To Follow or Unfollow, That is The Question

Jul 29, 2011

OK Lovelies

As I reached my first year blogging, I started think about the bloggers I have unfollowed,or refused to follow in that time.
I'm not sure if I have been fair, but here's my reasoning. Tell me what you think?

i)You can't be bothered to acknowledge your commenters!
OK, this is the "biggie" for me. I used to follow a very popular blog (I won't mention the name as many of you still follow her). I used to comment religiously because her posts were really good. But "hostess" NEVER, EVER acknowledged anyone's comments. C'mooooooon!! In this day and age when everyone is so "time-starved" surely to just thank the people who have taken the time to respond is not asking too much. Isn't it like asking people to your party, and then ignoring everyone?

Her number of commenters aren't that big, so even if "hostess" doesn't want to respond to each one, just a general thank you at the end of each post isn't too much to ask. A couple of times I e:mailed "hostess" about a particular post, and again she never responded. However, when she wanted me to advertise on her site, I received incessant e:mails all beautifully and sweetly written!! Not the kind of person I would want contact with in the real world. Thankfully with cyber-acquaintances they can be deleted too easily with just a press of a button, which is why I think more effort is needed to nurture these friendships.If you can't be bothered, neither can I?

ii) Backlink Baddies:
You only leave bland responses on a post simply so you can leave a backlink back to your post. Isn't that like gate-crashing someone's party and handing out your calling/business card? (sorry, we are back at the party again!) Usually I spot the same bland comment on a number of posts, by the same person, and it's very clear you haven't even read the post!

iii)I'm scared of you:
Yes, on your blog posts, you ignite the grenade, and then stand back and watch your commenters pull each others hair out. Not the kind of tribe I wish to belong too

iv) Ouch!:
You leave nasty comments on people's blogs. I'm all for discussion and different opinions (and love when someone plays devils advocate), but how you present your opinion will impact on whether I follow or press delete! Thankfully, I never encountered this. As an ex-Criminal Psychologist I would like to think I am a "goodish" judge of character ;-)

v)Originality passed you by:
I'm talking about the bloggers who only post image after image from the glossy magazines. C'mon! If I wanted to see all the images from Vogue, I would have bought it. Of course if it fits in with your post, that's a different issue. But if it's just the images with a "wow" thrown in here and there, you will have lost me.

So there you have it. Am I being to harsh? I just think we are all so pushed for time, that if I am going to spend precious minutes reading your blog, there has to be a good reason.

This means that all the followers I do follow, I seriously LOVE! You have all earned your place on my blogroll, and I appreciate each and every one of you for:
*the smiles you bring into my day
*the recommendations you have given me whether it be for a book, a film, a recipe....whatever
*belly laughs first thing in the morning (you know who you are)
*nuggets you planted in my mind, that really made me think
*escapism with your gorgeous images, art, story-telling (nothing better than breaking up the monotony of the day), and most important of all
*friendships without borders

Are there anymore "nasties" that should be added to the "hit-list"? Am I being too harsh? Would love to hear your thoughts.

p.s don't forget to enter our Giveaway in the previous blog post!

Birthday Blog GIveaway!

Jul 27, 2011

OK friends, in honour of this blogs 1st birthday this is our giveaway:

I have selected the first bracelet (in black) as I figured everyone likes black!This cuff is really, really popular in our boutique, and looks good in summer or winter.

So here are the rules for entering the giveaway (you have to work a little for this one my friends):

i)Become a Blog follower and leave a comment.

ii)Follow us on Twitter (link on the right side bar) and leave a comment

iii) Follow us on Facebook (link on the right sidebar) and leave a comment.

iv) Grab our blog button for your blog (on the right side bar) and leave a comment.

(You don't have to do all 4, you can do whichever one you feel compelled to do).

OK, here's the caveat. Our blog followers must increase by at least 50 (from 106 to 156) OR our Twitter followers must increase from 1,197 to at least 1,300. Only if we hit ONE of these numbers will the draw be made on Sunday 7 August at midnight (CET). So this is what I mean when I say you have to work for this giveaway; work persuading your friends to follow our blog or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Is that fair?

Please may I ask entrants to play fair. Don't just become a follower until the draw and then opt out; we are watching you ;-)

Good luck my lovelies. May the best girl win!

p.s competition is open worldwide!
p.p.s a "thank you" post to all my wonderful followers/blog friends will follow shortly.

Cocoa Power

Jul 19, 2011

Well as this blog is supposed to be about all things decadent (altho’ I do digress more often than not!), I thought this post would be on something most of us would agree is decadent............CHOCOLATE! But we are talking about high quality chocolate here, not the chemically-enhanced rubbish most of us snatch on the run.

It’s the Swiss, Belgians and French who spring to mind when considering the world’s great chocolate makers. But it is in fact the Spanish who should be given a congratulatory slap on the back for bringing cacao beans back from the New World in the 16th century.

Chocolate soon became very fashionable in Spanish high society and during the 17th Century, the Spanish court was renowned throughout Europe for its expertise in making hot chocolate sipped from dainty chocolate cups with saucers.

Today Spanish eat a huge amount of chocolate especially in Cataluña where they eat double the quantity to the rest of Spain. This could be because of their close proximity to France, and because of the port were it was previously brought into the country.

Petritxol is Barcelona's "chocolate street". The cafes which specialise in hot chocolate are always packed with customers on a Sunday afternoon.

Typical Sunday breakfast in our house is churros and chocolate.

These are like hot doughnuts sprinkled with sugar; as if these aren't lethal enough you then proceed to dip into thick hot chocolate!! Yes, a heart attack just waiting to happen. But you will die happy!

Where Hubby and I go to partake in this Sunday sin!

Inside the "den of iniquity".

Chocolate shoes! Does it get any better than this?

So friends, what's your poison? Is it chocolate, or is it something else equally as decadent?

p.s please take a look at the blog Hampton Hostess, and see the stunning photos of my adopted city where she holidayed recently.

No need to go Native!!

Jul 13, 2011

OK, so you don’t have to be a Native American to be able to wear one of this summers on-trend gems;turquoise.

There are really no limits to the functionality and utility of turquoise pieces, although we all can't walk around looking like Cher (as much as I would love too!).

For me turquoise epitomises everything that is summer; Mediterranean seas, crystal clear waters off the Greek islands, hot, sultry days in Ibiza.........I could go on.

For this reason turquoise is my “go-to” gem in Summer, but I never wear it during the winter months (altho’ I do have customers that do wear it all year round and they always look fab!)

The great thing about turquoise is that it goes with almost any color wonderfully, especially since there are quite a few different colors of natural turquoise.
Turquoise can come in all shades of green and blue, as well as yellow and brown. There are also other gemstones that are called “White Turquoise” which obviously would go with any outfit as they are white and black. The most common color of course is the traditional turquoise blue or aqua “Sky Blue” colored turquoise. This color is so beautiful and is the most highly desired.

Turquoise jewellery looks great with jeans and a t-shirt, but this summer many celebs have been seen using turquoise at evening events.

There is no one best way to wear turquoise pieces, but if you don’t want to look like a Navajo Indian, then I suggest you select carefully the piece you want to wear, and keep it to a minimum.

Crete pendant: This is definitely a "statement" piece composed of a vibrant turquoise drop framed by a hand-crocheted gold border

I know many would disagree with me and say, mixing the colors up makes one look more artistic and ethnic (and this is true if you are about to don your wellies and head off to Coacharella or Glastonbury, then I say "Go girl!"). But if you are over 40, I would say “don’t go there”. You will end up looking like someone’s spinster Aunt who still thinks she is 25 when in reality is 65 (you know the Aunt who always embarrasses you when she starts dancing at family weddings!).

Others also say that by not wearing matching pieces one appears more travelled and worldly. I ,on the other hand feel that one good piece makes the wearer look more sophisticated. Whichever look you choose, you will certainly be bang on trend this summer with anything turquoise .

Kensie Earrings-bright blue stunners composed of faceted turquoise stones interwoven with gold wire to create a mosaic effect Noelle Necklace: Stunning pendant composed of a delicate strand of grey freshwater pearls leading to a stunning drop framed in gold crotchet

All featured pieces are from our boutique and come with a 20% discount until the end of July.

Weekend Hugs!

Jul 9, 2011

I don't usually post only images. But I couldn't resist this one!

So sending all my wonderful blog friends warm, weekend hugs from Spain. You ALL mean so much to me as I approach 1 year of blogging; I can't even begin to tell you how much joy your blogs,comments and friendship have brought me.

Hugs to you all!

(A Giveaway to celebrate our 1st birthday will be announced shortly).

My Baby has Grown Up!

Jul 7, 2011

Well I can't believe that I have been blogging for "nearly" 1 year (about 10 months) and I never thought I would get so wrapped up in the blogging world, not to mention some of the wonderful friends I have made (but that's for another post).

When I started blogging, my blog was just seen as an extension of my boutique; it was functional and served a purpose . But then something strange started to happen. I started experiencing "blog envy!" Yes I believe it now is a medical condition (at least in my house) and strange things started to happen.
I would waste hours just browsing some of these gorgeous blogs, wishing my baby had been born more attractive ( "she" really was ugly, there was no getting away from it!). I was starting to feel like the "poor relation" within my blogging group. I didn't even have a "button" to share when some of my blogging friends asked for it; you hear the violins playing in the background?

But I kept telling myself that content was more important. But subconsciously I was no longer buying into that little chestnut.

So I conducted a small survey amongst my LinkedIn contacts asking them for their opinions. (I couldn't conduct the survey amongst my blogging friends, as they were the source of the "little green monster" that was constantly perched on my shoulder).

Most of the men from my LinkedIn contact group thought the blog was fine as it was; functional, simple, got the job done. However, the women were definitely coming from a different place. And as one contact/friend said "Van, you are in the business of glamour, and your blog doesn't depict this!" That was it. The die had been cast. It was time for some surgery.

Enter, Danielle Moss my fairy Blog-mother. I'm not sure how I found out about Danielle, I only had a scribbled note in my business journal that said "Contact her!"

And so our relationship began. She has the patience of a saint and listened patiently when I sent her what now seem like ludicrous ideas. She never laughed (well not out-right), but gently guided me to what you are looking at now. Thank God she never listened to any of my suggestions! I only knew I wanted something classy and simple, with not too many colours. Danielle waved her wand, and here is the finished piece.

I am SO happy now. I feel I can compete with the "big glam-guns" (don't be modest, you know who you are ;-)

I feel this is more a representation of who I am and what my boutique represents, (more than the Blogger template did!) and more importantly I have a gorgeously cute button. Please grab my button if you want to make a proud mummy cry.

Danielle, still has some tweaking to do, but I couldn't wait to unveil the new look.

I would love your opinions and to hear what you think . One friend asked me what's the "divas" name. She looks like a Lola to me. What do you think?

Short Shrift!

Jul 2, 2011

It is July in Spain and savagely hot where I am, but etiquette rules of dressing still seem to occur even in this heat, and never melt away. One of them is wearing shorts/beach attire on the streets.

Women after a certain age i.e 30, never wear shorts on the streets. Spanish women still consider shorts to go shopping or run errands as truly unsightly, and they will not even run to the corner shop in a pair of shorts; even less so in the cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. Shorts away from the beach scream “foreigner” to Spanish women.

Typical attire for running errands in the summer

Unfortunately, it is the expat crowd that opt for shorts or even less clothing whilst away from the coast.
I get truly embarrassed when I see expats walking in supermarkets, or eating in restaurants (albeit by the coast) in bikini tops, men without tops etc. Truly disgusting!!! Why do Northern Europeans insist on doing this? Apart from being damn unsightly, it is so unhygienic. Northern Europeans/expats would never dream of walking around a supermarket in just their bikini and sarong at home, so why do it in Spain? When I have asked expat friends why they insist on doing it, the stock response is “because it’s hot!” Spanish women also feel the heat especially in the cities, but they would still never walk around like this.

Shopping in Madrid. I just love her smile!

In fact when I am at the beach, I can spot which women in a restaurant are Spanish and which are from Northern Europe (in particular the UK and Germany). Spanish women will always be covered in a pretty loose dress to have lunch. They never wear flip-flops into a restaurant (only on the sand),so they will have changed their shoes, taken off their sun hats/visors etc, and spruced up their hair before even entering a restaurant.
And despite the heat they always look remarkably cool and unflusterd.

Princess Letizia strolling in Mallorca during the summer, and not a pair of shorts in sight!

What do you think about wearing shorts or beach attire away from the coast, or in establishments near the coast i.e restaurants, banks, supermarkets etc. Am I getting on my high horse for nothing?

Would love to hear your views.