dinner with friends in Paris – We had such a good time catching up and visiting the Parisian Flea markets together :)

I believe the Christmas tree at Galleries Lafayette gets bigger and brigher each year. This is the third consecutive year that I’ve taken this photo x

Last minute decision to go with the blue – Thanks for all your comments and helping me decide :) As my friends have noticed, this is a huge and heavy ring!

The highly coveted Celine Trapeze handbag – I couldn’t stand the ‘side flaps’ initially but I must say it has definitely grown on me (and the fact that you can adjust the bag so they fold inwards).

Dessert and wine were mandatory for each meal … Soooo.good.take.me.back.please!

I think I’ll definitely need to invest in a photo like this one for my future house to remind me of all the fabulous Parisian memories over the years ..

I hope you enjoyed my snaps from the good old iphone and have a great week!

Tien xo

T-Styled Me’s Weekly Insta-Tumblr Round Up!

It’s not often that I can say this but I think I had a near perfect weekend :) My bf planned a surprise weekend getaway for us to York (2 hrs train ride north of London) which turned out to be the perfect medicine for my niggling cold and the perfect way to unwind and de-stress from the crazy that is our lives at the moment. There’s nothing more I like than a good massage and spa day so I was very spoilt to be treated to a 2 hour session at the Cedar hotel & Spa. I can’t remember the last time I had a facial – It must have been two and a half years ago (hmm, is that bad?!) and it was my first time getting body wrap. Has anyone else ever had one of these? I’m sure it has softened and improved my skin but I can’t help but think the best part of the treatment was when I finally had the chance to wash off all the “magical algae” 😛

Here are a few pictures from my weekend away and some of my favourite pics reblogged from my tumblr:

The beautiful town of Yorkshire where we enjoyed Sunday Roast with Yorkshire pudding in a local home styled cafe. While my bf prefers fine dining, I love home-styled casual family run restaurants that have hearty delicious food, comfortable settings and friendly service.

OOTD: Walking around in 1 degrees C in York: Tophsop Supersoft skinnies, Warehouse shirt, Topshop cardigan, Alexa Mulberry and Stuart Weitzman boots that are very warm!

Amen! I love this quote of the day – I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I highly recommend taking time out of your hectic life to ensure that you have time to savour and enjoy it with those who you love! 

Tien xo

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