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Showing posts with label Oasis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oasis. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 December 2017

My favourite faux fur scarves...

I think that it's safe to say that there's some cold weather on its way. We've had pre-emptive letters from the schools warning of early closures and our son is positively ecstatic at the prospect of the trains not being able to run due to snow.

Over the years I have tried many items/coats/fabrics in the fight against the cold and what I can't work out is whether it's my imagination that tells me that fake fur is one of the best, or whether it's actually true. Does it so closely represent the real thing that it is actually really warm - despite being man made - or is it because it's quite heavy - or am I just making it up in my head?

There's one item that I own and whenever I wear it, people ask me where it's from. And this is it - a £16 fake fur grey scarf from Miss Selfridge which I bought when we still had a Miss Selfridge store.


I find that if my neck is warm, it helps with everything else too and it's definitely warmer than lots of scarves that I have. So here's a few of my favourites that are out and about.


First of all there's this White Company grey faux fur stole (now £49.30 instead of £69). I went and had a look at this one in the store yesterday and it's lovely. Really soft and long too so definitely one for the Christmas present list.

The other place that I have seen some gorgeous ones is Jigsaw

They have this Seraa faux fur scarf (£70) which also comes in a lovely cream colour and also in grey. Going off piste slightly, there's also this fabulous sheepskin scarf in Jigsaw (£98).


This is one of those pieces that's just really fun. It's hard not to put it on and smile at its slight craziness. And for something bright, look no further than Oasis for this amazing faux fur tippet (£25)


which also comes in navy (£25)

Oasis also has a faux fur scarf in grey (£25)



This Ted Baker scarf (from John Lewis £89) is only what can be described as "snazzy". It's a real eye catcher and the perfect way of brightening up darker winter coats and jumpers. I quite often wear mine in the house if I'm chilly - but it's not a good idea to go too near to a naked flame in them.





As an alternative to the one above, there's this bright blue scarf from New Look which is a brilliant price at £10.49. It also comes in pink too (below) - for those who don't want to blend into the background.


Hello - now that's what you call bright pink! 
Clearly I could go on all night with my faux fur scarves. I love them for their warmth, glamour (even when wearing scruffy jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt at home) and their pure snuggliness on a cold day.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The jumper that we all need in our Wardrobe



Honestly, you may not think that you need a pink jumper but you absolutely do. I promise. Even if you don't like pink, you really do need a pink jumper. This is even more so if you don't like sparkles, Christmas jumpers or Fair Isle ones - all of which are in abundance at this time of year.  They go so well with denim and all of those navy, black and grey pieces that we wear at this time of year.

I posted the above picture on Instagram a while ago and asked people if they had seen any fab pink jumpers this season.  And this is the response that came back...


The Oasis cable knit (£40) seemed particularly popular. If wearing it with a midi length embellished skirt of the party variety, just tuck some of the front of the jumper into the waistband in a nonchalant kind of way, so as to keep the proportions right. Equally this would look great with coated skinnies and wellies for those winter walks that we all avoid like the plague look forward to on a cold wintery day.

This Oasis pink turtleneck (£30) offers something slightly more lightweight for those layering occasions, or if a chunky style is just too heavy for what you're wearing on the bottom half. The scalloped neckline  and hem make for a really pretty detail.


For something a little sport luxe, this Burford cashmere hoodie from Kitted in Cashmere (£139) is just lovely. Again it can be worn with a party style skirt for a high/low look, or  leather leggings, or luxe track pants. This jumper also comes in this amazing shade of pink, which is really "Wow" in the flesh.


This Burfood hoodie is a "one size fits all" jumper too - making it the perfect Christmas present.


If a slightly more subtle shade of pink is more of your thing, then there's the HUSH Helen jumper (£69) which isn't quite as full on as some of the more neon ones that I've suggested above. This is a great, easy style to wear too. Layer something underneath it, or over it, tuck it in, leave it out, lengthen it with a white shirt peeping out from the bottom, add a scarf if you prefer a higher neckline, jazz it up with sparkly jewellery - it's just so versatile. 



I've noticed that chenille, that fabulous fabric with 80s and 90s connotations, seems to be having a revival. So for those who like the idea of some texture and would rather avoid anything with wool in it, there's this hooded jumper in cerise chenille from H&M (£29.99)


And I love this Chunky knit jumper H&M (£19.99). It's very insta worthy in a "wearing it with Mom type jeans and sky scraper heels" kind of way. Over sized, overly long sleeves with a great high neckline, it's fabulous.


For an investment piece in something luxuriously soft, there's the Mimi cashmere jumper from White Stuff (£89.95) which was also drawn to my attention. It's such a vibrant shade of pink - love it!




And then I just had to go and do it didn't I? I had to go and lower the tone by including a jumper that was not only pink but also sparkly and with a Christmas theme. As you can tell, this was all my own work! It's the Topshop Christmas sequin penguin jumper (£36) and I fear that it might just have my name all over it.

Now do you believe me? You see, you totally need a pink jumper....don't you?!





Monday, 20 November 2017

It's the sequinned top post!



OK - confession time, this is clearly an old photo - but I still have the top! 

If there's one top that screams Christmas it's my black - slightly naked of sequins - sequinned top from H&M, which must be going into its third or so year now.

True, it sheds sequins wherever I go but given that I love sequins - (not glitter....especially not when a child is shaking a pot of it. I still haven't got over our eldest spilling a pot of red glitter all over the house when she was about 4. I was still finding it in July) - then I don't mind at all.

Here's my round up of my favourite sequinned tops. Just add jeans, a pleated skirt, dungarees, wide leg trousers, coated skinnies, culottes - basically anything will go with one of these - and in any setting. Which makes it a really easy top to wear - despite it being all things shiny and not seeming, at first glance, to lend itself to anything other than fancy pants occasions.


Sequin top Warehouse (£42) which also comes in blue (below)

The trick to buying any sequinned top is to feel it on the inside before you buy it. Exfoliation is, as well all know, a good thing but not when you feel it being done all evening by something that resembles a brillo pad. Check for a lovely lining which will avoid that brillo pad feel. 


This same gorgeous top also comes in gold (below). I have given it a good once over and for me, this top is a real gem.


Now I love the idea of this asymmetric sequin top from Mango (£35) for a black tie event with some wide legged trousers and maybe even, dare I say it, with some trainers. Or if that's a step too far then some flat velvet shoes, if (more) sparkles aren't your thing. Then maybe wear it with jeans or with a skirt on Christmas day.

                               Assymetric sequin top | MANGO
    
     
Now there are sequins and then there are SEQUINS and this turtleneck from Other Stories (£49) definitely falls into the latter category. I love this top. It's just divine! Please someone buy it and send me a picture of you wearing it.


This Oasis sequin tinsel sweat (£38) is also a fabulous option. I first saw it when I went to visit the refurbished House of Fraser in Sutton Coldfield. It's slightly less fitted than some of the other options and maybe slightly* less bling than some of my other choices.


I cannot convey enough my love for a sequinned top, shining like a star in an otherwise dark and wintery wardrobe. It always holds such promise of a fab night out!

* this is a relative term because all sequinned tops, by definition, are bling.




Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Your arsenal of winter warmers....things are not quite what they seem

There are not many things in life that I would say that I'm the Queen of but when it comes to layering, that crown is well and firmly on my head thank you very much.

But this post isn't about the obvious that we reach for to keep us warm in the winter - the scarf/hat/gloves/thick jumpers/duvet. Oh no. It's more about those pieces that we can layer under, or over, what "normal" people wear, so that we still look like we're wearing a "normal" outfit and so that we don't have to go around looking like the Michelin man from October until April.

I've come up with an arsenal of weapons to help fight the cold. These I bring out year after year, literally, and they are a fail safe way of making summer clothes last into the winter and to stop us from having to wear winter clothes into the summer.


Modal long lace vest Jigsaw (£29)

Let's start with a vest. A vest is always a good place to start when it's cold. The Jigsaw vests are lovely and comfortable with a nice lace detail, straps which can be altered plus they come in about 9 different colours. They are particularly great if a bit of vest is going to be peeking through - say at the neckline of a denim shirt or something.


M&S cotton rich strappy vest (£5)

Then for the every day work horse type vest, you can't beat good old M&S, or H&M (who do long line ones), or Next. A vest is the first piece of clothing that goes on after my undies. You have to start layering early on in the construction of an outfit. 


Thermal ankle length leggings from Marks and Spencer (£12.50)

You may not know it yet but you absolutely need these babies in your wardrobe if you want to wear a midi dress and do an ankle flash at any point in the year beyond, say, mid September. I bought some from Primark and they key is to have them loose enough around the ankle so that they can be turned up. Thermals poking out from beneath the hem of your dress is not a good look. Nope not at all. But one sadly that I think I may have participated in inadvertently :( I had these on as part of the above outfit.


Long sleeved jersey top H&M (£8.99)

So then I quite often (no, pretty much always) have a long sleeved cotton top over my vest. Last year I bought a stack of scooped neck ones from H&M just like the one above. I must admit that on the day I wore the above outfit, I didn't have a long sleeved top on as it would have been a bit bulky under my dress and it might have shown through at the neck. But they are definitely necessary about 75% of the time.






Now a ribbed neck polo is the best thing against the cold. Fitted but not too tight is the order of the day. It's a great layering piece under all of those summer dresses that run out of steam come the end of September. And with a vest to go underneath it, plus thermal leggings, you're absolutely sorted. They're also fab under dungarees. 


Boden cashmere cropped cardigan (£98) or Boden favourite cropped cardigan (£50)

Trust me. If you feel the cold, you really need one of these cropped cardigans from Boden. There are two choices, the cashmere one and the favourite cropped cardi, which is 80% cotton. Mine is never far away from me and although it's rarely on show, it's working behind the scenes underneath a biker jacket, adding an extra layer of warmth. I'm wearing mine as part of the above outfit but it doesn't add bulk and no-one would ever know. A layer over the dress, as opposed to underneath it, also stops the dress from becoming too tight. 




Faux fur gilet Oasis (£55)

If you've got a coat that needs a bit of help in keeping you warm, a fake fur gilet like the one above does the job brilliantly. Coats can be hard to layer up because there's often not enough room in the sleeves, which is where the gilet comes in. It adds warmth to your torso but means that you can still get your arms in the sleeves. True, depending on the fit you may not be able to get your coat done up but if the gilet has a fastening that's that problem sorted. Equally they look good layered over a biker jacket. 



Uniqlo  ultra light compact jacket (£49.90)

Finally, although I don't have one of these jackets yet, I've always thought that they look such a good idea to have squirrelled away in your bag. I've seen my friends dive into their bag to pull out what I thought was going to be a tissue, only to produce, magician like, a coat. For those days out in London where it can go from freezing to really warm, one of these would be perfect.

There are various heat tech type garments available which I may investigate another time for those truly freezing days but for now, I've stuck to what is pretty much available in your standard shopping centre.

I hope that this post is helpful for those who, like me, long to look like everyone else whilst their fingers are in fact turning white and their nose, blue. It doesn't have to be about the bulk to keep warm and stylish, although on some days there's no denying that there's no substitute for a thick jumper. But the rest of the time, we can wing it. (Just like many things in life!)

Friday, 3 November 2017

House of Fraser - but not as you know it!

When I've shopped at House of Fraser in the past, I'm not entirely sure that I've thought of it as a shopping "experience". Generally it's more of a functional and box ticking experience - which is fine, that's what lots of department stores are about and in fairness, I wouldn't necessarily expect much more than that.  

So when I was asked to pop along to the newly refurbished Gracechurch store in Sutton Coldfield, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But, and I know that some might think that I'm bound to say this, I absolutely loved it. So I'll explain why - but obviously as many of you quite possibly don't live close to Sutton Coldfield, I've included images of some of my favourite pieces that I think might appeal, irrespective of where you live.  


Luckily I arrived just in time for "elevensies" or really "half-past ninesies" but let's not split hairs. As Caffe Botanico was situated on the ground floor (like your thinking there House of Fraser) I thought that it was a very good place to start. In my humble opinion you can always tell a lot about a place from its café - and if at the same time you can get interiors inspo, even better. I've definitely got a thing for herringbone at the moment, so I loved this area.  And if it's grey herringbone with a splash of bright yellow, even better.


And as well as the gorgeous cakes on offer, I loved the grey metro tiles, which is handy as we're having our bathroom re-done next year so that's two lots of tile ideas that I now have. 


Now this is one mighty cake display. I must admit to having a couple of Italian pastries but I kind of accidentally ate them before photographing them. You will obviously be pleased to hear that they were delicious though.


And although I am absolutely not a coffee fan, I do love a frothy milk - the frothier the better because actually I don't really like warm milk - just the froth. This one was spot on and the girl brought it over to me which I thought was a really nice touch, particularly for elderly customers or for those struggling with children and pushchairs. And the girl was lovely "You're having a cappuccino without the cappuccino aren't you?" 


What a great display courtesy of Dune!

In keeping with other House of Frasers stores the shoe department is  now situated on the ground floor along with bags and beauty which is refreshing for the staff as previously they were located in a dark corner upstairs.

I chatted to the staff in the shoe department and they explained how the store was so much better organised now with all womenswear together, rather than over two floors. The menswear is no longer on the same floor as womenswear and everything is just better organised. In fact the store was buzzing with excitement - everyone seemed to love the open plan feel of the store, the new wooden floor as opposed to the traditional carpet and also how light it is. And importantly, there were plenty of staff around.


Can you imagine my distress, albeit short lived, at Whistles being cordoned off with red and white tape whilst they set up? I was almost as distressed as if I'd witnessed a scene out of Casualty. It was fantastic to see Whistles in a smaller West Midlands town. Whilst it happens in the south of the country, our Whistles' are generally located in the major cities, so this is a real coup. 


It wasn't long before things were definitely starting to take shape in the Whistles department. Plus the store also stocks Joules, Mint Velvet, French Connection, Oasis, Warehouse, Phase Eight and Barbour along with their own house brands, which are really strong.


What I really liked about this store was the size and shape of it. It's very symmetrical and because it's now open plan, it's possible to see from one side to the other. Plus the modern styling of the concessions and the lovely pale grey wood flooring (more interiors inspo) make the womenswear department feel like a large boutique, as opposed to a department store.

There is also a menswear department stocking Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as a children's department with brands such as Barbour, Ralph Lauren and Joules.


I love this jumper from Mint Velvet (above) and this sweatshirt (below) from Maison de Nimes (£39)


Below you can see a little bit of Joules. I always love Joules for some jolly wellies and their general bright and cheery colour palette is always welcoming on a dark wintery day.


Plus there's quite a lot of sparkle at Biba. I love a bit of Biba - you always know where you are with it and there's nothing shy and retiring about Biba.


Ooooh and with all things "floral maxi dress" being so big at the moment, I thought that I'd share this lovely one from French Connection.


After having a good look at womenswear, I headed up to the second floor, which houses another café and the interiors section. I've always rated the homewear at House of Fraser as it has such a great selection of well established brands. Plus Linea always has something exciting to offer.


I have a bit of a thing for coloured glasses and I thought that this set from LSA (£32) were just lovely for when friends come round for drinks - or even when they don't. I have some displayed on a shelf in the kitchen and they make me smile every time I look at them.


There was also a great selection of fake fur cushions and throws. I've been after a grey sheepskin rug for a long time now and they had just what I was after here, so I snapped that up with 20% off at £36.


And there's just something so lovely about new dinnerwear. Again Biba comes up trumps with this range of Biba Starburst Dinnerwear which would look fabulous on a Christmas lunch table.


And this was the other dinner set that I really thought was really rather special. It's the deco peacock range, again from Biba. I realise that my shots aren't quite as good as those on the site but I keep reading that life is all about celebrating the imperfect, so I'm going to run with that. And there was a danger that I may well have had a Calamity Jane moment and knocked everything over, had I moved things too much.


I was also really excited to come across this range which is a collaboration between Ellen de Generes and Royal Doulton. The assistant there was proudly dusting the range, which we had a good old chat about for quite a while.


This has to be my favourite mug...it's just all about the message really. We all love giving, and receiving, a bit of kindness don't we? (Kindness mug £10) but equally the "Joy" and "Be Amazing" mugs are stunning too.


And I can't help but love this "Love" range, also from Ellen DeGeneres and Royal Doulton (£35). The tablewear collection is "inspired by both Ellen and Royal Doulton's love for artisanal, yet simple designs." Hello Santa are you listening?



Now some of you may think that this is ever so slightly odd but before I left the store I went and checked out the bathroom. Now I have specifically used the word "bathroom" because, as I mentioned earlier, I am gathering bathroom inspiration. And it sounds better than saying that I decided to go and check out the loos. Anyway, that aside, they're lovely aren't they?


The official launch event takes place on Thursday 9th November and if you're anywhere near to Sutton Coldfield I would really encourage you to go along for a spot of retail therapy in the nicest possible setting.

Just so that everyone is aware, this post was written in conjunction with House of Fraser but all words and thoughts are my own. I wasn't given a brief as to what, or what not, to include. Which they may well be regretting now....