Thursday, June 5, 2014

So long dear readers

Dear readers,
I have decided to drop you all a line to communicate that I am going to stop writing this blog for at least a while.
We are moving again at the end of the month, this time for three years, to Copenhagen. I have lived in four different countries in the last three years and although it probably sounds very glamorous, the truth is that it is exhausting. Life in Paris has been quite stressful (read "very expensive indeed") and French bureaucracy Kafkaesque. The city is indeed lovely beyond description, but I cannot recommend living in it unless you have your pockets full of petrodollars.
I have endeavoured to write the blog in an informative and rigorous way, keeping it as far as possible from what I perceive to be the overwhelming majority of the messages aimed at women nowadays. I have still been fortunate enough to come in contact with some lovely ladies whose comments and communication I have enjoyed immensely.

Love to all,

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Caroline in Vienna

I just wanted to drop you all a line to say I am in Vienna for a week. It is a very beautiful city with a wonderful architecture and a plethora of museums that could satisfy the wildest dreams of any museum buff.
There is a very healthy café culture (I would dare say even healthier than Paris', not that they would admit to that... the French, of course), which means great coffee, cakes and pastries... almost everywhere!
I should have expected falling in love with the city, given my predilection for all things Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Viena's versions of Art Nouveau (Jugenstil) is the Secession movement, who includes some of my absolute favourite painters. Viena's museums house the most important collections in the world of art by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka.
Unfortunately, I did not prepare for the visit, so it is not possible to enjoy an opera (Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss, was performed yesterday at the Staatoper!), or a play (in English), so I definitely have to come back with everything planned and scheduled.
I also need to pin down on a map - optimally, in a Vienna City Notebook Moleskin- the most worthwhile bakeries and cafés. I say worthwhile because there are so many and so good that I would put on two tons if I tried them all.
Finally, I have decided that I definitely have to learn some German, at least to get along in shops and places where they definitely do not speak English and they do appreciate German (it's quite patent they do not enjoy English, really.. some waiters are positively dismissive if you use it).

TRL in Vienna

Caroline in Vienna by Caroline Grant. This is a very realistic depiction of myself, drinking coffee with cake... I am trying all the Viennese specialties, one a day: apfelstrudel, sacher torte. I have had exactly the sacher torte in the photo, the official one served at the Sacher hotel, but it was not a great experience, as the waiter and waitress there were quite rude to us. I got the distinct impression they do not like Americans or they thought they could be rude to us: at a certain moment, the waiter bumped into my better half's arm, causing quite a disaster in our strudel (all cakes on a table are mine unless I favour one in particular... yes, I regret to say I'm that spoilt), and he did not even bother to apologize. Afterwards, they did not like our tipping, which we very ostentatiously omitted to do.

I have been travelling quite a lot these last months, which explains the very erratic way I have published posts and how slowly I answer requests for help with seasons. I have so far been to Fribourg, Lausanne and Munich and now Vienna. I take the opportunity to announce that in July, I'm moving to Denmark for at least two years...

Monday, April 14, 2014

What are Majorica Pearls

I remember seeing Majorica pearls as a child in window shops all over town. They were always placed on top of some sort of red velvety material, and Majorica's red and gold banner was always prominent. My mother, of course, was interested in pearls, as any self-respecting Spanish woman of a certain age had to be, so she owned some cultured pearls and some Majorica ones. Buying pearls was then considered a true investment, and a possible heirloom for the family.
If real pearls or even cultured ones are as out of your reach as they are of mine, these are a great faux option.

Vintage Majorica ads. Majorica pearls have been for decades at the top of the simulated beads market, next to Pearlfection. Both brands are collected by costume jewellery fans.
What are Majorica Pearls
Majorica pearls (not to be confused with Majorca pearls) are high-quality faux pearls produced in a small factory in the Balearic Islands in Spain, in the town of Majorica. They are faux because they are man-made in a factory. To be more precise, they are, and have always been, "woman-made". What probably started because female labour was cheaper than male's (it still is, but we are not going there now), is now probably a tradition. They use solid glass beads as nuclei for the pearls that are then coated with multiple lacquer layers (much as a cinnabar object would be), using what is known in the trade as essence d'orient or pearlessence. They keep the secret of their pearlessence formula zealously, obviously.
Majorica pearls look and feel real or, at the very least, expensive. Apart from their more conservative models (ie. regular pearls in expected colours, frequently in matching sets), which are a bit boring, they have started producing edgier ones, usually either with gold-plated, or in silver or rhodium findings. Slightly more than half of their products are still sold in Spain, although many to tourists, and the rest in the USA. For instance, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue both carry them.

Follow the label Pearls to learn about how to take care of pearls and more.

  • For all the photos in the post,
  • Their story, as told by themselves:
  • Their recent history, in El País (in Spanish): You can use to translate the page.

This post contains no affiliated links.
The label Pearls is a TRL series that is ongoing.
This post was first published on April 19th 2012. The information has been edited and the collages are new.