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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The dregs of the sales come up trumps

I normally avoid the dregs of the sales like the plague.  It's probably actually easier to catch the plague than it is to grab a bargain in the jumble sale they fob us off with as "the bargain rack".  I think you mean the rack of shite.  Rails and rails of mismatched, old stock, most of it damaged and nearly all of it in random sizes and from a fashion era that time would prefer to forget.

However clearly I had had way too much sun the other day and, as per usual, was in full on panic mode for holiday shopping for this weekend.  Having said that, even if I wasn't going away, as soon as the temperature creeps above 25 for more than two consecutive days, I can be found scouring the shops for new summer outfits.  When I have a wardrobe full of tat that I have bought every year in the same scenario since Jesus was a boy.  And never wear the following year.  Bob has certainly got his hat on. He is a summer lad, the git. 

But lo and behold.  Two fabulous fabulous beauties were there, beaming at my friend and I, like beacons in the darkness of sales tripe on a last min shopping trip the other evening. And, AND, we were in M&S of all places.  We were in fact walking through Marks to get the kids clothes and then go on with the shopping but were waylaid by a couple of interesting pieces (more on that with an A/W round up - of course as the sun is out, I am now getting excited about winter clothes.  I am nothing if not supremely weird)  But we then stumbled on these lovelies hanging on the end of sales rack.

And here they are - a jumpsuit in black with white paint splat effect (gosh that sounds attractive, not).  Will be fab for during the day to drag on over a cossie for lunch and drinks and can even dress it up in the evening with huge chandelier earrings and black strappy sandals.  For £12.  Yes ladies, £12!  And it was a size 8.  Faint.  Ok admittedly it's M&S and their sizes are, I think on the whole, on the generous side, but still, I could get my right leg in it so am quite pleased (not, in the scheme of things, that that should matter at all...)

And secondly this absolutely stunning number which I am ridiculously pleased with and, to be fair, would have bought for full price (I think it was £35 or £38)   Won't be taking this away with me as it will be too warm to wear, but am thinking it will be a staple top for the A/W.  Clearly has been left in the carrier bag.  Oops.

As all good things come in threes, these two made up my trio of sales bargains as I picked up this wonderful snakeskin Michael Kors bag in the sale at House of Fraser.  Has already been used the other week for my black tie dinner with the All Saints dress but looks great with the snakeskin Zara shoes as well and will be useful this weekend and with all my summer (and winter for that matter) dressier outfits.  Am very pleased indeed - it was £129ish down from £195.

Now, I have some other vaguely exciting new to share.  This is something that no-one else will remotely care about but it's a Big Deal for me.  I have had a leg shaped about turn.  In that they have actually, in this gloriously, wonderful weather - oh hello Summer, where have you been? - been set loose on the general public.  In shorts.  Gasp.  I bought these last year when we went to Italy for two weeks and not even I could encase my legs in trousers or skirts in that heat.  Think boil in the bag limbs. 

Admittedly I did get them out only to go to the swimming pool, where everyone is in swimming costumes (no shit sherlock) and generally massively laid back.  But I sort of forgot I had them on and found myself in Waitrose suddenly realising that my legs were on display to the masses.  Clearly my subconscious had been aware that they had been fake tanned within an inch of their lives - I would have to live on a Caribbean island for about 5 years to get them anywhere near this colour.  But the world didn't fall of its axis, no-one died - obviously no-one cared.  Least of all me.  Breakthrough made.  And I will be wearing shorts again today.  As soon as the temp dips below 25 I will be encasing them in fabric again but for the moment, a rather big leap forward for me as I totter towards 40. (still won't be getting my knees out in a dress for the wedding though - baby steps and all that... Actually I'm not being a massively vain twit, it's difficult with the balance of leg and dress etc etc etc.  And I actually think I may have found a replacement for the controversial white number.  Will report back)

Black vest - Primark
Multicoloured top - French Connection
Shorts - Warehouse
Sunglasses - H&M
Black glitter flipflops - Primark
Black hobo bag - Marc Jacobs

And to end with a quick round up of what I've been wearing over the past week - a couple are missing - not quite sure how that happened - last week of term was rather chaotic to say the least.  Apologies

Nude vest - Primark
White linen tee - Zara
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Grey patent ballet flats - Gap
Gold bee necklace - Alex Monroe
Gold serpent necklace - Stella & Dot
Sunglasses - Tom Ford
Fuchsia Roxanne tote - Mulberry

Nude vest - Primark
Olive maxi dress - Cos
Hat - Fat Face
Black glitter flip flops - Primark
Resin and shell necklace - By Malene Birger
Sunglasses - Tom Ford
Black hobo bag - Marc Jacobs

And for late night shopping and dinner with a friend the other night 

Black vest - Primark
Black and cream oversized sheer top - Cos
Gold fretwork earrings - Etsy
Leopard print jeans - Primark
BLack patent ballet flats - Primark
Black hobo bag - Marc Jacobs

If it wasn't apparent, my hair doesn't function in this weather.  Think Monica from Friends.  I don't even attempt to fashion it into something that you can't see from space.  As you were. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A sure sign that something isn't mutton

Has to be when they sell a version of it in Clarks?!

Now I have been made to eat a large slice of Clarks flavoured humble pie this season when I succumbed and bought the Organza wedge sandals which, admittedly, I haven't had the hugest wear out of but that's primarily down to the weather and not the sandals themselves.  Suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of the sandals that Clarks had on offer. 

So what sort of shoe am I wittering on about now?  Brave yourselves..... It's the slipper shoe. 

Yet again I have proved myself to be worthy of the prize of the most fickle fashionite on the planet (clearly an award I have just completely made up).  I hated these.  To put it bluntly.

I thought they were very much a young filly's shoe.  Far far too "on trend".  Which, I don't actually have a problem with at all, but one of my main tips for straddling that mutton/frump pommel horse is to stick to only one or two "on trend" elements at one time.  Piling them all on, Pixie Geldof style, when you're old enough to be her mother, isn't going to do you any favours. 

However, call off the dogs.  By my reckoning, if they sell them in Clarks, then that's it.  They're no longer purely for the nubile amongst us, they're fair game.  And on a quick scoot round the high street the other day, it appears they are a little staple number in most shoe shops this A/W.

Which is handy as I've been hankering after a pair for a couple of weeks but have been too scared to tell you all.  I can finally come clean!  I mentioned Bob potentially wielding the credit card with the purchase of the linen cargo pants yesterday (thank you so so much for all your lovely comments by the way - very much a success by all accounts).  Well it's been such a funny couple of weeks in my world of fashion that I feared I may have lost the plot finally with regards to a slipper shoe fetish. 

If I haven't mentioned it previously, this is something I can be religiously relied upon to do every season with at least one item/trend.  The About Turn.  I've already fessed up with one About Turn already - Print and everything to do with it.  Although I do only have three pairs of print bottoms (the floral and leopard Primark ones and the navy leopard Whistles ones).  Quite proud of my restraint actually.

I have yet to root out some trends this A/W that I can claim to loathe in August and then have a wardrobe full of come Christmas, but fear not.  You can count on my pathetically fickle self to come up trumps with something. 

In all seriousness though, there are some trends that, were you to wear them, at the infancy of their popularity, they would be hit and miss on the mutton front.  That's the beauty of the evolution of fashion.  Some trends die a death amongst the 20 year olds whereas others are growers.  And there is of course, the argument (and the wise amongst us) that says (say), if you love something, you should wear it regardless.  But there are some things that are definitely a slow burn. 

So here is a very quick pap round up of some of the slipper shoes that I spied that have grown on me.  Oh and in for a penny, in for a pound.  I'm thinking I'd like a pair with studs on.... (obviously - nothing like skirting round that mutton pond, is there?)

I will do a further in depth blog on them once the A/W stock is more in abundance.  Having said that, I did find the most gorgeous pair online at Zara.  Which, of course, is now no longer there, clearly having totally sold out.  Will. I. Ever. Learn? Doh.

But briefly, proving that we can wear them and not feel anyone baa-ing behind our backs

Glitter ones from Carvela 

Studded jewel ones from Steve Madden at House of Fraser

The infamous Clarks ones.  The black ones are suede and the leopard print ones are.... wait for it... ponyskin.  Drool drool drool! 

A myriad of studded ones at Topshop.  These however are fabric.  I fear with the weather we've been having, a pair of fabric shoes are not going to be making it into my wardrobe any time soon.  Especially for A//W (although, Indian Summer...... yeah right.  Having said that, apparently it's Adios jet stream, factor 50 here we come from Sunday.  Shan't be cracking out the bikini till I feel proof of proper warmth, mind you)

And finally, a blog from me wouldn't be complete without a beloved Zara number.  Am kicking myself for not ordering the utterly divine gold studded black ponyskin ones when I saw them.  Sob.  Sob.  But they do have a couple of other scrummy pairs which will no doubt make the slipper shortlist which I shall compile. 

So will you be sporting a slipper as your inbetween shoe this A/W?  Or are they just a bit too smoking jacket for you and you'd be much happier retiring in the comfort of your ballet flat?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Last but not least, what I was wearing today.  Clearly am loving the linen trousers as had them on for the second day in a row (they have now been consigned to the laundry bin you'll be pleased to hear)  I did start the day with the cream Massimo Dutti jacket on and the Clarks Organza wedges in tan but as it's mid July, obviously it poured with rain by 1pm and so I had to change for the round robin of school runs. 

Am quite pleased with how versatile they're proving though (she says sitting on her hands to avoid purchasing a selection in every fabric/colour she can come across)

Cream vest (just seen.  Could have sworn you could see it - normally wouldn't have that beige next to my skin, hence I had the cream jacket to break it up. Never mind!) - Primark 
Beige linen tee - Zara
Olive linen cargo pants - Topshop
Brown leather biker jacket - All Saints
Tan Rockafella boots - Russell & Bromley
Gold bee necklace - Alex Monroe
Gold serpent necklace - Stella & Dot
Cheetah print ponyskin bag - Zara

See you tomorrow!  

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Heading off piste. The jury's out.... to whether or not they're a Bob purchase or not. hmmmmm

Firstly, huge apologies for not having been around for a whole week.  Utterly disgraceful.  I have been up to my ears in it with end of term-itis but more worryingly, my fashion mojo up and fecked off somewhere.  Of course we all know what I'm going to blame it on, don't we?  Yawn, yawn and yawn again - yes, the effing jeffing weather.  Not sure about where you guys are but here it has done pretty much nothing but piss it down.  And been cold.  Heating on, boots out, full on chuffing freezing (for this time of year anyway)

Getting dressed every day became a complete chore.  (don't worry, I'm sure if I try hard enough I can be a bit more melodramatic later on)  I was so tired of having to put an outfit together than wasn't full on A/W as frankly that just became depressing, but one that still meant I didn't have wet, cold feet.  I gave up on waterproof outerwear and resorted to an umbrella in every handbag. 

Normally, at this time of the season, I am chomping at the bit to get at new season stock.  I spend longer than one would have thought humanely possible, perusing every fashion online retailer known to man, ditto with magazines.  By this time, I normally have a wish list a mile long and know exactly what sort of style I want to channel (for the record, this changes about four times by the time we actually get to buying things.  Fickle is officially my middle name)

This year?  Nah.  And primarily I reckon it's because I'm still wearing sodding A/W stuff.  I need to get over my Summer wardrobe. I need to have done it death.  I need to be bored of it.  I haven't bloody worn any of it. 

So I have been sulking.  I'm nothing if not mature. Ish.

However I'm also nothing if not determined and if I'm sick of all my clothes and having to  cover up, then it struck me.  Branch out.  If you don't want to think about new season clothes, think about new clothes for this season. 

Even I am SICK of wearing skinny jeans.  And blimey o'riley, everyone must be sick of seeing them. 

And hence I headed off piste.  Admittedly they are still trousers (in my defence it's still proper cold) but they're a) linen b) utility and c) tapered leg.  

Here they are online   Remove the belt. I repeat, remove the belt.  Did zero favours for me.  Make that minus zero favours.

Hardly the hugest risk in the world for £10 but I braved the public in them today.  Can I please state that these photos are taken at the end of seven full on hours at Chessington with the three kids. Plus journey there and back. Suffice to say I was knackered and somewhat bedraggled.  Having said that, for linen trousers I don't think they suffered "that" badly.  Ok so they look like I have slept in them, but linen trousers (hence in my world it's normally blasphemous to even mention them) look like a crock of shit within two minutes of putting them, sitting down and standing up again.  The photo also makes them look odd at the top.  I can assure you, in the flesh, they look less like I have books stuffed into my pants.

Nude vest - Zara
Oversized cream sheer top with black sleeves - Cos
Olive linen utility tapered leg trousers - Topshop
Rose gold Gigis - Sam Edelman
Sunglasses - Tom Ford
Tan leather cuff - Mulberry
Gold bee necklace - Alex Monroe
Distressed chestnut cross body bag - Campomaggi from Plumo

Now the jury's still out but I have to say after a day of wearing them, I'm thinking I like them.  Hugely casual day today for me and I think they worked well although I would have like a slightly shorter top - I don't own too many of them.  I need to play around with outfits.  One of the main reasons that I'm holding back from falling in love with them, is that my main trick when things like this happen, is to go completely overboard and buy said item in every colour/fabric/similar style.  And then a month down the line, decide that in fact they were a Bob purchase and bin the lot.  Tool.  So, I am refraining from becoming infatuated.  But I think I may well wear them tomorrow as well (minger alert)

So what I've been wearing the past week.  With hindsight, it doesn't seem to have been that bad weather wise - however my hair does tell a different story.  As does my mood.


Navy and white striped tee - Zara
Indigo straight leg jeans - Jigsaw
Cream blazer - Massimo Dutti
Cream statement necklace - Anthropologie
Tan Organza wrap wedges - Clarks
Sunglasses - H&M
Gold renegade bracelet - Stella & Dot
Cheetah print ponyskin bag - Zara

Thursday - Fab PR event which I will definitely post about.  Need some more testing of products though as it's beauty.  Could I be more out of my comfort zone?! (despite being as vain as they come.  Go figure).  Followed by a black tie event with The Husband in the City (work related - his not mine).  Hence I am taking the photo in the changing rooms at his work before I had five mins to get into my glad rags.  Had forgotten that when it rains in London, taxis are like rocking horse poo.  Hence I look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards.  Fortunately was caught in the worst of it after dinner and not before.

White vest - Primark
Snakeskin blouse - Zara
Coated skinny trousers - Cos
Black patent ballet flats - Primark
Pink blazer - Zara
Gold Renegade bracelet - Stella & Dot
Gold earrings - Etsy
Tan Shopper - Zara

Can I point out that this is taken when we got in, rather late doors.  RR1 (aged 7) woke up and said she had to take the photo.  She also told me that I "smelt funny".  Oops.  I actually didn't drink that much but boy do these guys mix their drinks at formal dinners.  Every alcohol group under the sun (she says polishing her halo at usually drinking her body weight in only one sort of booze. Pathetic)

Black ruched dress - All Saints
Black ankle strap suede sandals - Zara
Gold Renegade bracelet - Stella & Dot
Gold earrings - Etsy
Snakeskin clutch - Michael Kors (sneaky purchase I may have made - will blog about, promise)

Friday - preparing for End of Term party at my house. 

Navy and white longline tee - New Look
White straight leg jeans - Zara
Navy jersey shrunken blazer - Monsoon
Navy Converse
Sunglasses - H&M
Cheetah print ponyskin shopper - Zara

Friday night - photograph taken by a lovely friend on the night who asked if I'd done my photo yet for the blog.  No I hadn't, so she obliged.  I have had one or two glasses by now....

Nude vest - By Malene Birger
Blush sequin jacket - Zara
Blush coated cropped skinnies - Zara
Nude strappy sandals - Zara
Cream statement necklace - Anthropologie

Saturday - the morning after. 

Natural linen rectangle jumper - The White Company 
Blush coated skinnies - Zara
Print scarf - Zara
Rose gold ballet pumps - Zara
Vanilla Roxanne - Mulberry

Sunday - day out with the kids and The Husband.  

Nude vest - Primark
Chambray painters smock - Joseph
Indigo super stretch skinnies - Zara
Black glitter flipflops - Primark
Bead cuff - Jigsaw
Stone lariat - Hultquist
Cream nugget necklace - Angie Gooderham
Sunglasses - Tom Ford
Chestnut cross body bag - Campomaggi from Plumo

Right.  The following photos were taken yesterday by RR1. I told her if she were an angel today at the Corporate Day (therefore only having to manage two loose cannons as opposed to three) I would post these photos that she insisted on taking.   Mario Testino, eat your heart out.  She will LOVE this.  H these are for you xxxx

Navy and white longline jersey top - Joules 
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Cream swing cardigan - Goat
Clay Thelma wedges - Ash
Vanilla Roxanne - Mulberry

Apologies once again for my absence.  I shall hopefully be back tomorrow! xx

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Well, who knew?

That the subject of what colour to wear at a wedding could cause so much controversy?

Firstly, a huge huge thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my previous post where I included a pic of a (white) dress that I thought would work for The Italian Outfit (the wedding!). 

I do happen to agree with the majority (by a smidge mind you) who said that the taboo of wearing white (or black) to a wedding has long sailed. Yes, all white, I certainly wouldn't advocate but by adding bold accessories in colour and toning down the white, I actually had considered to be now acceptable.

I was therefore intrigued to read the comments which were so against it as a concept, full stop, regardless of how the white dress is accessorised.  Whilst I still don't agree with this, it has certainly made me consider the opinions.  Primarily, as the point was validly made, whilst I don't think it's an issue, the bride and other guests (to a lesser extent) may do and to offend (whilst clearly not intentionally) isn't something that I would want to do at all.

So thank you so much for voicing your thoughts, they are truly much appreciated.  The Husband is asking the Groom (his oldest friend and one who is very very much into his fashion - certainly the dress code of La Dolce Vita has definitely come from him) who will not hold back about coming forward.

As it so happens I've just realised that I've had no word from Massimo Dutti with regards to my dresses being delivered so need to chase them up.  Which could, of course, put pay to any issues.  Fate may be deciding whether it's appropriate or not. Ha.

In the meantime, I've ordered this, which I absolutely adore but I've a horrible feeling will look like a bag of spanners on me.  Really horrible feeling.....  But can't resist the draw of nude and yellow.  And am hoping that it will be more midi length on me with heels.  In my head, I can see it looking amazing.  Realistically it's a different dress or on someone with a different figure.  High chance this is going to be hilarious. 

It should theoretically be easy to find a dress to wear but my blasted knees are such a no no.  Finding something that isn't a massively frumpy length (ie just on the knee - barf) and is "Italy/La Dolce Vita" appropriate (that isn't black or white - doh) - hell, I'm struggling.  I don't want to wear a maxi dress I don't think.  I certainly don't want to buy another one (she says having ordered the above one.  Dear god I need a life)  So let's just wait and see what this is like and worry about it tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have my very (honest guv) last sweep of the sales goodies to show you. (I was true to my word and didn't venture beyond Zara - Italy Outfit excluded - but I may have had a splurge)  I also had a smash and grab trip to Primark.  All with A/W in mind.  Hence I didn't buy a pair of bubblegum pink skinny jeans.  Am still toying with them though as I think they'd in fact work really well with navy and beige for Autumn.  Not entirely sure why I procrastinate as much over an £11 pair of jeans as I do over a £200 jacket.  Go figure. 

So firstly, here is my Primark tip of the week.  Leopard print jeans. I am an animal print addict.  Does anyone know if there is a self help group for this as if I don't sign myself up for it, I think The Husband might. I swear I can hear him mutter TOWIE under his breath every time I put on another one of my beloved animal print items.  To say anything animal related isn't his favourite print, is putting it mildly. I try not to wear when he's around (is getting more difficult as it's creeping into every aspect of my wardrobe though.  Oops)

So here they are - a completely wondrous £13 worth of jean.

And I was most pleased to see this new arrival online at By Malene Birger   For a paltry £145.  I actually think I prefer the more nudey beige background of the Primark ones.  Worn yesterday although they do look more blush in the photo below as I have a pink jumper on.  But still very chuffed indeed! 

These flipflops - two pairs for £1.50 each.  Can't really see the detail but they're a glitter finish.  Honestly they are (ok marginally) more exciting than they look in this pic.  Absolutely fine for bombing around in the summer (what a bloody risible statement)  

Most of the Hav rip offs in neutral colours were completely sold out.  Unsurprising for £1.  Having worn them for a while (round the house every day and for those two idyllic weeks ie our summer, we had), no the quality isn't as good at all.  And if money were no object, I would definitely get the Havs.  But to be able to buy 20 pairs for the price of one pair - hmmmm, this year, I shall be sticking with my Primarni rip offs.  Especially as I've worn them so so much with all this glorious sunshine we've been having.  Not.

And the final Zara haul.  Off to a good start - the first blouse I actually think I'm going to take back.  I bought it and was beyond beyond excited.  I have been salivating all season over the  Mark Jacobs oversized broderie anglaise collections at Louis Vuitton.  They have been marked in their absence on the High Street.  So my delight was palpable when I swooped on this blouse that I also hadn't seen full price (clearly I have been slacking) 

But of course now I've seen a myriad of them for the new season.  Which, randomly, makes me not want it.  I know, I know, that sounds insane (and it would be so unlike me to make an insane comment) but sometimes, I just do not like to have what everyone else has.  It's my inner Aquarian rearing her ugly head and shoving it firmly up my arse.  It sounds unbelievably pompous and crap but every now and again I get all snotty about buying that's popular. (bloody ridiculous)  Especially as I then do a total about turn and become obsessed with (other) items that other people have been wearing for months and are now completely ubiquitous on the High Street.  I don't claim to talk sense........ Anyone else join me on the crazy bench?

On a purely practical note, it was the last one they had so I grabbed it but really it's too big.  And if I'm honest, whilst I do still love the pattern, it's not really me.  So £20 back in for my navy leather jacket fund.

This, however, I definitely will be keeping.  "Obviously" as it's an animal print.  Duh.  Snakeskin sheer blouse.  Reduced.  Had wanted it earlier in the season but it had sold out.  A SALES SUCCESS!!!!!!

This scarf I had ummed and ahhed about earlier in the season again but as there was only one left and it was reduced, it's now mine.  Goes completely beautifully with the pale pink jacket I bought (there is blush as well as peach on the scarf).  Very pleased indeed with it.  

And finally a perfect night out black top.  I used to have one last year but it got a hole in it and was only thinking the other night, I wish I had a replacement.  Well now I do. 

Finally a round up of what I've been wearing in...... I'm not going to mention the weather.  Needless to say I am in winter boots today.  Counting the days till we fly to Greece. (although the thought of getting my body beach ready fills me with dread.  And to be honest, the amount of work it's going to take - I should probably start now.  I fear I may throw myself into the hands of the professionals.  A chunk out of the clothing budget but needs must.)

Sunday.  A family day.  Actually a family weekend - RR3 not well again and I didn't feel too clever so just hung out at home.  A really nice change (although am looking forward to a night out later in the week, it does have to be said!) 

Natural linen rectangle jumper - The White Company
Floral skinny jeans - Primark
Apricot tassel scarf - Mint Velvet
Clay Thelma wedges - Ash
Gold renegade bracelet - Stella & Dot

Monday - back to the grind with the kids - school runs etc and starting the countdown with organising big End of Term party on Friday eve.

Blush oversized jumper - H&M
Nude jersey scarf - Mint Velvet
Leopard print jeans - Primark
Dull gold link bracelet - Made
Clay Thelma Wedges - Ash
Chestnut cross body bag - Campomaggi from Plumo
Sunglasses - Tom Ford

Today I actually made it to Spin.  And then had to sit down for an hour as I thought I might collapse.  Must do more exercise.  My fitness levels are truly woeful.  

Cream and black sleeve oversized top - Cos 
Light beige and black stripe poncho - H&M
Black jersey scarf - Cos
Indigo Baxters - Topshop
Leopard print ponyskin bag - Zara
Black Madonna stud wedges - Ash
Sunglasses - H&M

And tomorrow - hopefully it will be maxi dress and flipflop weather.  Pah.

Friday, 6 July 2012

My newest High Street Crush

Firstly huge apologies for not posting yesterday like I had promised.  Utterly disgraceful of me but I had a full on day which included scouring every toy shop known to man for a Mike the Knight-ish costume (more exhausting than it sounds, honest guv - who knew a 3 year old could have such exacting standards when it come to dressing up) followed by taking a tribe of kids swimming after school due to an unexpected round yellow ball appearing in the sky. 

Was actually due to be out tonight but have sick smallest child and am feeling decidedly unclever myself.  I don't even fancy a glass of wine which pretty much says it all really.  Early night all round.  Hardly rock and roll.  Saving myself for a number of big nights in the next couple of weeks.  

But at least I get to squeeze in a post though and reveal my new favourite High Street store.  Huge congrats to Lulu who commented on my last post and got it right - yes it's Massimo Dutti! 

It's not a huge surprise as they are from the same stable as my beloved Zara and I have shopped there on and off for years.  Predominantly though it's been leather good and jewellery - if I'm completely honest, I've always found the clothes erring towards the more conservative (do you know how long it took me to come up with that phrase as opposed to something less flattering?).  Perfect for work outfits but missing the mark for everyday wear. 

So either I'm living up to the High Street's Stereotype of the 40ish woman (which I will explore more in a couple of weeks) or they've got their act together and are realising that not all "older" woman want to dress like the proverbial politician's wife as soon as they hit a certain age. 

Having said that, I would draw the line at buying an entire wardrobe from there, but frankly, that's a dangerous thing to do in any shop (she says chucking stones in her glass Zara branded greenhouse).  I could however buy an awful lot. 

How does it differ from Zara?  Historically things were much more expensive in Massimo Dutti but Zara prices have really been creeping up over the last couple of seasons.  It's definitely an easier shop to navigate and it just "feels" more exclusive.  It's tidier but then it's much smaller and not nearly as busy (again, in my experience)  I would also say that things seem of a much better quality.  The Husband, in fact, has a number of things from there (he's not exactly Zara shaped....) and they've lasted really well (they're donkeys old to be frank.)

So my hot picks - firstly one which I actually bought.  Having tried on a myriad of cream jackets (in Zara naturally) and trying to find one that one of my friends didn't have (becoming increasingly difficult as we all seem to end up buying the same things - another reason to have a new crush), I was over the moon to find my perfect jacket/cardigan in Massimo Dutti.  Fantastic for everyday casual but dressy enough to also double up as a night out jacket as well (following my new fad for not keeping things for best).  Win win win.

I also think that I might have found the Italy Outfit.  I have surpassed my own expectations by not mentioning it every second sentence (admittedly I would be lying if I said it didn't occupy a large amount of my thinking - something I hadn't planned on confessing as it makes me sound shallower than a bloody puddle but hey ho - it beats counting sheep at night) but it has been somewhat concerning me.  The black All Saints one shoulder dress was definitely a contender but I was concerned that I would look - well just wrong.  Aiming for Sophia Loren - ending up looking like I was doing the walk of shame.  Not really the look I'd had in mind for The Husband's best friend's wedding. 

So from the sublime to the ridiculous, I now have ordered a white dress.  Duh.  But I think that with brightly coloured accessories I hopefully won't look overly bridal.  Am thinking my snakeskin, black, tan and neon Zara sandals, snakeskin clutch (to be purchased) and some bright huge coloured earrings - ideally something bright green to co-ordinate with the lime neon on the sandals - I should eliminate the 2nd wedding, wedding dress element.  I could go with a more delicate strappy nude sandal but I think I need something a bit more brazen rather than going down the pretty route.  Clear as mud?

It's a huge step away from what I would normally go for but I absolutely love it.  No, it's not figure hugging but when you move in it, it's very fluid and does move round your figure and (I think) is actually very flattering in an understated way.  Anyway, I've ordered it to be delivered (wanted to just try the bigger size as well and wanted a fresh one rather than the tried on white one in the shop) so I can have a play around with it.  Thoughts would be grateful!

Here are the rather rubbish pics of me in it (and yes, it is see through.  Needless to say I shan't be wearing black lace pants and shall put a bra on.  Worry not)  Shoes are not mine, just grabbed the nearest heel.

And here it is online   

Best of all - I think I'd get a lot of wear out of it.  Ok so clearly not this summer (although it will be coming away with me when we got to Greece for the weekend at the end of July) but a great little dress for the evenings in the sun.  The black dress I'm going to still take with me for the wedding, but will wear the night before for the dinner we've got.  Result! (she says optimistically.....) 

But on to far more exciting chat - the rest of the gorgeous stock from Massimo Dutti.  Well my number one buy has to be (once I've worked out how to pay for it.... here comes them beans kids) this navy leather biker jacket.  Oh my lord, it's the most divine leather jacket I have seen in years. 

Quilted double breasted leather jacket - here's their pic from the website 

And another little Chanel style one which is again breathtaking.  Not hugely practical on a day to day basis I wouldn't have said, due to it being so distinctive.  Having said that, if money were no object and I wasn't looking for value per wear, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.  I think it would last you for years.  There's also a matching skirt which I would absolutely draw the line at, but whatever floats your boat.

Perfect ballet pumps for half the price of Pretty Ballerina or French Sole (and with, dare I say, it a functional sole. Sssssh)

The most wonderful maxi skirt with zip detail.  For not much more than you'd spend at Zara.  In a different league quality wise.

And I could go on and on and on.  Stunning silk blouses (in print - my new obsession.  I'm back in that greenhouse....), gorgeous bags (admittedly more expensive than Zara but then again they look double the price) and some beautiful looking basics which I need to try on to see what they're like. I ran out of time.  

Would love to know what you think - peruse at your leisure - Massimo Dutti.

Finally a link to that Next Jumper.  I refuse to post a pic from the website as they're all so darned hideous, I can't possibly have it on my blog.  But my friend was wearing it again the other day and it is lovely.   I did attempt to try it on but it wasn't on the shop floor at Bluewater.  I did however spy a couple of other lovely things which I papped and am yet to try and find on the website.  Their new stock has come in - I feel a blog coming on.....

So very quickly what I was wearing yesterday and today. 

Jade green linen tee - Zara
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Floral jersey blazer - Zara
Gold bee necklace - Alex Monroe
Gold serpent necklace - Stella & Dot
Tan Organza wrap wedges - Clarks
Tan shopper - Zara

And today.  Dressed for sports day in a field which was due to happen but was cancelled this morning.  Hence I look particularly wintery.  To be fair it did rain a lot.  And then was very warm.  I've given up trying to dress appropriately for the weather as you'd have to chance 5 times a day at the moment.  That'll be summer then.  Bugger it.

Orange and stone silk dress - (not as creased when I put it on - had been sat down all day!) - Zara
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Chocolate leather biker jacket - All Saints
Fabulous Finches scarf in owl brown - Mulberry
Tan Rockafella boots - Russell & Bromley
Sunglasses - Tom Ford
Chestnut cross body bag - Campomaggi from Plumo

Hopefully be back tomorrow.  I "may" have some other sales goodies to report and a smash and grab at Primark......