spruced by marlene

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.


10 days in thailand

By Marlene | Published: 30. March 2014


„Let’s go away one more time.“

I can’t remember who said it first. Probably me. We were sitting on the couch at Christmas, stuffed, happy and thrilled about what the new year would bring. And because so much of what was coming was going to bring huge changes, we suddenly had this idea of escaping to a beach somewhere – before beach holidays would become all about building sand castles.

Where could we expect to get bikini weather in March? Thailand. James hunkered down with the laptop for a while and when he came back with pictures of the Koyao Island Resort, I simply said: Book it! Now! Sure, I could’ve considered that I’d be seven months pregnant when travelling. A few of my girlfirends who have had children were in fact a little surprised that I’d dare to take two six-hour flights. But I just went with my gut feeling (pun absolutely intended). I’m lucky that I’ve had an unproblematic pregnancy and I simply trusted that I’d be fine until it was time to give birth. Which doesn’t mean I can recommend long-haul flights to everyone heavily pregnant. But if you’re thinking about it, I can tell you that flying was absolutely fine for me – thank you, compression stockings and magnesium pills! And I have not regretted coming on this holiday for even a second.

It was my first time in Thailand, so I’ve seen too little for the in-depth travel report, but I’d come back to Koh Yao Noi again any time. It’s a small island between Phuket and Krabi that’s still comparatively undeveloped. There aren’t many hotels, only a tiny town and a handful of restaurants (bizarrely, the nicest one is an Italian who serves what must be the best pizza this side of Napoli and where the yoga crowd drink their beers at night). It only takes half an hour on scooter to go around the island – or 45 minutes in a two-seater with a pregnant girl as your passenger. We didn’t do a lot of trips, but we did go snorkeling and one day I’ll tell Junior that his mama swam with angel fish when he was still on my belly. Hopefully he’ll find that as cool as I do.

Mostly we did absolutely nothing. The resort has around 20 huts, most of them with a direct view of the sea (!) and an outdoor shower (!!). You can’t lock the hut, which concerned me for about five minutes, until I met the super-relaxed staff, found myself a hammock and promptly forgot what day of the week it was. We woke up every moring from the crazy chirping of the birds, went to sleep at night to the whirring of the ceiling fan, ate silly amounts of tom kha gai and sticky rice with mango and watched the hotel’s own lizzard make his daily rounds under the palm trees.

And I’ve loved every moment of it.












lazy island life

By Marlene | Published: 28. March 2014


Sleep, eat, swim, nap, swim, eat, swim, sleep. Repeat.

This what our days have looked like since we arrived on Koh Yao Noi. This has been incredibly easy to get used to. Much as I could get used to waking up to the above view every morning, which is what I see when I open the terrace doors. And the fact that I can get by for a week with roughly three pieces of clothing – a light dress, leather sandals, a beach bag.

It’s been a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming kind of holiday so far. I think I’ll have another nap now.