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Life Indoors: Our favourite Audible books and podcasts

By April 3, 2020 Editor's Picks, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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Now is the perfect time to catch up on new literature or expand the mind learning something new. Here is a selection of  our favourite Audible books and podcasts we’ve been listening to recently. Some are very new and others are goody oldies- hopefully, there will be something of interest for everyone!

Audible Books:

 

Salt path

The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn, Read by Anne Reid

On the occasion that you are feeling a little sorry for yourself, which we are all guilty of doing especially these days, we recommend listening to The Salt Path. A middle aged couple become homeless and decide to walk 630 miles of the South West coastal path. Their story is one of courage and resilience in a time of utter despair. It is an uplifting and positive inspiration to us all at this time and shows the true healing power of nature. The landscape feels like a character in itself and the depictions of nature will leave you planning your own walks along this coastline once we are all able to go out again.

Listen to it here

 

Tina Fey

Bossy Pants, Tina Fey, Read by Tina Fey

A hilarious telling of comedian Tina Fey’s life to date. With unrelenting wit and self deprecating humour, Fey tells all in a series of essays that jump from her awkwardly funny early years, to weird and wonderful anecdotes from her career on Saturday Night live to her experiences in love and marriage. Read this when you need cheering up and are looking for laugh out loud genius!

 Listen to it here

 

Long petal

A Long Petal of the Sea, Isabelle Allende. Read by Edoardo Ballerini

A love letter to her native Chile, this historical fiction, tells a story spanning decades as a group flees the Spanish Civil war for Chile on a boat chartered by the poet, Pablo Neruda. We follow along with the characters as they experience the trials of a forced departure from their homes to a life in a new land, where old and new cultures clash. The proof of Allende’s skill is in her masterful depiction of our humanity- describing moments of tenderness, love and connection against such a stark and desperate backdrop.

 Listen to it here

 

Daring

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown. Read by Brene Brown

With worldwide renown, Brene Brown’s books on embracing vulnerability and imperfection are a beam of light for our times. With all the uncertainty in the world at the moment, listening to her explain the need to be courageous is so apt for this difficult period we are going through. It can be easy to hide from our emotions, or feel shame when feeling anxiety and worry, especially when others may seem much worse off. However, listening to this book, Brene Brown tells us in her reassuring Texan drawl, that nothing is more human than to be ‘all up in your feelings’ and by daring to communicate where we are at, we become more open to an infinite power to feel empathy for others and to be gentle with ourselves.

 Listen to it here

 

Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by Stephen Fry

When a great classic of literature like Sherlock Holmes is paired with the excellent Stephen Fry’s rich and mellow narration you have a truly exquisite pairing. Fry brings Holmes and Watson to life in all their essence and we highly recommend this book to both the devout Sherlock Holmes fans and also to those dabbling for the first time into the books. Either way it is a treat to follow along this classic British detective story.

 Listen to it here

 

Podcasts

 

This american life

This American Life

If you are new to the world of podcasts, then we recommend podcast Hall of Fame, This American Life. Each week the podcast brings a range of stories around a certain theme from politics, history, comedy to our favourite, the everyday human experience. It is in this last area that the podcast really shines when a very normal and seemingly not that interesting topic can take up a life of its own and pull you under its spell. It is the very normal element of the storyline that often has the biggest draw, making it so relatable and fun to listen to.  This is an easy podcast to become addicted to!

Listen to it here

 

Alarmist

The Alarmist

As we live through our own crisis, some among us may wish to fulfill a dark, morbid desire to learn more about catastrophes through the centuries (as evident by the huge rise in viewings of disaster related shows on Netflix) Enter, The Alarmist. A podcast that looks at disasters and catastrophes through a lighthearted, comedic lens, as they happened through the years and tries to pinpoint the cause and who might be to blame. Told with lashes of humour, this is the perfect listening when things are all getting a bit overwhelming and too serious.

Listen to it here 

 

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Australian Birth Stories

This one may be a surprise choice, but there is so much of interest on this podcast that is relevant far beyond mums to be. Hosted by the gentle and soothing voice of Sophie Walker, each week she invites a guest to speak about her experience of pregnancy and birth.  Far from the typical scenes of birth in movies, the episodes delve into the very different journeys that women have in bringing life into the world.   Part educational (you will leave armed with a suitcase of birth related trivia),  but also part inspirational.  Aside from the obvious physical aspect of birth, the podcast explores the mental fortitude that women display as they venture into birth and the relationships that they depend on to get through this life altering event. It is fascinating and empowering listen but also a testament to human will and spirit.

 Listen to it here

 

desert

Desert Island Discs

This one is a British treasure with episodes going back on Radio 4 since, 1942.  The premise is simple, each week guests are castaway to a Desert island and they must choose 8 songs, a book and a luxury item to take with them. Since the show became a podcast, we have the opportunity to dive into the archive, listening as guests from a variety of backgrounds from politics to theatre, science and philosophy, discuss their lives and the music which has shaped them. Despite lots of episodes to listen, the true magic of the show is its ability to continue to remain fresh and engaging every time!

Listen to it here 

 

pet

Teacher’s Pet

If you love a true crime story, then this is the one for you! The series follows the disappearance of a woman in Australia in 1982, whose husband seems more and more suspicious as time passes (his young lover for instance moves into the family home right after the disappearance!). The storytelling unfolds in an enthralling way, as episode by episode new information pertaining to the case is appearing in real time (from the audience no less) that brings more twists and turns to the case. A captivating one to listen to!

 Listen to it here


 

This post is part of a Les 100 Ciels blog series titled, Life Indoors. Each week we will be posting on a range of topics to inspire you as you carry on your life from indoors. With the Covid-19 virus spreading around the world, the vast majority of us will be living vastly quieter lives and it is clear that now more than ever before, the importance of focusing on our shared humanity and community is integral. We are committed to continue to engage and support our community. If there is any topic you’d like us to write about, do get in touch and we’ll include it on our blog if we can. With love, The Les 100 Ciels Team

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Spring Playlist: The best tracks to listen to this Spring

By March 5, 2020 IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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This month, Spring finally arrives and to celebrate the arrival of some warmer weather, we bring you our Spring Playlist, full of tracks that will bring a little joy to your day. We’ve concentrated on female musicians to commemorate International Womens’ Day on March 8th. Enjoy listening and let us know in the comments section below any of your recommendations!

 LISTEN NOW

1. Cranes in the Sky, Solange

2. Oblivion, Grimes

3. Everybody Says Don’t- Barbara Streisand Back to Broadway

4.Take me Higher, Diana Ross

5. Tightrope, Janelle Monae, Big Boi

6. New Soul, Yael Naim

7. Walkin on Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves

8. I wanna dance with somebody, Whitney Houston

9. Light on, Maggie Rogers

10. I say a little prayer, Aretha Franklin

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Easy Gift Wrapping ideas

By December 12, 2019 EVENTS, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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Today’s post is brought to you by our graphic designer, Alicia, also known as the Queen of DIY. If you love buying Christmas presents but hate having to wrap them, her tips on gift wrapping will be just what you need to create gifts that are so beautiful they won’t want to open them!

 

Alicia

Hi Everyone,

If I had to give one piece of advice when wrapping presents it would be to not get too worried about it. I would say the majority of people are just glad to be receiving a gift and won’t be too critical of your wrapping. Having said that, it is very nice to receive a beautifully presented gift, so I’ve tried to focus on a few ways to approach gift wrapping that will hopefully have a little something for everyone’s tastes and needs.

General tips on gift wrapping

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Choose quality wrapping paper to avoid rips and tears to the paper. Thicker paper tends to be more durable.

I recommend using your imagination and go one step further than just wrapping paper. An extra touch like ribbon, twine, string, feathers, or tiny ornaments can add lots of texture and interest to your wrapped gift. The possibilities are endless but adding these items can elevate your gift from an ordinary looking gift to something quite special.

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Image from: Half Baked Harvest

If you’re using tape, let it only be clear adhesive tape. Nothing is worse than a gift wrapped with brown tape!

Use natural elements

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One of my favourite things to do when gift wrapping is to incorporate natural elements into the wrapping. I find this to be a very pretty, inexpensive way to prepare gifts. Dried leaves, acorns or sprigs of fir and holly give such a beautiful touch to a present. If using these items I tend to stick with simple, plain wrapping paper so that the natural elements really stand out. To make it extra Christmasy, I often include dried fruit and spices such as dried oranges and cinnamon as they give off such a warming, cosy scent.

Do the world some good and recycle

As lovely and festive as Christmas is, it is also a time of huge waste and consumerism. An good way to tackle this is to be creative and recognise that there are lots of ways to reuse items in your home to create beautiful wrapping for your gifts.

newspaper1

• Newspaper is one of the best examples of this. Collect old newspapers you have lying around the house and use this to replace traditional wrapping paper. If you want to spruce it up a bit, you can paint shapes on to the newspapers in traditional red or gold colours and wrap it with ribbon.

Box-Wrap

• Fabric scraps are another excellent and novel gift wrapping idea. Old cushion cover fabric or printed scarves can make the most beautiful wrapping. Wrap up your gift in the fabric and tie with ribbon or why not delve further into the world of craft and try out the Japanese art of fabric wrapping called Furoshiki.

 

Dealing with awkward shapes

Sometimes your presents don’t come in the most wrapping conducive shapes, for example a sports equipment or a teddybear. One of the easiest ways to deal with those oddly shaped presents is to use a box. Any box will do, ones with lids tend to be nicer, but even a cardboard box would work because you can decorate the outside. Some ideas for decorating a plain box could be, wrapping the entire box with wrapping paper orwrapping  it with a huge ribbon which will make such a statement under a Christmas tree.

 

Create-your-own-gift-box-this-Holiday-Season

If you’re determined to that wrap that present with wrapping paper, there are lots of tutorials on the web showing step by step instructions to some of the most common, awkward shapes. I found this website helpful in the past.

Well, I hope that these ideas have been helpful and given you some new ideas to add to your gift wrapping skills for Christmas and beyond.  Giving gifts is an act of love and care for people in your life and it is so nice to create a moment of pleasure and enjoyment for another when they receive a beautifully wrapped gift. Good luck with the wrapping!

Happy holidays to you all!

Alicia xx

 

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The History of Cashmere

By November 5, 2019 FASHION, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION, Travel
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Cashmere has a long history going back many hundreds of years. The origins of this natural fibre comes from the cold, mountainous regions of China, Mongolia, India, Turkey and Afghanistan. For centuries, local people sought the hircus goats for the fibres of their coats that were long, silky soft and warm to help the animals survive the harsh conditions of winter. The fibres were combed off the goats and made into blankets that were prized for their superb warming ability. Early written accounts in the 15th century, describe the high quality of fibre from the kashmir goats of the Kashmir region. Thus the name Kashmir stuck and for many years Kashmir yarn was traded within the region.

Fast forward to the 18th century and the rise of the Imperial powers. Traders brought kashmir items back along the Silk Road from China to Europe and the Americas bringing much excitement. Initially kashmir was available exclusively to royalty and the elite members of society. It was considered the height of luxury and cashmere shawls or ‘pashminas’ particularly were a symbol of status and the pinnacle of a fashionable aristocratic woman. Even Napoleon was reputed to gift his wife Empress Josephine pashminas leading to a large and famous collection of pashminas.

The story of cashmere was advanced considerably, when in the 19th century interest by European manufacturers turned to creating mechanisms that could replicate the production of cashmere fibres into yarn as was witnessed in the East. Areas such as Scotland became powerhouses of cashmere production and a new era for cashmere was born. Cashmere rapidly gained popularity, particularly the cashmere sweater and twin set, sweater and cardigan- items that everyone wanted to have and show off. This would have perhaps continued, however popularity began to dwindle during the 1980s when cashmere was appropriated by high end designer brands who marketed cashmere as a luxury, highly expensive quality only accessible to the ultra wealthy.

In the last 15 years, cashmere has seen yet another shift, appearing on the high street for much lower prices. The proliferation of cashmere has meant a renewed increase in popularity, however mass production has also meant it is difficult to ascertain quality. There are now many brands claiming to sell cashmere, however the product is in reality a blend of cashmere and other fibres to achieve an inexpensive product or a lower grade, short haired cashmere item.

It is clear that cashmere has had many twists and turns in its history and it is hard to say what will be the next chapter for this yarn especially with the rise of mass production of the quality. What do you think? Do you own any cashmere? We are probably a bit biased here at Les 100 Ciels, but we do believe there isn’t anything quite like 100% pure cashmere-it is so soft and comforting to the touch and its warming qualities are undeniable- it is truly something to cherish..

Want to learn more about cashmere quality? Read more about this exquisite yarn here.

 

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Autumn Playlist 2019

By October 11, 2019 IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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Are you looking for some music to take you through autumn? Browse our chilled Autumn playlist for our favourite music to listen to on cosy evenings or lazy weekends, featuring new releases and some of our of older loves.

Listen to the playlist here

1. Drive by Oh Wonder
2. Autumn Leaves by Ed Sheeran
3. Youth by Daughter
4. Shadow Children by Mindy Gledhill
5. Lionhearted by Billie Marten
6. River by Leon Bridges
7. Atlas Hands by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
8. Pretty Thoughts by Galimatias, Alina Baraz
9. Ophelia by The Lumineers
10. Heart’s on Fire by Passenger

What’s your favourite songs to listen to during the autumn months?

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Autumn Winter 2019 Fashion Trends

By August 23, 2019 Editor's Picks, FASHION, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
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As we near the end of summer, it’s that time when we start thinking about the arrival of the new season and inevitably our wardrobe. Today we’re highlighting some of the most exciting fashion trends for the Autumn/ Winter 2019 period so you’ll be ready and in the know once the season begins!

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1. Utilitywear

Yes , it is back again! Utility wear is one of those trends that comes back again and again. It is reminder that you can never go wrong with some utility inspired clothing in your wardrobe. For the coming season, try the trend in a neutral palette such as head to toe tones of brown and beige or go for the statement utility wear jacket or coat that you will last for years to come.

 

florals 2

 

2. Floral Noir

Florals, a summer favourite, have been appropriated for the colder months this season. All florals will be big this coming season, but unlike summer flowers, the trend leans towards a brooding, romantic style- think deepest-red roses stumbled upon in a forgotten garden in the dead of night. We love this trend as there is lots of room to transition from the summer months.

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3. Neon Brights

If you thought that neon bright colours were for the hot summer months you’d be wrong! This autumn/ winter we will be seeing neons in all shades and we’re pretty sure you will be seeing some head to toe neon looks prowling the streets day or night! If you love the idea, but it all seems a bit too much, consider adding just a pop of neon to your wardrobe. Neon shoes, accessories or trim details on your clothing are the perfect nod to a season trend without the fear of being mistaken for a road sign!

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4. Luminescent

Metallics were all over the runways, especially in gold and silver tones. They appeared in full metallic looks or sparkling separates. Metallics can add that extra texture and brightness to your outfit and is much easier than you would think to go from day to night. Pair an iridescent faux collar on a simple grey sweater and you’ve instantly vamped up your look.  You can also go big with the trend and wear contrasting metallics for a bold, statement look.

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5. Sharp Suiting

This season, the revival of tailoring is back and here to stay. From menswear inspired suits to waist cinching, slim and trim designs, there’s a lot of variety built into the trend. Choose your favourite and get the look! If you’re tired of wearing same old suits, why not try wearing a silhouette you’ve never worn before or add  your own unique touches, such as extreme shoulder pads (also a trend this season) or details like brooches or embroidery.

 

What trends do you love? Whether you love all of them or just a few, the trick with fashion trends is to just have fun with them. Don’t take it all too seriously and remember to make it your own. In the end, there is nothing quite like personal style to outlast any fashion trend!

 

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