Refresh Guide to Good Table Manners

We all like to think we know how to behave at the dinner table, most of us remember our mothers insisting on good table manners.  But perhaps it doesn’t hurt to have a quick refresh to remind us how to behave when at dinner.

Devices off the table

If you are dining out with someone, your phone is not invited. Put it in your bag or out of sight and on silent.

Napkin

When you sit at the table, place your napkin on your lap. Don’t tuck it into your collar unless you are eating something extremely messy (spaghetti) or you eat like a toddler. A napkin hanging from one’s collar is never an elegant look.  If you leave the table loosely fold your napkin and place it to the left of your plate.

Knives and Forks

We all know to work from the outside utensils to the inside utensils when at a multi-course dinner. But, please also remember to never put a used knife or fork back on the table. Rest it on your plate. When you are finished remember to put your knife and fork together across your plate. This is a sign to the server that your meal is finished and they can remove your plate.

Know which is yours

Your bread plate is on your left. Your glass is on your right. Don’t get this mixed up.

Patience

Wait for all the food to arrive at the table to eat. But if your guest’s food arrives before yours, you can suggest they may eat to avoid it getting cold.

Ignore small indiscretions

If you or someone else accidentally drops some food on the table, spills a little wine or, heaven forbid, burps during a meal, ignore it. Polite society dictates that we do not draw attention to small faults at a table. So no giggling or gasping allowed.

The more formal the less hands

At a formal meal you should only use your hands to eat bread. Everything else should be eaten with the appropriate utensil.

At the risk of sounding like your mother here are a few more reminders

  • Food to mouth – not mouth to food. Do not lean over and shovel food in your mouth.
  • Eat with your mouth closed; talk with your mouth empty.
  • Remember to say please, thank you and excuse me
  • Do not double dip.
  • Keep elbows off the table and arms in close to your side.

Last, but by no means, least, always thank your host at the end of the meal and compliment them for hosting such a lovely evening.

Keep your manners refreshed and you will avoid feeling ill at ease in a formal dinner setting and prevent drawing unwelcome attention due to poor table etiquette.

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The Fine and Forgotten Art of Applying a Morality Filter 

Remember when swearing was not allowed on TV or radio? Movies would be peppered with bleeps to cover any rude words. We consider it old-fashioned and quaint that nudity was blurred and live footage of violence was edited to avoid seeing the horror of a dead body. Now we live in a world without filters and we are all large consumers of this unfiltered online content. Our social media feeds are filled with an endless stream of content coming from wide-ranging sources.

As more information has come to light about who can buy influence and appear in our feed it has become more obvious that the companies who control a lion share of the Internet are not interested in any control over the content.

The need for a filter

Just a few short months ago I would have strongly protested against any kind of censorship or control over what we can see online. I believe in letting people speak freely. After all, we don’t live in a police state or one that would condone control over our Internet. But now I feel the pressure for some kind of control is mounting. Stories of cyber bullying, foreign governments influencing elections, hate messages and shocking live murders being streamed on our screens demand some action by the giants who provide the platform for this content. But, I am not going to hold my breath that anything will change. If I want to filter what I consume, I need to be the one setting the limits.

As the Internet is by design a place of freedom and by default has become the wild west of content with no filter for decency, it is up to us to create our own filters on what we will consume. I now consciously and without shame set my own morality filters. Knowing that what I click on, watch or share condones the content encourages the creators to make more.

How to create your own filter

Unfortunately, there is no app or program that can provide a personalized filter. It is completely manual and run by us. So here are the instructions for how to install your own morality filter.

  1. Remove any content from your feed that you do not want to be seeing. You can choose to block the sender, report it or send a message to them asking if they will tone down the content they send to you.
  2. Learn to distinguish junk sites. When a shocking heading comes up in your feed it begs to be clicked on to find out more. This ‘click-bait’ is designed exactly to get the most clicks to their site. Usually the content is not what the headline implied or it is a completely fabricated story. Just ignore these kinds of adverts; delete, report and move on.
  3. Don’t share dubious content. We see something shocking and we want to share it or comment on it. If you cannot be sure it is accurate or true, please do not share it. If it is not kind or nice also please don’t share it. We don’t need more divisive content being shared than already is by bots from unknown sources.
  4. Share this post with others and let’s encourage a little more morality and decency in the wild west of the Internet. Who knows, maybe the giants that rule online will listen to us and join the battle to help clean up the content we see everyday.

 

How to Travel in Style

In the golden age of travel, taking an international flight was an event one dressed up for. International travel was seen as a romantic journey, but these days the art of travelling with style seems to have been lost. People queue for flights in sweatpants and sneakers with shabby falling apart bags and suitcases. It seems we have forgotten how to travel in style.

I prefer to travel, the same way I live my life, with style and elegance. In my opinion travelling with style is about noticing and taking care of the little details. The things most people overlook or take no care in. It is easy to stand out as an elegant traveller with just a little more effort.

Our Tips for Travelling in Style

Here is my list of the details that can add that extra class to your travelling style.

  1. Dress comfortably, but classy. Leave anything made from stretch sweatshirt material for the gym. Please do not wear leggings. A maxi skirt or wide-legged pants and a blouse are examples of comfortable but stylish outfits. Try to avoid outfits that will require a belt, as it can be very inelegant to remove for security.
  2. Wear good shoes that are elegant, comfortable and clean. A beautiful pair of slip-on flats will get you through the airport hustle and bustle while still looking calm and collected.
  3. Elegantly layer. Bring a comfortable wrap or pashmina for the plane. It can get cold especially overnight and you will be glad to be stylishly wrapped in comfort rather than in a scratchy airline blanket.
  4. Wear minimal jewellery; remember you will have to remove it multiple times for security scanning.
  5. Use great quality luggage that is well looked after. Leave the beat-up well-travelled suitcases look to the backpackers and journalists.
  6. Use a classic well-designed handbag. Choosing the right handbag for travel is important. It should be unfussy, without extra bells and whistles that could be caught when going through an x-ray machine. Your handbag needs to be of a good size with pockets for your passport, tablet, phone and other essentials. Extra tip, keep it cleaned out. Nothing is worse than having to rummage through a messy bag to find your passport or sunglasses.
  7. Bring your best sunglasses and case. These are essential for walking out into the arrival hall to scan the crowd for your ride. We all look a little blurry eyed after a long haul flight and sunglasses will give you a layer of privacy when confronted with the waiting crowd outside the arrival hall.
  8. Bring an airline approved carry-on bag. Preferable with multi-directional wheels for easy gliding along long passages in airport terminals. Don’t overfill it, just keep the essentials like laptop, jacket, a change of clothes and necessary toiletry and makeup bag in it.
  9. A change of clothes. Inside you carry on have a carefully folded outfit to change into prior to landing. Changing into a fresh shirt or dress at the end of a long haul flight means you can arrive un-crumpled and fresh looking, even if all you want to do is find the first shower to wash off that airplane smell.
  10. Eye drops. A couple of drops throughout the flight will help wonders for keeping your eyes fresh and avoiding the red-eye look on arrival.
  11. A small case of essential makeup to refresh before landing. Also bring a small amount of makeup remover or a moist remover towel, as it is essential to remove your old makeup and start afresh. Don’t just put new makeup on top of the old at the end of a flight unless you like the caked cracked makeup look.

With these simple tips, you will look and feel classier than the average traveller. Enjoy your flight and stay elegant.

 

 

About The Blog

 

Our ILNI blog is where we share our lifestyle ideas, our likings and a few of our thoughts about current events and topics. Through all of our posts we strive to promote kindness, mindfulness and ethical elegance. You can find opinion pieces, travel inspirations, interviews and stories of amazing craftsmanship.

We are building a community where fashion and compassion combine. Together we want to change the world and when you wear an ILNI bag, you join us by making a fashionable vote towards our vision; in a world where we can be anything, let’s be elegant and kind.

 

Read here how our stylish Augustina defines elegance

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Compelling Reasons to Visit Bruges

Bruges, one of the most incredibly well preserved medieval towns in Europe has a picturesque village centre that is almost unchanged from 600 years ago when the city was a thriving financial hub. Due to an unfortunate twist of fate, the city became an almost forgotten backwater for hundreds of years, leaving it sleeping like in a fairy tale only to be awoken 600 years later beautifully preserved and now lovingly restored.

Today Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city buzzes with renewed energy and visitors from around the world, fuelled by artisan chocolate, fresh roasted coffee and 100s of varieties of craft beers. Bruges is a medieval wonderland that is well worth a visit for a few days. Here are my 5 most compelling reasons to visit this vibrant historic city.

Our Five Reasons To Visit Bruges

  1. The Scenery is Magical

Walking through Bruges is like stepping back into an old fairy tale with cobbled streets, elegant 12th century houses and horse-drawn carts.  Stay right in the centre in one of the many period style guesthouses dotted around the city. My pick is the Bonifacius Guesthouse (www.bonifacius.be). Dating from the 16th century this guesthouse has a perfect location overlooking the canal at the centre of Bruges. Staying here is like living in a wealthy private house from many eras ago as all of the rooms are decorated with stunning rich fabrics, objects d’art and unique antiques.

The best part is that in stepping outside the door you are in the midst of the beautiful Bruges. From here you can take a stroll along the Dijver canal that meanders through pretty streets, quaint houses, and public buildings. You cannot miss the Markt, (main square) where towering 83 metres above the square is the 13th-century Belfort tower. It’s well worth climbing the 366 steps to enjoy a unique vista across the city’s spires and red tiled roofs.

 

  1. The Chocolate is Heavenly

Belgium is known for amazing chocolate and Bruges is no exception. Artisan chocolate houses are on every street corner. You can take your fill from truffles, pralines and rich liquor filled chocolate. Do some tasting, heck do a lot of tasting and fill your bags with this divine gift to take home.

Our pick of the best is BbyB (bbyb.be) where chocolate pralines and bars are wrapped in Pantone-style numbered boxes and displayed like priceless jewels. Try #05 Dark Chocolate filled with cherry and lemon.

It is impossible to pick just one great chocolate place in a city of more than 50 chocolate boutiques to choose from, so my close second-best choice is The Chocolate Line. The owner Dominique Person is known as the mad scientist of chocolate. Try some of his odd but surprisingly good combinations such as the lavender, fried onions or a mix of lime, vodka and passion fruit. (www.thechoclateline.be)

 

  1. The Food Market is Exceptional

On Saturday and Sunday morning you can visit the street market on t’Zand square. Find your way past the usual stands selling clothes and gadgets, to find the food market with stands selling a wide range of the best Belgian cheeses, smoked herring and freshly baked bread. If you are early, around 7.30am you can get the warm bread direct from the Schaeverbeke Bakery, renowned as the best bakery in Bruges, this is the place to buy fresh pistolets (bread rolls) or be tempted by the window display filled with macaroons, tartine russes and an impressive range of organic bread and rolls. You should also try their signature marrentaart, an almond-flavoured curd puff pastry tart. (www.schaeverbeke.be)

 

  1. The Beer is Crafty

You cannot miss that Bruges is home to a thriving craft beer scene. Beer pubs offer hundreds of varieties for every palette. Ask for a tasting of a few beers and you will be delivered a long board with 4 or 5 small glasses of different beers to try. Our pick for the most authentic bar is to get underground in Le Trappiste

Bar (http://belgianbeer.wixsite.com/letrappiste) Built into a 13th Century cellar, with exposed vaulted brick arches Le Trappiste is the perfect place to spend an evening with a fun crowd trying out some of their 100 or more specialist beers. Each beer is served in its own uniquely shaped glass.

For serious beer connoisseurs the De Halve Maan Brewery http://www.halvemaan.be offers an entertaining XL tour of the brewery ending in the brewery cellars with tastings of three of their best beers including the favourite local beer: Brugse Zot.

 

  1. There is Holy Blood

Ok, I had to add this one to the list due to the sheer curiosity factor. The Basilek van het Heilig Bloed (Basilica of the Holy Blood www.holyblood.com) located on Burg Square holds a relic that is said to contain the blood of Christ. It is displayed every Friday and each year since the 1300s the vial has been taken in a procession around the city in a festival of costume theatre. But, even if you are not in town for the festival, the Basilica of the Holy Blood is well worth a visit. Dating from the 12th century this church is a fine example of gothic architecture and is filled with numerous valuable works of art slightly blackened by centuries of candle smoke. Wander slowly through the centuries old chapel soaking in the history of the location before emerging again on the Markt Square still in a world that looks like you are back in time.

 

Take your time when visiting Bruges, this newly awakened city is not for fast-paced visits trotting from one tourist destination to the next, instead relax, walk and soak into the fabric of this beautiful gem of a town that was forgotten for some many centuries. Enjoy the vibrancy that now flows again in the centuries old market square and all around the town.

 

 

8 Elegant Experiences for an Unforgettable Stay in London

London is one of our favourite destinations at ILNI and so we have collated our picks of the most elegant and perfectly British experiences for an unforgettable trip to this fabulous city.

 

Stay in Elegance

 

The Gore Hotel

Situated in South Kensington, the Gore Hotel simply oozes historical elegance and character from every pore. Walking into the hotel you are walking back into an era of glamour and refinement. Like a wealthy estate from a previous era, each room is beautifully decorated with antiques and rich fabrics. Sitting next to the iconic Albert Hall, the Gore Hotel has offered luxury accommodation for more than 100 years and continues to do so today in style.

www.gorehotel.com

 

 

Shop with Elegance

 

Liberty London

Liberty is known as the destination of choice for the artistic shopper. Opened in 1875 when the brilliant Arthur Liberty presented a shop selling a collection of ornaments, fabric and objects d’art that instantly proved to be irresistible to shoppers in London. The tradition has not faded with time. Standing at the top level of the store one can look down over the wooden staircases into the beautiful store filled with rare finds, remarkable antiques mixed with the latest and greatest home items, fabrics and stationary. The Christmas selection is simply divine and well worth a visit.

http://www.libertylondon.com

 

Fortnum & Mason (Piccadilly)

For three centuries Fortnum’s has been known as the quintessential British shop for food. Located in Piccadilly, the store has a long reputation of quality and exclusivity in the products it sells. Be prepared to encounter an irresistible display of gourmet pleasures, from chocolates and biscuits to smoked salmon and Stilton, vintage marmalade and seasonal produce. All housed within the traditional architecture of the store. Our tips; pick a random tea from their huge tea selection to take home and try. And if you are looking for a gift, the musical biscuit tins will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

www.fortnumandmason.com

 

Ladurée London (Burlington Arcade)

Ladurée is the place to go for French Macaroons. This tiny, yet adorable store with the gold plated interior is located at the entrance to Burlington Arcade. And by tiny we mean mini sized, only a handful of customers can get inside the store at one time. Our suggestion is to choose your favourite flavour / colour through the plate glass window before going in to collect your little pieces of macaroon heaven.

 

 

Sip Tea in Elegance

 

England and Tea go hand in hand and when visiting London one should always take the time for an elegant high tea. Our picks are the Wolseley and the Ritz for enjoying a perfectly British teatime.

 

The Wolseley (Next to the Ritz)

The Wolseley serves a classic English breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but our favourite is afternoon tea, with gorgeous three-tiered platters of delicate fruit scones and pastries the high tea is a delight to behold and to eat. And did we mention the stylish and luxurious surrounds of this perfect piece of British elegance?  Also popular with celebrities, this casual but chic restaurant is a place to see and be seen in.

www.thewolseley.com

 

The Ritz

No trip to London would be complete without afternoon tea at the Ritz. Walking in the ground floor past the hall porter you will find High Tea being served in the spectacular Palm Court among glittering chandeliers and antique mirrors. Towering étagère are stocked with sandwiches, scones, teacakes and pastries, to be enjoyed with shining silverware and fine bone china teacups. This is a purely elegant way to enjoy a high tea with exceptional service and delightful live music from the pianist or harpist.

http://www.theritzlondon.com

 

 

Pause in between all that elegance

 

Wellcome Library Reading Room

If you are looking for a space to take a breath and rest for a short time during a busy trip in this fantastic city. Our pick is the Wellcome Library Reading Room. A mixture of part gallery, part library and events space; the reading room offers a space for exploring the Library’s collection or just to relax and read a book. Our tip, take a look at the collection of odd collection medical tools from the past or enjoy a board game at one of the many games tables.

www.wellcomelibrary.org

 

 

Drink in Elegance

 

The Bar @ The Dorchester

The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane (www.thedorchester.com) is home to one of London’s oldest and arguably best cocktail bars in the city. The Bar as it is so aptly named is an elegant space with walls covered in luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red glass-spears. The Dorchester has managed to create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy one of their delicious bespoke cocktails. Our pick is the Perfect 10, the house specialty martini.

 

With so many options in this fabulous city there is something for everyone. Our pick of eight elegant experiences are merely a tasting of the many unforgettable experiences London has to offer. We hope these will be inspiration for you to find even more on your next visit.