It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

In The Netherlands, it's a tradition on 5th December, Sinterklass (Saint Nicholas), to receive a chocolate letter in the initial of your christian name.  Originally, they were made of pastry but in the 20th century they changed to being made from chocolate.

My in-laws, although Dutch, have for a number of years now lived in the South of France and we're currently here visiting them for Christmas. When we arrived at their house late Saturday night, these chocolate letters welcomed us on our pillows - one for me and one for Tall Brown Fox.  A delayed Sinterklass gift.

A lovely way to start Christmas, as up until that point, it hadn't felt very festive.  Probably because it's been feeling more like Autumn than Winter.

On Sunday we went to the local shopping centre and we were greeted with sparkling window displays. 

Aren't they dazzlingly festive?

On the way back, as evening fell, we stopped off at a nearby village to enjoy the lights decorating the streets.

This village had gone for a silver and blue theme.

A towering tree of bright lights reaching up into the night sky!

As we walked up the main street, we heard loud bangs which pretty much scared the living daylights out of us, before we realised that the village was enjoying a public, festive fireworks display.  

The village had hosted a free, family friendly afternoon with food stalls, bouncy castles, music and traditional games, finished off with the fireworks display.  

Fortuitously, we had arrived just in time for the show!


up go the rockets!

On the next day, the Monday, we tootled off to a nearby town to soak up the atmosphere and visit the small Marché de Noël (Christmas market) there.

The guy roasting the chestnuts was clearly feeling the heat from the roasting machine.

Jumper off but clearly the Santa hat had to stay on!

Most towns will put up a small ice rink.

We spent a few hilarious minutes watching all the kiddies either zooming around the rink at speeds faster than the speed of light, or unceremoniously falling over every 2 seconds.  There didn't seem to be much in between these two extremes of skating!

More decorations outside the shops.  

A rather chic looking polar bear with matching hat and scarf.

And decorations hanging from balconies.

Hope you enjoyed my petite tour of the local decorations.

I'll be back after Christmas with more style posts.
In the meantime, I wish my readers and fellow bloggers 

 A Very Merry Christmas!

Linking with

Seasonal Skinny Wk 16: Tesselation Celebration! Mint & Silver

This is a story of tesselation, triangles and tails (of the wild and fossil kind).  As it's nearly Christmas, I've lots of goodies to be bestowing on you - I know, I'm in a generous mood!  I hope you have a vat of steaming, mulled wine, or a hot chocolate, or any beverage of your choice to keep you fortified on our journey.

Now did I have you at tesselation?  Don't worry, we'll be getting onto that shortly but patience my friend!  Let's first muse upon the outerwear before digging deeper into the innerwear.

I bought this coat probably about 15 years ago.  Back then, I was living in North London and on my way to and from the station every day, I'd walk past a small boutique.  One week, this coat was in the window and I'd press my nose up against said window, lusting after the colour, lusting after the texture, lusting after the style.

I mean, look at that collar, for goodness sake!

Each day, small voice of reason would say; 'You don't need, you can't afford another coat.  Move along.'

By the end of the week though, I abandoned small voice of reason in a desolate car park in an unidentified area, and went in the shop.  As soon as the coat was on, I knew I'd be leaving with it! Sometimes, heart needs to win over head; even though it was true, I didn't NEED another coat, and at the time, I certainly couldn't AFFORD another coat.

I wear this coat on high days and holidays, rather than everyday.  I impersonate a snail on work days with my backpack strapped to my back and for those days, I have a workhorse of a navy blue, puffa coat to keep me warm.

Right, enough of this posing, we've an exhibition to get to!  Come along now.

Let's go for a stroll down the road, to one of my favourite buildings in London. No dawdling, crocodile file please, hold hands.

I give you The Natural History Museum.  Doesn't it have the magnificent look of a Cathedral? 
Except it's a Cathedral to learning and exploring, collecting and curating.    

Why are we here?  I was taking Tall Brown Fox to the 51st Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.  It's become something of a birthday tradition for him.  He's an 'almost, but not quite, Christmas baby', meaning his birthday can often get lost in a mound of tinsel and mince pies.  

To make his birthday memorable, we both took the day off work on Friday to celebrate his day early.


I just love all that brickwork - in some ways, it's an example of tesselation!

The building was cleaned a few years back and the colours of the brickwork are revealed in all their original glory.  It's wonderful how a building that is 134 years old, is now very on-trend.  The blue bricks match one of the two colours chosen by Pantone to be Colour of the Year 2016!  How cool is that?!?

If you're still sitting there thinking what the heck is tesselation, I thought you were going to explain. Well, here goes.  Do have a sip of your mulled wine or hot chocolate.  It's probably cooled down enough by now.

Of course, if you're a Maths boffin, you'll know what tesselation is.  It's using the same geometric shape, in a repeated pattern, covering the whole of a flat surface.  My silk shirt is an example of tesselation.  Then we have the triangles of my necklace which isn't technically tesselation but they tie in with the geometric pattern of my shirt, so I'm following a theme here!

Apologies for the fuzziness of some of the photos.  The photographer said the lighting inside the museum wasn't conducive to photographs. I would fire him but he's on a lifetime contract.  

Since I started this sartorial journey of the Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge, I'd been itching to wear this shirt, as I knew it'd be perfect with the Winter Seasonal Skinny but I'd saved it for this special occasion.  

As the shirt is slightly on the sheer side, I popped a black cami on underneath allowing me to keep the shirt open.  Most people wear shirts buttoned from the bottom up but I inverted the buttoning and buttoned from the top.  It's most artsy-fartsy.  We are at an exhibition after all!

Told you this story involved tails of the fossil kind.  Quite mind boggling and beautiful.


Someone said there was a big feck off fossil around here somewhere.  

Can't say I can find it.

Anyway, moving from fossils back to threads.  

A few close ups for you, showing in crisper detail the gorgeous pattern of the shirt and accompanying bling.  The shirt has a 3D feel, which sold it to me.  Reminds me of the graphic works that the Dutch artist, Escher was famous for.

And here's a final example of a mini tesselation - the laces creating a pattern in my shoes. A happy, yet random co-incidence that it's also the third time they've been featured on the blog!

I wore them in an Autumn Seasonal Skinny post - Kaleidoscope and then with my thrifted patterned trousers.

Before we went to see the photographs of the finalists and winners of the competition - here I am near the hanging poster for the exhibition - we soaked up the atmosphere of the great entrance of the Museum. 

That really translates as - I did some more posing!  No apologies for this.  It would've been rude to not take advantage of the serious upgrade of locale, from my normal ones of garden and carport!

When you have a dinosaur as your backdrop, you work it, dammit!  It's also quite helpful in giving you a sense of scale!

Pocket rocket me 
Big bad ass dino
Kick ass architecture of the glorious, grandiose, Romanesque kind. 

Not a strand of Christmas paper chains, just part of dino's tail!

Told you this story involved tails of the wildlife kind.

He's a big fella.  I thought I married a big fella at 6'4", but this one takes the prize.

I love that the chap on the right and I, are looking at big bad ass dino at exactly the same time!

Look at the width of the femur and the length of the tibia and fibula bones below it!  The dinosaur's that is, not mine.

The bones are almost as long as I am!

Seasonal Skinny from Dorothy Perkins Petite
Faux Fur Astrakhan Coat (old from an indie boutique).  Here's a Black Fuax Fur Astrakhan Coat
Monsoon Black Cami (old from e-bay)
Joy The Store Silk Geometric Shirt SS15
Joy The Store Fringe Bag
Oval & Rectangle Bracelet (from the Emporium of I Forget).  Here's a Red Stretch Bracelet from Accessorize.
New Look Silver Necklace. Here's a geometric Silver Necklace
TKMaxx Beret.  Here's a Green Wool Beret
Topshop Shoes SS15 - sold out  These Office Pointed Ghillies are currently in the sale

Looking earnest, stylish, knowing and academic after the exhibition, clutching my newly purchased desk diary, featuring some of the outstanding photos from the competition.  

Or possibly I'm pondering what I'll have for lunch.

It never lasts long, before I start to giggle!  There goes my fashionista credentials.

I'll be back later this week with another blog post, so do pop back.  I won't leave you bereft over Christmas; just in case you need a break from the endless repeats of every Christmas themed movie there's ever been.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year runs until 10th April 2016 at the NHM, before going on tour around the country and features over 100 truly extra-ordinary, beautiful and thought provoking images.

Linking with Visible Monday / Creative Blog Hop / Style Nudge / Garay Treasures / Confident Twosday / High Latitude Style / Turning Heads Tuesday / #iwillwearwhatilike / Fresh Fashion Forum /

Seasonal Skinny Wk 15: Turquoise Delight | + Top of the World Link-Up

Winter is the perfect opportunity to wear the rich, jewel colours and today we've not one, but two bursts of Turquoise delight, plus a link-up party with Nicole from High Latitude Style!

No, not Turkish Delight - Turquoise Delight!

Turquoise is one of my favourite all year colours.  It's bright for summer and bold for Winter.

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

As a Pilates teacher, you're often working in isolation, on your own, away from colleagues; unlike working in an office where you've no choice but to be surrounded by your fellow co-workers, even if you wanted to escape them!  Sure, I work at a studio with other teachers but you're focusing on your classes and clients and may only briefly interact with other colleagues.

So it was lovely when yesterday a teacher I work for, invited me and another colleague to an informal Christmas lunch; especially as the days of a big annual, corporate slap up Christmas party are long gone!  As I still had my evening teaching to go to following the lunch (meaning only 2, yes, only 2 Kir Royals were supped at lunch!), I needed my outfit to be easy to change in and out of, whilst fitting into that potentially, dreaded, sartorial minefield of - 'smart-casual'.

Should my smart be casually insouciant and 'quite frankly, not give a damn' or should my casual have expectations beyond it's status and cultivate an air of smartness about it?  
A minefield indeed.

I vetoed a skirt.  I never find tights to be a quick and easy garment to change in and out of.  I always seem to end up putting them on back to front, or inside out, or twisted round my ankles, when I'm in a hurry.

A tailored shirt, my Winter Seasonal Skinny Jeans, a sporty-looking, black, zip jacket and a little big of bling seemed to cover the bases of being casually smart, yet smartly casual.  Depending on which way you look at it!

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

This post should perhaps be subtitle 'French Fancies'.  Not only did we dine at a French restaurant but the zip jacket is from across the Channel, or La Manche as the Frenchies would say.  When we visit the in-laws over there, I always do a spot of shopping, as I do rather well on forays to the local boutiques.

small voice of reason laughs hysterically in the background.

'A spot?   Really?  You'd call filling up half your suitcase on the last trip in May, a spot of shopping?'

Well, er... yes... quite!  You see, over the years I've been regularly visiting France, I've come to know that French sizing is generally more flattering to my petite frame than many English brands.  Call me contrary but I prefer to buy garments where the sleeves aren't trailing on the floor, or the shoulders of jackets and shirts aren't falling down to my elbows!  I've learned to leave room in my suitcase for new purchases!

I bought the light padded jacket from Camaieu in Nice last Christmas and it's the perfect choice for when a tailored jacket would be too formal.  The leather-look horizontal piping across the top, along with the quilted chevron design makes it a more stylish choice than a cardigan

I try to wear as little black as possible in Winter.  I prefer to dress in colour which helps to offset the symptoms of Seasonal Affected Disorder that I unfortunately suffer from.  But it would be silly to avoid black entirely. With the richness of the turquoise and the wine, a little black is perfectly acceptable.

The turquoise shirt I've had for eons!  I bought it for tuppence (translation - next to nothing) in the staff shop, when I funded my student years working for Marks & Spencer on weekends.  The fact that's nearly 28 years ago, is testament to the quality of the shirt!

The double breasted design means there's none of that central gaping that can so often happen with single breasted shirts.  As I'd tucked in the shirt - it hangs too long for the jacket - I added a cheeky snakeskin belt for a hint of pattern.

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Hammered Silver Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

As we've hurtling with ever increasing speed to Christmas, I couldn't resist wearing my snowflake costume ring for some festive sparkle.

Although, with the un-seasonally mild weather at the moment, I'm more likely to see a flying pink pig than a real snowflake!

Accessorize Snowflake Ring, Hammered Silver Bracelet | Petite Silver Vixen

My turquoise tote was a sale bargain from the summer.  I'd seen it full price and had fallen in love with the colour but um'd and ar'd about buying another bag but when I saw it in the sale for only £8 it was a done deal!  I have 4 of these mini totes now in different colours; here's the Pumpkin Tote and the Mint Tote in the same design.

The shape of the Tote is perfect.  The wider bottom means you can fit an amazing amount in without having to lug a suitcase around with you and the size is spot on for my frame.   

New Look Mini Turquoise Tote, Marks & Spener Pointy Boots | Petite Silver Vixen

Seasonal Skinny from Dorothy Perkins Petite
Marks &Spencer Turquoise Shirt (so ancient I'm surprised it's still in tact!)
Camaieu Black Jacket A/W 15.  Here's a similar Quilted Jacket from them this season.
New Look Mini Tote
Hammered Silver Necklace & Bracelet from Jane Akester.  Also worn in the Summer when I went to The Proms
Accessorize Snowflake Ring.  Here's one that's slightly more expensive Snowflake ring
Steve Madden Snakeskin Belt from TKMaxx
Marks & Spencer Pointy Ankle Boots (old) although these Leather Ankle Boots look exactly the same

I'm off to devour a steak frites, mes amis.  Une femme has to keep up her appetite! 

À bientôt!  

Camaieu Jacket, Marks & Spencer Turquoise Shirt, Dorothy Perkins Petite Jeans | Petite Silver Vixen

Linking with High Latitude Style / Throwback Thursday / Fashion Should Be Fun / Flashback Fashion Friday / Fabulous Friday / Passion4Fashion / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures /

Now onto the fun of the link party!

And thanks to Nicole for having me as her co-host this week.

Nicole Mölders is married, has one cat, no kids. She is a fashion, and science enthusiast from Fairbanks, Alaska and the blogger of High Latitude Style – an Alaska fashion blog with science bits for the stylish 40+ woman. She shares how to dress stylishly on trend and shows that 40+ is way too young to give up having fun with fashion (and heels).

I am honored to introduce this week's co-host of Top of the World Style, Jacqueline at Petite Silver Vixen.  From London, UK, she's a 40+ style blogger who adores colour, print and textures.  She's a dab hand at finding bargains, especially shoes for her petite feet!  Take a minute and stop by her blog to say Hi.

#fashionover40 Top of the World Style weekly fashion linkup party cohost  @High Latitude Style @
Top of the World Style co-host Jacqueline at Petite Silver Vixen. Photo from her blog (2015)
#linkup #fashionlinkup #over40fashion | Top of the World Style linkup party logo | High Latitude Style |
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