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Monday, 20 October 2014

I can't put it off any longer

I fear we may even be in weeks of single figures till Christmas.   And whilst to most of us, that means a list of chores and jobs to do as long as your arm (god, even thinking about doing a Christmas food order is making me feel queasy, let alone the run up to and the aftermath of the cooking) - anyone started Christmas shopping?  (no I haven't so you can all stop hating me for either mentioning the C word.  I am disorganised with a capital D you'll be pleased to hear)

However let's just benchmark the onslaught of grief for a moment (I'm sure that most of you are far less lackadaisical than me and therefore it's not half as stressful - you would think I would learn, wouldn't you?!) and take one element of pain away.  The Dress. 

As much as I am a (new) fan of dresses in the Summer, the Christmas season is really when The Dress comes into its own. 

Even if you don't have a host of glamourous parties (that'll be me), I'm sure that everyone has a family get together, Christmas Drinks, Mum's night out, Work do and of course there is then Christmas Day itself. 

Which means that it's pretty easy to justify a treat for yourself in the form of a new dress.  Oh I know to some it's ridiculously shallow but a new outfit that you feel great in, to me is the ultimate pick you up.  And when the Christmas chips are getting you down, a pick me up is always an early gift from Santa. 

And is if by magic, I've also realised that this weekend, I have my Godson's Christening.  It'll be a wonderfully casual affair combined with his birthday party afterwards so I don't need a smart smart dress. 

Which could be said for lots of Christmas occasions actually.  There is that line in the sand between full on Christmas glitz and a dressy but not overly dressy number.  (that be said, there are definitely ones you could wear for both, just by changing up your accessories)  Fear not, I will be covering all bases but starting with some really wearable dresses.  Hold that sequin thought for the minute.

It also needn't cost the earth.  Dorothy Perkins seem to permanently have a discount code (a 25% thingy flashed up when I went onto their site) and we're starting at a good price anyway. 

Starting with a shirt dress - my discovery of the Summer. 

Black Yoke Shirt dress from DP £28   This would work teamed with flats, heels or ankle boots, depending on how dressy the occasion. 

A longer shirt dress now - this could be great again with some ankle boots or shoots.  Or even knee high boots.  Bring back the 70's. 

Paisley shirt dress from DP £38

Gorgeous print shift dress - I like the idea of this during the day with opaques and loafers, brogues, any sort of sneaker or ankle boots. Ideal for work and play.  

Teal blue shadow flora shift dress £32

Now this looks very Marni and therefore Cos to me - a classically simply dress - easy to dress up with jewellery or just let the classic shape do the talking.  Less can sometimes be more. 

Grey roll sleeve shift dress from DP £30

Another simple jersey number - again, with a necklace this would be great.   Or wear on its on for a nod to Scandi chic. 

Grey Drop Waist Dress £20

Another drop waist dress at Hush which I can absolutely vouch for, is the Quilted Dress 

Quilted Dress from Hush in Aubergine £49 - but don't forget your 10% off in October using OCTEVENT (plus 20% off nightwear at the moment with the code)

Or a classic black £49 pre discount 

From Hush and also in the aubergine is the stunning Sophia dress in cupro.  Feels exactly like a suede silk but apparently it can be handwashed.  

Sophia Dress £69

So I was having a think about where I'd previously found reasonably priced dresses and whilst I was earlier having a look for lights (yes, our house renovation is never ending...) and was on the BHS site - lightbulb moment (oh lord pardon the pun) - dresses. 

This one is perfect for a casually dressy affair.  Add heels for a smarter edge. 

Black Printed longline tunic dress from BHS £30

Black Zip Shoulder ponte dress from £35  (not sure I'd wear these shoes with it to be honest, I like to wear something slightly funkier - boak at the word I apologise - with dresses.  These would be my trouser shoes)

I've definitely had this one on the blog before - it's a Wallis one I've found at BHS but it's so fabulous and it's now in the sale for £25.  I LOVE this. 

Animal Print Shirt Dress now £25 was £38

Another shirt dress - this looks like it's a fake wrap dress - much more flattering than the tie yourself ones in my opinion (and this is true for everyone).  A classic shape brought up to date with a modern mix of colours. 

Black/Blue check shirt dress was £30 now £21

I found another fake wrap dress at Coast - a friend recently tried this on and it is beyond beyond flattering.  The colours may not be for everyone but I'm quite drawn to these. 

Coast Estra Print Dress £85

Now if you know me at all, you know I can't do red but I absolutely love it on other people.  This dress is very reminiscent of a Baukjen one at a fraction of the price.  They also have this in a black and a cobalt online. 

Red Flippy Ponte Dress £20 from BHS

The cobalt colour is also available in a drop hem sleeveless version.  Tell me you'd think this was from BHS?  I didn't think so - amazing isn't it. 

Cobalt Drop Hem Dress £30

If you're looking for something a bit more unusual and perhaps vintage is your thing, then this is the one for you.  I simply adore this - it's not me at all (for a start, still scarred by years of wearing bottle green as my school uniform - a colour you will never see me wearing) but I think it is just so chic and perfect for a myriad of dressier occasions.  

I also think this would be better on someone slightly shorter (the model is 5ft10) as I think the style works better as a proper midi - not knee length as it is here (it's called a Midi dress which to me is definitely below the knee).  I'd also like to see it with a slightly higher heel.  

Green High Neck Slink Dress £70 (the use of the word slinky, may I just mention, is theirs, definitely not mine)

This one however, I would call slinky.  I have been reliably informed that these dresses are super flattering.  They are amazing on those who have curves and give those who haven't that extra shape.  A beautifully neutral colour and style actually that could be dressed up and down as the occasion saw fit. 

Damsel in Dress Arundel dress in grey £129 This is slightly more but considering how versatile it is, I think it's worth paying that extra sometimes. 

If there is one colour though, that I am obsessed with this season, it's yellow. (ok so that's this week, obviously next week it will be something else) 

But call off the dogs - I wasn't "actually" looking for a dress (I was going to be really good and wear something that I already had).  And then I saw this. 

Panelled Shift Dress £46  It isn't perhaps the most Christmas of colours but this yellow against black, grey or navy to me is totally sublime.  I have a host of coats (literally about 10 she says with a teensy tiny hint of embarrassment.  To be honest, it may be more...) and shoes and boots that this would go with.  I also can, off the top of my head, think of 5 occasions where I could wear it. 

This one looks as it it could be Whistles to me but at Warehouse prices. 

Shadow Floral Slinky Dress £38

Speaking of Whistles, I wouldn't normally put them in the league of reasonably priced (ok they're not super super expensive, but it's rare you can get a dress for under £100)  But at the moment, there appears to be 30% off some Whistles at John Lewis. 

Which makes some of their dresses much much more affordable. 

This one would be super useful to dress up or dress down. 

Whistles Zip Detail Dress now £66

So does anyone else have anything coming up that they need a smart dress for?  I've got a couple of dinner parties which will definitely be dress worthy, the Christening on Saturday and I may have another girl's lunch in London before the end of November (you have all been warned....!) 

Finishing with my outfits from yesterday and today.  Unseasonably warm but I'm loving this inbetweeny weather.  Probably my favourite season actually - the inbetweeny season!


White loose tee - Hush
Grey Baxters - Topshop
Check coat - Kew
Yellow scarf - Hush
White leather tennis shoes - Zara
Grey cross body satchel - Whistles 

And today - feeling really rough - chores at home, none of which I really got done and then a glam trip to the supermarket, school run and the running around after the children with their after school activities.  I literally sat down at 8pm this evening, having not stopped doing stuff since 3pm.  Dinner in the oven, The Husband home at 9.30 and relax. (actually there's still washing to be taken out of the machine. GAH)


Mon Cheri sweat shirt - JCrew
Straight leg jeans - Earl
Navy dress coat - H&M
Leopard print skate shoes - Next
Whiskey Marcie Medium Satchel - Chloe 

Come on Tuesday - how bad can you be...?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hands up who's not outdoorsey?

It's taken me 41 years to accept that I'm not.  I'm really really not.  The sort of outdoors I like is sitting on a sunlounger by a pool or a beach (and even then I'm not a massive fan of sand) or with a glass in my hand sat down at a table.  Actually it may just have dawned on me that I'm not so much not a lover of the outdoors but inherently lazy. 

However I somehow appear to have spawned sporty boys (oh and for the record when it comes to sport or exercise... errr yes, definitely inherently lazy) and the reality is that my Sunday mornings for the next gazillion years are going to spent watching them play rugby. 

Now before someone asks, yes I have considered the point that this could be a fantastic bonding opportunity for all the boys of the family and I could spend quality time with my number one girl.  Believe me - this was the plan.  Who wouldn't this be the plan for?!  But I have two boys and you need one parent per child pitch side for training. 

However I shall look on this as an opportunity (and to be honest, I am rather enjoying seeing how much my 6 year old loves playing rugby and even the daughter has taken to chilling out with her kindle in the club house - I should point out it hasn't rained yet.....) to acquire new boots and a new coat. 

The issue is that these need to be practical and I suck at buying practical clothes.  There's a lot of style over substance going on in my wardrobe......

However I REFUSE to believe that it's necessary to look like you've been plucked from Base Camp at Everest.  Oh I know, you veterans of the rugby sidelines will be chortling at my naivety and predicting how long it takes me to cave and head screaming into North Face. 

Well. I have been heard to say that my children get their stubborn streak from The Husband but as I'm typing this, I'm getting ready to add Donkey along with Sloth to my middle names.  However I am very good at admitting I am wrong and admit it I will do if I cock up on this. 

But hopefully I won't.. (never let it be said I'm not a glass half full person).  I honestly think (and yes, I will concede I may be deluded here but I always managed fine on ski-ing holidays.  Admittedly I did have a North Face coat.  Eats words) that with the right layering underneath and the right boots, I can find something that won't have people yelling "where's your sherpa?" when I rock up. 

The timely reason for this blog is that it is yet another discount weekend.  20% off all coats at M&S and 30% off coats at Mango (although this appears to be now "selected" coats - cheeky monkeys - those marked with a circle or a star aren't included.)

Starting with M&S and I so so nearly bought this one last year.  I tried it on the other day instore and either my arms have grown, they're skimping on their sizing or it was just too short last year as well but I am GUTTED to say the proportions of this are wrong on someone with arms like an orangutang (ie me). However I may have to try it again...... I will try it again, it was too good not to try again.

Down Filled Hooded & Belted coat with Stormwear now £79.90 was £99  This is honestly an amazing coat (says she with no technical expertise whatsoever)  I'm a 10 to 12 on top and I tried on the Medium which was fine around the middle, if not a bit on the big side (but perfect for layering). I have quite a few friends who have the Burberry ones and I would defy you to be able to tell the difference.  Detachable hood. 

Also comes in a whole host of colours.

The one above is the mid length one which even on me was fine but I have to say I was and still am tempted by the super long one.  You can't get nearer to wearing a duvet cover pitchside than you could wearing this. 

Hooded & Padded Coat with Stormwear was £120 now £96  So this is waterproof as well. 

Other options which I didn't see instore (as, dear M&S, these were not in the extensive COAT section.  Obviously.  One is expected to go to the Coat Section and try on a selection of coats, but then meander round the huge shop and look at every section to hunt out all the other coats you've snaffled away a la Easter Bunny.  You're like a Coat Bunny)

Per Una Premium Down & Feather filled belted coat with stormwear now £119.20 was £149

Have to say I think it's all a bit Maxmara in the putty colour.  Rather lovely (I don't plan on rolling round in the mud, so this would pass as practical?)

I won't say again how much this isn't me this colour, but I love it on other people and this is definitely an ace way of making something very practical slightly more fashion forward (did I actually just type that last bit?!) 

Premium Down Filled Feather Quilted Coat with Stormwear was £129 now £103.20 in Berry

Premium Down & feather filled in 3 in 1 down coat £159.20 was £199 (can't quite work out why this is 3 in 1......

But moving onto Mango which somehow I don't expect to offer the same practicality as M&S.  Which is the most ridiculous assumption ever.  A bit like assuming that all Clarks shoes will be super comfy.  (they're not by the way) 

And whilst we're on that subject, my bestie has a Zara one she bought in Madrid years ago (the classic - oh I'm going to Spain so it must be hot.  Oh maybe not so much.  "necessary coat purchase made".  You can see why she's my mate, can't you?!) and that is definitely more substantial and warmer than one would think. 

So I have high hopes for these from Mango.  All prices are pre 30% off  - code is 5MNG

Feather down long coat £99.99

Hood and belt are detachable as you can see here in the black 

Love this one but think that the proportions would work better on someone who's on the shorter side. 

Quilted Hooded Coat £79.99 pre discount

Not many parkas here on this blog (ok no parkas) but a waxed/coated one with a great furry warm lining, could definitely be on the cards. 

Faux Shearling lined Park from Mango £119.99 pre 30% discount

And to be honest, that's probably all there is on the Mango site that even I admit would serve the warmth purpose.  Oh what to do.... Well I still have some other ideas up my sleeve - am thinking that our Scandi neighbours manage to survive on a daily basis in the cold whilst not looking like they've raided Millets, so this is where I shall be heading next. 

They do have some fantastic other coats though, including the wrap around one I featured earlier in the season (ie a matter of weeks ago, duh) and other gorgeous classic numbers.  I do have another coat suggestion up my sleeve (ha ha) which I'll explore shortly.

However I may just snaffle the M&S one, the full length duvet number, as it will also be an amazing dog walking job (not on the cards yet but just in case....) I'd hate for them to sell out again like they did last year (even though last year it was £99 and it's now £120 full price.... hmmmmm) 

Don't even get me started on boots.  I shall be starting my research on this tomorrow.  Warm wellies are probably the way forward, seeing as apparently we spend most of the Winter knee deep in mud.  Note to self - it might be a hell of lot easier and cheaper to persuade the smallest son that tennis is his game......

So finishing with outfits from yesterday and today. 

Yesterday - expertly taken by the 10 year old.  Charging around yesterday buying tile adhesive and underfloor webbing (I kid you not) but managed a sneaky trip into TK Maxx for a teensy splurge (only one thing) which I'll bring you tomorrow.  The round robin of swimming and tennis for the kids after school and then chilling with The Husband and wine in the evening.


Breton top - H&M
Saxby jeans - ASOS
Navy waffle blazer - Next
Indira necklace - Stella & Dot
Taupe Jalouse boots - Ash
Whiskey Medium Marcie bag - Chloe 

And today it was the turn of The Husband to take the photo.  Trying to tell me something?  Very relaxed day with the boys and The Husband, the daughter was at dance rehearsals all day so went along to basketball training and then a late lunch at Wagamamas. 


White shirt - Autograph Men's (creased within an inch of its life after wearing it for just two hours.  I HATE white shirts) 
Bat sweatshirt with leather shoulders - Zoe Karssen
Grey Baxter jeans - Topshop
Black ponyskin skate shoes - Next 
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

Tomorrow Rugby is at the Astro turf so I can wear trainers.  This has made my Saturday night.  WOOO HOOOOO.  No damp grass shoe dilemma.  It has come to this....... Where did it all go wrong.....?!  In both Friday and Saturday nights this week which is very unusual for us and I'm loving it.  Not a hint of a hangover - quality time spent last night as The Husband got home early and we had family Uno night with wine and crisps (fear not, the kids had juice).  Tonight, Thai meal all ready to rock, another round of Uno en famille (the more I drink, the funnier it is apparently....) and tomorrow morning I shall feel like a spring chicken. Maybe this is the way forward....! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  As I'm at "such" a loose end, I'm going to do a sneaky Mango order later - knitwear here I come. xx

Thursday, 16 October 2014

And the shopping gods are smiling down on us again

Alternatively, is it those little shopping devils throwing temptation in our paths with their evil discount codes?

Mango, do you read my posts? (that is obviously rhetorical by the way)  As not 24 hours after I do a post on knitwear from Mango, ending with the comments that I need to look at coats, what do I get flung at me?  Only a(nother) 30% off discount code, off Outwear & Knitwear.  Divine intervention or evil sorcery at its best?

So whilst we have my blog from yesterday, when I was trying to find the jumpers online, there were a number of others that I hadn't seen instore (as I mentioned, my local Mango is pants and the one on Cheapside is also diddy and sparse) which I thought, oooooooh.

This is by no means the end of the jumpers posts (oh no way, I am on a roll), these are just a couple of gems that I think are definitely worth looking at, at Mango. 

Yet more knitwear today - use the code 5MNG (this does last till the 22nd Oct so unlike usual, it's not just a weekend wonder).  Tomorrow or over the weekend, I'll tackle the thorny subject of coats (SOB)

For the record, I always go big on jumpers at Mango, size wise.  Their sizing (like most) is absurdly random - dresses that are 8 inches too long on me at 5ft 10 yet jeans that I need to lie down to do up in my normal size.  I always find that with more cost effective knitwear, sizing up is a good idea.  I would take a large in all of these, with the exception of the first roll necks and the fine neck sweater, where I'm going to try a medium.

Oh and all of these prices are PRE 30% off.  This is the full price.  Do the maths and cheer. 

Roll necks.  These are going to be one of my staples.  I have oodles more research to do but since I'm doing an order, I am definitely (with 30% off) flinging a couple of these in. 

Wool Blend Sweater £24.99

And I want this whole outfit - I refuse to be defeated by my lack of pleather thingymajigs but again, that is for another day. 

Roll neck in black 

This look like an ideal alternative to a summer tee as a classic winter basic.   I have one from Cos that is very similar but it's slightly finer and after two years has succumbed to the washer with those tiny little holes here and there.  Oh and it was nearly £50.  This has got to be worth a go for the price.  Ideal on it's own or as a layering item - the same price as a good tee. 

Fine-knit sweater £24.99

Better pic in the gunmetal grey 

Now my heart still belongs to the black and white Plumo cardigan but this is a much better price to be honest. 

Check Mohair blend Cardigan £44.99

If you thought you saw a bargain yesterday with the £9.99 jumpers then imagine them with 30% off!  Less than a bottle of wine.  These ones in a V neck also look like a must. 

V-Neck Sweater in Navy £9.99  loads and loads of other colours online.

I am still definitely in love with all things sweatshirt related and this has the perfect feminine touch to it.  I've seen this in the flesh actually and it's great quality for the money.  JCrew eat your heart out. 

Embellishment text sweater £29.99

Or the black.....

I already have one chunky cardigan which is ideal for this inbetweeny weather, I'll also be wearing it on dry days layered up with a big scarf and they're perfect for snuggling up in front of the tv on a cold night. 

This one is a gem. 

Flecked Mohair-blend sweater £44.99

Ok so there is a grey theme thingy happening here.  It's just one of my favourite winter colours - another ideal neutral.  Back to the oversized chunky knit.  Lush.

Cowl neck Sweater £34.99

I may have jumper overdose but I quite like the look of this..... It's a grown up Christmas jumper no?  If you have a selection of black or grey jackets, cardigans or coats, this would be the perfect foil.

Jacquard wool-blend sweater £44.99

Haven't done much navy but this reminds me of both a Whistles one and a Sandro one - all of which I was salivating over last season.  At a fraction of the price, even before the 30% discount. 

Textured Sweater in navy £34.99 (I would definitely size up on this - skimpy malinky sizing by all accounts)

Staying with neutrals and I did look at my beloved camel yesterday but this is a must - a wool sweatshirt, intriguing... I have a fab black shirt that would look ace under this.  Think it would also work superbly well with leopard print.  Or navy.  Or grey. Or other camel.  Must. Have.

Wool-blend knit sweatshirt £34.99

I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE GOT THOSE CULOTTES - I need to look like this. (I even want to know what t-shirt it is - I'm ordering that too.  The fact she's 10 and doesn't have weetabix stuck to her shoe or a child's snot on her sleeve is a minor detail I'm selecting to ignore after two glasses of wine) 

A hoodie.  I had my eye last season on both a Baukjen one and another from Me+Em at lots of spondoolies, but at this price, I am definitely definitely definitely trying.  I love the idea (as I said before) of a hoodie in a luxury (ok so this is cheap luxury) fabric with a dressier coat.  This will either work or I will look homeless.

Hood wool-blend sweater £34.99

And as per usual I could go on and on and on.  Online there is honestly so much choice, I would defy you not to come up with something that's right for you.  Cropped, longline, loose, fitted, cashmere, cotton, viscose and acrylic and in every colour you can think of.  

I personally haven't found delivery the quickest during their offer periods but some people have had more luck.  Returns are easy - back to store but beware, if you order something from a range your store doesn't stock, you will have to return via post.   On the upside, if your memory is at a similar stage of wrecked by the children/alcohol as mine, then it is the most welcome surprise to get a random parcel of you have no idea what, delivered. 

I have my shopping list made.  Anyone else?  Coats next, which I am more wary of as last offer I ordered THE most random coat which I didn't even try on.  Oh and a scarf that clearly had been sent from the lost property office of Studio 57.  Grey lurex anyone?  Both going straight back. 

Finishing today with outfit from yesterday. 


White linen tee - Max Studio
Black tux fitted blazer - Toshop
Grey cashmere scarf - Hush
Grey tie dye skinnies - Sandro
Black boots - Toga Pulla 
Black Faridah hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

How on earth is tomorrow Friday already?