Burnt Toast………..

It’s funny, isn’t it? How a smell can spark a thousand memories: A perfume or aftershave can transport you back to your teenage angst & sweetheart crushes? Perhaps a tropical flower may remind you of a foreign land. How about the smell of home? & I mean your ‘family’ home. Well, mine has got to be burnt toast. To say my dad likes his food well cooked, is an understatement: Beef needs to be charcoaled to within an inch of existence. & Toast? Burnt, with a layer of crisp & crunch, only achieved by setting off the smoke alarms & doing the ‘tea towel’ fanning dance (the one where you’re wafting a tea towel in the air, below the alarm to disperse the smoke).

I know this smell probably drives my mum bonkers, but to me, there really is nothing quite like it, guaranteed to always makes me smile.

I’ve written before about how as parents, we’re seen as ‘superhuman’ to our children, & I openly admit, I hold my parents on this pedestal (‘what d’ya mean, you’re not invincible? How dare you not be!’) Continue reading →

The Fashion Dilemma: An Autumnal Wedding…..

The thought of attending any kind of formal event & the dilemma of what to wear is one that we all contend with frequently. A wedding, or being privy to a VIP black tie bash: These are occasions where upon the invite, those dreaded words appear….. ‘Formal dress only’

I guess my main issue with any type of ‘formal’ event, is the need to, well, conform (I know, I’m such a rebel). Granted, I despise being told what to do, or given guidelines to follow- pertaining to my theory ‘Don’t think outside of the box, think like there is no box’.

Truthfully, It’s just that I believe we’re all so truly unique & have our own sense of style, that why should this be repressed, just so that we can all fit in with the ‘majority’ at an event? Does it make for a prettier picture if we are all dressed in matchy-matchy floaty dresses, high heeled court shoes, or identical ‘moss bross’ suits? (Let’s not forget the fella’s here) Surely, individuals should be celebrated- those who take risks, dare to stand out, or simply stick to their own fashion rules? For me, that makes the picture. Continue reading →

Autumn Fashion……with Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

With days getting shorter, nights becoming longer & the temperatures across the UK starting to plummet (despite a few balmy ‘Indian summer’ days) It’s around now our fashion focus begins to turn towards an Autumnal wardrobe (sob).

So what better timing then, to share with you my latest brand discovery: Kaleidoscope. Well, technically, not my latest discovery, as I recall it from my teenage years: a tired looking clothes brochure, perched on the edge of my mum’s coffee table, collecting dust. Back then, the clothes which lined the pages, were items that didn’t have huge fashion appeal, but catered more to ladies of a ‘certain age’ *cough, cough*. In the name of research, I asked friends for their memories of Kaleidoscope, & it appears I wasn’t alone in my recollection……but Wowza, what a difference a few years makes! Back in May, I attended a press launch for the Kaleidoscope Autumn/ Winter 2014 collection (with a fair bit of hesitation it has to be said). What struck me almost immediately was how fashion forward this brand has now become. & As I flicked through the rails, I couldn’t help but pick out my favorite items, whilst also eyeing up some options I knew my Mum would be impressed with too. It then occurred to me: Kaleidoscope was now a label with the ability to create pieces that can transcend through the generations. With great attention to details, such as the cut, fabrics, mixed mediums, & an impressive range of accessories to compliment the line, I was converted: Enter Kaleidoscopes newest fan!

kaleidoscope, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

At the launch in May: the small details stood out, like the zips & panelling to the dress, the laser cut out top & ‘that’ grey jacket

& What better way to demonstrate the dynamics of this range to ‘bridge the age gap’ on a mother & daughter duo? (Although I was excited, someone took a little more convincing!) So without further ado,  May I introduce to you, the wonderful, inspirational lady that is, My mum: Continue reading →

Mark Warner Holidays: One size fits all……

Mark Warner, Levante beach Resort. Rhodes, Greece.

mark warner, mark warner holidays, levante. levante beach resort, rhodes, cool bananas blog, cool bananas

Ok, if I find this label sewn into clothes, it drives me a little crazy. How can on earth can ‘one size fit all’ I mumble? So you might wonder then, if I’ve lost the plot completely, by applying such a term to a holiday. What, with so many different travel styles, budgets, tastes & interests, how can I possibly suggest one holiday covers all bases?

The thing is, after experiencing a Mark Warner Holiday first hand, I genuinely believe it’s suitable from the most independent style of traveller amongst us, to those seeking a ‘package deal’: Sports fans, can pack in thrill seeking, paddle waving, jam packed days:

cool bananas, cool bananas blog, paddle board, paddle boarding,, mark warner, mark warner holidays

My face? That’s a look of sheer determination…not.to.fall.off -I didn’t, yippee!! But a windsurfer kindly crashed into me.

Continue reading →

The Holiday ‘Capsule Wardrobe’……….

The ‘Holiday Capsule Wardrobe': A fantasy or reality?

Ah, the ‘capsule wardrobe’. Far from being something that crosses your mind as a parent, the small, but mighty capsule wardrobe, is something most of us will associate with the likes of fashionistas such as WIT, or from flicking through the pages of a glossy women’s magazine. Venturing anywhere once you become a parent, is a well-oiled, military procedure: one we all have down to a fine art. Never leaving the house without spare clothes, shoes, toys, copious amounts of ‘snacks’ & concealing a secret stash of all aforementioned, in the boot of the car (the back ups -for the back ups, am I right?) The sheer mention of anything ‘capsule’ would certainly be met from me with the death stare. Mr Banana Pants likes to *comment on these essentials as ‘Clutter’ (* When I say ‘comment’ I do of course mean he dices with death)

Travelling abroad with children becomes a whole new ball game. Imagine everything & the kitchen sink? I’m pretty sure you’ll still find you’ve forgotten something. Having said that, I’m confident after plenty of practice, that *I’ve got our family holiday packing down to a fine art (*Yes, I’ve, as in me. Although this should be a joint effort between the Mr & I, he miraculously seems to go AWOL around the time of packing. Rather convenient, hey?)

In just under a week, I’m jetting off to the Greek isle of Rhodes: 4 child-free nights, with Mark Warner Holidays. Not only child free, but minus Mr Bananas too, all on my jack jones (apart from a group of fellow bloggers, whom I can’t wait to meet). I’m excited & terrified in equal measure: shadowed by guilt, that I’m being a tad selfish & doing something exclusively for me. I feel satisfied knowing that Bear will have be having a ball, spending time with Nana (wrapping her even tighter around his little finger) & seeing more of Daddy *eating more chocolate than is humanly possible for a toddler*. & As the phrase goes: Time apart makes the heart grow fonder. So I shall banish negative thoughts for now, & embrace this experience. Continue reading →

Having a Helluva time at HEMA, Bromley……

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Scandinavian, Nordic & Dutch style: It’s always something my eye has been drawn to, & having worked for a Danish lifestyle & fashion brand (pre child days) my fondness only grew. Be it the clean, sharp lines of home décor, or the simplicity of Nordic fashions, to the gadget & gizmos that fill our work & kitchen spaces (Ikea, you have an awful lot to answer for!!) Getting your mitts on such delights in the UK has always been slightly tricky: even in this day & age where practically anything you could want is available at the click of your finger tips (thanks, internet) I’ve only come across a handful of ‘high street’ retailers stocking such items, based in the UK. & These have either been dedicated ‘fashion’ or ‘interior’ companies. What about those times when you need want a selection of lifestyle products in this style?

Well then, can I getta ‘Hallelujah’ please? For the Dutch company HEMA, who recently opened its doors upon our fine shores, in my local town of Bromley (that slightly confused ‘London’ Borough- for are we Kent, or South East London?!) Continue reading →