Thursday, June 30, 2011

Channel Islands Impressions

Hotel Garden (St. Peter Port, Guernsey)

Mum walking in the sea, St. Aubin's Bay, Jersey

On the way to Fermain Bay, Guernsey


Detail from Little Church, Guernsey

Guernsey 1 Pound notes (Jersey has its own)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Boosting the British Economy

When the Empress had browsed through my web-album, she remarked that it seemed there was a culture rather than shopping focus of the holiday, very unlike my visit to Paris. Oh, no, I did both, but simply did not include the "haul pics" in the official album, so to speak. Knowing that my dear readers here are not adverse to a little retail therapy, I've decided to devote a post to them. So, what did I get? As usual, I ran wild with the glossy mags, which all come with freebies:

Apart from Glamour (free mini-bottle of Benefit's High Beam) and Elle (tank-top designed by VIP blogger Garance Doré) pictured above, I also got Red (free lipgloss) and Bazaar (nail polish). At Muji's I bought the new-and-improved version of the little bag I had bought in Japan. It's something all Japanese ladies use - a little bag where you keep all your necessities (wallet, loyalty cards, mobile phone, etc.) so when you change bags, you just grab this little bag and don't have to transfer all those items individually. This blue chequered one has more pockets than my old one. MC had watched videos on YouTube about the new Sleek "Storm" palette, which is available exclusively at Superdrug and I decided to get her one, picking up the "original" palette for myself:

At the FCUK sale, I got a pair of dark jeans and a dress with a really cute 1960s fabric and cut:

I've always wanted to own a silk scarf with bright pink and orange and got lucky in the sale at my favourite shop of all times:

On a day trip to Jersey, I bought this (Dorothy Perkins) skirt that came with a matching belt for only GBP 12. Overall, shopping on the Channel Islands is cheaper than in the UK due to lower VAT. Some shops have signs stating "10% off all UK prices", which is of course quite tempting...
I also bought small things like greeting cards and a tea towel with the book cover of "The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" which I have read and of which there is quite a bit of merchandising on Guernsey. What's interesting, though, is that most shops close at 5:30 already and unlike in the UK or Ireland are not open on Sundays.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No Hurry, No Worry

I came back on Sunday night and have just about managed to download and weed out my 500+ photos, but not had time for proper posts so far. Well, there is this thing called work.

In a nutshell, my holiday was great and the Channel Islands definitely lived up to my expectations. The picture above of the message left for me at the hotel on Saturday sums up the slower pace of life there perfectlys: It reads "Your pick up on Sunday will be @ 6:00 AM". When I read it, I was a bit worried in view of the fact that our flight left at 7 and expressed my concern to the receptionist. His reply: "No need to worry, the airport doesn't open until 6 and it only takes ten minutes to get there." Sick of having to be at the airport hours in advance before your flight? I highly recommend departing from St. Martin's Airport in Guernsey. I flew with the Channel Islands' own airline, Aurigny, by the way.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

See You!

I'm off for half a week in Lonon and the other half on Guernsey/the Channel Islands. I'm not planning on going online while there, but I am planning to take lots of pictures, so stay tuned until I get back.

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Finds

Summer Sale has barely started, but I already bought 2 items on Tuesday. Exhibit A is a pair of off-white linen trousers from ESPRIT: 

Exhibit B is a pair of wedges from D'Ambrosio.  Unlike the two pairs that dissolved last year, this one looks a bit more long-lasting and thanks to the elastic band is very comfortable despite the - for me at least - towering height. 
Next on the "wanted" list: a pair of chic (flat) black sandals.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Because of Vienna Fashion Week, L'Oreal put up a makeshift make-up studio for walk-in makeovers on Graben. This was the queue of hopefuls when I walkd past the "box" yesterday around lunchtime:

I really liked the yellow wire car they had put up right next to it, although I don't know what the connection to make-up or L'Oreal is.  Perhaps I should take a closer look at the poster behind it which probably contains all the info I need to know.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Breaking News @ Coma HQ

Last night I met MM for an after-work iced coffee (yes, we are WILD chicks, really). "So, what's up at work", I asked. "Any exciting news or scandals?". "Let me think", she said. "Our cleaning lady won't be coming any more...oh, and we got a new franking machine." I burst out laughing. "Stop! I have to take time to digest those news, you know. Don't give it to me all at once."

Red and Wild

One more nature-related post, before I return to the really important things in life, such as the summer sale (before summer has officially begun even) and my finds therein.
In KLU, I gathered a lot of red fruits, first strawberrys from Erdbeerland...
Then cherries from my parents garden:

The "protein factor" (i.e. wiggly-worms-content) was low, thankfully.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Snow

This is a picture I took the last time I was in KLU (2 weekends ago) and noticed the beautiful contrast of small white petals on fresh soil. Click to enlarge for the full millefleurs effect.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Holiday Mode

Today, Whit Monday, is a holiday in Austria. I was a bit peeved that the weather forecast was much better for Vienna than Klagenfurt, where I had decided to spend the long weekend and indeed it wasn't all that great when I arrived on Saturday. Yesterday afternoon however turned out surprisingly nice and sunny and so my Mum and I went to our beloved Strandbad to grill ourselves a bit and swim in the lake. When we arrived at 3, there were hardly any people there and in fact the self-service restaurant and ice-stall people had decided to stay at home. I hope we can sneak some rays of sunshine today as well. Last Sunday, I took a picture of the cat that visits Mrs. K. in Wieselburg. The way she enjoys her sunny spot reminds me of me when I'm in relaxed holiday mode:
Well, add a book or magazine to that.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Stores in inner city shopping areas are where you find the trends, right? If that is the case, I've been totally deluded. "La Rose" on Kärntner Straße shows the way to go, by boldly embracing bright colours and...erm...sensible cuts. I also really like the curtains:
Now I know what I'll spend my next bonus on.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Yesterday was one of those days. You know, when you don't feel all that motivated to work, but at the same time are having fun with your colleagues who feel just the same way. In the afternoon, we all got the munchies. There was a tray with leftover croissants (halved) from some meeting that had taken place in the conference room and as I'm not too big a fan of croissants on their own, or with jam, I was looking for ways to sex them up a bit...and had a brainwave! There's a mini branch of an ice-cream parlour in the same building as our office and so I popped downstairs to get a tub of vanilla and coffee ice-cream (the rest of which would come in handy for ice coffee), poked a hole in a croissant half and filled it with ice-cream. Ta-dah, introducing the iced croissant:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Deluge, Vienna-Style

After three days of sweltering heat, a veritable deluge hit Vienna on Wednesday. Well, several ones to be correct and so my shoes ended up being com-plete-ly wet twice. An umbrella did not help much and walking for a mere 10 metres resulted in the exposed parts of your body and above all, your feet, being as wet as if you had taken a power shower. Passengeres huddled in and in front of shops.
Raindrops were fat and huge:
When I had made it to the office where I dried my feet and changed into one of the pairs of shoes I keep under my desk and a t-shirt with the company logo, I took a look out of the Graben-facing window. Rain and nobody on the street (those black shadows are sculptures):
15 minutes later, the sun was out again. Crazy!
The same amount of rain, if not more, began to fall 5 minutes before I left to meet the Mermaid for our Wednesday-night-swim date.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


On Sunday, Mademoiselle and I visited Mrs. K. my old (85 years, to be precise) widoweed neighbour in Wieselburg, Lower Austria. She used to live in a flat on the same floor as me (and in fact was born in that same building) and several years ago, she rang my doorbell asking if she could entrust me with her keys and ask me to water her plants/empty the post box during the summer months when she is at her house in Wieselburg. I agreed, but for a long time politely refused all invitations to visit her there, knowing that she had a large family and many visitors anyway and and wanting to devote my time to my own elderly relatives instead. What with the latter sadly being radically diminished now and her living there permanently I changed my mind. 

Last summer, she called me to tell me she was not returning to Vienna and had in fact become an invalid. I could not believe it as she had always been in great form, entertaining visitors, going to the theatre regularly and enjoying baking as much as I did. She got on well with the students next door and woud often leave a cake in a bag on their door handle. Some of them even called her "Oma". Well, what happened was that she fell and broke her spine which already was brittle from osteoporosis. As an operation would have been much to risky, the family council decided she would stay in her summer house and get a live-in carer. "Luck" had it that an old couple who lived in the same street had just passed away and their nice Slovak carer, who wanted to stay in Wieselburg anyway, was looking for a new person to look after. 

You might think that she would be bitter and bemoan her fate, but far from it. Despite the fact that her fingers are partly numb and she needs help with cutting her food, washing herself and other tasks, she can type on a keyboard and likes to send text messages. On rainy days she writes her memoirs on an old laptop her grandchildren gave her and enjoying her garden and visits by friends and family. Thanks to physiotherapy and aids like putty she kneads she can write in block capitals again and has regained use of her hands somewhat. 

She seized the opportunity that she'd have a car at her disposal when I visited and had already made up a programme for our day there, consisting of a visit to a "Mostheuriger", a visit to Plankenstein castle and a "solstice circle". On the picture above you can see her sitting on a bench outside the church right opposite the castle. She really reminded me of my late grandmother, who also loved being taken on excursions and was more than happy to wait in a café or a bench while "the young ones" went to explore the shops or sights. Just like my granny she also keeps saying that she is happy to have done and seen so much when she was young and so has a rich trove of happy memories to feed on.

People like this really are role models and make me feel guilty for complaining about things that are so insignificant in comparison to physical impediments and the fact that you know your days are definitely numbered now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

In the Realm of Polyester

Months ago, I posted a picture of a building site on Kärntner Straße, with a sign announcing that a Forever21 store was supposed to open there. Well, that one still hasn't opened, but an even bigger one (I think...) on Mariahilfer Str. opened some weeks ago. Yesterday, I finally got around to checking it out. Interestingly enough, I never came across one of their shops in the U.S. and only found out about it from YouTube make-up gurus raving about it. When I was in Tokyo, I found a very small branch, but did not buy anything. As the name suggests, I am almost twice as old as their target group and there are two things I noticed. 99.9 % of the stock seems to be made out of polyester or other manmade fibres and all the skirts, dresses, shorts are very mini. This is the Mariahilfer Str. store from outside:
I ended up buying one of the few items that fell within the 0.1 % natural fibre range, a very nice beachy minidress (to be worn on top of shorts or trousers, needless to say) with embroidery and a set of 4 wood/bakelite bangles, two of which I already wore yesterday:

I doubt that this will become my favourite place for a lunchtime-spree. Although I know well that it's hypocritical to assume expensive clothes might not be produced under equally ethically questionable conditions as cheap rags, walking through this store and looking at badly stitched clothes made me think of sweatshops more than anything else. New Yorker and Pimkie are haute couture designers in comparison.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Friends with Good Taste

Last weekend, I did really well with gifts despite the fact that it wasn't my birthday or anything. The pressies were as cool as they were unexpected. First, MC got me a really pretty translucent pink nail varnish of the CHANEL's current collection, "Morning Rose":

It has just the right amount of glitter, or rather tiny iridescent particles, in it to make it chic rather than "teenage disco". In the picture above you can see what one coat looks like. I'm not particularly impressed of opaque Chanel polishes, which I think are obscenely overpriced for their poor quality and staying power, but I've had good experiences with translucent ones and this one is no exception.

On Sunday, Mademoiselle accompanied me on a visit to Wieselburg and surroundings (more about that later) and as a thank-you gave me two dead cool things. A door sign (what is the professional term for those "do-not-disturb"-sign thingies you put outside your hotel room?) saying "Gone shopping", which is obviously SO me and a mirror with a vintage photo and "I know. I know. I'm fucking fabulous". I love it! 
Thanks again, girls!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Keep Out!

Last week, the Gazelle and I passed my old hunting grounds, the Theseus temple at Volksgarten. Renovations are finished now and its exterior walls are as supernaturally white as American teeth. What's more, there's a "fence" all around it. Whether that is a deterrant for vandals remains to be seen, but there were no people sunbathing on the steps either, like FCN/BoB and I used to do in our Coma HQ days.
The Gazelle walking past

The walls are so shiny, they almost look tiled.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Take a Seat

Summer seems to be just round the corner. Weekend-excursions to the countryside (picture taken in Halbturn two weekends ago) remind me how beautiful this little country really is, recharge my batteries and make me feel reinforced for my least favourite day of the week. Is there anybody out there who actually likes Mondays (other than people who have the day off, obviously)?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Back to the Future

On Thursday, I was doing a bit of window-shopping on Mariahilfer Str. with Mademoiselle when the display of American Apparel catapulted me back to 1985: 
Yikes! Are these digital watches ugly or what? I think I won't follow THIS revival, thank you very much.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Invasion of the Tinfoil-Sect?

My colleagues and I like to have lunch at Café Weinwurm right on Stephansplatz. It's lovely to sit in the sun and just watch all sorts of interesting people pass by as you are waiting for your food. Recently, we saw a gang of people wrapped in scrunched up tinfoil. Hmmm. I just had time to quickly pull out my mobile and take a picture, just as the guy in front of me raised his hand to take a sip of his beer.
I don't think they were street performers (like those "statues" with gold or silver body paint), so there must have been some kind of fancy-dress party. Or perhaps this is what was left of Life Ball costumes after a night of partying.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

These Days...

...performers are faced with half of the audience brandishing their smartphones or PAS cameras in a futile attempt to catch a half-decent photo. I deliberately left my camera at home and only came armed with my mobile phone. Yep, the man in the white light is Yusuf, giving an encore. 
I was supposed to go with S1 and her husband, whom she treated to the concert as birthday present, but she unfortunately got sick on the day and so he took their 9 (if I remember correctly)-year-old daughter instead. Until recess she didn't seem too impressed, but fortified with gummy candy and intrigued by the rays of light she enjoyed the encores close to the stage on her father's (face blurred out on the picture below) shoulders. 
How cool that she'll be able to tell her kids she had seen Cat Stevens/Yusuf's most likely last Austrian concert at that young age! Well, that's assuming they'll be impressed at all, but I'm sure the beauty of that voice will be appreciated in generations to come as well.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Way to My Heart...

Back in 2007, when none of my colleagues here were aware of my blog, I posted this.  When MC joined our team she became a regular reader of this site and, being the systematic worker she is, read all the archives as well. The last sentence of that post sort of got stuck in her brain and she likes to quote it back to me...a lot. So, just to give her new fodder, this is a post about even more impressive virtues a man should possess and an instance where my boss impressed me even more. Let's call this The way to my heart is paved with bags. 

But let's start at the beginning. When I was in Graz the day before Mother's Day I went to Kastner & Öhler, if you remember. For some strange reason, I decided to check out the bags section of the store and my eyes immediately fell on THE PERFECT travelling bag. Lightweight, but not too sporty. Big, but not too bulky. With a colour that was neither too summery, nor too wintery and wasn't too prone to get dirty. So why didn't I buy it, then. Well, my mother was with me and she said that it a) was too expensive for a mainly textile bag (my pain threshold is obviously much higher) and that I would b) probably find even cooler bags in Paris where I was going to be the following weekend. I cast one last longing glance at the bag, but for the sake of family harmony decided to pretend to be grown-up and, well, not quite as shopping-obsessed as my mother tends to think I am. Only to do some extensive research on the bag back in Vienna and add it to my Amazon wishlist. When I was back from Paris, not having found an equally sexy bag in the same price-range (EUR 100) at all, Amazon had sold out of the bag in the colour I wanted, which, by the way, looks like this:
Oh, well, I thought. Let's hope they'll get it back in stock soon. Last Thursday, I had a client meeting in Graz together with my boss. We drove there in his car, but as he had another meeting in Salzburg, it was arranged that he would drop me at the train station afterwards. On the way to the station after the meeting he asked if I would catch the train I had planned on taking or would have to take the subsequent one. "Well, if I miss it, you'll just have to drop me downtown near Kastner & Öhler", I joked, telling him about my missed bag-ortunity. On the train, I saw that he had called my mobile phone which was still set to "silent". I called him back, expecting some work-related issue. "I have some time before I need to set off for Salzburg and can pop into K&Ö. What does that bag look like again?" I prayed that the mobile broadband connection would hold out for a bit, took a screenshot and sent him an e-mail. Half an hour later he called to say that he had bought the bag. Mission completed! As he's on vacation this week he left it on my desk and I can refund him later. 

So, needless to say, the way to my heart is lined with bags even more than nails...
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