Monthly Archives: May 2013

Travel Thursday #4 …….. Zanzibar

After we met Maria the model and DJ I promised to share her story from Zanzibar so I have finally managed to find time to do this for you guys. Zanzibar is high on my list to visit so I was intrigued by what Maria had to say about it. What I’ll tell you all is that my lust for Zanzibar has increased dramatically since my conversation with her at the Dylan in Amsterdam. I always imagined bright turqoise sea, exotic landscapes and hidden coves and beautfiul East African architecture.

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Maria said “I think I had such a great time in Zanzibar because I didn’t know what to expect and then I arrived on this beautiful island and I was in love”. This to me is the best thing about travel you don’t know what to expect and then its amazing and your swept off your feet!

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In this picture Maria looks dressed for Zanzibar in a relaxed easy going dress that is so feminine.

I asked Maria for her tips for and she said “Be prepared for a tropical paradise, just wonder around, relax and try new foods”.  Although this was not her first trip to Africa it was her first to middle Africa and she has already visited the northern countries.

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Maria stayed at http://staroftheeast.diamonds-resorts.com and flew to Zanzibar via Kenya.

Do you want to visit Zanzibar?

Ciao for now xx

Travel Thursday #4 …….. Maria’s Photo Diary

As Maria has traveled so many places and in my interview with her we talked extensively about St. Tropez and Miami I wanted to share her DJ travel pics with you.

Miami WMC 1 Miami WMC 2 Miami WMC 3St. Tropez 1St. Tropez 5This is where people thought Maria was Rihanna! The crowd got so big she couldn’t leave the yacht!

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What’s your favorutie pic from Maria’s diary? Would you rather go to Miami or St.Tropez

Ciao for now xx

P.S look out later today for Maria in Zanzibar

Meet Malaak

This week I m introducing a wonderful Half Emariti Half British Designer by the name of Huda. Her designer label Malaak Angelology specialises in Abaya designs and turbans. I have always been inspired by Sheikha Mozah wearing turbans and so I was intrigued to go behind the scenes of an Abaya and turban designer brand.

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I wore Abaya while at university and for when the occasions required. However, in going back and forth between Amsterdam and Dubai I saw Abaya designs evolving and beginning to start following trends such as adding lace in certain colours, colour blocking and style shapes following those seen on international runways. During my interview with Huda I understood that we had a modern woman who was talented and understood what her fashion conscious customers needed. This is something she learnt from one of her teachers at LCF who told her that you must always think of your customer. This is advice Huda has not forgotten. For those readers who haven’t been to the Gulf region I’ll just let you know that women from this area are extremely feminine, style conscious and fashion savvy.

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After graduating from London College of Fashion, Huda came back to Dubai with a vision to make the Abaya more modern. After learning pattern making she realised there were ways the Abaya could be cut and appear more feminine, so with that vision she created Malaak in 2010. She made the Abaya’s a bit more edgy adding good cuts and in turn helped make women look and feel better wearing the Abaya. Huda explains “There are small things that can make or break a pattern, seams in the right places just help to make it work”. This is Huda’s theory on creating her successful patterns for her beautiful Abaya’s. I seem to be focusing a lot on the pattern cutting but this is key to the success of Malaak and for me it is one of the most important things you can have in a garment that will make it look good on you!

As women have become more prominent in the UAE with many now sitting in very important positions the Abaya is also a way to express their individuality. Huda realised this and introduced shoulder pads, studs and tailoring around the ankles. This of course has given women the feeling of having something to wear that makes them more confident and gives them an edge.

For each season Huda looks at the trends and she takes inspiration from Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and many more. It’s in the details for example Huda says “I see the details McQueen uses the way they put lace and cut it very messy”. I believe these details make her Abaya’s really modern and different. As we walked through the studio I could see international designer inspiration all over the garments.

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In Dubai we have so many nationalities living all in one city but I have never seen a Western Expat wear the Abaya well and the one thing I liked about Malaak Abaya’s is that they could also be worn as evening gowns. I think this is one of the ways in which Western Expats could branch into trying to wear an Abaya and still being able to feel comfortable and confident. “wearing the turban also shows your merging two cultures and it’s how you wear something at the end of the day”.

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When Huda travels she wears the turban and dresses them up and down with earrings. We also discussed the merits of having a turban at the pool or beach as it can come in handy for hiding hair that doesn’t like natures elements of sun, sand and sea! If we look it back in history the Turban is very chic with Audrey Heburn wearing them and now they are making a huge come back on the runways too. Of course, the international runways also look at where their main customers are and the Middle East is becoming a driving force for fashion brands with high consumer spending amongst the trendy Gulf nationals.

As with all my interviews chat ended up turning to Travel which is important for Huda especially for her inspiration. It can be a great break for her and she says “just to see different colours is important”. Without inspiration a designer can become stuck in a rut and for someone who is so set on creating cutting edge style changes of scenery really help to give Huda fresh takes on her designs. Travel also gives you adventure and creates stories and changes moods so those moods can be carried into the designs.

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Huda has grown up around fashion and design with her mum winning awards for her textile design for Liberty of London and was making clothes when Huda was young. On her father’s side the family used to make tents and therefore, fabric was a part of the culture of her family. Growing up in Dubai and being surrounded by a cosmopolitan society has also been important for Huda and this lifestyle continues to inspire her designs.

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This was one of the most inspiring interviews for me and I left with so many ideas on changes in style and fashion. Also Huda and I had so many things we discussed and I had a great time spending the couple of hours with her. As you’ll see from the photos of my styling of Malaak designs she is a fabulous designer with an amazing future ahead of her.

Have you worn an Abaya or turban are you willing to try? They are gorgeous and I don’t believe you would regret the way it makes you feel so feminine. I love to wear my Abaya’s and I am so excited about now incorporating many turbans into my wardrobe. Look out for my Abaya looks coming soon but just as a teaser and to show you me channeling my inner Sheikha Mozah me trying this gorgeous velvet Abaya.

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Ciao for now xx

Searching Shoes

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IMG_4080So I ‘m in love with both these styles of shoes. Unfortunatley I have odd shaped feet and I m always between a 6 – 6.5 or 36.5- 37 so it often means I miss out on shoes I want because I can never get them to fit. I found these gorgeous Alexander Wang’s the other day but the 37 didn’t fit and they didn’t have them in 36.5 (frustrating)! If you see either of these pairs in 36.5 please let me know I WANT them!

IMG_4074Here are my new DVF shoes …. I love them. I have been looking for perfect courts and now I’ve found them. Dubai Mall has opened the Level Shoe district and its shoes, shoes, shoes! These gorgeous pair of DVF’s are super comfortable and they look great. I am wearing them with everything these days and I am looking forward to sharing looks with you soon featuring my lovelies.

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Do you have the same issues as me finding shoes that fit just right?

Ciao for now xx

Instagram May

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Picture for Travel Thursday #3 

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Picture for East but West OTT

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IMG_3985Working with Funky January and By Malene Birger

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Down at Malaak HQ ….. look out for coming post next weekend!

IMG_4056Meet Maria Sojustnice Super DJ from Amsterdam

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My Chanel Crazy week

I have now added the Instagram widget to the blog but I thought I would show a selection of the pictures up on sojustnice on instagram. Go ahead and follow me here to keep updated.

Ciao for now xx

Meet Maria

image Meet Dj Maria Helena, one of the most dynamic people I’ve interviewed yet, born in Moshi a village at the foot of  Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, she is quarter Tanzanian, quarter Greek and half-Carribean and came to Holland when she was 6. Maria is a DJ and that’s her passion but she is also a model, with a background in Dance. She has traveled all over the globe but still has many places to go.

When I interviewed Maria we were chatting away for 2 hours talking fashion, modelling, music and travel (all my favourites). I first had to ask Maria how she defines her style because her life and jobs are so diverse.  Basically Maria is a chameleon when it comes to her style, it depends on how she feels when she wakes up and what she is up to that day, sometimes she feels preppy and wears a shirt with jeans or if she is just going to the grocery store she will wear sweats and sneakers. Also for Maria where she is in the world also has an influence on her style for example when she is in Miami its heels and big hair and when she goes to Ibiza its more laid back glamour.

Meet DJ Maria

Maria and I have both been to the same party destinations in the world and we spent quiet a bit of the interview talking about Dutch style and how its hard to take that abroad. Dutch girls have a laid back street style look  and this is especially true for Amsterdam but if you’re coming to Dubai or going to Miami or St. Tropez you need to get glammed up and become a girl with heels and dresses. We both agreed Holland does not have a glam factor and so if you want to embrace your feminine style you better not try to do this on Saturday night in Amsterdam as you might look a little out-of-place.

I of course had to ask Maria all about her modelling career, she said “I love modelling for the travel and that every work day is never the same”. We also agreed its such a great job to be creative, a model gets to tell a story with her body and the products, and she has great influence over how that story goes. The girls Maria gets to work with also make her job great, most of the time she will work with the same group of models and this makes it really fun while having to wait for hours and hours (a big part of the job).

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Since I ve been doing the blog and photo shoots I have a new-found appreciation for models, the way you have to twist and turn and hold your body means you have to be really fit so I had to ask Maria how she stays in shape, thought you might like to know some insider tips too. She goes to the gym almost every day (I felt so guilty when I heard this). For her diet she stays away from carbs and tries to eat lots of organic and raw vegetables. Overall she just tries to eat healthy because otherwise her energy levels would be low and she wouldn’t be able to keep up with her own pace!

For Maria’s music travel does play an influential role because she says  “You hear different vibes, I try to find music that makes me remember a memory I had on a trip and if I m in the studio and I’m not dancing those tracks don’t make it into my mixes” During Amsterdam Dance Event Maria made a special mix for KLM which was focused on Amsterdam DJ’s. She is currently working on another collaboration with KLM so next time your flying check out the music system and do some dancing in your seat to Maria’s music.

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Considering Maria has DJ’d from Amsterdam to Miami to St Tropez I asked her what her packing essentials are. She always takes her jumping rope when she travels to keep up her exercise. Style wise she always takes Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream for all her beauty essentials, she always takes an eye mask to sleep on the plane and for sleeping generally to make sure she gets her essential beauty sleep. For clothes she takes a leather jacket because it can be dressed up or down, she loves Goosecraft (she was wearing a gorgeous Goosecraft jacket when we had the interview). Of course, she needs skinny jeans (Met Jeans) that are almost like legging’s and always a black pair of jeans. Just like me, Maria often feels cold and then the essential is a scarf  and this is perfect for accessorising the basics.

The brands Maria loves are: Balmain / Rick Owens / Elisabetta Franchi / Kim Siderius (Dutch Designer she makes only 1 peace of everything)

For shoes her favourites are and she often wears heels while she is DJ’ing: Gianmarco Lorenzi / Gucci / Giuseppe Zanotti / Christian Louboutin / Steve Madden / River Island / Sendra Boots / Karma of Charme / AllStars

Maria and I discussed so many topics and so I m having to break this interview into two parts. We shared our gratefulness that we have been able to travel around the world making memories and getting to meet wonderful, inspiring people. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Maria as much as I did interviewing her. Look out on #Travelthursday for my interview with Maria on Tanzania and Zanzibar.

In the mean time its Saturday so head over to the soundcloud and start dancing to Maria’s mixes.

Ciao for now xx

Travel Thursday #3 …… Lake Como

Hello to the travel fans out there. Last week I told you about my trip to Milan and after many trips to the wonderful Italian city I finally made my way north to the Lakes where I had been hoping to go for a long time. I’ll say this straight away the saying “good things come to those who wait” is true for the lakes. I stayed with my family in Lake Como at a wonderful villa with a fabulous view over the lake. I should maybe change the wonderful villa description because I later discovered my mum had seen a ghost in the kitchen (believe it if you can). When visiting the Italian lakes it is very popular to stay in villas. Be very careful when you book your as there are lots of dodgy/fake ads out there where they scam your money.

Below you can see the gorgeous colours of Lake Como and no matter what time of the day its picture perfect. I had been wanting to visit Lake Como since I saw Oceans Twelve . I have been convinced for most of my adult life that if I met George Clooney for long enough he would have me move in his villa and we would be doing groceries and live happy for ever after (some people say I m delusional).

So aside from trying to meet George Clooney there is plenty to see and do at Lake Como. If you’re a boat enthusiast then this is the place for you ……. I would highly recommend taking the ferries across the lake to the different villages visiting all the little boutiques where you can be great unique things. You must visit Villas dotted all over the lake if your like me and love Architecture you will be very inspired. You can also drive or cycle but its magical being on the water surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the mountains, green landscapes, beautiful boats and colourful villas. There wasn’t one moment at Lake Como that wasn’t pleasing to the eye! See in the photos below how perfect the scenery is.

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View from aboveView of the Lakesunset from the villa viewRoom with a ViewI would say the only disappointing thing about Lake Como was the weather and food. We had temperamental weather with sun and rain which of course meant we had thunder too. This doesn’t create the setting for laying by the lake and catching Mr. Clooney’s eye whilst reading magazines and sipping on something cold and tasty.

The food was tourist food, I think to have good Italian it’s never a good idea to be where there are lots of tourists. I feel that Italians don’t like to cook for tourists who don’t appreciate good, unusual food. Moral of the story here, don’t come to Lake Como hoping to taste amazing Italian!

I got to Lake Como via Milan with KLM.

Have you been to the Lakes and which one do you think is best?

Ciao for now xx