Thursday, 31 May 2012

On the Run - An outfit for a style event and a re-worded National Anthem

I've gone and done something daft and booked us a last minute trip away, leaving me with about 2.5 minutes to pack, shop and generally tidy up, which is a shame because I am working tomorrow.

Because I am short of time I will keep it brief. I wore this to an event that I was running tonight at DLA Piper, a firm of solicitors in Birmingham.  As the weather turned a bit chilly and wet I had to abandon my dress plans in favour of trousers. 

Our youngest is very excited about her party at school tomorrow - so excited about the new dress that she has for the event that she can't sleep.  Can't imagine where she might get that trait from.  She has also changed the words to the National Anthem,  Instead of :

"Long may she reign" we now have;
"Long may she rainbow" - which I guess is quite cheery really.

Right, I had better scoot and get myself sorted.  I hope that your plans for the long weekend are coming together nicely. 

Outfit: Gap trousers, Zara jacket, LK Bennett shoes, sparkly top Topshop, necklace Jigsaw

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

On the Run - Competition details and an outfit for a school open evening

You will all be pleased to know that I haven't run off with Chris Martin. It was great to see him last night and he tried to woo me with his romantic songs, strumming away on his guitar but to be honest I found him a bit sweaty - so I sent him back to Gwyneth.

This is the outfit that I wore when I went out to an open evening at our son's school this evening.  In fact I had worn the shirt in the day, with my shorts (again) as I am trying to get my money's worth before I catch sight of myself in them and refuse to wear them again.

I thought that the bright shirt might be OK with grey skinnies and they brought out the grey in my shoes.  I figure that it's a good thing to wear skinnies from time to time in the summer - just to check that everything is in place.  It can be easy to get to the autumn and to have been lulled into a false sense of security by looser linen trousers and dresses minus waistbands - and suddenly the jeans seem a bit on the snug side.

I thought about digging out my grey Mulberry too but I quite like that my bags are stashed neatly away - so was quite happy to compromise on that one.

Now, I said that I would bring you details of how to enter my Scarf Envy competition, so here's how to do it:

First, go in and "like" Scarf Envy's facebook page

Second follow Scarf Envy on twitter

Third go in an "like" my facebook page

Fourth follow me on twitter

Fifth drop me a line to let me know why you should win the scarf - I will leave it to your imaginations! Here is another picture of the competition prize.  Entries will close at mid-night on Sunday 10th June.

Following on from my post on holiday packing, I spotted this dress in Jigsaw yesterday which can be worn in six different ways - including a way which covers the tops of the arms, which is all important to some ladies. 

It is priced at £119 and in store, it comes with directions on how to style it in those different ways.  It is incredibly versatile and I have to say the thought of one dress for a week away is quite appealing - as long as you had some travel wash with you.

The dress comes in three colours and you can take a look here Just thought that it might be worth a mention for anyone with a short trip away and not much luggage allowance.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

On the Run - Off to see Coldplay in the heat plus details of my new competition and see the winning Stella & Dot entry

Union Jack Flag Scarf

Today I promised to bring you details of my new competition and here is a picture of the prize - the lovely Union Jack flag scarf by Scarf Envy, which costs £29.99.

I was intially approached by Rebecca who runs Scarf Envy, to ask me if I would like to review her site or one of her scarves, keeping a scarf as a gift. Rebecca's son is due to start school fairly soon and she is working hard to build her business. Much as I would like to, it seemed a little unfair of me to keep the scarf for myself and instead, I am offering it as a prize.  I loved the print on it the scarf - very patriotic and of course being 100% wool, it will work well on into the winter and autumn. It also comes in a lovely muted grey tone.

As I am off to see Cold Play tonight, I am running out of time - so details of how to enter the competition will be in tomorrow's post (sorry about that) but if you are a scarf kind of girl, you may want to take a look at the site here 

Today I am also bringing you the winning entry for the Stella & Dot competition.  I am so sorry not to have been able to give everyone a prize as you were all so deserving. Penny Young won the competition with the following entry:

"I deserve to win this ... Because I had to endure a miserable thirty minutes gazing at myself topless from every angle in the three-way mirror in Rigby & Peller's changing room yesterday!!"

Aside from my younger readers, I am sure that many of you are familiar with this idea - of catching a glimpse of someone in the mirror and realising that the reflection staring back is, in fact, your own. Or realising that things aren't perhaps what they once were, or what you thought them to be.

I have two pet hates - when I am about to take a photo on my phone and I realise that it has flipped round and I can see myself in it, or using Skype - seeing oneself from either of those angles is deeply unflattering. I read the other day that a new type of cosmetic procedure has been developed in the US which deals with the lower face, specifically to address those issues thrown up by Skype.

So thank you to Penny for her amusing entry, which did make me smile and to which I am sure many of us can relate.

On a slightly similar note, I receive lots of queries from ladies about how to style themselves when they have left their thirties and are heading into their forties and beyond. I have come across a great book called "Grown up glamour - how to age fabulously by the women who got it right." It is by Caroline Cox and is well worth a read. It covers style, hair, skin and makeup and much more.  I like Caroline's refreshing "let's embrace our age, without surgery" approach.

So that's it for today ladies, I had better dash as I have a date with Chris - sorry Gwyneth. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

On the Run - Holiday packing with a weight limit in mind.

Many years ago I took my Mum on holiday to Majorca. Being newly pregnant with our first at the time, I was conscious about what I was lifting.  The suitcase my Mum arrived with was packed to the brim with a kettle, tea bags, a new dress for every day and a spare for the evening, I recall.  I also recall the holiday rep moving the suitcase, as neither of us could, with the words "blimey, what have you got in here - the Crown Jewels?"

Some years previously I had travelled the world with a 9kg rucksack, which with hindsight was pretty impressive, unlike the contents, which were not.

As I said yesterday, I have been asked to talk about packing for a summer holiday in line with the strict luggage requirements imposed by airlines such as Easyjet (56cm x 45cm x 25cm) or Flybe (50cm x 35cm x 23cm and no more than10 kg).

My tips are going to fall into two main cateogories - weight tips and styling tips.  As one who no longer travels as much anymore, I am sure that there are many of you who will have other tips to add, so please feel free to do so.

Weight tips
  • People aren't weighed - only luggage, so in the first instance, take the lightest bag that you can which will permit a greater allowance for clothes;  
  • Secondly and following on from that, travel in your heaviest items of clothing.  Wear any jacket you are taking, together with any knit and your heaviest shoes, your jeans or heaviest trousers and any accessories;
  • Carry a plastic bag in your trouser/jacket pocket and once on the aeroplane whip it out and take off those additional accessories you are wearing, putting them into your luggage.  Whilst I wouldn't go so far as secreting items of clothing/accessories about my person as per a drugs smuggler, I would use a few sneaky tricks to get those extra all important pieces to my destination with me;
  • Buy toiletries when there. I am happy to travel with a toothbrush and toothpaste, a small packet of baby wipes and a bottle of water.  If needs be take a couple of sachets of shampoo or moisturiser which come free with magazines (provided they meet the airline's requirements). Sun tan cream, shampoo etc can be bought on arrival; 
  • If you can't live without a hairdryer/straighteners on holiday, split them between you and your friends (or pinch some of your husband's allowance).
Style tips
  • Pack items in threes so when it comes to tops for example, you can be wearing one, one  will be waiting to be washed and one will be drying;
  • An example of three different pairs of shoes would be 1 flip flop, one pair for sight seeing and one pair for evenings; 3 bags would be your piece of luggage, light weight beach bag and evening bag if necessary, 3 trousers would be one linen, one soft jersey, and one cropped. It may be that everything needs to be reduced to x2, or x2 for bottoms and x3 for tops, but you get the idea;
  • Lay all of your outfits out on your bed before you go and photograph them, taking only what is absolutely necessary;
  • An item which you consider relatively smart at the start of the week could be worn out to dinner, then later in the week on a sight seeing trip and then finally on the beach;
  • Look for versatility in your clothes. The advice is often to pack separates but dresses can be versatile, with something layered underneath, or with a knit over the top, worn over trousers or with a top over it to make it look like a skirt. Some long skirts can be pulled up to make a strapless knee length dress;
  • Gold or silver shoes will go with everything and there are plenty on the high street at a good price.  The same goes for a gold or silver bolero (Monsoon) or knit for the evening;
  • Keeping the colours tonal will ensure that everything works well together and use statement jewellery to dress items up for the evening;
  • Abandon heavier weight knits in favour of a large multi purpose scarf which may be worn as a sarong, used as a pillow or a blanket on the 'plane or as a cover up in the evening.  I currently like this butterfly print scarf from zara which opens out to a good size.  

                     BUTTERFLY PRINT SCARF
I really hope that you find this useful and as I say, please do feel free to add tips of your own.

I think that the winning entry for the Stella & Dot competition plus details of my new competition demand their own post - so more about those tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

On the Run - The Gap shorts make their second appearanc, this time in the garden

I hope that everyone has had a lovely weekend. It's so nice being in the sun for a change isn't it? Feeling warm is such a treat.  However for some bizarre reason, warm balmy evenings make me want to do the ironing. Fortunately we don't have too many of those types of evenings - which is probably why my ironing pile is always so big.

As you know, the Stella & Dot competition closed last night and today I informed the lucky winner.  I was delighted to receive so many lovely entries from ladies who wanted to win the necklace so that they could give it to their mother or their daughter, because they had just come through a particularly difficult period in their life, because it would be the only item in their wardrobe not covered in dribble or because they lived on the other side of the world and missed our High Street.  I even had a beautiful poem - there are some seriously talented ladies out there. 

I found it so hard to choose a winner but in the end I did and I am hoping that she will be happy to share her winning entry with you all - so once I have heard from her, I will let you know.  Thank you to those of you who entered and I am sorry that I don't have a lovely piece of jewellery for each of you.  I only wish that I did.

A few days ago I was contacted by a lady who asked whether I might do a post on how to pack for a holiday when there is a strict weight limit on the amount of luggage that may be carried - so keep a look out for that post tomorrow, together with details of my new competition.

The shot of me below is very much as an aside to today's post as there is nothing remotely inspiring about it.  However for a day in the garden with the children, the paddling pool, the hosepipe and a very obstinate three year old it worked fine and at least I am getting some wear out of the shorts. The blue Fat Face sun top I have had for years but I like it for its colour, the smocking detail at the top and the fact that it is a relaxed fit. The converse are just good for dashing about in - and oddly not that hot (probably both literally and metaphorically speaking).

As to the shorts, in answer to some requests that I have had about them, they are called the boyfriend roll up and they are from the GAP.  They also come in some lovely pastels, a bright coral and some neutral shades too - so there should be a colour for everyone.  Predictably they do come up huge though - these are a UK4 which is a US 0.  Oh please!!! If I am a size 0 what would the lovely VB wear? A size -6? There's complimentary sizing and then there's just being plain ridiculous.

Enjoy the sun and if you have found any amazing buys that you want to share with us during this hot and sunny spell, please do feel free to do so.  

Saturday, 26 May 2012

On the Run - I said that I would never wear them again but I did.

It came into my head as I was awoken at a very early hour, that I needed to own a pair of shorts. I last wore shorts almost exactly 12 years ago to the day when we were on holiday in France with our one and only child at the time, who was 18 months old. I swore after that that I would never wear them again. In fact it was only this week that I gave assurances that I would never, ever be seen in a pair of shorts again - and I meant it.

The other thing about that holiday that I remember was being utterly and totally exhausted.  Being a new parent with a child who doesn't sleep and who feeds round the clock is such hard work isn't it?

However, with the arrival of our two nephews today I decided that I needed shorts - why, I am not sure. I think it is partly that I haven't really got a summer skirt that I like but that I have several tops which I do like and not much to put  with them if it is really hot.  It also had something to do with visions of leaping here there and everywhere to intercept missiles from the three year old but whatever it was, I was glad for the excuse to (re) introduce an item into my Wardrobe.

So, off we headed bright and early into Birmingham. I knew exactly where I wanted to go and as I also needed to pick up clothes for the children and with the promise of ice-cream, milkshakes and a new paddling pool, I had a very willing crew on board.

Once in my store of choice (the Gap), I selected my shorts, asked them to remove the security tag, put on the shirt I had taken with me to wear with them and left the store in an entirely new outfit within about 4.5 minutes (fortunately remembering to pay on the way out.)

A local firm of solicitor's had invited me to their Jubilee Garden Party today which I was delighted to attend - so the above outfit was worn with that in mind, as opposed to being in the garden with 5 children. 

The Garden Party was also in aid of the Edward's Trust, a local charity which provides support services for families and children.  There was an exhibition of artwork and poems written by children who had lost either a parent, friend or sibling.  Oh my gosh, talk about being moved to tears.  I felt very privileged to get a peek into their world. I now just need to think of the best way of doing something to help the charity.

With my shorts I wore a Whistles silk blouse, which is several years old now, a Reiss gold belt which I bought in the sale, Carvela snakeprint  kupkake wedges and my Russell and Bromley bag, which I have been using for a few days now and I which I can't face changing as I had a mass tidy up last night and put all of my others away.

So, I fear that the shorts will get a lot of outings in the next few days, before I change my mind and decide that I won't be wearing them again, not in 12 years, not ever. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

On the Run - the £14.99 H&M dress gets an outing

You may remember that I showed you this H&M dress a few weeks ago. Then I had to wear it with thick tights but today - well, that was a different matter.  I tried it with a couple of different belts but decided to stick with the one it came with.  I also put it with my Dune gold wedges, which you can see better below. I was in charge of all getting all three out of the house by 7.45am today hence the hurried shot (not that we achieved it).

I was styling this morning and the dress worked well for me in so far as it was comfortable, not too exposed and it had a decent length to it. At the fab price of £14.99 that made me very happy! You can take a look at the dress on the H&M website here

I have to say, if someone had handed me this dress and told me that it came from Reiss or Whistles with a much higher price tag, I wouldn't have necessarily disbelieved them.  I have a summer dress from Reiss which I may wear tomorrow and despite its price, it's still made of polyester.

The lady with whom I was working this morning has said that she will happily feature on the blog, so I hope to bring you some photographs when we have got her Wardrobe where we want it to be.  She has a very curvy bust and I know that the clothes that  I wear don't suit a curvier figure, so it will be nice to bring some variety and hints and tips on brands that may work for anyone with more of a bust.  Believe me, I understand totally how difficult it can be to find tops that work - but they do exist.

I am just bracing myself for the addition of two further children to the fold this weekend - our nephews, who are 8 and 3.  Fortunately I have finished my course of anti-biotics and alcohol is now permitted. Result! (Their parents would be totally with me on that one by the way).

Remember, my Stella & Dot competition closes at mid-night tomorrow so there's not much time left to win the fabulous Palamino necklace.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

On the Run - An invitation to look at, and try on, Victoria Beckham dresses - such a treat (but I was wearing Next for the rest of the day)!

The day started off cloudy and then got progressively hotter and hotter and hotter so that by the time I got back with the children from school I was ready to strip off.  You can see the results of my stripping off session tomorrow, unless I chicken out on the basis that some things are best left behind closed doors!   When I came downstairs our eldest said "why are you wearing a nightie?" I shall say no more than that. 

As to today's outfit, I am wearing my new Next chinos, which I posted about a couple of days ago.  I also wore a Warehouse silk shirt which features on my website ( Russell & Bromley pink bag and Zara sandals.

These were the two cuffs I put with it - one by Tokyo Jane and of course, the Reiss cuff, which you can see below the other way around.

I was also lucky enough to be invited to Selfridges to try on some samples of the Victoria Beckham mainline, and V by VB A/W '12 collection today.  There were lots of dresses to try on and naturally, I took full advantage of the opportunity.  All samples were a size 8 which on the whole, for the V by VB dresses (which retail at £500/£600) was fine but for the mainline ones (which retail at £1800 plus) - well, you would have to be teeny weeny to get into those. 

Actually, and quite spectacularly impressively I thought, I managed to get stuck in one of the dresses.  The dress itself was fine but the arms were cut so tight that it was impossible for me to maneouvre myself into a position to take it off.  Fortunately I know Zoe, the Personal Shopper, in Selfridges quite well but I am sure that she would rather not have had to get as close to me as she did.  In the end I was bent over at a right angle from the waist whilst she pulled it inside out over my head.

My favourite dress was the Swan Collar Dress, which you can see Victoria wearing in the shot above, when presenting her A/W '12 collection. I asked, but was told, that I couldn't take any shots but hopefully I won't get into too much trouble for taking this sneaky shot of the collar on the "Swan Collar" dress, which was lovely and which I couldn't resist.

Anyway, back to the real world.  I donned my Next chinos again and nipped down to Cos to see if they had had anything in of late which appealed.  I really liked this pale blush and black shift dress as it was perfect for the hot weather - cotton, simple and elegant.

They didn't have my size and the one I am wearing is too big but it's possible to get the idea.

I also tried on this grey printed dress just because I thought that it was a little different and I was intrigued to see what it looked like on. I didn't buy it because the fit wasn't right but I did quite like it - in an odd sort of way.

The back detail is also interesting with an exposed zip and with the printed material being used as piping.

The trip to Selfridges and Cos was a pleasant interlude in an otherwise busy day.  I could have been tempted by a VB dress (not mainline!) but that kind of investment in once piece - I would have to wear it to death and would end up getting sick of it.  I think that you need to be the kind of lady who orders 4 or 5 of them without thinking about it for it really to work - but that's not me and I'm not sure that I would want it to be.

Anyway, my husband rang tonight to say that when he bent over today at work his suit trousers ripped, so it's just as well that I hadn't gone and blown nearly £600 on a pretty dress with swans on it, which I didn't really need.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

On the Run - A little bit of Hobbs, Zara and Reiss for a style event

Today I was going to bring you some photos of the pieces that I showed at today's Style Event - but it's currently throwing it down with rain and the bags are in the car - whereas I am in the house.  Having just got wet bringing the washing in, I don't fancy getting wet again but there will hopefully be an opportunity tomorrow to take some photos.

It was lovely to be invited back to a local firm of solicitors to do another Style Event for them today.  There were some familiar faces and some new ones, together with Pimms and scones with jam and cream.  It had been arranged by the female solicitors in the Commercial team and they had included elements that they would have liked at a networking event.  Nice thinking.
Despite being with a group of ladies for several hours, there wasn't an opportunity to get a photo in - hence the DIY bathroom shot.  All but our youngest were out when I got back (and the babysitter of course, just in case anyone thought that I had left a 4 yr old on her own) and I think that "Bananas in Pyjamas" was infinitely preferable to her than taking a photo of me - not that I blame her one jot.

It wasn't the easiest of outfits to pull together, given the heat (yipppeee) the fact that I have to lug a lot of bags around - although I was lucky to have lots of willing helpers - and the fact that when people are sitting and I am standing, there's a danger that they will be faced with my bare knees/thighs - so I need a bit of length to my dress.

So, the Hobbs silk one it was, which I bought for the bargain price of £50 in the sale a couple of years ago.   It had the length that I needed, together with some movement in the skirt. I swapped the belt, which makes the dress a bit too evening(y) for a Reiss cream leather belt, added Zara heels and I was good to go. I also wore my Reiss cuff, which I am very attached to at the moment. I think that all ladies need one of those dresses in their Wardrobe which they know will work for them when all else fails - or just isn't quite right. Tried and tested is often a good approach I find, especially when in doubt.

Here's a closer look at the frill on the front of the dress - great for adding a bit of volume where needed!!!

Hope that you are having fun in the sun.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

On the Run - Are the White Stuff, Reiss and Carvela pieces hot, or not?

Do you remember when Daniella Westbrook dressed head to toe in Burberry and was seen out with her baby in matching Burberry pram/baby bag etc?  I am quite tempted to do the same with Jubilee memorabilia - and we have got a street party coming up so perhaps it would be rude not to... 

I have seen a great Union Jack Ra-Ra skirt in BHS, a vest with Freddie Mercury on the front in Primark, Union Jack tights in M&S - I reckon that I could pull together a cracking and impressively un-stylish look on what is out there at the moment.

As you can see, today the sun was out. Not being one to cast everything off at the first sign of the rays, I was slightly conservative about revealing too much and also at 8am it was slightly cooler than at 3pm.  So, I stuck to navy trousers but put them with this White Stuff top (which try as I might, despite several searches I can't find on-line despite the fact that it is current stock - but it is called the Shelley Top.) I really liked the neckline - it's all quite 1950's ish and I thought that the cap sleeves were cute too.

I also wore for the first time these Carvela (KupKake) wedges in a neutral snake print, which I picked up for half price in John Lewis at Easter. They are currently £85 but I think that's a bit steep personally.  I bought them with a view to them giving a new lease of life to a couple of black dresses which are almost on their way out but being neutral, they will go with lots of things.

                                                      Carvela Kurt Geiger Kupkake        

I also worked in my Orla Kiely bag and the new bracelet which I bought from Reiss at the weekend. I think that we might be forgiven for thinking that this shot was designed to promote the bag on the Reiss website, instead of the bracelet!

Reiss Nya Bracelets
Hope that the warm weather lasts - it's nice to ring the changes with the clothes a little and I am quite excited at the prospect of wearing a summer dress or two. Is there anything that you are looking forward to wearing, either again or for the first time?

Monday, 21 May 2012

On the Run - Trousers made for ladies with "proper" legs

Oh what a relief to see some sun today. I don't think I had quite appreciated how miffed off I had been with the cold and the rain until the sun came out, when I suddenly felt a whole lot better. Probably largely because I could wear some different clothes.  So shallow!

Over the past few weeks I have tried many pairs of trousers of the printed/coloured variety and have found that many are cut too slim in the leg to accommodate my calves and sausage thighs.   Like many women, I am slightly heavier on my lower half and lots of brands just don't take account of that fact so on occasion it is impossible to get the trousers past my calves, let alone any further. N.B. The title of this post is not meant to be offensive to anyone with slim legs, who may interpret it to mean that they have "improper" legs - which of course they do not!

Skinny jeans in darker colours are easier to work with and the addition of longer knits and/or heels and boots in winter tends to make them a little less "in your face" than brightly coloured jeans, which I often wear with flats and shorter tops. Seeing my sausage thighs squidged into bright fabric which is too tight - well, it just doesn't bear thinking about.

However, not one to be defeated by the vagaries of fashion, I turned to chinos instead. Cut slighly looser in the leg, they skim rather than squeeze, which is frankly far preferable and the brands which are designed for ladies who don't have the legs of which we dream, can be a sure fire hit.

The ones I am wearing above are the ones I bought in Gap on Saturday. Initially I thought that they were slightly short in the body but once they had warmed up and given a little they were fine. As you may expect, the sizing in Gap is a little off and these come up large so you may need to go down a size. I am wearing a size 6 but don't be fooled - I am not a size 6. They also come in other colours.

Some chino styles have pleats at the waist, which can add bulk so just beware but if, like these White Stuff ones below, they are stitched down, they are fine. Many don't have back pockets, which again can cause a few problems, as an expanse of bottom is not always a sight we wish to put on display but on the whole, they are a much better option.  Unlike the Gap trousers, these come up small, so be prepared to go up a size.  These are a 10 in sweetpea - a pretty pinkish colour with some depth to it so they don't act like a highlighter, adding pounds.  I will bring you a pic when I wear them.

This blue pair from Next is also a great fit with room to accommodate both calves and thighs without gaping on the waist (on me anyway but it may not be the same for everyone.) They also come up true to size and these are an 8. These too have some depth of colour so don't add pounds either.

Here's a closer photo of the labels of both the White Stuff and the Next ones, should anyone wish to take a closer look on-line.

M&S also has a good range of Chinos in different colours but unsurprisingly I have found the Zara ones too tight and surprisingly the Fat Face ones too.  Has anyone come across any other brands which work well? 

I have been shopping today, and will be shopping tomorrow, for an event that I will be attending on Wednesday so I hope to bring you lots of lovely pics of the things that I find.  And don't forget that there's less than a week less before the Stella & Dot competition closes, so get those entries in.  I love reading them. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

On the Run - A little bit of a shopping trip

Yesterday was spent in Leeds with a great friend of mine.  Naturally, in addition to lots of tea and cake and a nice lunch out, we did a spot of shopping and here are some of my finds....

This lovely blue bag was in Reiss. I have had my eye out for a blue bag since the start of the year and this is one of the nicest that I have seen so far. This mini bleecker in mid blue is £195 and you can see it on- line here

I thought that this navy and white striped top was a great alternative to a classic horizontal striped breton top. Wtih the neckline being flattering to a larger bust and the diagonal stripes drawing the eye in to the centre of the body it opens up a whole new world to those who perhaps thought that stripes weren't for them. This too is in Reiss.

A lovely florist's window display that caught my eye....

I am grateful for the tip-off about the new Liz Earle store which has opened in Leeds - together with the new make-up range...

and how about this for a view in a shop?  It was lovely to look at on a grey drizzly day.

And this is what I bought from Liz Earle. I have had the Bobbi Brown blush pots for probably far longer than I should but, like a lot of my make-up, it could do with an update. So, I chose this "healthy glow cream blush" which promises to give me a "healthy looking dewy finish". I wonder whether it is really capable of doing what it says on the tin. Hmmm - it has a lot to prove.

I also bought a pretty pale blue snake skin buckle bracelet from Reiss.  Funds don't quite stretch to a blue bag at the moment but the bracelet will do nicely for now.

And finally my little pile of goodies for the day - lemon Zara scarf, Liz Earle make-up, Reiss bangle, Gap navy lacy jumper and Gap green cargos. Not necessarily all to be worn at the same time but a couple of treats and a couple of basics. 

Thanks to those who let me know what they were up to yesterday. From seeing the olympic torch, to visting children and shopping - I hope that you all had a great time.

Friday, 18 May 2012

On the Run - Heels, grey skinnies and Jigsaw - all for a trip to the dentist

Our husband has promised the children that they can have some fish.  After our escapades with Bob, Dora and Merlin nearly two years ago (which you can read about here in my post entitled I blame Harvey Nichols), there was no way that I was going down that route again.

The children initially tried it on with me but I pointed them in the direction of my husband, telling them that he was a better bet as he was "as soft as sh-te" to which our son responded "Nice use of a metaphor Mum."  I'm pleased to hear that he's listening at school and can recognise metaphors in every day life.  (OK, in his Mum's bad language.)

As I have mentioned before, I have taken to wearing flats a lot of the time now which means that on the occasions that I don't have to walk far, I wear heels - which is why I wore them to go and see the dentist today.  Arguably it's slight overkill but being a friend of mine, and liking clothes and shoes, I knew that they wouldn't be lost on her and it can't be right that they should just sit in the wardrobe gathering dust.

So, today I wore grey skinny Cos jeans, Jigsaw shoe boots, Zara top, Oasis cardigan, Hobbs necklace and Mulberry handbag.  The Zara top is in store but I can't seem to find it on-line which is a shame because it's quite nice - silky front with fine knitted long sleeves in pale pink with a slightly longer back - great for bum coverage! If I find it some time soon I will provide a link.

I'm off to Leeds tomorrow for my bi-annual shopping trip with a friend of mine so I shall report back on what I find.  I can't wait to get wet in the Leeds rain!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

On the Run - A lacy skirt worn in a daytime outfit plus a little bit of Mango and a Grazia article

I haven't posted an outfit for a while - time hasn't really permitted it, which is ridiculous as clearly I am still getting dressed on a daily basis. I think that the starts have been earlier than usual and when I get home I am so desperate to get into my Cath K pj's that I just chuck everything off in a heap.

This photo was taken a few days ago, when the rain stopped briefly.  I am wearing a lace Mango skirt with a bright Boden lightweight jumper and Jigsaw shoe boots.  The lace skirt is stretchy so very comfortable and the knit kept me cosy. You can find similar skirts at Great Plains, Jigsaw and Boden - and Mango has a black one in stock at the moment but it is quite a bit shorter. 

Whilst on the subject of Mango, I was in there today with a lovely lady during a Shopping Day.  We concluded that the jeans would probably fit a lady who was 6ft tall, or thereabouts, so, for all of you tall ladies who find it difficult to find jeans to fit, Mango may just have the answer. The Martina style is great too, a very dark wash and very wide at the bottom, they make legs look as if they go on forever.

Like most of you no doubt, I have had a fantastically busy week this week so haven't had chance to blog much, or for that matter look at other blogs.  The article in Grazia magazine that 33 pieces = the perfect wardrobe has probably been discussed to death - but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

Apparently, according to April Glassborrow, head of womenswear buying at Harvey Nichols:  A woman needs a capsule wardrobe of everyday hereos which should be updated with key pieces each season.  It should also be updated with a key piece each season and be kept organised to save time when getting ready.

I don't think that many would dispute that - unless we were meant to buy them all from HN and then our Wardrobes may have 3, instead of 33 pieces in them.

So, what are the 33 pieces we should have in our Wardrobe? 

10 tops - 2 silk shirts, 1 breton top, 1 grey and 1 white T-shirt, 1 great white shirt, 1 silk vest, 1 trophy top, 1 cashmere knit and 1 lightweight knit

10 bottoms - 3 jeans, 3 skirts, 3 trousers and 1 every wardroe needs one pair of leather pants (I personally prefer the idea of leather trousers to leather pants but even then I am not convinced!)

2 bags - 1 great day bag, 1 clutch

3 jackets - 1 leather, 1 trans-seasonal and 1 jazzy (leopard, sequinned or printed offering work to bar glitz)

3 dresses - 1 cocktail, 1 structured power and 1 shirtdress

5 shoes - 1 ankle boot, 1 black stiletto, 1 nude stiletto, 1 fancy shoe, 1 daily flat

The most amazing fact about all of this is that apparently it is possible to get 3,090 outfits out of this little lot. Really?  Is anyone out there able to tell me in simple terms what mathematical formula is used to arrive at this number - not that I am disputing it - I am just not sure how the number is arrived at.

For what it's worth, I think that the above article is great. It's a fantastic starting point from which to work. Personally I wouldn't have the white or grey t's but would include other tops instead. Others might choose more jeans and less dresses, the possibilities are endless. 

I once read an article in Red magazine along the same lines where I am sure that the magic number of pieces was 38 - so not far off this one. I carefully cut it out and was determined to keep it safe somewhere - which I did, kind of. It's in one of about ten files stuffed full of articles from magazines and I can't, for the life of me, find it. So, in referring to it in on the here, whilst it's not exactly original material, it will make it easy for me to find for furture reference and hopefully for you too.

After a bit of an enforced leave of abscence from blogging, it's nice to be back! Hope to see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

On the Run - Trying out a little bit of Hush

I was really excited to be asked by hush clothing if I would like to select a few pieces from their range to try out. Largely because no-one has ever asked me before but also because a few of my friends have tried their pj's and really liked them.

Hush is run by a busy Mum - I don't really know why I used the word "busy" as I don't think that there is such a thing as a "non-busy" Mum - or a "non - busy" any kind of female at all really, for that matter.

The brand specialises in loungewear, nightwear and there is also a section on footwear, accessories and summerwear which includes dresses, tops and beach coverups - all of which have a very laid back, relaxed feel about them. Think of Victoria Beckham or the Herve Leger bandage dress -  now think of the exact opposite and that would be about right.

I have to say that my loungewear is dire - I am not sure that it even qualifies as loungewear - more like some indescribably awful old tracksuit bottoms that I resort to at the end of the day together with a pink fleece which has a hole in it where a spark from a fire landed on it. Someone once told me it looked like a cigarette burn. Classy!

I chose four items from the collection, two of which I am wearing today.  Firstly I chose the sloppy sweatshirt, at £30, which you can see here I liked the look of this because it was so different to what I would normally wear (other than my pink dishcloth jumper). Short and wide I liked the relaxed feel of it, together with the pale blue colour.  It has quite a low scooped neck and being fair of skin (OK, pasty) I put my Jigsaw breton top underneath it. 

I also chose the fold over trousers, at £45, which you can see here  These trousers are truly lovely. Putting them on felt like coming home and I have to say I wasn't expecting that. It was a bit like when I wore the Kristen Topshop jeans. Sadly I think that it's something about the high (and therefore supportive) waistband!

What I really like about them is that they are comfortable enough to wear around the house but smart enough to be seen out in. I can imagine wearing them on the boating holiday we are going on with some friends in the summer - I am talking barge here, not yacht - swapping the sweatshirt for a leather jacket and going to the pub for dinner, where the stretchy fabric will accommodate my scampi and chips. Yes, I am seeing the potential of these even more.

I also think that they would be great for new Mums who are just coming out of that pj stage (at about 6 weeks in my case) but who aren't quite yet ready for the stiffness of (some) jeans together with their waistbands, zips and buttons, especially if the Mums have have had a c-section.

Alternatively I suppose that they could be worn when doing some exercise - yoga or pilates may be - after all that's probably what they were desiged for.  On the other hand...

So, here is my outfit laid out - breton top, converse, hush bottoms and sweatshirt. Excellent - my holiday packing started already. Doubt that there will be room for much more anyway.

In the spirit of transparency I can tell you that these pieces haven't been gifted to me and I would happily pay for them, particularly the fold over trousers.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

On the Run - In some Topshop, Oasis, Cos and Jesire

This is what I wore yesterday when on my way to have my tooth out. I knew that I wanted to wear flats as I guessed that I would be walking across town afterwards (especially if I wanted to shop!) so the pink brogues were given an outing.

I also dug out this big bag which I haven't used in a while.  I thought that there might be lots of waiting around and so carried books/papers - all sorts of things really.  As it was I was in and out in a flash.

To start off with the shirt collar fought with the jacket collar a little and looked unitdy, so I did the shirt collar up and added this necklace - very patriotic! I have always loved the Union Jack - and hearts - and the coming together of the two in this necklace, which was also pink, well I knew that it needed to find its way into my Wardrobe. I bought it from Accessorise a while back now and it was £8. I think that this, plus the Union Jack tights from M&S, might be my jubilee outfit sorted - although others might disagree that tights and a necklace alone constitutes an outfit.

I'm off up bright and early to Bristol tomorrow for a work commitment so I wish you all a happy start to the week. Oh and thank you to all of you who have entered the Stella & Dot competition so far - I am loving your comments - what a witty bunch!

Outfit: Cos trousers, Topshop brogues, Gap shirt, Oasis leather jacket, Accessorise necklace, Jesire bag