Thursday, 23 December 2010

Why it's OK to shop on Boxing Day

Up until recently, very recently in fact, I thought that shopping on Boxing Day was bad.  I wondered why the people who were shopping didn't have anything better to do - an odd view, I know, from one who basically shops at every opportunity.  Although I could see the logic in waiting until Boxing Day to buy your loved one that perfect gift at a reduced price, it all seemed a bit, well, mean I suppose and what about Granny sitting at home alone?  No, I thought that it was very bad form.  Until now that is....

You see, I have come up with some very good reasons as to why we should go shopping on Boxing Day and here they are;

Laughing is good for us:  Now, we all know that laughing is good for us and laughing at other people fighting over their perfect purchase is funny.  I doubt that you will see two quite so famous (or handsome) people fighting in your local shopping centre - and they are probably more likely to be female - but you get my drift;

Men unite - Boxing Day shopping is a time when men can unite over the unfairness of it all.  Frankly I can see their point - being ripped from the heart of their home to go and watch their better half try on many an outfit must be soul destroying, which is why they can end up looking like a boxer dog on Boxing Day and that too is funny -  well, for us at least (see point above re laughing being good for you).

We've been saving hard and deserve a treat  -  With the amount of snow that we have had, we have largely been confined to barracks, which has meant no trips to the cinema, no bowling, no visits to stinky soft play areas (thank the Lord) no fun at all frankly.  The up side of this is that we have inadvertently been saving up and we all know that any extra that we have saved shouldn't be put towards life's essentials but rather it should be spent on treats!  So, here's my idea of a perfect treat:

This is one of Victoria Beckham's new bags - a snip at £1 700 and amazingly, still in stock at Net A Porter, unlike her crocodile skin bag for £8 000 which sold out in hours! I am not quite sure that the money saved on cinema trips etc this week quite amounts to £1 700 but I am sure that Primark will do a nice copy soon enough.

Exercise is good for us: After Christmas we could all do with putting a little less into our bodies and moving around a little more and so gentle exercise in the form of wandering around shops is perfect to get ourselves mobilised again after all that armchair sitting - and obviously a gentle stroll around the shops for a few hours will ensure that we will all end up looking like this -

Our immune systems benefit: All that staying indoors, cleaning our houses with anti-bac, cancelling plans with friends and family because of bad weather plays havoc with our immune systems.  We will be turning into a nation of wimps.  Time to mix with the general public, to expose ourselves to lots of bacteria and strenghten our immune systems.  Well, it's either than or go and work on a farm for a while - also good for the immune system - and I know which I prefer!

And finally, the most important reason of all!

I NEED TO GET OUT: I should say firstly that I know that I am lucky.  I am warm, dry and have plenty to eat.  However, I have made carrot cakes, lemon cakes and soup, I have done painting with the children and read endless Topsy and Tim stories, I have even had a couple of lie ins (bonus), done all the washing (even the stuff that I normally ignore for as long as possible) and tidied tidied tidied (although the place still looks a mess).  I have been lucky enough to drink plenty of mulled wine and fizz, I have eaten mince pies, watched Christmas films and eaten too many Quality Street.  Apart from opening presents I have done Christmas and now I JUST WANT TO GO SHOPPING.  Please someone, let me out, just for a while.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year. x

Friday, 17 December 2010

The trials of finding the perfect outfit for Christmas Day

Let's say that I was being an outfit for the day - and then let's say that I had to choose a day when I would rather NOT be an outfit.  Which day would that day be?  Christmas Day. Without a shadow of a doubt, Christmas Day.  The demands placed on an outfit on Christmas Day far outweigh those demands placed on any other outfit - even an outfit for your wedding day.  With any luck, a wedding day is a one off - and a great day at that - so you can ignore the slightly too tight shoes, the slightly uncomfortable dress and the flippy flappy annoying thing that you have chosen to wear in your hair that day.

Christmas Day however - oh boy!  Does anyone ever feel that they have got it right?  Let's just think about what unreasonable demands we place on our outfit for that day.  We all wake up hoping that the Christmas fairy will have deposited in our wardrobes some amazing outfit that fits well, looks great, is warm and comfortable whilst being glamarous at the same time.  The reality?  The Christmas fairy hasn't been so we start the day feeling a bit miffed - never a good place to be when choosing an outfit.  The Christmas Day outfit has to be stylish yet practical, functional yet  beautiful, warm yet lacking in bulk, short enough and/or fitted enough to be the right side of Liz McDonald yet long enough and loose enough to play Twister.  It has to accommodate an expanding waist band, a change in body temperature as one warms up with alcohol and not crease when we finally collapse in a heap to watch TV.  So what's a girl to do?  My advice is go all out on the red lips and nails and as for the rest?  Comfort reigns supreme and PJ's are definitely where it is at this year.  If you are lucky the Christmas fairy will have come up trumps with some nice new ones, possibly with a bit of a cashmere number thrown in somewhere along the way but if not, well, just keep it in the family - no-one need know. Sssshhh!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Reindeer jumpers (again)!

On Tuesday 10th August this year, I wrote a post dedicated to knitwear with reindeers on it.  In particular, I said that I wasn't convinced that such a piece of clothing was for me.  Ha, if only you could imagine the amount of hours that I have spent searching, searching, searching for knitwear with reindeers on it - and all for our 11 year old daughter who has decided that Christmas won't be Christmas this year unless she has reindeers running across herself - not in a stamp your feet kind of way, I have to say.  She has just got this idea that a reindeer jumper would make Christmas complete -  and who am I to stand in the way of such a sweet, innocent wish?  OK so when I was 11 it was a selection box that made my Christmas complete - although I always hated the Bounty and the Opal Fruits really didn't earn their place in at all as far as I was concerned but there again, times change (don't even get me started on the change of name of Opal Fruits to Starburst).

I swear that I spent fewer hours styling a client of mine who got married today than I did looking for this jumper.  For a start, Birmingham came up trumps for the wedding outfit - but I had to go to Birmingham, Leamington, London and back to Birmingham again to find said reindeer jumper. 

The New Look ones had sold out.  The Primark ones looked as though they had been bought, shrunk in the wash and returned, there was such little stretch in them. There was a great one in Jesire reduced from £129 to £29 - which I was thrilled to find, until our daughter realised that she wouldn't be able to lift her arms any higher than her head without ripping the sleeves.  The funny bat wing thing going on really didn't cut it in the slightest.  The Fat Face ones were £70 and their sale doesn't start until boxing day and as for the the Johnnie B one, the one which started all this nonsense in the first place - that has sold out too.  Ironically, if she were a grown man, the choice would have been much greater.  Bizarre.  Or indeed if we wanted to stretch to £400 and buy a D&G one, that too would have been fine.

The elusive, headache inducing, "I will not give up until I find it" jumper was finally located in a shop called Internacionale in Birmingham (if you too wanted a reindeer jumper) and cost the bargain price of £10.  I am not convinced as to the quality but you know, I just don't care.  I sort of love it and loathe it in equal measure and I think that there might, there just might, be a tussle on Christmas Day as to who gets to wear it.  Equally however I think that there's a possibility that if I were parked in the corner with a selection box (minus the Bounty) I might just cave on that one.  It will be Christmas after all.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Simply Red

Golly, can you believe it?  December the 1st already; snow on the ground, advent calendars up and the re-appearance in our house of a little china baby in a crib who is most adamantly referred to by our two year old as "Baby Cheesus."  Mind you, I am not surprised that she thinks that she is right about "Baby Cheesus" and that I am wrong.  She must think that she is surrounded by idiots.  Having been allowed by her older siblings to have the chocolate from her advent calendar this morning, she then asked if she could have a KitKat for breakfast.  When I explained that no, that wasn't an option and that we didn't eat chocolate for breakfast, she gave me a look as if to say "What are you talking about you numbskull, what do you think I've just been eating?"

So, as to the title of this blog post, Simply Red.  I have discovered a new colour and yes, it's red! I have never really been a fan of red before.  I once had a red suit from Jigsaw which I loved, and some flat red patent shoes, but that's about it.  I bought the suit when I was training as a solicitor in London.  It was a sale purchase - too big to start with, then I shrank a bit and the skirt fell down around my ankles.  Not a good look, especially if you don't want to show your undies in public.  The other thing that I remember about that time in my life was sitting for weeks on end at the Land's Tribunal working on the most dull case in the history of mankind.  The hour after lunch was the worst and I used to have such trouble keeping my eyes open that it was torture.  One of the things that I used to do was to count how many Jigsaws I knew in London - surely a sign even at that stage that I was pursuing the wrong career path!

So far, I have made one red purchase and it is these patent Kurt Geiger shoes.  At £130 I thought that they were a little steep but with a 25% off voucher from Glamour Magazine and with a gift card of £59 to put towards them, I ended up paying just under £40 for them.  What I love is that the heel isn't too high so they should be comfortable whilst I am on my feet.  They are also really versatile as they can be teamed with skirts, dresses, trousers (wide or narrow) and jeans (skinny or flared).  The other thing that I really like is that they are cheerful.  I also like the fact that I have now totally convinced myself that they were a top purchase!

I am planning on wearing them with these grey tapered leg trousers from French Connection which I bought yesterday.  At £75 again, they were on the pricey side but I have discovered that there is 25% off at French Connection with Grazia tomorrow, so I will be returning them and re-buying them for a much more reasonable price.  I will probably opt for a black top with some detail on it and a snuggly fur gilet in black to keep out the cold.

I also have a pair of narrow cropped Boden wool trousers in navy (excuse the small picture) which I bought last winter in the sale.  They will work with the shoes, together with this sequin jumper from Warehouse, which is selling out quick! The jumper also comes in navy and cream. At full price it is £40 but I have bought several recently for style events and for clients and I don't think that I have ever paid more than £32 for it as there have been lots of 20% off days recently in places like Debenhams, House of Fraser and Warehouse itself.

One of the other things that I will wear the shoes with is this sparkly skirt from Coast - which is a current favourite of mine.  A sparkly skirt it is a really good alternative to a sparkly dress as it is so much more versatile. It can be dressed up for the evening or down for the day time, with a polo neck and flat boots.  When I wear the red shoes with this skirt, I will keep the rest of my outfit really plain as otherwise I am in danger of looking like something that ought to be hanging on the Christmas tree.  Again, this skirt is in the sale, down from £85 to £55 with another 20% off in most stores.

 So, my final item is a red coat.  My two favourite ones are in Zara (on the left) and Oasis.  Whilst I don't really go for the matchy matchy approach, the red shoes and red coat will work well.  The other trend this season is to "colour block" that is, wearing the same colour head to toe.  I am not sure that it would work with some brighter colours but it might just be possible to pull it off with red. 

 If you felt like being brave and opting for a red jean, New Look has a great pair - and here they are.  I am not sure that this picture does them justice but as a concept, it might be nice to wear them with a long jumper and tucked into boots - just showing a glimpse if you weren't feeling too brave.

 So ladies, there's plenty of red out there.  Don't forget a jumper or a red silk shirt as an alternative to any of the above, or just add a red lipstick to your make-up bag.  Just don't add white fluffy trimmings or you might end up looking like Mrs Santa Claus. Enjoy the snow!