Saturday, 31 December 2011

Mum on the Run - the 12 days of Christmas - a New Year's Eve outfit

This was the skirt which was ordered from John Lewis and which I paid for to arrive a day later - that being Thursday. In fact it arrived two days later but because of its late arrival, the delivery fee was refunded together with a £20 discount - so that was a top result!  The skirt was from Kew 159 - metallic slub bell skirt (I am still not sure what the 159 part of Kew's re-branding is all about but there we go!)

We are with friends for the New Year and staying in, eating and drinking lots!  My friend and I decided to get dressed up (slightly) even though we weren't going anywhere.  However I suspect that shortly after dinner we will put our PJ's on and chill out!

I have put the skirt with the same top that I wore on Christmas Eve (Hobbs jumper) opaque tights, shoe boots, H&M ring, Stella & Dot bracelet. Sometimes it's good to see things in a photo - I was slightly concerned that the "bell" aspect of the skirt was going to be too bell like for my liking but I think that it is just about OK.

Hope that you all have a fabulous New Year's Eve!  See you next year.   

Friday, 30 December 2011

Mission Hollister Part 2 - It's not a pretty sight (largely because I can't see anything in there!)

You may remember that on 12 December I wrote a post entitled "Mission Hollister".  This was a tongue in cheek account of my many unsuccessful attempts to purchase a Gift Voucher from Hollister.  Since then I have had emails, comments and discussions with many others who have encountered similar problems and I have to admit to being somewhat relieved as it makes me feel less of a dinosaur!  It's not my style to stick my neck on the line and to criticise a brand but for flips sake!  So, here are some of the other tales I have been told:
  • One lady, unable to see the price of an item due to the totally and utter rubbish (my words not hers) lighting in there took an item to an assistant to ask what the price was. The assistant couldn't find the price either.  When asked why the store had such inadequate lighting the assistant said that it "added to the ambience".  I like it!
  • Another lady, having picked up an item, had to go and check out the nearest lightbulb to find the price, where she met other customers doing the same thing.
  • Another lady went in with some information about a sweatshirt that she wanted for her daughter.  She took details of the sweatshirt, what it said on the front etc but was told that without the code they couldn't trace it.  Top service! Mary Portas would love that one!
  • Another lady had to queue in a snake around the shop and half way down the stairs as the number of staff was so inadequate - or, in fairness to the store, it could just be that it is so popular that it simply couldn't cope with the number of customers - so I might let that one go for now but they could do with some more tills;
  • Another lady went in with her elderly mother who has a condition which means that she has difficulty seeing in certain light. She couldn't see her daughter which caused her to panic and because she couldn't see, she then tripped over a rug.  Now whilst some of the above are vaguely amusing, this isn't in the slightest.  Have they never heard of Occupier's Liability for Dangerous Premises or all of the Health and Safety Legislation?
I know I know - I sound as if I am ranting and really it's not that bad. My friend and I have decided that it's the messing about with our senses that we can't deal with. 

You know that whole school disco thing of no light, lots of sound and the smell of sweaty bodies was fine at the age of 14 but now - being starved of light whilst at the same time our auditory and olfactory senses are overloaded (I was told that they pumped the smell of their fragrances through some system in their stores) means that we get dis-orientated.  It's an interesting concept really isn't it?  Employing methods that are used to torture people to sell clothes?  But somehow it works. I am still struggling with it!

Mum on the Run - the Twelve Days of Christmas - A Mango lace skirt and biker boots plus a guest on the blog!

Today I worked backwards and decided on the footwear first, (biker boots- on the basis that we might be going for a walk) and then fitted the clothes around the boots. I chose this Mango lace skirt because it's comfortable and put it with an H&M striped long sleeved top and Oasis striped jumper to make it less dressy.   My Reiss pea coat and humungous leopard furry gloves completed the outfit when it was time to head out.

My friend Sal dropped round today and kindly agreed to be photographed.  She had on a lovely printed jumper dress which looked as though it was from Jigsaw but which she in fact bought from Sainsbury's for less than £10 - (in fact it was nearly free after she used various discount vouchers - a real bargain if ever there was one!)  She put it with a Jigsaw cardi, leggings and Dune boots. She had done a great job of lifting an inexpensive item by mixing it with a more expensive piece. I thought that her hat was from Jigsaw too but apparently that was also a fab bargain.  Having short hair I can't really do the whole woolly hat thing but I think that Sal looks great. 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mum on the Run - The twelve days of Christmas - a bit of a Cos day!

I have found a brilliant way to get a new wardrobe for yourself - sort through your ironing pile.  It worked for me!  I reckon that I could do a whole week of posts based on what was lurking in the ironing cupboard.  The above Cos shirt dress was one such item.  In fact I knew that was there but I had totally forgotten about two pairs of trousers and a couple of tops that had been languishing there since I last ironed (circa 1995). 

The three muskerhounds and I went off to visit a school friend of mine this morning, which was followed by a trip to see my Mum.  All went well - no ornaments broken, no-one offended, no-one wet themselves or puked anywhere and strangely there was no fighting.  Yes, I behaved rather well today I thought.

Given that we were up and out by 8.30am I had to make a quick decision on what to wear.  I wasn't sure whether the grey Cos jeans would really work with the navy shirt dress but in the end it was fine.  I put a striped Gap top underneath the shirt dress and a chunky Oasis cardi over the top together with a Reiss belt and the shoe boots - which have been my saviour (why does that word always remind me of Cliff Richard?) this holiday.

I quite like the shirt dress over trousers combo - it makes me feel kind of dressed up without feeling like I am wearing a dress - if that makes sense!  I love the way we women have all these psychological things going on in our heads in relation to clothes.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Mum on the Run - the 12 days of Christmas: A Zara skirt and cable knit

I have never seen so many miserable looking men as I did this morning when I was in John Lewis.  I felt so sorry for them as they stood leaning against the racks trying to look interested as their wives held up yet another piece of clothing for them to look at, which to them looked exactly the same as all the other pieces they had already been shown (and quite possibly, as far as they were concerned, the same as the entire contents of her wardobe.)

Just so that you know, the John Lewis website is not up to speed with what is going on in store and some items which are discounted in store aren't discounted online.  However, I found that if you call customer services, you can buy the item at the full price and they will immediately refund the difference.  A bit of a faff I know but it's worth it if there's something that you particularly like but which isn't in store in your size.

Anyway, as to the outfit.  I haven't worn a skirt for a while and the red shoes deserved a festive outing so I put them together and worked in some pinks and purples as well - none of which "matched" but given the neutral background it didn't matter. Quite often my clients are nervous or reluctant to put things together which, in their eyes, don't match and I encourage them to have a play around.  As long as the background is fairly simple - black/navy/grey/beige it's good to mix the accent colours and frankly no-one notices anyway! Mixing it up a bit makes for a much more versatile wardrobe.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Mum on the Run - Ugg(lies)

Remember how a few days ago I featured the silver sparkly party shoes by the "shoe tree"?  Well, I have now reached the stage where the heels have been replaced by sheepskin boots - and oh how nice they feel! 

I find it somewhat ironic that one of the ugliest styles of footwear known to man are called Uggs. It's a bit like the word Acrylic having the word "cry" in it.  It says it all really.  I have nothing against Uggs in principle and I totally get where people are coming from when they talk about how warm and comfortable they are but frankly, I wouldn't be seen out in a pair.  (When I walk through the door however it's a different matter!)

Anyway, the above aren't Uggs at all - they are from mini Boden and even better they were in the sale.  The first pair which I bought last year for our daughter - on account of the fact that I wouldn't want "mini boden" across the back of my ankle but which I then proceeded to wear on a regular basis - are now a little worn. The fact that they go up to a size 6 is great and I love the colour too.  Predictably the tan ones are sold out but they still have the blackberry and raspberry colours in stock.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Mum on the Run - Boxing Day outfit

I am not proud of it but today I had a fight with a three year old over a can of coke, putting dents in it in the process (the can that is, not the child). There we were, playing monopoly after lunch and my three year old nephew came and swiped my can from under my nose, ran off with it and started drinking it. I hot footed it to where he was where we wrestled over the can for a while before he gave up, looking at me in the process as if I was a complete and utter idiot.  On reflection I can't say that I blame him.

So, given that we were visiting family and I knew that there was little chance of us making it out of the front door once we had arrived - although I did pack sensible shoes just in case - I thought that the silver party shoes deserved another airing -as did the party trousers.  I put them with a TopShop blouse, Boden cashmere cropped cardigan and a TopShop necklace.  I don't really like the feel of the blouse against my skin and so what I do is layer a very thin cotton top from H&M underneath. It doesn't add bulk but it does just make it feel that bit nicer and it means that I am more likely to wear it than otherwise.

I should just say thank you to the lady who let me know that she likes my PJ's above any other outfit - I will remember that next time I am unsure of what to wear!


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Mum on the Run - the 12 days of Christmas - Christmas Day outfit 2!

So there we have it - just gone 5pm and I am in one of my Christmas presents - which also happen to be one of the most unflattering garments known to man (or women) - PJ's.  It's not really an outfit, rather a state of undress!  These are Cath Kidston ones and a present from my hubbie.  I am so relieved to be in them - I can now snuggle up on the settee, watch TV, play games and just chill out.

I chose them as the print reminded me of a fabric that my Grandma had in her bedroom when I was little - her curtains, covering her bin, the skirt round her kidney shaped dressing table, the fabric on the cushion of the dressing table stool - and when that was replaced the fabric was recycled into pinnies -and so it went on.

Enjoy the rest of your day! x I hope that you too are comfortable and cosy!

Mum on the Run - the 12 days of Christmas - Christmas Day!

At last! It's here - Christmas Day. As I watch Top of the Pops I now feel quite Christmassy - unlike at 3.30am, 4.10am and 5.20am which is when our son came in to tell us that he couldn't sleep.  Apparently the words "bugger" and "off" featured in my vocabulary - hardly full of Christmas spirit was I?!!

This was the dress that was bought to fulfill many functions this Christmas and it is doing its job well - fulfilling the criteria of being able to be layered (there's a vest, slip and long sleeved top under this baby, which is necessary as I can't get a cardi over the top due to the shape of the sleeves) and loosened. The print hides the things that I have already spilled down it and it is long enough for me to crawl around on the floor without scaring the nation. The photo below shows the sleeves off in all their Christmas glory!  The dress is from Great Plains and I put it with some black opaques and  Hobbs NW3 lace up shoes in purple.

There's another outfit coming along later.....

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Mum on the Run - the 12 days of Christmas: Christmas Eve outfit!

I started off the day with a run with friends - it was hard work but worth it and on the way home I nipped via M&S just to take a look at the queues (sadly, they weren't very long) and to see whether they had any cookies to sample as by then I was in need of sustenance.  How scuzzy is that?

There were various possibilities for the day ahead including the cinema, dinner out and going round to see friends - so I wanted something to cover all eventualities.  At the moment I am opting for clothes that can be layered and/or loosened as necessary!  So, I wore a black metallic Jigsaw dress with a black Hobbs '50's style jumper underneath, M&S grape coloured tights, leopard belt, lots of cuffs/bracelets and shoe boots (again)!  The length of the dress is good for me and there is a fullness to the skirt which works well. 

Did any of you see the photo of SJP wearing bright blue tights last week?  They may look good on her but on the rest of us?  I am not so sure.  Anything that could possibly elicit comments of "your legs look like they belong to a budgie/frog" from one's husband should probably stay on the shelf.  I do think that men have a certain objectivity about clothes which can be fairly spot on.  They don't get caught up in the moment of what is "on trend" or "current". They just say it as it is and sometimes they aren't far wrong! (Of course at other times, they are way off the mark.)

Have a lovely Christmas Eve - how exciting!

Mum on the Run - the 12 days of Christmas - a night out at a friend's house

So what is it about Christmas that brings out the nesting instinct in women, similar to when we have our babies?  In that case it is more understandable that we want the house to be ship shape as it is quite possible that another five years will go by before we get back on top of the game.  But with Christmas.  Did I really need to handwash all my "woollies" (as my Grandma called them) in time for the BIG day, or polish all of my boots or wash all of the towels.  Nope. Not at all. But I did anyway.

Anyway, enough of that!  Last night we went round to our friends' house for dinner.  Whilst I didn't want to be too OTT I wanted to feel a bit more dressed up than just jeans.  So I opted for Topshop navy peg trousers, Oasis sparkly top, H&M fur coat, stella & Dot necklace and shoe boots (which I have recently dug out of hibernation and I am so glad that I have. They cost me £17 from F&F at Tesco a few years ago and are perfect for now)!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Mum on the Run - The 12 Days of Christmas

So, anyway, after the trip to the cinema yesterday, it just so happened that I found myself in Birmingham with an hour to spare whilst our daughter and her friend did a bit of shopping. What a lucky break! I thought it only right that I check out the Reiss sale, which I did, thoroughly.  The one item that I really liked, and which I have had my eye on for a while was this fluffy feather gillet in oil blue (although I tried it on, I have to admit that I gave the hotpants a wide berth - see below).

Reiss Fluffy Fur

The fact that it is made out of turkey feathers was not lost on me.   Also, the fact that it had been hugely in demand because one of the girls from TOWIE had been seen in it put me off slightly.  Now I really don't like to be judgmental, stereotypical etc but is that not enough to damage the street cred of any brand? It's a bit like my husband wearing a Jack Wills hoodie - which he keeps threatening to do.  (Just watch those share prices tumble!) So it stayed on the hanger which was probably just as well because shortly afterwards I saw a lady with a very orange face wearing one.

Instead I headed to French Connection and bought the shirt which I am wearing above - which I really like but which is rather hidden by the thick jumper and trench coat which I was wearing in preparation for my trip to the high street in the rain.  So so far day 2 of "the 12 days of Christmas" has not been a great success but we are off out later so I hope to bring you something a little more interesting.....

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mum on the Run - outfits for the 12 days of Christmas

Now that my husband has finished at work, Christmas can really begin for us so I am going to do a feature, somewhat inspirationally (!) entitled, "the 12 days of Christmas".  Each day I will show you what I am wearing over the Christmas period, to include outfits for trips to family, to friends and staying at home. 

Have you read those articles about how, if people aren't really doing anything much at all, they make it all up to look as if they are uber busy or uber popular and post fake tweets and photos on facebook?  Well, there won't be any of that going on - if we're a Billy no mates family for a few days that's fine by me!

Due to the unseasonally warm temperatures, the wardrobe possibilities have opened up a little, so it's no longer all about thermal vests and the heaviest jumpers I can find.  I can even get away without wearing socks - steady on now!

So, today for our trip to see Arthur Christmas - (don't I know how to show the family a good time) I have opted for skinny jeans, sparkly jumper and shoe boots with a spotty scarf.  I have taken account of the fact that we won't have to walk too far, so heels can be worn.  Yippeee! You might notice that over the next 12 days the skinny jeans get replaced by slightly looser clothes!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Mum on the Run - A little bit of layering goes a long way

Don't you remember how, as a child, the bread that you took to feed to the ducks was always so much more appetising than the bread that you had at home - however out of date it may have been? I was reminded of this today when we discovered the chief refuser of food (our youngest) happily sitting on the bench munching a slice of wholemeal bread (not mouldy, fortunately) whereas normally she would turn her nose up at it. It also amazed me how all three children were equally desperate to throw the first slice of bread to the ducks, despite their varying ages of 12, 10 and 3.

I had a major trauma today in that I couldn't find my husband's Christmas present.  There I was on the phone to John Lewis asking them to check that it hadn't been left in the store etc etc and then, having raided all of my usual hiding spots, I had a flash of inspiration and found it in our son's room. Really, I should have just rung my husband (chief snooper extraodinaire) at work and asked him where it was as no doubt he knows - but he was busy fearing for his safety at a court hearing so I decided to leave him be.

Anyway, as to the clothes for the day - it wasn't cold outside so I thought that it would be nice to get away without a coat.  I layered up my black Jigsaw Jersey dress with a Gap snood and a chunky knit from Oasis and just added a turquoise belt and pink gloves for colour. Later on the ballet pumps were swapped for biker boots so I could keep up with the three musketeers when they were out on bikes and as for the belt - that got discarded somewhere around mid-day when the youngest decided to take it off and put it it round her neck.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Mum on the Run - Time for a Party!

It was party time at our house last night.  A few girlfriends, some fizz and a lot of chatter! The Zara trousers had their first outing and they were - well, just black trousers really but given that the lighting represented a Hollister shop it wasn't suprising that the jacquard leopard print remained hidden.  I really like the length and the fit and am looking forward to wearing them in daylight. I wore a Topshop top that I have had for a while as I couldn't find anything else that I loved enough to spend money on it.  I also wore a new black sparkly belt from Coast.

These were the shoes that I wore for the evening.  I liked the style of them - they are a real change from the chunky high platforms that have dominated the shoe scene for a long time.  I haven't worn heels this thin, or this pointed, for a long time, if ever in fact but the shoes were surprisingly comfortable (and very sparkly too)!  They are available from Dune and currently in the sale.  Below is a photo of the party scene, pre-guests!
  I feel that at last we are starting to get into the mood of Christmas.  Hope you are too!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Mum on the Run - A chapel service (or two)!

Yesterday my Mum and I attended two carol services at school.  I thought given that it was Christmas I ought to dig out my churchgoing type of gear so on went the Hobbs boughts (at least 13 years old now) a very traditional Jigsaw coat, H&M navy leather gloves and a new bag.  I kept it modern with a leopard print scarf. Actually that's a complete lie - it was just the nearest one to hand and I thought that chapel might be chilly.

On seeing the bag my son said "Oh Mum, you've got a new Mulberry."  Well identified I thought for a ten year old boy - other than the fact that it was £5 from Primark! It's great - just the right size for keys, phone, money and of course - tissues.  I am definitely turning into my Mum. I can no longer watch the children do anything without crying!! It's all downhill from here!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Mum on the Run - Mission Hollister

I am on a mission and that mission is to buy something from Hollister - a gift card in fact for a Christmas present. 

You would think that it would be easy - it being a shop and all that, whose main aim, one might assume, would be to sell to the public.  Apparently not.

Attempt number one saw me going into the store.  The first thing that struck me was how dark it was.  I thought that having a shop which was so dark that you couldn't actually see what was being sold was an interesting concept. Still, I am prepared to accept that I am old fashioned like that and the stores that spend a fortune on fancy lighting are missing a trick - and at least they were being environmentally friendly.

The till, I was told, was upstairs.  So up I went.  Now, I am pretty healthy but by the time that I got to the top I was able to breathe a bit less easily than when I was at the bottom.  There I found three tills, one shop assistant and about 533 people in the queue. Being British I don't mind a bit of a queue - in fact if you grew up near my local chippie, you got pretty used to queing on a Friday night - but that was ridiculous.  So off I went. Apparently the fact that it had been a busy weekend meant that most of the staff were too tired to turn up for work but enforcements were on their way. Jolly Good.

Attempt number two saw me return to the same store, go up the same stairs to the same tills.  "Aha" I thought, "my luck is in". This time there was no one queing but that was probably just as well because they had run out of Gift Cards.  How can a store run out of Gift Cards in the run up to Christmas?  Anyway, there it was.  So off I went (again) - stopping to speak to the Manager on the way to point out to her, politely of course, that running out of Gift Cards at Christmas probably wasn't the best PR/marketing policy ever invented.

Trip number three saw me literally do that - trip over a leather pouffe thing which was placed in front of a leather chair which was presumably there for customers to take a rest in when they could only get one member of staff to serve the queue of 533 people.  My friend and I did see the funny side of it but that, combined with the hideously loud music (not so environmentally friendly after all so let's untick that box), lack of lighting, lengthy queue and general irritation that I already feel on just seeing the signage meant that I left for a third time WITHOUT A GIFT VOUCHER! 

The problem that I have is that it would appear that 6, 341, 611 people have "liked" Hollister on Facebook so the problem must be with me.  I know that I am not cool, or trendy, but neither am I prepared to accept that I am such a duffer that I don't "get" the whole Hollister think.  No, I need to get a grip and so, in the spirit of Christmas, I will try again tomorrow......

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mum on the Run - party trousers - a decision made!

And so I have made a decision on which trousers to wear to my party.  The Asos pair  were discounted immediately on account of their high waist, stiff material and the fact that they finished at a less than flattering length.

The decision was then between the Jigsaw ones at £115 with the flower jacquard print....

and the Zara ones at £25.99, with the leopard print jacquard (if that's not a contradiction in terms!)

The composition of the two wasn't dis-similar, although the Jigsaw ones are dry clean only and the Zara ones can be washed.  In terms of the print, both are very subtle as they are black on black.

There was a hole in the pocket of the Zara ones (not good) but they fitted really well and were even generous by Zara's sizing. (I always check to see if items start at a size 6.  If so, the sizes tend to be true or on the generous side. If not, then the sizing can come up smaller.)

The Jigsaw ones clearly weren't the same pair as the ones I had tried on earlier in the week - either that or I had put on half a stone in a few days, because they were very snug!

So anyway, the Zara ones won.  The price was great and they just have that added flexibility that I need at the moment both literally in that I can move in them more easily and also because I won't mind if a small one heads to me at a vast rate of knots with sticky fingers as I  know that they can be stuffed in the washing machine. I still love Jigsaw all the same though!

I definitely think that there is room for a pair of printed trousers in my wardrobe - they just need to be subtle, which these are.  They are a good shape for lots of ladies - tailored but slim and unless you really need a wider leg to balance out your hips, they could be a winner!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Mum on the Run - What to wear to your own party?!

The thing is, I have decided to have a party.  It's probably not a wise thing to announce on a blog but I doubt that hordes of people are going to turn up and do something outrageous like, I don't know, snap my orchids or blow out the White Company candles.  Plans are going well so far - really well.  I have five toblerones and six packets of Wotsits - the trouble is that I keep on eating the toblerone so I won't even have much of that left by the time the party arrives but at least the Wotsits will be intact - I think. Not that anyone will want to eat them.  Apart from me that is.

So, what to wear?  Well I put on the invitation that everyone should be comfortable and that thermals and elasticated waists were permitted.  People might think that I am joking but I am deadly serious.  Another reason for liking the dress that I featured yesterday was that I can wear my thermals underneath it without anyone knowing.  I am currently sitting here in my sweat pants with an elasticated waist so comfort is important!

I decided that some "evening trousers" might be a good start and there are quite a few cropped jacquard pairs out there at the moment.  The first ones that I tried are these:

Asos trousers as featured in this month's Red magazine.  I have to say that they weren't all that they promised to be.  At £30 they were £20 less than as quoted in Red (not to say that Red got it wrong) which was a plus but the fabric was stiff and they are uber high waisted, which isn't always necessarily that flattering or that comfortable.  They were also too short on me - finishing at an unflattering length.  So they are a no.

The second pair are:
This pair of black jaquard trousers from Jigsaw which have a flower jacquard print.  At £115 they are a tad on the expensive side but they are amazing and look lovely.  The flat front and side zip is very flattering....I can feel a dilemma coming on. 

The third pair are these ones from Zara which feature more of a leopard jacquard print.  At £25.99 they are a great price and are currently in my kitchen waiting for me to try them on. However the huge stew and endless pieces of toblerone are preventing me from doing anything this evening, other than slobbing on the settee in front of the TV - so that joy (or not) will have to wait until tomorrow.

I will report back tomorrow when I will have to make a decision - although if I decide on the Jigsaw ones, I will probably lie anyway.  The next dilemma will be the shoe one - and then the top one.  In fact I will probably run out of days to complete my outfit before the party so my track pants, complete with elasticated waist, and my thermal top will reign supreme.   Now, as to whether the thermal should be cream or black - oh crikey, I can feel another dileamma coming on!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mum on the Run - the perfect "Christmas" dress

This is the dress that is going to work hard for me over Christmas - really hard!  It has already done a party at a friend's house, the ballet, a Mum's night out and a meeting today. Given that I only bought it on Monday it's doing fairly well for itself - and it has still got two carol services to go.  The cost per wear of this little baby is going to be minimal!

Now, it won't be everyone's cup of tea and the print looks better in the flesh than it does on the photo but I do think there is something to be said for finding a "one dress fits all situations" outfit. This is what I like about it:
  • it's a decent length
  • it has three quarter sleeves which are a nice shape
  • it has a slip underneath for added warmth - all of the above make it easy to wear - I can bend over without startling anyone in my company, reach up without flashing my knickers - you get my drift! 
  • the print means that it won't show marks easily (I know, lazy or what!)
  • I can wear black, brown or cream with it
  • All of the hard work has been done for me so I don't need to worry too much about accessories
  • It was from Great Plains and wasn't too expensive.
Great Plains is definitely worth taking a look at - they have some nice pieces at a good price and the mail order service is good.  Here's a link to it  By the way, it appears that there is now a sale on so if you see my dress at half price, please don't tell me.

Oh by the way, just to let you know that my new website has been launched and if you would like to take a peek, you can find it at

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mum on the Run - Boden cropped trousers

Some don't like the look of cropped trousers - and I kind of get that.  It can look as though your trousers are a bit short but I got over that years ago when colleagues teased me about some cropped trousers I was wearing.  I like them and think that they can be really flattering - even if you are on the petite side - in fact especially if you are on the petite side - provided that they finish at the right place.

I was styling all day today so needed to be comfortable - hence the pink pumps with the Queen Mother heel! I put the trousers with a Cos jumper, Boden jacket and pink Marks and Spencer leather gloves and I was good to go.  I was also good to come home and take the trousers off by the end - let's just say that whilst comfortable, they are fairly snug!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Mum on the Run - Pink Coats

I thought that it was jolly nice of Louis Vuitton to include pinks in their window displays.  In real life, the colours are much closer to my coat than they look.  I also thought that it was good of them to make sure that the shop was closed as I was passing - just so I couldn't be tempted. 

I have a theory that people like to see bright colours on others, even if they would rather not wear them themselves.  A bright coat, shoes or bag will always elicit a chirpy comment - even if it is along the lines of "you know what they say about women who wear red shoes!"

This year I have had lots of people ask me where I got my pink coat from.  The reason that I say "this year" is because my coat must be at least 5 years old now - if not more - and it was from Benetton.

I have found some alternatives on the high street, should you be tempted to replace your black coat with  a pink one (go on, I dare you!  It goes with black, navy and grey and makes a nice change).

So, as for my chosen coats, they are all pink but all diffent in their styling ranging from a fairly smart work coat, to a very simple streamlined on trend shape, to a sweet 1960's style coat.

The first one is from Jigsaw and costs £249, however, Jigsaw is holding a 10% sale on Thursday so if you do like it, you might want to wait until then.  Although it is double breasted, so in theory less suited to ladies with a fuller bust, the two rows of buttons are quite close together so it is actually more flattering than some designs and looks less like you have targets on your chest!

The second coat is from Jaeger Boutique - it is currently in the sale with 50% off and costs £199.  I quite like this design - it's very simple, slightly cocoon shape so very up to date and slightly more casual than the Jigsaw one.

The third coat is from Oasis and costs £65 but look out for offers. It's called "Dolly" which pefectly describes the shape - 60's, girlie and very pretty.

I hope that I have sown the seeds.......

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mum on the Run - A Kate Moss for Top Shop Tea dress, Cable Jumper and Biker boots

Having had three children, all sense of self respect of dignity left me years ago, which is why I am not afraid to show you this photo of myself grinning like an idiot whilst standing like a flamingo.  Having taken the photo my son said "that's fine Mum - you don't need to take any more". I should have realised that his desire to get to WH Smith to add to his collection of force attack Star Wars cards far outweighed any obligation to me to stop me from looking a total geek.  So there we have it!

Anyway, today I gave my Kate Moss for Topshop dress its first winter outing.  It must be well into its third year now but I still really like wearing it as it is just the right side of flippy/pretty without being too girly.  I stuck my cable knit from Warehouse over it and teamed it with M&S tights and Hobbs biker boots. I noticed the other day that the jumper also comes in grey.  Whilst it's not everyone's cup of tea and won't suit all bodyshapes, I have to say that it is doing me proud so far!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mum on the Run - Fabulous totes!

As we all know, totes are huge (excuse the pun) this season and the Zara tote has had massive press coverage.  However I also love these totes from River Island - which I spotted this morning.  The purple and orange ones are great for lifting those darker winter colours.  There are great neutrals in the silver and gold and great colour combos in the green above (there are others too). 

At £60 ish they are a good price for a large leather bag and the practicality of having something that you can throw your possessions into and go, holds great appeal.  I love the orange one as it goes so well with navy (which I wear alot) and thanks to Victoria Beckham, there is going to be lots of navy and orange around next season.  My only tip - I would put a small cloth bag inside - such as a dust bag for shoes - to protect it and make transferring your belongings to a next bag much easier.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mum on the Run - A Cos dress and Sledge shoes

Today I was running a style event for a group of ladies at a firm of solicitors.  It was great fun - they were a lovely group and the event seemed to do what it was designed to do - get ladies chatting.  OK, so it may have been about shoes and the like but there was definitely a good buzz and as was noted - it was more interesting than a golf/racing/motor racing outing!

I wore my navy Cos dress (the gold band around the middle is a zip but fortunately the dress doesn't unzip into two halves) and LK Bennett Sledge shoes. 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Mum on the Run - A chunky knit dressed up with a skirt/scarf and pink patent shoes

Today saw a combination of clothes old and new - a Zara skirt from last year, Gap striped top, this season's Warehouse jumper and a new Oasis scarf to pull it all together. I dug the pink pied a terre shoes out yesterday when continuing with my clear out - they are probably 7 or 8 years old but I still love them.  They are a bit retro with a "Queen Mother" kind of heel! 

I quite liked the colour palette and the combination of the very casual jumper with the slightly smarter skirt/scarf.  Most of all though I was warm and comfortable!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Mum on the Run - the caped crusader

My husband was at a conference today so I wisely (!) headed into town with the three musketeers for a bit of Christmas shopping and a look around.  They each chose a decoration for the tree, behaved nicely in a cafe and I only lost two of them - pretty good going I thought. Each time the little one asked for something I suggested that she add it to the Christmas list that we would make on returning home. Hopefully she has forgotten the majority of the 325, 000 things she asked for or else it will be a very long list.

Having visted a friend in London earlier in the week who has the most immaculate house you could ever imagine, I have attacked our cupboards with gusto.  Virtually everything in the house is at risk of being disposed of.  Anyway, I came to sort out the 500 plus set of instructions for all manner of toys, electrical gadgets and appliances we have had over the years. I found that a not insignificant number of instructions belonged to items that have been stolen. I am tempted to put them in a plastic wallet, label them up and leave them in the shed for the next time that the thieves visit so that they can at least be certain that the lawn mower is working to the best of its ability and doesn't need a service.

I also found a neat diagram of how to load the dishwasher properly. Having been asked by my husband whether I was any good at jigsaws as a child, on account of the fact that (he thinks) I can't load the dishwasher properly, I am going to tape it to the front of the dishwasher and follow it closely - because obviously I have nothing better to do with my time.

So anyway, the outfit was just a bit of a chuck together really - Warehouse printed shirt, Boden coral jumper over the top, Warehouse skinny jeans, Clarks pumps  and Jigsaw cape. I preferred it later on when I swapped the jeans for wider ones and the shoes for my red shiny loafers. I felt a bit more "balanced" and the proportions were better.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mum on the Run - A bright pink coat!

Ah bless her - the three year old has been put in charge of the camera again as the rest had gone off to school/work before us - this was the only shot that I could use as the rest were blurred.  I have this amazing ability to have my eyes shut on many photographs - the odds of it are meant to be minimal but I seem to manage it. Shame that I can't beat the odds of winning the Euro millions - but then I wouldn't be posting picture of me wearing a bright pink coat which I was going to give to a charity shop but which I decided to keep and now love.  No, instead I would be sunning myself on a yacht in a bikini and trust me, that would not be a pretty sight.

So instead, here I am on a cold November morning ready for another day in the shops.  I resorted to flat boots and skinny jeans but tried to lift it with an Oasis sparkly top, a piece of my Stella & Dot jewellery and a bright coat.  It all reflected rather nicely on my nose - currently a similar shade of pink to my coat as a result of a cold.

Boots and jeans Cos, Coat Benetton, Top Oasis, Necklace Stella & Dot

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mum on the Run - A skirt - and an acid yellow one at that!

....also carrying on the theme of bright clothes, today I wore a bright yellow skirt from Cos.  It's wool, slightly A-line and the kind of colour that I would wear on my bottom half but not my top and only if everything else was plain - in this case navy. I did feel a bit conspicuous to start with but I soon got used to it. I went for a bit of a preppy look with loafers, a pea coat and a navy sparkly jumper from Warehouse. 
As you can see, I really was "on the Run" in this photo - trying to get 7 of us out of the house but failing.  Our son was talking to me out of our bedroom window at this point, hence the glance skywards!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mum on the Run - A bright Whistles cardi

Carrying on with the jumpers/cardi theme, last week I bought this cardigan from Whistles.  It's nothing to be proud of - it was in the sale so I don't suppose that many people really liked it but I did. It reminded me of a cardi that my Great Auntie Vi knitted for me when I was at school and being a sucker for anything a)warm and b)coral coloured I knew that it was going to end up in my wardrobe!

I have styled it both with a navy lace skirt and a leopard print belt and then as above -Cos skinny jeans, Cos boots, long Jigsaw top and Oasis scarf. I was so hot that I had to take it off later in the day - definitely a winner in my book!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Mum on the Run - jumpers are where it's at - especially if they are striped!

I think that you can tell that a small person was involved in taking this shot from the way that I am looking down.  It also explains the fact that the top of my head is missing -  but at three, said small person does very well - and this blog was always meant to be a family endeavour! 

This was our first scootering trip out this week as our youngest has had chicken pox.  As usual, I needed to be fairly hands free - it's just safer for everyone and in particular the local population - hence the cross body bag from Cath Kidston.

I was styling a lady this morning for her daughter's wedding so on returning home I chucked off the smart stuff and grabbed the closest casual clothes - which just happened to be Gap straight jeans, H&M striped top with an Oasis striped jumper over the top and a Boden jacket with a Peter Pan collar which is of the moment now but probably wasn't when I bought it two years ago - I just liked it though!  The boots are from Jones and just happened to be nearest to the front door (they are still a bit muddy from when our 12 year old borrowed them to go to a bonfire.)  She's after my LK Bennett shoes at the moment and I have told her no flippin' way.  I had to wait 40 years for them so she's not getting her mitts on them!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Mum on the Run - A cable knit jumper

Having promised to get my act together and blog more I have actually failed miserably this week.  However I managed to get my son to take this photo of me today sporting my new cable knit jumper. 

As you probably all know, jumpers are huge this season.  They are everywhere and come in every colour and knit imaginable.  Those who are really in the know are sporting jumpers with dogs on them - but I think that I left those behind when I was 4.  It was my first day of school and whilst I wasn't sporting a dog, I wore a navy jumper with a panda on the front.  (I wish my recall for all things in life was as good as it is for clothes.  Mostly I don't even know which day of the week it is anymore.)

Anyhow, whether jumpers are "this season" or "in" I don't really care because the main thing is that a good chunky one will keep you warm and for now at least, they are in plentiful supply.  To be ultra on trend I should have put it with a skirt but that's just too try hard for the school holidays.  This one is from Warehouse and has a good wool content to it  (many don't).  Cos also has a great jumper with a funnel neck and which has grey and yellow in it -sounds bizarre I know but I love it.  Topshop has one with an alsatian on it, Cath Kidston a Westie and Joules, ducks!

So, anyway, back to what I was meant to be doing this week - posts on flat shoes. Here are the second pair:

Loafers - you might have already been there before in the 90's and now think "no way" but let me try and persuade you.  They are flat and comfortable, smart and a change from ballet flats.  They look great with jeans and slim cropped trousers and give a preppy feel.  If brogues aren't for you, these might be. They too are from M&S and cost £45.  Not too bad if you aren't sure whether you want to make a big financial commitment to them.  Jigsaw also has some nice ones.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Mum on the Run - the secret of stylish (and comfortable) flats....

Yesterday I was running two sessions at a day long workshop in Birmingham. In my first session I concentrated on smart/casual clothes, covering 10 key pieces for the season (plus accessories). For each of the 10 key pieces I offered a timeless classic and a couple of alternative more on trend pieces. I then had the fun of putting lots of outfits together - which is fun as they don't always turn out how I had imagined! 

 In the afternoon I concentrated on evening wear and some tips for the ladies on how to dress themselves slim.  I had a great day and learnt so much from the other speakers, who covered personal life coaching and diet and nutrition.

 We will be doing some more workshops in January and I love them as I get to shop. Lots.  In fact I shopped with so much success this week that my credit card was eventually declined. Unlike most people, I love it when that happens as it means that it is time for me to go home.  It took a couple of days though (I did go home in between)!

Whilst I was at the workshop, one of the ladies came up to me and said "you need to blog more". I was surprised that a) anybody actually read it in the first place and b)even if they did, that they wanted more.  So anyway, here I am. I have been a bit lazy on the blogging front of late so it was the kick up the bum that I needed.  I just wish my children would react so quickly when I asked them to do something - that way I wouldn't end up unpacking a swimming bag that had sat festering somewhere for in excess of a week.

Anyway, when I arrived home, there was a box of shoes from M&S waiting for me.  Unlike most people, who like Saturday deliveries, I don't appreciate them at all.  How am I meant to hide my purchases if they are delivered on a Saturday in broad daylight - received by my husband and three nosy children who want to know what is inside?

So anyway, the point of this post and of the ones over the next few days is to show you what flat shoes are around this season - and these are a flat patent brogue.  Now I know that they aren't for everyone, and that they can be quite hard to wear if you don't have the slimmest of ankles but there is no doubt that they are comfortable and smart.  If they are for you, they look great with cropped trousers, jeans, or with a dress, as an alternative to ballet pumps. Office does some styles with a bit more of a heel, if you prefer some extra height. 

I like these M&S ones because they are not quite so masculine as some of the styles and, being from M&S they come in half sizes.  Added to that at £45 they are a good price so if you are not sure whether they are something you are going to buy into in a big way, they are good for testing the water.  More to follow tomorrow...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

A revolutionary concept - the first global Personal Stylist Directory at

So, the children are back at school and nicely into the swing of their various activities. I completed the 5k race that my husband entered me for without telling me (revenge will be sweet) and I have been a busy bee working on lots of new amazing work opportunities.

I haven't posted many pictures recently, largely because I have been wearing skinny jeans virtually non-stop (even in this heat!) In fact, I am waiting for someone to ask me whether I actually own anything other than skinny jeans.

The reason for the lack of variety in my clothing of late is because I take the demon three year old to school on her scooter every day and I need to run to keep up with her as she whizzes of into the distance shouting “I love scootering, it makes me big and strong” (and leaves me exhausted) - which means flat boots, which means, for these particular boots at least, skinny jeans. However, this has to stop. I can't live in the same pair of boots - oh no, that would never do. So really it can only mean one thing - more shoe shopping is in order. Yep, I like the sound of that (maybe that’s where the revenge will come in).

During the summer, when I was no quite so depleted in energy, I was lucky enough to make contact with the lovely Chantelle Znideric, who runs the fabulously successful online stylist service  Chantelle set up with the funding that she received as a result of winning an award from the Federation of Image Consultants.  Her site has gone from strength to strength and I wanted to tell you all about the new feature that she has just launched on her website.

Chantelle has added to her site a Personal Stylist Directory. The Directory lists stylists not only in the UK but also all over the world. People visiting the site can use the Personal Stylist Directory to find out about the services that the individual stylists offer (including me), together with their experience. They can read testimonials from clients and see which awards the stylists have won. Anyone who is considering booking a session with one of the stylists gets a complimentary 15 minute skype or telephone session with them prior to making a booking. So, wherever you live, you can now take a look at the Personal Stylist Directory to see whether there is someone in your area who can assist you with your styling needs.  Not only that but you can find out all about them and have a free 15 minute chat before deciding whether to book them for a session.   

From a stylist's perspective, there is the potential for unlimited business. Each stylist has a web page dedicated to their own business and there is the opportunity for the stylist to increase their exposure by writing articles for the iStylista blog.

 If you would like to find out more, either as someone who is interested in booking a session with a stylist, or as a stylist who would like to be listed on the directory, you can find the Personal Stylist Directory at

 Of the new Directory, Chantelle has said “as a stylist I appreciate all too well the challenges we face in setting up and growing a business in this exciting industry and therefore I wanted to create something that helped other stylists on multiple levels. We heavily researched the challenges faced by many existing stylists and then built the directory and all its functionality from there. The real advantage to our stylists however is that continues to attract a huge global audience each and every month – meaning an already established level of presence and loyalty”.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Mum on the Run - a high waisted A-line skirt

Do you remember the song by the Lotus Eaters - The First Picture of You?  The chorus goes "the first picture of you, the first picture of summer, seeing the flowers scream their joy..." Well I fear that rather than this being the first picture of summer, it is probably the last picture of summer.  And I'm less than convinced that my flowers look as if they are screaming with joy.  Mind you, it is one more picture of summer than I was anticpating.  I had actually put all of my summer clothes/shoes etc away but in the heat of the day I painted my nails, sprayed on a bit of fake tan, dug out the sandals and off I went.

My husband has just looked at this picture and commented that he liked the skirt.  I think that his words were "that's actually a nice skirt.  It's high waisted and shows that you are slim.  That's what you need rather than those ones that sit on your hips.  Can I be your apprentice?"  Watch out Gok, your style crown is about to be stolen!

So anyway, the skirt is actually winter stock from  Cos.  It's a heavy cotton though, so OK for this time of year and also for when it is cooler.  As we all know, A line skirts do a great job of skimming over the hips and this is no exception.  I like the fact that you can take a decent stride in it! 

The top is a Ted Baker one that I bought in the sale in the summer.  I'm pleased that I've found something to put it with as it's a bit tricky to style.  The Dune sandals are still going strong but are about to go into hibernation for the winter.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Mum on the Run - teal skinnies

I gulped as my husband uttered those famous words this morning - "are those new jeans?"  The gulp wasn't because he would mind but rather because he noticed!   Fortunately he didn't notice the boots though or else the gulp might have been for the other reason.  It's amazing how far one's birthday money can go isn't it?

Anyway, I have several events lined up in the next few weeks so this week I have had to do some shopping for them and along with buying things for the event came one or two purchases for my own wardrobe - these teal skinny jeans from Warehouse being one of them.  I love the colour - it's different and very this season, without being too far away from the norm as to make me feel conspicuous.  They are mega comfortable as they have a high rise - which means that when I bend down, they don't head south!  One thing though - they do give so you need to buy them as snug a fit as possible to start off with.  I put them with my new Chelsea boots and a striped top for our trip out.  Stripes are a bit last season really but I love them and always will - and anyway I haven't had time to replace them with spots yet!

Jeans  -Warehouse, Boots Cos, Cardi and top Gap, Bag Mulberry

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mum on the Run - Festival outfit

 I don't tend to post pictures of our children or really mention anything other than their bad habits (of which there are many) but I made an exception for this photo of our youngest playing air guitar at a festival on Sunday - just because it made me laugh.

It also leads me into my festival outfit, which consisted of a couple of new bits - the sparkly jumper from Warehouse and the grey skinny jeans from Cos plus some biker boots and a Longchamp bag which I already had. I left the spotty wellies/shorts/denim shirt/sunglasses look to our twelve year old, who is much better anatomically designed for it than I am i.e. she doesn't have my legs! The pink jewelled purse around my neck was courtesy of our three year old - I think that she thought I might get lost so it had 10p in it in case I neede to make a phone call.

 Unfortunately I think that the jeans and sparkly jumper may be featuring a lot because they are so comfortable.  The sparkly jumper scoops down at the back so does a good job of bottom hiding - always good in my book.  It also comes in gold and navy.  Using a £10 voucher from Style Magazine this month, combined with their 20% off day meant that it would have been rude to have left it in the shop.  The jeans are oh so comfortable, nice and high, lots of support and a change from blue or black.  I also bought....wait for it....some Chelsea boots to wear with them.  I remember owning a pair in the early 90's when I worked in London and I never thought that I would own a pair again but they are fab!  Great with skinnies, flat and practical and they just liven everything up a little.  Speaking of London, I have an invitation to an event at LFW so I am very excited.  Not sure what I am going to do with the children that day though - haven't really thought that one through - Mum, are you reading this?!!!