Swiss Style on a Budget, Part One
Recently, Alan and I took a most excellent trip to Switzerland to visit my brother and his family. It was an action-packed little break full of sightseeing, BBQ’s, a rather disastrous stint at babysitting and a splendid outing to the amusingly titled Mount Titlis. Suffice to say, we were scared shitless going up Mount Titlis, but I'll save the breast of the tale for later. Let's crack on with what I wore on my smashing vacay!
When packing for this trip, I sensibly checked the weather forecast and noted to my dismay that there was going to be every kind of weather imaginable in Switzerland, including lots of my most hated weather - HOT SUN. For those who don't know, I absolutely HATE the sun with a vengeance. I know it provides a lot of useful functions including keeping us alive, but I despise it. I also hate summer fashion because it usually means revealing vast swathes of flab, shaving various parts of oneself and bronzing one's lily-white flesh with tanning chemicals. I keep reading lots of stuff online about body confidence and body positivity and while I totally approve of the concept, it's not an idea I think I'll be ready to embrace any time soon. I think there's a lot of pressure on women not only to conform to stereotypes of beauty, but also to flaunt their imperfections with pride on social media and I don't fall into either of these categories. I think it's fine to hate 90% of your body and not want to put raw and candid snaps of your fat arse on Instagram. Of course, I totally support people who do and have reached a point of acceptance with their bodies. I admire them in fact, but I'd rather just silently fume about my flaws, pretend my imperfections don't exist, do nothing about them and pray for winter when I can cover them up properly with layers.
So for my unnecessarily warm trip, I settled on outfits which were thin enough to stop major sweating, but contained enough fabric so I didn't need to flash more than two inches of flesh, or deal with any of that 'summer body' nonsense.
Of course, it wouldn't be one of my blogs without some sort of Primark garb, so let me present to you this smashing bell-sleeve top I got for a mere five pounds! Besides the cheap price-point, I am loving the stripe and floral combo and the fact it's loose and comfortable. The only problem with bell-sleeve tops is that they are not the most practical item of clothing the fashion Gods have ever invented. Yes, they are big and wide enough to hide pretty much anything up them, including sandwiches and small items of homeware, but man alive they are a nuisance when you're trying to eat. It takes real skill to keep them out of your soup and going to the bathroom is another problem entirely. Methinks they should be renamed 'bell-end' sleeves, as they are so completely ridiculous in every way.
I combined the bell-end top with this pair of floral cotton trews I recently picked up at a vintage kilo sale in Manchester. It's difficult to work out exactly how much they cost; I got 7 items of varying weights/sizes for £35 and as these kecks are quite light I assume they came in at under a fiver. I never try anything on, anywhere, ever, for previously mentioned lack of body confidence reasons, so it was lucky these fitted. I am usually pretty good at guessing whether things will fit though and once again, my instincts came up trumps. For an added pop of colour, I added a Primark belt and therupon was my completely covered up take on summer fashion. Footwear wise, I went for these sandals which are now on their FOURTH summer! These cost me a grand total of £10 from a sale at St.Johns market in Liverpool and I'm flabbergasted at how long they have lasted. No other shoes have gasted my flabber so much. I did buy some new ones recently, but needed to take a pair that could withstand long walks without rubbing and these little gems are like wearing comfy slippers.
I'm now able to constantly view the world through rose-tinted glasses thanks to these pink tinted sunnies here pictured on my visage. By visiting Primark and paying ONE POUND, you too can also see the world through a pleasing warm-toned filter without having to go on Photoshop. Of course, Switzerland doesn't need a filter on it to look beautiful, but it certainly helps back in the UK when one can stumble upon an unpleasant vista at a moment's notice. I've got them in yellow too and while they are undoubtedly more of a trendy face-furniture colour, the world isn't as pretty through jaundiced toned glass.
I tend not to bother with jewellery in the summer as it annoys me when I'm hot and sticky, instead I prefer to add a little accessory interest with a headscarf. This colourful silk number was hand-dyed by my friend at a facility she works at where making accessories is considered therapeutic. I'm considering doing something really bad too, so I can sit around making scarves all day.
This look proved to be perfect for the first day of the trip, I was able to maintain a semi-normal body temperature range in rather muggy heat and I also felt comfortable and relaxed in the aesthetically pleasing fabrics. I covered the bits I don't like, the bits I couldn't be bothered doing anything to improve and some wobbly out-of control bits, whilst still feeling like I'd doffed my cap to summer. The outfit stood me in good stead through getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to take my niece and nephew to school, wandering around Basel with Alan, enjoying a superb BBQ skillfully curated by my bro and spending a good portion of time sat watching cartoons with my niece in a tent in the living room.
By tent, I mean a ramshackle contraption fashioned from kitchen chairs, bean bags and blankets. Guys, you really HAVE to try this. I never imagined it could be so relaxing to watch In The Night Garden from a makeshift fort at two in the afternoon. Sometimes five year olds have the best ideas and it is totally worth arsing about with the furniture to get it set up. I could have gone to sleep right there, hypnotised by the bright cartoon colours and nonsensical gibberish spoken by Makka Pakka and Iggle Piggle. Who even knew you could have a psychedelic experience every afternoon for the price of a TV licence? I think I'm pretty in touch with my own inner-child, but I love hanging out with my niece and nephew and embracing the sides of childhood that I may have forgotten or become sidetracked from. Tents in the living room are one such thing I no longer practice on a regular basis, but I intend to firmly schedule them back into my calendar from now on.
Whilst in the tent, I was also requested to explain why one has to eat proper meals at teatime and not sweets. It's a timely questioned that has baffled many philosophers through the ages and sadly, I didn't have a logical answer except to say, "You just do". I then raised issues of being healthy and getting vitamins, which fell on deaf ears, so to regain Auntie points I advised that when one is an adult, one can eat whatever one wants for tea. "Like an ice cream?" my wide-eyed little tent buddy expectorated. "Yes!" I replied. "Or even TWO ice-creams".
It was only when I returned home that I realised I do not take full advantage of being an adult at all. Why do we dream all our childhood of eating whatever we want for tea and then stick to sensible food when we grow up? I knew this foolhardy attitude had to change and I've made it my mission since I got back to have whatever I want for tea at least once a week. Last night I had two ice-creams and a glass of lemonade, a meal I was so proud of, I took to Facebook to announce it, whereupon it swiftly received 21 likes. I'm living the dream folks, we all are but we just don't realise it and I hope I've done my niece proud.
So that's a wrap for my first day in Switzerland, tune in next time to see what I wore for a mixed day of boat-tripping on the Rhine, resolving paddling pool disputes and traversing the steep learning curve of putting two kids to bed.
Love Laura X