spruced by marlene

shopping for baby

By Marlene | Published: 30. June 2014


I was almost certain that I’d manage to keep to the list my midwife gave me of the necessary baby clothes. After all, the little ones grow faster than you can say „You’re not old enough to drink yet!”. But then I spotted a denim overall at Baby Gap and basically lost all control.

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it’s a boy

By Marlene | Published: 17. June 2014


I know it’s been quiet around here lately. Perhaps you’ve guessed the reason for my silence already. It’s because life elsewhere suddenly got a lot noisier. Our boy Arlo Elliott was born four weeks ago, surprising us with both his early arrival and with a joy so overwhelming we couldn’t have dreamt was possible to feel. There are moments I still can’t quite connect the human being that was growing inside of me with the little baby sleeping beside me on the sofa right now. So that was him, kicking every time his dad talked to him through my belly button. Now he’s very much his own person already. One who still knows how to properly kick.

There are also moments when I start to do something besides sitting next to him on the sofa, admiring his perfect little nose and coming up with idiotic nicknames (isn’t that right, my little potato?). And then he wakes up and next thing I know it’s three days later and I still haven’t finished whatever it was I started doing. I wrote the first sentence of this post last Thursday. Maybe I’ll manage to write the last one today.

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the glow

By Marlene | Published: 8. May 2014


A couple of months ago James asked me if I enjoyed being pregnant. I was confused why he’d think that I didn’t. Well, he said, I talked a lot about how uncomfortable I felt, moaned about the dark circles under my eyes, complained that I didn’t fit into any of my clothes anymore and how much weight I had gained. He thought that was strange. Because what he saw made him look at me in absolute wonderment.

I’m not sure he knows this but it’s the most beautiful thing he could’ve said to me.

Because I do enjoy being pregnant. But I’ve also had days in the past nine months when I’ve felt wretched. Because my swollen feet wouldn’t fit into any shoes (and my swollen bum into any pants). Because I take more pills every morning than an 80-year-old granny. Because I can’t walk 25 meters without being out of breath. Because I can’t lift, can’t sleep, can’t remember what the hell it was I just walked into the room for. At the end of those days I stand in front of the mirror and ask the tired woman looking back at me where she’s hiding Marlene. Her answer is always the same: She’s busy building a baby, let her be. And perhaps just once in a while believe people who say you look marvelous.

Because that’s what I think when I see other pregnant women. They’ve got that glow that no beauty product in the world can give you. Don’t you think my friend Steffi looks radiant? Maybe she didn’t feel like it on the morning we took these pictures – I know myself how uncomfortable it can be to be photographed when your own body suddenly feels like an unknown entity, – but I look at her with absolute wonderment. And I hope she believes me.

She’s showing some of the maternity wear she got for summer on her blog ohhhmhhh today and if I weren’t already at the end of my pregnancy I’d hit all of her recommended online shops. For me she put on a pair of Racer Skinny maternity jeans from Citizens of Humanity and a white tux shirt from Cos. A look I’d love to wear – pregnant or not.


With thanks to Prag PR for the jeans.

the suze bag

By Marlene | Published: 9. April 2014


So the reason we flew to Thailand was because James designed a new beach bag that we wanted to take pictures of – on the beach.

OK, maybe that’s a lie.

But what’s true is that we couldn’t have found a better place to photograph The Suze. It’s a dip-dyed denim shopper with tan leather straps that looks like 30 degree sunshine to me. I carried mine from the hut to the hammock every day, filled with beach towels, sunscreen lotion and books, although I’m sure I’ll wear it in the city this summer as well. My favourite combination is the white/black version above, which is also available in white/azure and white/yellow. James also makes the bag from a blue denim, dyed in either black, like the bag below, or in pink. All are available online from James Castle now.

And which would be your pick for the summer?



By Marlene | Published: 7. April 2014


The idea of running around on the beach halfnaked made me feel more than a little queasy before our holiday. Wearing a bikini is not on my top 10 list of favourite activities anyway. So how would it feel with a massive belly? My safety net: this kaftan from Rodebjer, which doesn’t just cover the bump but the two metric tons of Rittersport whole almonds I somehow must’ve eaten since becoming pregnant.

Turns out that I’ve never felt as comfortable in a bikini as I do now. On the one hand: Hello, Pamela Anderson (and a bum the size of California)! On the other hand: So what? I’m almost eight months pregnant. The bigger I’m getting, the less self-conscious I feel about my shape, something which used to occupy my thoughts a lot more before. As I keep growing so does the realisation that my body is building a new person. An endeavour that requires a lot of energy. And mass. I’m constantly amazed that I’d be capable of something like that. A human powerhouse.

I’d be lying if I said that there aren’t also those days when I look down from my desk and think: excuse me, who do these thighs belong to? When I get frustrated with my lack of fitness and I ask myself if I’ll ever have something resembling a biceps again. Then I try to tell myself that yes, I will. Probably when I start carrying around a little bundle all day in about two months time.

For every tight t-shirt I’ve started wearing that shows off my belly, something I’d never have felt comfortable doing before, I still love this kaftan. Not because it hides me. But because it’s light, easy and beautiful. And still will be once I’m not waddling belly first through life anymore.