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Friday, 24 October 2014

You know I said there was ONE thing I couldn't master?

Well, it turns out that was an ambitious statement. 

Yes, apparently there is more than one thing I can't conquer in the wardrobe stakes - the next one being - the pleather trouser. 

They don't work.  I have not had one person say to me - ooh I have an amazing pair.  Nope, they either split (lots of them split, don't take it personally, it's the fabric... that's what I've been telling myself after my recent wardrobe malfunction anyway), they fall down, they're too hot, they're too clingy, they're criminally uncomfortable - you name it, no-one has anything positive to say about them.

I'll be honest, I haven't tried every single pair I've ever come across - I still would say the Vera Moda and Esprit ones "might" be worth a look.  But really, are they doing to be that different?  Will these companies have discovered some miracle fabric that does what no other pleather can do?  For only around the £50 I'm going with no. 

It's not just pleather in the trouser department that is a big fat fail.  One of my closest friends bought a rather gorgeous drop flared hem dress from Zara recently.  Thankfully the first outing was at a dinner party with good friends as on sitting down, the dress split down the back from the neck to the waist.  This fabric is just not meant to be used in close fitting garments that need to stretch. 


I do still have a shiny trouser hole in my wardrobe though.  And so yesterday when I was out and about, I remembered from a google search for coated trousers for the lankier lass, I'd seen some at New Look.

I haven't been into New Look for ages but there were actually some pretty decent things in there.  With a spare 10 mins ish and seeing as I was trying on the trousers anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to drag a huge haul of stuff into the changing room to try on. 

Starting with the coated trousers.  Are these going to last forever?  I'd go with probably not, but seeing as they're bound to last longer than two wears, I think we may be onto something.  And the best thing, is that they do them in different lengths.  Be warned.  The sizing looks very off.  The size 10 I'm trying on, honestly looked like a pair of kids' jeans, but they do stretch.  I've also got the shorter leg length on (apologies, I didn't look to see if it was 28 or 30 but they're short on me). 

These are VERY skinny.  Well they're super skinny.  So more like a legging, could easily be worn as a legging but definitely jeans with the pockets.  To me, pockets make all the difference.  No pockets = no showing of arse please.  Pockets = arse on show acceptable. (these are my woeful rules and no-one else's by the way - they need not be heeded by others!) 

Black Super Skinny Jeans £22.99 


Gotta love the classy socks and sneakers on show.  So sorry.

Then it was onto coats.  Now I don't need a navy coat - I have a pretty good one from Zara last year that was a ridiculously cheap £29.99 (I've had a cunning plan to change the buttons....) but this one I personally prefer.  It's not fur but it's a brushed fabric which is the perfect cross between smart and casual.  AND it's currently on offer!

Navy Single Button Boyfriend was £49.99 now £37.00  This is a 12 - I assumed that they'd be cut on the skimpy side.  NOPE!  Wear your normal size peeps.


Another coat that I did in fact have high hopes for but alas, didn't quite work out was this pale camel (ok that'll be stone) one.  Just a bit of an odd fit.  This is a 12, everything bar the trousers do seem to come up large and it's massive.  Not just oversized, but huge.  You can also see the popper when you undo it which is a massive pet hate of mine as I would do it up very rarely.  In fact I looked like Spongebob with it done up.

Stone Brushed Texture Formal Coat £33.50 was £44.99  Looks fab here....

And not so fab.


Much more success with a yellow jumper.  Fabric feels great - this is me in a size 14, I love the oversized sleeves.  I may be onto something here...... 

Yellow Honeycomb Knit Crew Knit £19.99  A gazillion colours online apart from yellow.


Grey Leather Look Panel sleeve exposed Zip cardigan £29.99 I'm trying this in the Large - this actually doesn't come up this big - gotta love the sizing consistency.  However apart from that - All Saints, eat your heart out for less than £30.


Je Suis un Beauty Queen Sweatshirt £17.99 ADORE this - total bargain, if only I needed a grey sweat which I don't, this is a size 12.  It's absolutely enormous.


Grey Nothing To Wear t-shirt £7.99  Again, me in a 12, a much more consistent sizing - I wouldn't want this any smaller.


Now onto the scarf thingies.  
Brown Faux Fur Collar £9.99  This looks like rancid fox in this pic but honestly it's pretty darn fabulous.  I think this transforms an old coat into something completely up to date and is ideal if you don't want to do the whole full on fur hoolie.

And it was all going so well with the trying on, until this happened.  Ok so I did think it was a snood before I realised it wouldn't go over my head and so is therefore a headband (I actually have one of these somewhere - Ivana Trump eat your heart out)


Grey Faux Fur Oversized Scarf £12.99  Couldn't find this in store but I LOVE it.

Some fantastic party shoes - these are a revelation.  They can look silver or gold depending on what light you stand in.  Rather like those lipsticks you used to get from the market when you were a kid - awww what was the brand........?  The ones that looked green but then came out pink.  OOH Constance Carroll! 

Gold Glitter Metal Point Court Shoes £19.99 (I swear to god if you told me these were Jimmy Choo, I wouldn't argue with you)


I've been asked numerous times if there are any flat evening shoes that I'd recommend and hey presto, as if by magic.

Gold Lurex Pointed Pumps £12.99

Wide Fit Multicoloured Glitter Pumps £12.99 (they also have these in a neutral goldy colour, a red and a black) 

Grey Premium Leather Pointed Toe Ankle Boots £64.99  These look so so much better in the flesh than in the pics.


I did also find online a number of things I thought, oooh, that I hadn't seen instore.  

Starting with sweatshirts.  Honestly, the quality of these is as good as any others out there, I'll be totally frank with you but for a 10th of the price.  I love this one - all rather tongue in cheek obviously.

Cream Nothing To Wear long sleeved sweater £14.99

I actually gasped when I saw this one (I'm not getting out much at the moment).  This is literally identical to the navy Sandro one I ummed and ahhed over last year (and didn't buy, may I reassure you)  Except that it's grey and it doesn't cost £160. Identical. (if navy is identical to grey that is)

Misumi Dark Grey Snakeskin Jacquard Sweatshirt £19.99
Grey Buckle Side High Boots £29.99  And these remind me more than just a little of my Acne Cypress boots.  Not they're not leather but they are only £30!

And if you need a little Valentino in your life but can't justify the cost of a pair of Rockstuds, fear not, New Look to the rescue. 

Black Studded T-Bar Ankle Strap Pointed Pumps £19.99

So, there is one store where I shall be paying more of a visit.  In fact, I was looking at some of their longline basics online, anyone got any experience of them?  I need definitely to do a basics thread shortly - the time of layering is upon us. 

Outfit for today.  Am in DESPERATE need of my hair being done.  GAH! 


White vest - Primark
Black and white jumper - Hush
Black triple zip jeans - Mint Velvet
Black skater shoes - Next
Black boiled wool coat - Ronit Zilkha
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

Christening tomorrow, still haven't decided what I'm wearing but it's definitely going to be something of the dress variety.  It's followed by the little boy's birthday party so I need something that will be church followed by Mr Marvel the Entertainer worthy.... I'm thinking dress, smart coat and ankle boots.  My boots from M&S haven't arrived - due on Sunday.  Next day delivery working a treat then... Not.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The one thing I cannot master

Shoes to wear in the Winter with a dress - for the evening. 

Ok so that's not entirely true - I do have a trusty (read old) pair of Zara suede ankle boots which, for the past FIVE years, I have been saying I must replace.  They are perfect, well they are nearly perfect.  They're too high.  And it's not so much the verging on tranny territory that bothers me.  Alas no, I drink way too much to let that bother me after the first five minutes of being out. 

No, it's a sad fact I've had to come to terms with but it's Old Age that is the problem here.  Not my height, or the shoes, no it's my knees.  And my feet.  And my back.  Oh god I want to sob writing this - it's all catching up with me. 

I know people said "ooh everything starts falling apart at 40".   They were telling the truth.  Not only can I have one Big Mac Meal and put on half a stone (actually I don't have Big Mac Meals, I am a Big Tasty convert.  The fact they have double the calories of a BM, oh and I always super size it, is perhaps more the issue), I can't drink on two nights in a row anymore and I can't stand up in a bar for longer than an hour without wanting to cry. 

If I wear vertiginous heels, my knees honestly feel like they're going to give way.  

So rant over - I'm not going to get maudlin about this.  When the going gets tough, the tough go shoe shopping. 

Except that I've been trying to do this for the last number of years and have failed miserably (hence I keep knackering my joints by wearing those ridiculous shoes)  

I thought I'd mastered it last year with some from John Lewis but they weren't quite right.  Ditto the ones from Mint Velvet which I *may* have bought and returned x 3.  (honestly - embarrassing or what?)  In fact, they were in the sale for about £40 and even then I didn't get them as they were Not Right. 

So...................................... What am I looking for?  Well.  The issue I have with dressy dresses is that there is a fine line between dressed for a wedding and just a casual dressy (you know what I mean) night out.  And if I dig deep and am truly honest - I don't want to feel too grown up. 

Saying that at the ripe old age of 41 is clearly ridiculous.  Not even faintly ridiculous - it's well and truly moronic. 

But I've put it out there now and with dainty heels and a dress, I feel like a frumpy mum.  In my head I'm not 41, I'm still 28.

And then of course, I have the mutton issue..... Oh look, talking myself round in circles here, let's see if there are any other there that will finally fit the bill. 

Shoes that aren't too ladylike.  Something with a bit of "edge" to them (typed with my poncey hat on yes).  Not an ankle boot, not even necessarily a shoot.  Normally I'd say suede as I think leather in something more substantial can look too heavy.  To go with a dress, even a skirt and top, for a Christmas night out, dinner party, Christmas Day.  Clear as mud eh?

I have been putting this off (procrastinator, moi?) but the other day I saw these on the Wallis website and thought - hell they could work.  They are the perfect balance to me of shoe and boot.

Black Leather Asymmetric Cut Shoe Boot was £95 now £85.50

I also spied these on the Wallis site which would do a great job of livening up a plain little black dress and would also be fab with jeans or trousers. 

Black Glitter Buckle Shoe Boots was £39.50 now £35.55

At Mint Velvet they do have some this season - I adore the styling here, as you can see they work so well for during the day as well as purely for evening wear. 

Black Lenni Blocked Boot from Mint Velvet £129

These are perhaps more bootie than I'm now veering towards but they are a bargain and not as vertiginous as some. 

Black Junette by Nine West was £125 now £39

However these are top of my list and I've ordered them after trying them on instore today and finding only THREE pairs left in black - in titchy tiny Cinderella sizes or at the other end of the spectrum.   Nothing like everything been sold out to ensure that I HAVE to have it. Duh. 

I have had these on before but did I heed my own advice and buy them?  Did I heck as like and now I have to shoehorn my foot into a 6 (I did try it on today...) as opposed to a 6.5. (this isn't going to end well, is it...?)

Suede Elasticated Autograph boot £59.00  BUT there is a 20% off Discount at M&S (yes again..) with the code OCT14EM (usable as often as you like) OFF EVERYTHING! 


If you're not after a pointed toe then these are perhaps more wearable - again a good heel height, ideal for both trousers and dresses. 

Lower again with a bit of texture detail on the heel. 

If you like the mock croc heel there is a higher (much higher) pair from ASOS. 

Another stunning high pair from Dune - these are simply divine but alas, I fear too high for me. (oh dear lord I sound ancient)

At ASOS there are also these Ted Baker ones which are a work of art to be honest.  Not cheap but good art is never cheap.... And they're not too high.  

I am determined not to overthink this.  (famous last words.....)  But it's something I'm never happy with, so I'm just going to order the M&S ones and be done with it.  Now here's hoping they arrive for Saturday for my Christening... GAH!  Anyone else still looking for a pair of shoes for nights out or have you mastered it years ago?

Outfit from yesterday - this is pre my quick change into my "watching cross country gear". I may have news on the warm weather front.  I have done my research, I may have a winner......  I will be back....


White jersey layering shirt - Me+Em
Black thin knit jumper - Cos
Black Tuxedo jacket - Hush
Patch skinnies - Mango
Leopard print loafers - Zara

And today - another inbetweeny outfit.  I am loving the navy.


Navy merino jumper - Uniqlo
Navy dress coat - H&M
White leather tennis shoes - Zara
Print trousers - Zara
Camel bag - Prada

Today I had a lovely lunch with a gorgeous friend and a fantastic mooch around the shops.  And I may have managed to tick off another item on my list of obsessives.... From a shop that I don't normally shop in.  I have done definitely, but I can't think of one thing I own from there.  However I did a big trying on session of things that caught my eye and there are some goodies and some baddies.  Guess which shop?!  I'll give you a clue - it's a pretty cheap treat - what's not to love?

Monday, 20 October 2014

I can't put it off any longer

I fear we may even be in weeks of single figures till Christmas.   And whilst to most of us, that means a list of chores and jobs to do as long as your arm (god, even thinking about doing a Christmas food order is making me feel queasy, let alone the run up to and the aftermath of the cooking) - anyone started Christmas shopping?  (no I haven't so you can all stop hating me for either mentioning the C word.  I am disorganised with a capital D you'll be pleased to hear)

However let's just benchmark the onslaught of grief for a moment (I'm sure that most of you are far less lackadaisical than me and therefore it's not half as stressful - you would think I would learn, wouldn't you?!) and take one element of pain away.  The Dress. 

As much as I am a (new) fan of dresses in the Summer, the Christmas season is really when The Dress comes into its own. 

Even if you don't have a host of glamourous parties (that'll be me), I'm sure that everyone has a family get together, Christmas Drinks, Mum's night out, Work do and of course there is then Christmas Day itself. 

Which means that it's pretty easy to justify a treat for yourself in the form of a new dress.  Oh I know to some it's ridiculously shallow but a new outfit that you feel great in, to me is the ultimate pick you up.  And when the Christmas chips are getting you down, a pick me up is always an early gift from Santa. 

And is if by magic, I've also realised that this weekend, I have my Godson's Christening.  It'll be a wonderfully casual affair combined with his birthday party afterwards so I don't need a smart smart dress. 

Which could be said for lots of Christmas occasions actually.  There is that line in the sand between full on Christmas glitz and a dressy but not overly dressy number.  (that be said, there are definitely ones you could wear for both, just by changing up your accessories)  Fear not, I will be covering all bases but starting with some really wearable dresses.  Hold that sequin thought for the minute.

It also needn't cost the earth.  Dorothy Perkins seem to permanently have a discount code (a 25% thingy flashed up when I went onto their site) and we're starting at a good price anyway. 

Starting with a shirt dress - my discovery of the Summer. 

Black Yoke Shirt dress from DP £28   This would work teamed with flats, heels or ankle boots, depending on how dressy the occasion. 

A longer shirt dress now - this could be great again with some ankle boots or shoots.  Or even knee high boots.  Bring back the 70's. 

Paisley shirt dress from DP £38

Gorgeous print shift dress - I like the idea of this during the day with opaques and loafers, brogues, any sort of sneaker or ankle boots. Ideal for work and play.  

Teal blue shadow flora shift dress £32

Now this looks very Marni and therefore Cos to me - a classically simply dress - easy to dress up with jewellery or just let the classic shape do the talking.  Less can sometimes be more. 

Grey roll sleeve shift dress from DP £30

Another simple jersey number - again, with a necklace this would be great.   Or wear on its on for a nod to Scandi chic. 

Grey Drop Waist Dress £20

Another drop waist dress at Hush which I can absolutely vouch for, is the Quilted Dress 

Quilted Dress from Hush in Aubergine £49 - but don't forget your 10% off in October using OCTEVENT (plus 20% off nightwear at the moment with the code)

Or a classic black £49 pre discount 

From Hush and also in the aubergine is the stunning Sophia dress in cupro.  Feels exactly like a suede silk but apparently it can be handwashed.  

Sophia Dress £69

So I was having a think about where I'd previously found reasonably priced dresses and whilst I was earlier having a look for lights (yes, our house renovation is never ending...) and was on the BHS site - lightbulb moment (oh lord pardon the pun) - dresses. 

This one is perfect for a casually dressy affair.  Add heels for a smarter edge. 

Black Printed longline tunic dress from BHS £30

Black Zip Shoulder ponte dress from £35  (not sure I'd wear these shoes with it to be honest, I like to wear something slightly funkier - boak at the word I apologise - with dresses.  These would be my trouser shoes)

I've definitely had this one on the blog before - it's a Wallis one I've found at BHS but it's so fabulous and it's now in the sale for £25.  I LOVE this. 

Animal Print Shirt Dress now £25 was £38

Another shirt dress - this looks like it's a fake wrap dress - much more flattering than the tie yourself ones in my opinion (and this is true for everyone).  A classic shape brought up to date with a modern mix of colours. 

Black/Blue check shirt dress was £30 now £21

I found another fake wrap dress at Coast - a friend recently tried this on and it is beyond beyond flattering.  The colours may not be for everyone but I'm quite drawn to these. 

Coast Estra Print Dress £85

Now if you know me at all, you know I can't do red but I absolutely love it on other people.  This dress is very reminiscent of a Baukjen one at a fraction of the price.  They also have this in a black and a cobalt online. 

Red Flippy Ponte Dress £20 from BHS

The cobalt colour is also available in a drop hem sleeveless version.  Tell me you'd think this was from BHS?  I didn't think so - amazing isn't it. 

Cobalt Drop Hem Dress £30

If you're looking for something a bit more unusual and perhaps vintage is your thing, then this is the one for you.  I simply adore this - it's not me at all (for a start, still scarred by years of wearing bottle green as my school uniform - a colour you will never see me wearing) but I think it is just so chic and perfect for a myriad of dressier occasions.  

I also think this would be better on someone slightly shorter (the model is 5ft10) as I think the style works better as a proper midi - not knee length as it is here (it's called a Midi dress which to me is definitely below the knee).  I'd also like to see it with a slightly higher heel.  

Green High Neck Slink Dress £70 (the use of the word slinky, may I just mention, is theirs, definitely not mine)

This one however, I would call slinky.  I have been reliably informed that these dresses are super flattering.  They are amazing on those who have curves and give those who haven't that extra shape.  A beautifully neutral colour and style actually that could be dressed up and down as the occasion saw fit. 

Damsel in Dress Arundel dress in grey £129 This is slightly more but considering how versatile it is, I think it's worth paying that extra sometimes. 

If there is one colour though, that I am obsessed with this season, it's yellow. (ok so that's this week, obviously next week it will be something else) 

But call off the dogs - I wasn't "actually" looking for a dress (I was going to be really good and wear something that I already had).  And then I saw this. 

Panelled Shift Dress £46  It isn't perhaps the most Christmas of colours but this yellow against black, grey or navy to me is totally sublime.  I have a host of coats (literally about 10 she says with a teensy tiny hint of embarrassment.  To be honest, it may be more...) and shoes and boots that this would go with.  I also can, off the top of my head, think of 5 occasions where I could wear it. 

This one looks as it it could be Whistles to me but at Warehouse prices. 

Shadow Floral Slinky Dress £38

Speaking of Whistles, I wouldn't normally put them in the league of reasonably priced (ok they're not super super expensive, but it's rare you can get a dress for under £100)  But at the moment, there appears to be 30% off some Whistles at John Lewis. 

Which makes some of their dresses much much more affordable. 

This one would be super useful to dress up or dress down. 

Whistles Zip Detail Dress now £66

So does anyone else have anything coming up that they need a smart dress for?  I've got a couple of dinner parties which will definitely be dress worthy, the Christening on Saturday and I may have another girl's lunch in London before the end of November (you have all been warned....!) 

Finishing with my outfits from yesterday and today.  Unseasonably warm but I'm loving this inbetweeny weather.  Probably my favourite season actually - the inbetweeny season!


White loose tee - Hush
Grey Baxters - Topshop
Check coat - Kew
Yellow scarf - Hush
White leather tennis shoes - Zara
Grey cross body satchel - Whistles 

And today - feeling really rough - chores at home, none of which I really got done and then a glam trip to the supermarket, school run and the running around after the children with their after school activities.  I literally sat down at 8pm this evening, having not stopped doing stuff since 3pm.  Dinner in the oven, The Husband home at 9.30 and relax. (actually there's still washing to be taken out of the machine. GAH)


Mon Cheri sweat shirt - JCrew
Straight leg jeans - Earl
Navy dress coat - H&M
Leopard print skate shoes - Next
Whiskey Marcie Medium Satchel - Chloe 

Come on Tuesday - how bad can you be...?