NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 STYLE FINALIST BiB 2014 STYLE

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hands up who's not outdoorsey?

It's taken me 41 years to accept that I'm not.  I'm really really not.  The sort of outdoors I like is sitting on a sunlounger by a pool or a beach (and even then I'm not a massive fan of sand) or with a glass in my hand sat down at a table.  Actually it may just have dawned on me that I'm not so much not a lover of the outdoors but inherently lazy. 

However I somehow appear to have spawned sporty boys (oh and for the record when it comes to sport or exercise... errr yes, definitely inherently lazy) and the reality is that my Sunday mornings for the next gazillion years are going to spent watching them play rugby. 

Now before someone asks, yes I have considered the point that this could be a fantastic bonding opportunity for all the boys of the family and I could spend quality time with my number one girl.  Believe me - this was the plan.  Who wouldn't this be the plan for?!  But I have two boys and you need one parent per child pitch side for training. 

However I shall look on this as an opportunity (and to be honest, I am rather enjoying seeing how much my 6 year old loves playing rugby and even the daughter has taken to chilling out with her kindle in the club house - I should point out it hasn't rained yet.....) to acquire new boots and a new coat. 

The issue is that these need to be practical and I suck at buying practical clothes.  There's a lot of style over substance going on in my wardrobe......

However I REFUSE to believe that it's necessary to look like you've been plucked from Base Camp at Everest.  Oh I know, you veterans of the rugby sidelines will be chortling at my naivety and predicting how long it takes me to cave and head screaming into North Face. 

Well. I have been heard to say that my children get their stubborn streak from The Husband but as I'm typing this, I'm getting ready to add Donkey along with Sloth to my middle names.  However I am very good at admitting I am wrong and admit it I will do if I cock up on this. 

But hopefully I won't.. (never let it be said I'm not a glass half full person).  I honestly think (and yes, I will concede I may be deluded here but I always managed fine on ski-ing holidays.  Admittedly I did have a North Face coat.  Eats words) that with the right layering underneath and the right boots, I can find something that won't have people yelling "where's your sherpa?" when I rock up. 

The timely reason for this blog is that it is yet another discount weekend.  20% off all coats at M&S and 30% off coats at Mango (although this appears to be now "selected" coats - cheeky monkeys - those marked with a circle or a star aren't included.)

Starting with M&S and I so so nearly bought this one last year.  I tried it on the other day instore and either my arms have grown, they're skimping on their sizing or it was just too short last year as well but I am GUTTED to say the proportions of this are wrong on someone with arms like an orangutang (ie me). However I may have to try it again...... I will try it again, it was too good not to try again.

Down Filled Hooded & Belted coat with Stormwear now £79.90 was £99  This is honestly an amazing coat (says she with no technical expertise whatsoever)  I'm a 10 to 12 on top and I tried on the Medium which was fine around the middle, if not a bit on the big side (but perfect for layering). I have quite a few friends who have the Burberry ones and I would defy you to be able to tell the difference.  Detachable hood. 

Also comes in a whole host of colours.



The one above is the mid length one which even on me was fine but I have to say I was and still am tempted by the super long one.  You can't get nearer to wearing a duvet cover pitchside than you could wearing this. 

Hooded & Padded Coat with Stormwear was £120 now £96  So this is waterproof as well. 



Other options which I didn't see instore (as, dear M&S, these were not in the extensive COAT section.  Obviously.  One is expected to go to the Coat Section and try on a selection of coats, but then meander round the huge shop and look at every section to hunt out all the other coats you've snaffled away a la Easter Bunny.  You're like a Coat Bunny)

Per Una Premium Down & Feather filled belted coat with stormwear now £119.20 was £149



Have to say I think it's all a bit Maxmara in the putty colour.  Rather lovely (I don't plan on rolling round in the mud, so this would pass as practical?)



I won't say again how much this isn't me this colour, but I love it on other people and this is definitely an ace way of making something very practical slightly more fashion forward (did I actually just type that last bit?!) 

Premium Down Filled Feather Quilted Coat with Stormwear was £129 now £103.20 in Berry




Premium Down & feather filled in 3 in 1 down coat £159.20 was £199 (can't quite work out why this is 3 in 1......



But moving onto Mango which somehow I don't expect to offer the same practicality as M&S.  Which is the most ridiculous assumption ever.  A bit like assuming that all Clarks shoes will be super comfy.  (they're not by the way) 

And whilst we're on that subject, my bestie has a Zara one she bought in Madrid years ago (the classic - oh I'm going to Spain so it must be hot.  Oh maybe not so much.  "necessary coat purchase made".  You can see why she's my mate, can't you?!) and that is definitely more substantial and warmer than one would think. 

So I have high hopes for these from Mango.  All prices are pre 30% off  - code is 5MNG

Feather down long coat £99.99



Hood and belt are detachable as you can see here in the black 



Love this one but think that the proportions would work better on someone who's on the shorter side. 

Quilted Hooded Coat £79.99 pre discount



Not many parkas here on this blog (ok no parkas) but a waxed/coated one with a great furry warm lining, could definitely be on the cards. 

Faux Shearling lined Park from Mango £119.99 pre 30% discount



And to be honest, that's probably all there is on the Mango site that even I admit would serve the warmth purpose.  Oh what to do.... Well I still have some other ideas up my sleeve - am thinking that our Scandi neighbours manage to survive on a daily basis in the cold whilst not looking like they've raided Millets, so this is where I shall be heading next. 

They do have some fantastic other coats though, including the wrap around one I featured earlier in the season (ie a matter of weeks ago, duh) and other gorgeous classic numbers.  I do have another coat suggestion up my sleeve (ha ha) which I'll explore shortly.

However I may just snaffle the M&S one, the full length duvet number, as it will also be an amazing dog walking job (not on the cards yet but just in case....) I'd hate for them to sell out again like they did last year (even though last year it was £99 and it's now £120 full price.... hmmmmm) 

Don't even get me started on boots.  I shall be starting my research on this tomorrow.  Warm wellies are probably the way forward, seeing as apparently we spend most of the Winter knee deep in mud.  Note to self - it might be a hell of lot easier and cheaper to persuade the smallest son that tennis is his game......

So finishing with outfits from yesterday and today. 

Yesterday - expertly taken by the 10 year old.  Charging around yesterday buying tile adhesive and underfloor webbing (I kid you not) but managed a sneaky trip into TK Maxx for a teensy splurge (only one thing) which I'll bring you tomorrow.  The round robin of swimming and tennis for the kids after school and then chilling with The Husband and wine in the evening.

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Breton top - H&M
Saxby jeans - ASOS
Navy waffle blazer - Next
Indira necklace - Stella & Dot
Taupe Jalouse boots - Ash
Whiskey Medium Marcie bag - Chloe 

And today it was the turn of The Husband to take the photo.  Trying to tell me something?  Very relaxed day with the boys and The Husband, the daughter was at dance rehearsals all day so went along to basketball training and then a late lunch at Wagamamas. 

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White shirt - Autograph Men's (creased within an inch of its life after wearing it for just two hours.  I HATE white shirts) 
Bat sweatshirt with leather shoulders - Zoe Karssen
Grey Baxter jeans - Topshop
Black ponyskin skate shoes - Next 
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

Tomorrow Rugby is at the Astro turf so I can wear trainers.  This has made my Saturday night.  WOOO HOOOOO.  No damp grass shoe dilemma.  It has come to this....... Where did it all go wrong.....?!  In both Friday and Saturday nights this week which is very unusual for us and I'm loving it.  Not a hint of a hangover - quality time spent last night as The Husband got home early and we had family Uno night with wine and crisps (fear not, the kids had juice).  Tonight, Thai meal all ready to rock, another round of Uno en famille (the more I drink, the funnier it is apparently....) and tomorrow morning I shall feel like a spring chicken. Maybe this is the way forward....! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  As I'm at "such" a loose end, I'm going to do a sneaky Mango order later - knitwear here I come. xx

Thursday, 16 October 2014

And the shopping gods are smiling down on us again

Alternatively, is it those little shopping devils throwing temptation in our paths with their evil discount codes?

Mango, do you read my posts? (that is obviously rhetorical by the way)  As not 24 hours after I do a post on knitwear from Mango, ending with the comments that I need to look at coats, what do I get flung at me?  Only a(nother) 30% off discount code, off Outwear & Knitwear.  Divine intervention or evil sorcery at its best?

So whilst we have my blog from yesterday, when I was trying to find the jumpers online, there were a number of others that I hadn't seen instore (as I mentioned, my local Mango is pants and the one on Cheapside is also diddy and sparse) which I thought, oooooooh.

This is by no means the end of the jumpers posts (oh no way, I am on a roll), these are just a couple of gems that I think are definitely worth looking at, at Mango. 

Yet more knitwear today - use the code 5MNG (this does last till the 22nd Oct so unlike usual, it's not just a weekend wonder).  Tomorrow or over the weekend, I'll tackle the thorny subject of coats (SOB)

For the record, I always go big on jumpers at Mango, size wise.  Their sizing (like most) is absurdly random - dresses that are 8 inches too long on me at 5ft 10 yet jeans that I need to lie down to do up in my normal size.  I always find that with more cost effective knitwear, sizing up is a good idea.  I would take a large in all of these, with the exception of the first roll necks and the fine neck sweater, where I'm going to try a medium.

Oh and all of these prices are PRE 30% off.  This is the full price.  Do the maths and cheer. 

Roll necks.  These are going to be one of my staples.  I have oodles more research to do but since I'm doing an order, I am definitely (with 30% off) flinging a couple of these in. 

Wool Blend Sweater £24.99



And I want this whole outfit - I refuse to be defeated by my lack of pleather thingymajigs but again, that is for another day. 

Roll neck in black 



This look like an ideal alternative to a summer tee as a classic winter basic.   I have one from Cos that is very similar but it's slightly finer and after two years has succumbed to the washer with those tiny little holes here and there.  Oh and it was nearly £50.  This has got to be worth a go for the price.  Ideal on it's own or as a layering item - the same price as a good tee. 

Fine-knit sweater £24.99



Better pic in the gunmetal grey 



Now my heart still belongs to the black and white Plumo cardigan but this is a much better price to be honest. 

Check Mohair blend Cardigan £44.99



If you thought you saw a bargain yesterday with the £9.99 jumpers then imagine them with 30% off!  Less than a bottle of wine.  These ones in a V neck also look like a must. 

V-Neck Sweater in Navy £9.99  loads and loads of other colours online.



I am still definitely in love with all things sweatshirt related and this has the perfect feminine touch to it.  I've seen this in the flesh actually and it's great quality for the money.  JCrew eat your heart out. 

Embellishment text sweater £29.99






Or the black.....




I already have one chunky cardigan which is ideal for this inbetweeny weather, I'll also be wearing it on dry days layered up with a big scarf and they're perfect for snuggling up in front of the tv on a cold night. 

This one is a gem. 

Flecked Mohair-blend sweater £44.99



Ok so there is a grey theme thingy happening here.  It's just one of my favourite winter colours - another ideal neutral.  Back to the oversized chunky knit.  Lush.

Cowl neck Sweater £34.99



I may have jumper overdose but I quite like the look of this..... It's a grown up Christmas jumper no?  If you have a selection of black or grey jackets, cardigans or coats, this would be the perfect foil.

Jacquard wool-blend sweater £44.99



Haven't done much navy but this reminds me of both a Whistles one and a Sandro one - all of which I was salivating over last season.  At a fraction of the price, even before the 30% discount. 

Textured Sweater in navy £34.99 (I would definitely size up on this - skimpy malinky sizing by all accounts)



Staying with neutrals and I did look at my beloved camel yesterday but this is a must - a wool sweatshirt, intriguing... I have a fab black shirt that would look ace under this.  Think it would also work superbly well with leopard print.  Or navy.  Or grey. Or other camel.  Must. Have.

Wool-blend knit sweatshirt £34.99



I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE GOT THOSE CULOTTES - I need to look like this. (I even want to know what t-shirt it is - I'm ordering that too.  The fact she's 10 and doesn't have weetabix stuck to her shoe or a child's snot on her sleeve is a minor detail I'm selecting to ignore after two glasses of wine) 



A hoodie.  I had my eye last season on both a Baukjen one and another from Me+Em at lots of spondoolies, but at this price, I am definitely definitely definitely trying.  I love the idea (as I said before) of a hoodie in a luxury (ok so this is cheap luxury) fabric with a dressier coat.  This will either work or I will look homeless.

Hood wool-blend sweater £34.99





And as per usual I could go on and on and on.  Online there is honestly so much choice, I would defy you not to come up with something that's right for you.  Cropped, longline, loose, fitted, cashmere, cotton, viscose and acrylic and in every colour you can think of.  

I personally haven't found delivery the quickest during their offer periods but some people have had more luck.  Returns are easy - back to store but beware, if you order something from a range your store doesn't stock, you will have to return via post.   On the upside, if your memory is at a similar stage of wrecked by the children/alcohol as mine, then it is the most welcome surprise to get a random parcel of you have no idea what, delivered. 

I have my shopping list made.  Anyone else?  Coats next, which I am more wary of as last offer I ordered THE most random coat which I didn't even try on.  Oh and a scarf that clearly had been sent from the lost property office of Studio 57.  Grey lurex anyone?  Both going straight back. 

Finishing today with outfit from yesterday. 

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White linen tee - Max Studio
Black tux fitted blazer - Toshop
Grey cashmere scarf - Hush
Grey tie dye skinnies - Sandro
Black boots - Toga Pulla 
Black Faridah hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

How on earth is tomorrow Friday already?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

In the interests of balance

And since I had a spare half hour yesterday and was opposite a Mango in the City which randomly (or not so random thinking about it) has totally different stock to my local yokel one, I thought I'd go and have a peruse of their knitwear.  

With the weather having well and truly turned, following my post on jumpers the other day, I was aware that it was at the more expensive end of the knitwear scale and was sure that there must be some more economical options out there.  Again, these aren't cheap cheap and I am going to see if I can find some others but the quality of these (bar one to be fair...) for the money, is really good. (ooh and there is a super bargain actually - which doesn't fit the brief of a chunky knit but hell, it's a jumper.  And a super useful one at that)

Kicking off though with an amazing wool mix jumper that feels gorgeous.   Not too soft (it does need to have some structure and I like the fact you're able to pouff it over itself - if that makes sense....), not remotely itchy, great length sleeves (this is a Large) and all in all, pretty perfect.  

Ribbed wool-blend sweater £34.99 in Gunmetal Grey




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In camel vigore  Simply love this shade. 



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This one to me is ever so sightly 90's grunge but who doesn't love a snippet of nostalgia?  It does look itchy but actually it's not at all - very soft, as you can see I've only got a bra on here (sorry..!).  And I normally itch queen (which probably came out wrong...)




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However the black one I tried was itchtastic. 

Mohair Wool blend sweater £34.99.  I really wanted to love this as I don't think I'm going to be able to get enough black this year. 



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But this already had the look and texture of a wool that's been on a hot wash.  And it surgically attached itself to my arms as well.  This is a Medium.  To say it was on the tight side on my arms was a slight understatement. 

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I had every intention of looking for a thick snuggly jumper but whilst I was there, I couldn't resist trying these striped ones on.  Now yes, I would prefer them to be gathered at the bottom but they're not too long (these are a size L) and for less than a tenner, they are honestly fab.  Cotton mix. 

Round neck striped sweater £9.99 navy and camel. LOVE




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And here is the simply gorgeous navy scarf I also tried.  This is amazing. 




And in the black  again £9.99



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To be frank, the choice on Cheapside was pants and it was Warehouse or nothing (lovely Banana Republic but much more expensive - some hilarious trouser shots in the bag though. Dear. God.  Coming soon)

Nothing chunky again but I fell in love with this yellow jumper.  They say it's mustard but it's much more of a canary shade of yellow in my opinion.






Slightly losing the will to live, hence I tried a larger size on over my jumper.  Never let it be said I'm not professional. 


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And as a total aside, this is the scarf that I had wanted and sold out online - it's back again, but I'm not sure.  I'm slightly concerned I have a whiff of Eastern European doll in a touristy shop look around me.  Or a Spandeau Ballet fan from the 90's in their Romantic era... But I LOVE the colours - and the check.. and the size.. and it's warm (seriously warm)

Check Scarf £24.99 


Here I am, potentially about to launch into "Through the Barricades"


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I have merely scratched the surface of the jumper opportunity this season I feel.  But top of my list at the moment, is definitely the ribbed polo neck.  Gorgeous and a lot more jumper for your money than most. 

Finishing with my outfit from yesterday.  Amazing day in London, in the morning with Hush Homewear and Odette Toilette at a Fragrance Discovery Workshop.  They're launching a rather lovely Home Fragrance range - as a candle addict, I can't wait till it's available towards the end of the month.  Fear not, I will let you know.  

A cheeky lunch with The Husband and then a tiny mooch round the (pants) shops before heading home for the school run and the round robin antics of after school clubs for my three. 

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White collar - Cos
Black merino jumper - Uniqlo
Black capri pants - Zara
Camel wrap coat - Zara
White leather tennis shoes - Zara
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang

And now to watch the rest of The Apprentice with my two eldest who are obsessed with it.  Both refuse to watch The X Factor or Strictly but love love Lord Sugar.  Go figure. 

Anyone else seen any fabulous jumpers on their travels?  I'm compiling some other blogs on this as I haven't even got started yet.  Also got the dreaded practical coat on the horizon, am conscious that the party season is around the corner (DRESS DRESS DRESS) and whilst we're there, we should definitely look at some shoes as well.  Not forgetting bling and jeans, so much to cover!