• The Final Countdown

    Emily Zak is now on maternity leave and will resume blogging upon her return



    With weeks to go until my due date, I am thrilled and a little terrified ahead of this next big project. Probably the most important one yet, it still feels a little abstract regardless of my growing bump.


    Last week a baby shower with friends including my close friend Elizabeth from the States, helped ease me into the idea. Held at Browns Hotel in the beautiful Kipling suite, it was a relief to talk baby grows, muslins and prams without shame.


    What's clear is that motherhood is no longer an either/or proposition with career on one side and jam-making house wife on the other. I am totally inspired by my friend Elizabeth's blog (www.thelittlestblog.com) that incorporates all of the above. Far from submerging her personality and interests when she became a mother, she shares them with her daughter.


    Like many things, motherhood seems best in moderation. We are lucky to be able to take a little from a lot of different ideas. Idealised extremes fall short when you have to wake up at 4am to sooth a crying baby.


    I look forward to reporting back with some practical knowledge under my belt. Until then, signing out….


  • Baby Chic


    One of the best things about being pregnant is the shift in focus away from being all about you, to the next big project. With it, there is also a shift in scale - specifically in the clothing you are suddenly more interested in. I have moved from shoe boots, to tiny booties; oversized cardigans, to doll-like jumpers.


    At least some of the joy of shopping for baby when pregnant, is that it helps bring what is still abstract (the bump), into reality. When you hold up a tiny T-shirt, pair of leggings, or the smallest socks in the world, it is hard not to imagine the little person in it. Are they really that small?!


    The first important question is to Bugaboo or not to Bugaboo. After weeks of angst and soul searching, I land squarely at the former. Frankly there is no competition with solid Dutch engineering, bright colours, and laying flat/sitting upright options. Who cares if you look like of a flock of Bugaboo birds careening down the high street. The new Missoni collection is an explosion of vibrant colour, and is perfect choice for those who want something a bit above and beyond (available exclusively at Harrods).


    I have also turned to browsing every weekend at Petit Ami in Notting Hill (pictured above). With a complete selection of French clothes and toy brands, the focus is more easy-to-wear rather than twee or overly formal. Caramel and Bon Point are wonderful if not eye-wateringly expensive, and Petit Bateau has the most wonderful basics for babies.



    My favourites are the small boutique brands like The Wooly Baby - a line of booties made from recycled sweaters and leather jackets. Although US based, it is a great example of British make-do-and-mend. They are organic, eco-friendly and practical, as they make sure first steps are slip free. My favourite style is the high-top slippers that look like a cross between comfortable socks and Victorian baby booties.


    The Wooly Baby: www.wooly-baby.com
    Petit Ami: 34 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill W11 2AB. Tel: 0207 221 3123 www.westbourne-grove.com/petit-aime-childrenswear.html
    Petit Bateau: http://www.petit-bateau.co.uk/en/stores
    Caramel: 291 Brompton Road, South Kensington, London. SW1X OBP  Tel: 0207 589 7001 www.caramel-shop.co.uk
    Bon Point: 256 Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW3 2AS. Tel: 0203 263 5057 www.bonpoint.com.
    Bugaboo: Harrods: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, Greater London SW1X 7XL Tel: 0207 730 1234. www.bugaboo.com


  • To eBay Or Not To eBay

    Narciso Rodriguez for eBay


    As a New Yorker, eBay has always been a favourite resource. It's a car boot sale on international proportions, what's not to like? Some of my best eBay finds include first edition books, Eames furniture, one-off prints, and vintage Chanel to name a few.


    Generally, Americans are more comfortable buying online than Europeans. In New York, women tend to buy clothes from the newest season and sell it online ahead of the next, making eBay the perfect place to find that dress or jacket you weren't able to find in your size or budget.


    According to reports, we are now buying everything from high fashion to houses online. And while the number of people shopping online has grown, the statistics don't mention what kind of shopping they are doing. Last minute gift buying and weekly shops still make up the lion's share, while the big purchases are still mostly done in person. Established sites like Net-a-Porter, MyWardrobe and Astley Clarke, with good return policies, have done a lot to help reassure, but there is still plenty of scepticism.


    My friends in London worry about authenticity and seller credibility on sites like eBay. While it's always good to be cautious, my strategy is to look at seller feedback and ask questions or for extra photos if in doubt. If you are comfortable with the price, it's not that different than buying from an auction house, or vintage shop.


    Not content with being the global hub for second-hand and vintage fashion finds, eBay has started working directly with designers to create new collections including Narciso Rodriquez, Derek Lam, and Alexander Wang. Recent hires from the heart of the fashion world - including Andrea Linett (global director of eBay fashion) formerly of US magazines Lucky and Harper's Bazaar, and Miriam Lahage, (general manager of eBay fashion Europe) formerly from Net-a-Porter - mean that eBay as we know it is getting bigger and better.


    The most stylish women I know use clothes to express their personality. They look to a combination of high street, high fashion and vintage. The same applies to their homes.  I don't mind if eBay remains a best kept secret - the more for me. But those who are still shy about using it are clearly missing out.




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