NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 STYLE FINALIST BiB 2014 STYLE

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Will I never ever ever learn....


...that if you see something and you like it - there can be no procrastination.  Because these days, in fashion terms, the word procrastination essentially means "you're a freaking idiot, buy it or it will be sold out". 

With each shop now having about a billion seasons a year (I may be exaggerating a tad), the turnover of stock is verging on weekly (ok that again is a slight exaggeration but it's really not that much more than that). 

There is no more "it will be back in stock" as there's just different stock. 

And this even applies to - dare I say it - supermarkets.  I have at last submitted to the Gok.  Last week, on my ill thought out and ultimately hideous supermarket hellscapade with the three brats, I caught sight of the new Gok range and was truly surprised.  In the past, I've honestly thought it looked "ok".  There was one black knot front dress that I kept meaning to try but never got round to (hence with hindsight I couldn't have liked it that much.... no regrets) 

There were quite a few, this time round, that I thought hmm yes, I can see how they'd be popular but not my personal bag.  However I then caught sight of two that I thought, call off the dogs - they could be a perfect dress to have hanging in the wardrobe for a Saturday night dinner with friends or The Husband, swanky lunch (which I never go on but just in case eh?)......... But obviously the thought of trying things on with the three of them........ (ok so I will admit I did attempt to but nearly lost my mind after 45 seconds in the changing room which is essentially a large MDF human size box in the middle of the supermarket.  That echoes.  A lot.  What on god's green earth was I thinking?  Clearly I was swept up in the ooh nice dress moment and had lost leave of my senses.  Mission aborted.)  They had them in my size.  I planned to come back and try them on another time.  FOOL.

I did though manage to pick up a corker of a smoother.  My ridiculously black figure hugging "I can see you've eaten a peanut" midi dress from Patrizia Pepe is frankly unwearable for more than 3 minutes (how long I can hold my stomach in for) without a body shaper.  I don't generally wear one and so a full on Spanx job at a squillion quid wasn't on the agenda.  But an under your normal bra, to mid thigh smoother for £12 from Sainsburys was just the ticket.  Clearly this look just gawjus in this photo.... I honestly couldn't take a photo of me in it without clothes on.  That would be plain bad.  And make people feel more than just a little sick.

Yes, it looks absolutely TERRIBLE in this photo but honest to god, it is the underwear garment that dreams (dreams which involve a flat stomach, pert bum and lifted boobs - it goes under your bra and seems to hoist your bra up, in a good way!) are made of.  I have tried to link online but you can't buy Sainsburys clothing on tinternet.  Missing a trick but there you go. 

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However back to far far more exciting things - the dresses.  I managed to make a sneaky trip today on the premise of searching for a Jake & the Neverland Pirate Bucky ship for RR3 for Christmas for Santa to give him.  (not even Santa can find one and so he's delegated the job to me.  Joy.  The proverbial rocking horse poo Christmas present that is all the small chap wants.  I don't even think I've left it that late?!  Apparently yes.) 


I digress.  Firstly, as in my experience, press pics are all well and good but on a normal person they can look, well, different, are photos of me in the dresses. 

Now here in lies my feckwittedness.  Obviously my size, which had been there last  Thursday was no longer there.  Probably something to do with there now being 25% off all clothing.  Result!  Well, yes if there is something you actually want to buy. 

So here I am with a size larger than I would normally wear.  Not bad to be honest, but frankly too big.  Baggy at the top and it does neither me nor the dress any favours. 

WIthout further ado, the Black Ponte Peplum Dress - £45, currently £33.75.  I really wish I could describe how fab the fabric of this is.  Thick - well ponte - but good quality ponte.  With a fantastic Gok stylee suck it all in undergarment attached.

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And here is the press photo.  Needs to be very figure hugging rather than loose as it is on me as you can see above. 





I have hopefully though, found one in my size at a not ridiculously miles away (ie ridiculously miles away) Sainsburys which I shall be racing to tomorrow afternoon.  All may not be lost... I shall report back.  Oh and yes, with regards to the spending ban, I've decided that this will fit neatly under the heading "grocery shopping".  That old chestnut again.  Seriously though, for less than £35, this is a complete no brainer of a dress for the Christmas season. 

The other one I had my eye on was the Lurex slash neck dress.  I love this and would have bought it in a heartbeat if a) they'd had it in my size and b) more importantly, the slash neck hadn't been itchy on my throat.  Within 2 mins of having it on, my neck was itchy and red from the lurex thread.   Now I am going to try this on again if they have it my size when I treck to the other Sainsburys to pick up (they've promised me they've put it aside...) the Ponte Peplum dress.   Hopefully it may have just been that particular dress?  Far more likely it's my odd shaped throat.  Darn it.  Has anyone else tried it on?  Here I am again in a too big size.



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Here is a much better view of it.  You can't see the fantastic double vent detail at the back of the hem - just lovely and again £45 with 25% off.  




I will definitely be looking at some more Christmas dresses in the next week or so.  Not that I like the term Christmas dresses per se but I'll explain more on the relevant blog. 

Having said that, personally I don't see the need to look any further than the two above - were I in the market for a new dress.....I simply can't resist at less than £35.  I admit defeat.  And I was doing so well too.  Ho hum. 

So a quick round up of what I've been wearing for the last two days in this hideous deluge of rain.  By all accounts we've got off fairly lightly where we are - my thoughts are with those who haven't been quite so lucky xxx

Photos from Monday were taken by the four year old.  Suffice to say, I don't foresee a photographic career on the cards.

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Wine jumper - Dorothy Perkins
Grey Baxters - Topshop
Buttermilk leather trench - Vintage from Greenwich Market
Brown clog boots - Sanita
Wine check scarf - H&M
Chestnut Lily bag - D&G


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Brown & Black striped dress - S'Nob de Noblesse
Chocolate leather biker jacket - All Saints
Leopard print scarf - Louis Vuitton
Brown clog boots - Sanita
Wine wrist warmers - H&M
Chestnut Lily bag - D&G

Tomorrow I shall mostly be tracking down my Sainsburys dress - fingers crossed.  The odds on this going badly wrong are high.  The chances of me actually finding the Sainsburys are low to begin with.  I will report back... Oh and a treat Christmas trip to London with RR1 for an evening at the theatre.  Matilda here we come!

Monday, 26 November 2012

A wardrobe classic

Ok so it's very easy for me to get whipped up about all the new fashions that are out there.  One of the main reasons I started this blog was as a woman careering towards a time of her life where historically, we've been expected to avoid all things cutting edge and been consigned to the shelf of slippers with pompoms on. 

But one of the great ways of being able to explore more on trend items, it by pairing them with wardrobe classics.

So I was over the moon to be approached by Lands' End and ask if I would participate in a joint effort with some other fantastic bloggers, showcasing some of their wardrobe classics.  




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And I was beyond pleased to be sent and asked to review the Milano knit blazer.  I love a blazer.  One can definitely never have too many.  In my opinion, completely iconic.  A must have for every wardrobe.  An item that transcends seasons - fabulous over a light t-shirt in the Spring/Summer and fantastic for layering in the Autumn/Winter.  As well as being an all year round staple, it's the perfect item to dress up or down.  The gorgeous preppy style would look great over a fitted shirt with kick flares and heels for a smarter occasion.  Or for a laid back daytime look, over slouchy jeans, casual linen tee and huge scarf.  Personally my favourite look is pairing the classic blazer with skinnies, knitted top and heeled boots. Or even wedged trainers as I was wearing yesterday. 

I love the fact that the blazer from Lands' End is a knit so immediately much easier to wear than a more traditional blazer fabric.  Perfect for every day casual but with a slightly smarter edge.  





I chose the chestnut colour edged in navy which will work with a myriad of different colours in my wardrobe.  Love it teamed with stripes - I also plan to wear with khaki stripes as well, as well as the new navy and wine coloured jumpers I've recently bought (not too recently... spending ban intact!).  It was a close call though - definitely a toss up between the chestnut or the heather (which is grey edged in navy).  Or the navy itself - a clothing essential which I couldn't live without in my wardrobe and my navy blazer has seen better days.  The Garnet is a dark red as opposed to a wine colour and would be a perfect addition to any Christmas casual outfit.





One of the really useful things about the blazer is that it's not a super fitted style which can only be worn with a very figure hugging top underneath - those sorts of blazers are all well and good in the Spring when you're not needing layers, but in the Winter with more on underneath, if a blazer is too close cut, I end up looking like a sausage bursting out of it's skin.  No thank you - something looser but still fitted is just what you need. 

Here's my take on it yesterday - very much back in my comfort zone 


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So here I am with 

Milano Knit blazer in Chestnut - Lands' End 
Navy and white breton top - H&M
Leopard print scarf - Louis Vuitton 
Distressed biker jeans - By Malene Birger
Bea suede wedge trainers - Ash
Sunglasses - Tom Ford

I was actually very surprised to see such a range of items on sale at Lands' End.  It goes to show that it's worth spending time perusing online retailers that you previously had thought weren't your bag.  I had wrongly assumed that they were very much for the more practical amongst us (my kids had their snowsuits when they were babies and they were amazing.  If you are looking for a more weatherproof jacket or coat though, they do have a wide selection)  Error! 

I definitely have my eye on the following:-

The Piped Jacket 





The Tweed Jacket 





Also as another cover up over looser square knit jumpers - the Reversible Tweed Cape looks like it would be super useful. 




Something else which has my name on it and just ideal for layering is the Plain Cashmere Long Sleeved Tee  Fantastic selection of colours.  One for Santa's list.....




The other bloggers who have taken part with me and are in the fantastic illustration above by Natalie Lines are, from left to right 

Ellie from www.prettymuchpenniless.com
Amanda from www.theonlinestylist.co.uk
(me in the middle)
Jen from www.littlebirdfashion.com
and Rachel from www.rachelthehat.com

V much looking forward to see what items they had (I think Ellie has the cape and Amanda the tweed jacket, utilising my rusty detective skills) - the reviews should be on their blogs today. 

Finishing with a thank you to Lands' End for introducing me to a site that has some really great wardrobe classics and for sending me the lovely blazer which I will get full use from.  The blazer was set as to me as an item to review & I was commissioned to contribute to the Lands' End outerwear guide.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Continuing on the magpie theme.....

..... as, like I said the other day, what better excuse to treat yourself to new jewellery than being able to give an old outfit new life.  Recycling at it's very best! 

Now last time I explored the mega bling at the more cheap and cheerful end of the scale so today, I thought I'd up the ante a bit and look at one of my favourite ranges that are better quality, with more investment pieces - Stella & Dot. 

On Thursday night I hosted my first Stella & Dot party so had a chance to see a larger part of the range close up.  There's definitely something to be said for having a couple of cheaper bits in your wardrobe but there is a whole world of difference in having something that is of a significantly better quality and that is a much more versatile piece of jewellery.  

And handily with Christmas round the corner, I would definitely be putting some of these on my Christmas list.  Already over the moon with my Pegasus necklace which I've worn quite a few timesm both casual and for nights out.  I also have the Snake Orb pendant necklace which is so useful, as is the Renegade bracelet. 

Ok so at this point I should probably fess up and say that I've actually ordered two necklaces.  Which I am going to give to The Husband to wrap up for me under the tree.   Maybe... (spending ban, to be fair, has been going really well.  Bar the M&S scarf.  I do honestly think that's it for the last couple of weeks.  Oh polish that halo.  Have just broken the news to The Husband as he's watching the rugby.  Excellent.  That went in one ear and out the other but at least I've "told" him.  Am v tempted to push my luck and order something else whilst he's otherwise engaged.....) 

Firstly the Indira Necklace which I have loved since I first saw it and it was definitely a toss up between the Pegasus and this.  But I am clearly "meant" to have this necklace as it's now half price.  



I also have snuck in an order for the Infinity charm necklace, which again I've had my eye on for ages.  My justification (as if one is needed but it helps appease the buying guilt....sorry - obviously I mean buying my own Christmas present guilt. Obviously) is that I get so much wear out of my Alex Monroe bee and my NW3 by Hobbs pinecones necklace that another gold charm jobbie will get a lot of use.




And she moves swiftly on...

Let's start the vicarious shopping.  Things that I would love to have in my jewellery wardrobe (actually I definitely need to think about how to store my jewellery properly.  Strewn along the spare bedroom window-sill isn't really cutting it.)

Beginning with more statement necklaces.  Can't say which is my favourite as I think all three are just divine.  Complete investment pieces that would elevate the simplest of black dresses into a different league. 

And here begins the droolathon. 

The Tempest Necklace  This is fantastic as you can reverse it so have the diamante on one side for a dressier look and then, as the second pic, reverse it for less bling during the day.  Two necklaces for the price of one.  Would be rude not tom no?!





The Estate Bib Necklace  Unashamedly decadent. 




And the limited edition Virginia Bib Necklace  A veritable work of art




I'm also a huge fan (as mentioned) of a more delicate necklace and Stella & Dot have some fantastic options.  Obviously the Infinity Charm Necklace as pictured but my other favourites include:-

The Secret Garden Cluster Necklace   This is definitely going on my list.  Probably my third favourite thing and would definitely be top of my must haves.  So easy to wear during the day  as well as adding that extra something for a night out.  I'm thinking this would be the perfect necklace to go with a gold or black sequin jacket where you need a necklace of some description but don't want anything too in your face. 






Wonderland Charm Necklace   This is part of the Alice Temperley Collaboration.  It's not the cheapest at £125, but there are so many options to it that if work out how many ways you could wear it, it's not nearly as bad as it first seems.  




If you prefer silver as opposed to gold then these two would be my choice 

Vallen Pendants  A stunning coral shaped necklace.  Delicate but substantial at the same time. 




Couldn't resist the tiny bit of bling.....



I love the idea of making your own personalised necklace with a faceted ball chain (which is now in the sale at £20!) and then adding your own charms 



Will be back tomorrow with a round up of my favourite earrings, bracelets and rings.

I also have a fabulous sneaky purchase to report (I know, I know, spending ban, blah blah)  This was a crucial addition to my wardrobe.  It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. (and not even my version of necessity, which I've learnt is very different from that of The Husband.  Go figure)  And it was from the supermarket so snuck in under the heading of grocery shopping.  Cryptic or what! 

Finishing with an incomplete round up of what I was wearing this week.  Thursday fell through the cracks.  Bonkers day - thought it would be a fantastic idea to take the kids after school to McDonalds and the supermarket to keep them from trashing the house that I'd tidied before my Stella & Dot party.  Let's just say I needed a large glass of wine that night.  I had forgotten how hideous the supermarket is with three children.  What was I thinking?!

And for the record, the posting of these photos has taken me the best part of way too long.  Way too long.  My technical fecktitude strikes again.  I have managed to use up all my storage on some Google blog album and so have had to venture into the realms of Flickr & HTML.  I was worried I may never resurface.  And the kids have polished off an entire tub of Phish Food whilst I've been using choice language buried in my laptop.  I owe my babysitter danger money for tonight. 

But I digress. 

So Wednesday.  Still stricken with cold and so wrapped up against the elements.  Was a hideous Armageddon of a day weather wise.  Proof however, that I do own a coat.  One.



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Olive & Bone striped tunic - Toast (not seen) 
Indigo Baxters - Topshop
Beige skull scarf - Alexander McQueen
Khaki & fur collar parka - South from Littlewoods
Suede & leather tan pirate boots - ASOS
Chestnut Lily bag - D&G

Avert your eyes for Friday's outfit if you weren't a fan of the drawstring jersey baggies.  A day of chores & paperwork.  I needed to be comfy and comfy these are!



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White vest - Primark
Burnt orange fine knit jumper - Cos
Charcoal jersey drawstring baggies - Toast
Washed black suede jacket - All Saints
Tiger print scarf - Dorothy Perkins
Black Madonna stud wedge trainers - Ash
Stone maxi zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch

Off out tonight for a dinner party.  I am re-wearing (they have been washed I promise!) the outfit from last Saturday's dinner party.  Tis the season to dinner party clearly.  I shall be back tomorrow with more sparkle and my cryptic purchase. 


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bring on the bling


Ok so I can't ignore it any more.  Christmas is around the corner.   Now I'm sure that you are all infinitely more organised than me - I am definitely Queen of last min everything. (which often involves cutting corners or just simply missing out whatever I can.  I am no Christmas Elf.) 

And when it comes to shopping for Christmas outfits, this year I am determined to make good use of the array of evening appropriate items that I already have in my wardrobe.  But.... well..... that's dull isn't it?  In a complete fit of the divas, I will admit that I love having something new to wear (don't we all?)

But it's a complete waste of perfectly good clothing sitting in my wardrobe to go out and buy more. 

So the next best thing surely is to just pimp up what I already have.  And it being the start of the festive season, let's go for the bling. 

Now bling is usually expensive - to be fair, I normally do spend a lot of money on investment bits of bling. (not proper bling, we're not talking "that" much money - statement costume bling).  They last years, they can transform a cheaper top or a more mundane outfit into something completely new.  I am a huge advocate of spending as much as you can on pieces that you love and you know you'll wear again and again. 

In fact I'm hosting a Stella & Dot party later this week and am already making a Christmas list (fantastically easy for The Husband to order!). Can't wait to see some of the new bits in the flesh - I will be reporting back, not to fear. 

However at the other end of the spectrum, I recently discovered Forever 21.  Now clothes wise, the jury is out.  I'm sure if I spend long enough in there, I would be able to find a gem or two, but at a speedy glance, it did seem a lot like Primark quality (admittedly a neater store, I will give them that) at rather inflated prices. 

That was until I got to the enormous (and beautifully arranged - boudoir stylee) jewellery section. 

Oh happy days.  The quality for the price seems really good.  I am under no illusion that after a couple of wears, things are probably going to start falling apart (I did have to select carefully instore to find ones that didn't have a rhinestone or two missing), but for the peanuts they cost, I am more than happy to give life to some old favourites. 

Here is my pick of the bling.  Note please - these are all bling-a-ring-ding and I make no excuses for them!  There is a huge selection of daintier and less in your face jewellery online  but I have gone for full on rhinestone cowboy lushness.  And interestingly I found the full on stonetastic ones to be of a heavier quality than the lighter more delicate pieces.  Go figure.

Necklaces first











Now I don't tend to do wear both a statement necklace and statement earrings at the same time.  I tend to get a look of the Dynasty's about me - fine for fancy dress, but on me it just doesn't work.  I personally prefer earrings and a knuckleduster bracelet. 

Here are my earring selections - all of which I would wear in a heartbeat. 














Finishing with bracelets.   I think they had a better selection instore - certainly the one that I had they don't have online, so deffo worth having a look if you fancy something a bit more meaty. 







Now sod's law they don't have either the earrings or bracelet that I bought - but they do seem to have a different selection instore, like I've mentioned.  I am over the moon with both of mine and have worn them twice already.  Bringing new life to a very old Zara blouse.  An outfit that I will be dragging out again this weekend for a dinner party - I'm that pleased with them! 


So a round up of what I've been wearing for the past week.  Have been very busy since last Wednesday - lots of exciting things going on which is great.  Weekend was given over to a couple of days of excessive eating (and cooking on my part!) and drinking.  Two dinner parties plus more visitors, with some sofa and movie action with the kids thrown in for good measure.  

Since the weekend I have been getting iller and iller with a hideous headcold, hence I look like a complete bag of spanners, yesterday in particular when I only left the house for school runs.  Visitors at home including a plumber.  The things dreams are made of.....

Thursday


Beige jumper - H&M
Camel, navy and black leopard print trousers - Whistles 
Navy jersey scarf - Zara
Tan suede & leather boots - La Redoute
Buttermilk leather trench - Vintage from Greenwich market
Chestnut Lily bag - D&G
Sunglasses - Tom Ford 

Thursday night - First Holy Communion meeting for RR1 and then out for drinks (she wasn't with me, I'd just like to point out...not entirely sure who is more excited about the dress - me or her!  The Husband is of course absolutely dreading it - he thinks the dress affair is going to be a stand off of dawn.  He may well be right, if the 8 yr old had her way, it would be Big Fat Gypsy First Holy Communion all the way.....Tis going to be interesting, that's for sure)



Nude vest - Primark
Charcoal drape front jersey top - FCUK
Camel, navy and black leopard print trousers - Whistles
Navy knitted military peacoat - Zara
Brown leather and chain detail cuff - Hultquist
Pegasus necklace - Stella & Dot
Black suede & patent ankle boots - LK Bennett
Stone maxi zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch

Friday 



Nude vest - Primark
Black fine knit top - Cos
Leopard print skirt - Zara
Black tweed vintage style shrunken blazer - Zara
Beige stud scarf - Taylor Stephens
Stone maxi zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch
Bea wedge trainers - Ash

Friday night, dinner party for 12 chez nous. 



Black silk pussy blow blouse - Zara
Black coated skinnies - Cos
Suede asymmetric stilettos - Zara
Rhinestone earrings - Forever21
Rhinestone and chain bracelet - Forever21

And for another dinner party on Saturday night 



Black silk pussy blow blouse - Zara
Dark indigo Jessie kick flare jeans - Topshop
Rhinestone earrings - Forever21
Rhinestone and chain bracelet - Forever21
Black suede & patent ankle boots - LK Bennett
Cream and gold jacket - Zara
Snakeskin clutch - Michael Kors

Monday.  A shadow of my former self.  Beechams flu plus is also a large addition to the day.



Tobacco oversized jumper - Primark
Black coated jeggings - Dorothy Perkins
Beige and black poncho cardigan - H&M
Black armwarmers - Long Tall Sally 
Black biker boots - Kurt Geiger
Leopard print scarf - Louis Vuitton
Stone maxi zip satchel - Anya Hindmarch

Tuesday - still feeling very rough


Navy knitted dress - Whistles
Indigo Baxter jeans - Topshop
Chocolate leather biker jacket - All Saints
Tie dye navy and beige scarf - Cos
Brown clog ankle boots - Sanita
Chestnut Lily bag - D&G 

See you soon!