Autumn Fashion……with Kaleidoscope

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: View Post

Mums’ Wear Pyjamas……

Mums’ Wear Pyjamas……

There is a recurring theme that has caught my attention, which seems to pop up on my social media stream *instagram* daily, from around 6pm. You could be forgiven for thinking I’m talking about ‘Wine O’clock’- that sacred, peaceful time: when the children have drifted off into a restful (ha!) slumber, & those tired, stressed out parents amongst us indulge in a little tipple of grapes’ finest: Pleasurable Pinot, Soothing shiraz (No way-Rose, mine is a pint of green tea, natch)

cool bananas, cool bananas blog, green tea, pint of tea, wine o'clock, mums wear pyjamasBut no, the trend I am referring to is of course: Pyjama pants time. That’s right, comfy slacks at the ready for us to shed those restrictive skinny jeans, preparing to melt into the sofa. Ahhh, & reeeelax.

In fact, why specify 6pm for this ritual? I’ll make a little confession to y’all *whispers* no matter what the time of day, whilst I’m at home with little lord Snotface, you’ll more than likely find me chilling in me jammies. Well, that’s a little fib as I don’t officially own any sets of ‘actual’ PJ’s (I know, that’s a shocking revelation, being a ‘mum’ & all) my duds consist of old t-shirts & sweatpants. There really is no other way to get stuck in with toddler play than to be in your comfy house clothes, right? View Post

Fresh Out Of The Laundry: @ KJ’s Laundry……

  • Where? KJ’s Laundry, 74 Marylebone Lane, 
London 
W1U 2PW, 
United Kingdom. Nearest Tube:
Bond Street

Cool bananas, cool bananas blog, KJ's laundry, boutique, london, marlebone, designer, designer clothes, Nestled in a quiet lane, just a stones throw away from hustle & bustle of Oxford street you’ll find an oasis of calm: a low key boutique, stocked with high end established labels. Dedicated to finding wearable, interesting & stylish pieces: When I was invited to pop along for a browse of the latest season & the summer sale, it did not disappoint….. View Post

Solillas: The Balearics at Boxpark

  • Solillas: The Balearics at Boxpark

Solillas, shoes, boxpark, sandals, summer, london, style, fashion, cool bananas, cool bananas blogShoes: What is it about them, that get us hooked? Specifically as a lady, our body weight & shape can constantly fluctuate (due to those blasted hormones or pregnancy). Your favourite pair of ripped denim skinnies might fit like a glove one month but the next cause crippling nerve damage: reducing you to walking with a limp (we’ve all been there!). Where as, a pair of alluring shoes you’ve owned for years will be your faithful friend, your trusty steed: they wont let you down, (or make you feel fat). They can evoke those feelings of nostalgia from times gone by & make you feel young & glamorous, or just like you again (the part we so often loose along the way!). Well, this is what I kid tell myself to justify yet another pair for my collection.

& There is always room for more, right? *nods head*. I tend to try & purchase good quality shoes, that will last a lifetime & this isn’t an excuse for why my collection is so vast- it’s the simple truth.

I had the pleasure of attending a launch party for the shoe brand Solillas (Sol-E-yas), in the oh-so-trendy district of Shoreditch last week: a very dangerous affair for a shoe –hoarder-a-holic like me. Although the brand itself have been around since 2011, this is their first ‘pop up shop’ & you can find them at Boxpark.

solillas, office, shoes, sandals, fashion, style, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

 

Solillas

In today’s society of ‘excess’, where there is an abundance of labels, different styles & constant promotions, it takes something very different & unique to grab my attention. This brand did not fail to impress: Frankly, I can’t stop thinking about them, & much to Mr. Cool Bananas dismay I’m compiling a list of all the colours I want them in!

& Here is why I’m their newest stalker fan:

  • They’re a simple yet fresh take on a more traditional Balearic style sandal, with a fashion edge to win you some extra style points & they’re available in a huge array of on trend colours.
  • My feet felt like they were in heaven! The level of comfort from slipping your tootsies into these is simply divine! Style & comfort? It’s not often you find this winning combination in a pair of shoes!
Solillas, sandals, shoes, boxpark, fashion, style, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

Sandal love! Foot Heaven… Did someone say leopard print?!

Sizing: These come in ‘european’ sizing. In my humble opinion euro sizing can come up slightly smaller than UK. If like me for example you’re a Uk 4.5 -5 go for the 5 (which is a 38)

  • Each & every pair of Solillas sandals are manufactured in a family factory in Menorca, by a team of expert craftsmen: the founders remain true to their deep rooted passion for the Balearics, & supporting the community ( now that’s Ethical sourcing at the very core)
  • They’re built to last. & last, & last.
  • Actually I could go on forever with this list! One of their phrases is: ‘Boho a state of mind, not just a look’. A philosophy that resonates with me.

solillas, shoes, boxpark, fashion, style, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

  • Oh & they have a ‘bebe’ & ‘nino’ range for the little ones. Did someone say matchy matchy? Yesssss please!
Solillas, shoes, fashion, style, boxpark, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

The Bebe Range

solillas, shoes, boxpark, shoes, sandals, style, fashion, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

The ‘nino’ range

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to interrogate talk with one half of the Husband & wife team that are the brains behind Solillas: Sarahjayne. Her enthusiasm & passion for all that their brand embodies & represents, is infectious. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have some Q&A’s with her:

solillas, shoes, sandals, fashion, shoes, boxpark, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

Jonnie & Sarahjayne: Solillas founders & directors.

solillas, shoes, sandals, cool bananas, cool bananas blogYour inspiration for the brand & collections come from your passion for creativity & the free spirited lifestyle of the Balearic Islands. If you had to choose, which one of the 4 Balearics beauties would be your top destination?: Ibiza. It’s a very special and spiritual place. It truly is multi faceted with something for everyone.

When did you first visit the Balearics (& which island did you land upon?): The first place my parents took me on holiday, as a toddler, was to Menorca. My family loved the islands & since then, we have made it our second home visiting every year. & Now that we’re parents, we love to be able to share our cultural experiences of the Balearics with our own toddler.

What’s your stand out favourite at the moment, from:

Solillas ‘senora’ collection: My eyes can’t help but be drawn to Electrico.

Solillas_S_Angle_Electrico_M

Cobalt blue is big this seasonal and, so far, its our bestseller at our store in Boxpark. We picked a suede leather to give a glamourous edge and I hope it can be viewed as a pool to bar kind of sandal. It’s the first time we’ve used a caramel sole. It lifts the colour and makes it even more summery.

The Solillas ‘Nino’ collection: Leopardito without a doubt! It’s the ultimate ‘mini me’ style for a daughter.

The Solillas ‘Bebe’ Collection: Lunita – I love the classic Balearic styling – off white leather with a rose gold strap for a bit of added bling

The Solillas range exclusive  to office? The Palm print – its the first time we’ve created a bespoke pattern design and the first time we’ve used a leather lined fabric. It’s different, effective and I’m looking forward to experimenting more with this technique for our SS15 collection.

People often associate the Balearics with a hedonistic lifestyle, for party animals. But you can often be found there with your family, which location gets your ‘family’ seal of approval? : All of them! The Balearics are the ultimate destination for family holidays. We love strolling around the historic old towns – Ciutadella in Menorca and Dalt Vila in Ibiza. I love the romantic architecture, the beautiful shops and the amazing Mediterranean restaurants where kids are more than welcome – family is so important to the locals. For time at the beach, Cala Galdana in Menorca provides a traditional setting with a stunning shallow water cove and well kept sands.

You’ve had an incredibly busy past few years (not to mention having a baby as well), & the brand has been going from strength to strength: What are your hopes for this year & in the long term? : We are trialing a few things this year that I hope are a success & we can build on in the future. In the past, we have had a lot of requests for men’s Solillas so this year we have introduced a range designed specifically for men, which have a wider fit and a rustic recycled tyre sole. We have also collaborated with a number of Balearic artists to design a small range of t-shirts. We love working with local talent & hope to expand this range in the future to include more designs and products.

solillas, balearic, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

Various Balearic artist work displayed in the Boxpark store

Solillas, boxpark, shoes, sandals, fashion, style, cool bananas, cool bananas blog

A preview of the Solillas clothing range

The bottom line folks is this: If you only buy one pair of summer shoes this year: then they simply, without a shadow of a doubt, must be from these guys. You can purchase directly through their website HERE, or the exclusive Solillas OFFICE range HERE.

A tale of caution my lovelies, for when Solillas were stocked in Urban outfitters last year, they SOLD OUT.  They’re hot cakes these ‘cinderella slippers’, snap yours up before they’re gone. After all: if the shoe fits….buy them all! Don’t say I didn’t warn you……… 

 

 

 

 

 

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SuperBusyMum

Flirting with Felicities…

Flirting with Felicities

One of the many perks involved in being Mrs Cool bananas (apart from the ‘available on demand’ toddler cuddles), is that occasionally I’ll receive an invite to attend a rather trendy press launch. This was the case earlier in the week, when Felicities were hosting an evening showcasing some of their clients’ portfolios of work. Primarily I headed there in the anticipation to discover more about Keungzai: the contemporary, luxe brand aimed at mothers & mothers to be, created by Michelle Lee.

kegunzai, felicities, michelle lee, style, fashion, maternity, post maternity

Once you discover you’re pregnant, through to becoming a mother, I think it’s fair to say many of us struggle to maintain our sense of ‘self’ & ‘style’: Our shape is changing rather rapidly-something that is both awe inspiringly beautiful, yet slightly terrifying at the same time. I’m a fan of the ‘capsule’ wardrobe, so the prospect of having to buy tons of different clothes to sustain me throughout these multiple stages-was a bit of a nightmare. Not to mention it can be a rather expensive practice. Therefore, I have always advocated the importance of maintaining your individual ‘style’ over ‘fashion’ & buying a couple of investment pieces, that will stand the test of time & are versatile enough for this. This is the mantra I live by (whilst obviously staying within my budget). But I do think you’ll often ‘get what you pay for’ with the quality & longevity of the fabrics. So this is one of the key points I was impressed with Keungzai for: their range has plenty of scope for women of all shapes, sizes & stages of life. Other brands you’d have heard me mention here before, that fulfil my ‘mantra’ are Issabella Oliver, Baukjen & Hush (to name a few!).

There’s nothing quite like seeing items of clothing in the flesh: touching the luscious fabrics & exploring how they truly flow. So often when you browse online, a picture can’t always convey the true quality of the fabric. I have to say, I believe this brand has done a superb job: the pieces look beautiful online & the images shown capture all aspects of the line very clearly & true to how they appear on the naked eye. These two were the stand out pieces of the evening for me:

keungzai, michelle lee, felicities, dress, fashion, style, maternity& Here’s a ‘mash up’ of pictures I took from the event, that showcased a number of different Felicities’ clients:

Tramp in disguise

‘Tramp in Disguise’ This ‘cover up’ was beautiful.

Tramp in Disguise: This beautiful piece caught my eye, & pictured is Sini Moilanen (Designer & owner)

felicities

Felicities

Felicities

What are your Capsule wardrobe  go to brands? I love discovering new collections to add to my wish list!

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