NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 STYLE FINALIST BiB 2014 STYLE

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Friday, 24 April 2015

And back in my comfort zone but with a twist....

.. so not black as per usual, or even tan. 

But white.  Oh yes, a white bag.  I have not had a white handbag in forever.  Clearly I am vaguely scarred by people taking the Michael and threatening to chuck it on the floor and dance round it.  However seeing as I actually cannot remember the last time I set foot in a nightclub and can confidently say I have no plans in the foreseeable future/ever to don my dancing shoes, I'm seriously thinking about a white bag. 

Combined with my newly found black obsession, I think this could be the perfect Summer foil.  I'm not going to say I'll be able to do an entire blog without flinging in a black gem that I come across but the plan is that it will be all white on the night. 

Karen Millen Zipped shoulder bag £170



Similar shape but not leather (and I'm sure I've featured this before in my Kin post).  This is definitely still one of my favourites. 

Kin by John Lewis Magnus cross body bag in white £39




More pure white at Calvin Klein with the added bonus of a little silver pouch as well. 

Calvin Klein Stef Small Hobo Bag £90




Of course it might be that an off white is better.... (thinking about my wishlist of the ivory tux jacket....) and this one from Chloe is amazing. 

See by Chloe Small Drawstring Bucket bag in White (what they call it but it's definitely an ivory, no?) £330


Off white and a cheaper option (but not in leather) at Paul's Boutique - the new Hattie shape (which I featured a number of times yesterday in the different colour ways.  I love love love this shape.  So sleek and chic) 

The Hattie Duffle cross body bag in off white




Sascha Satchel £25 at Oasis 




More neutral but this time with fringing and not tassels at Next. 

Fringe Across Body Bag £30




Hopefully lots of you won't be needing to cart round the world and his dog anymore and so a more diddy bag may be an option. (although is it only me who permanently has a McDonald's toy, box of raisins and a Match Attax card in their handbag?) 


Radley Victoria Park £159 in ivory - to give you an idea, height is 17cm width is 19cm.




The other option for an off white, is a grey white.... this looks amazing with blacks and greys. 

Slouchy Leather Shoulder bag from Topshop £65



Bargain of the day though, has to be this Ice Grey bag from Mango. 

Hobo Bag £19.99 


And this pic below sums up how fabulous I think a pale, neutral shade bag can look against monochrome.  





Of course, if you can't still leave your black bags alone, then this one is the perfect mix of black and white.  I absolutely absolutely love this bag.  And I don't think you'd ever guess it was from River Island (granted I haven't seen it in the flesh so I may eat my words but I have recently been impressed with their bags) 

River Island Mono Split Slouch £32








And therein lies the clue in what I bought at Bicester.... 

So, did I follow my own advice and buy a coloured bag?  Or a white bag?

I'm such a loser.  Guess what I got?  (actually quite embarrassed to admit this...) Two black bags. 


It's pathetic.  It truly is.  So here's where I go into defence mode. 

The two bags I bought were BARGAINS.  I couldn't remotely leave them there.  And whilst I could have bought the Anya Hindmarch one in a navy - it was the black that I loved.  I can wear tan and camel with my navy outfits - it's black bags that I use the most often so "actually", buying another black one is the sensible thing to do. 

Now, having said that, had they had this bag in white for the bargain price that I paid for it - then I would have got that. 

AND it does have the off white detailing on the strap so my shopping trip wasn't completely devoid of the brief......  

Here it is - the Harker hands free bag.  Which was normally £650 but I only paid around £180 for it.  Such a bargain that 3 out of the 4 of us bought one. (one navy, two black)

And then a clutch bag - which, to be honest, I do need.  Especially as it had a matching bracelet..... £120 for both.  Leather and simply divine.  From Coccinelle where, to be honest, the selection was the best.  Absolutely amazing with some fantastic discounts.  



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I am in fact going back to Bicester tomorrow as I'm off to Hereford puppy selecting with the 10yr old and we literally drive past the turn off on the M40.  It would be rude not to stop for a quick bite to eat and a smidge of a look..... again......

Finishing with outfit from today.  Started with a 15k walk in memory of a local little boy who passed away suddenly not long ago.  Very moving and hopefully we raised a good deal of money.  

Usual round robin later of school pick ups and swimming lessons but tonight am off out for a comedy night at school which should be good. 


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Chambray painters smock - Joseph
Patch jeans - Mango
Strap wedge sandals - Clarks
Harker hands free bag - Anya Hindmarch

And tomorrow - up and at 'em with our 6am start...... funnily enough, I'm on the water tonight!


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Colour colour colour

Ok so seeing as I've been rather lacking in anything bright recently, I have been persuaded to do a blog on adding some colour into your wardrobe. 

And fair enough as finally it looks like Spring is set to stay and could Summer be round the corner?

Now we could do coloured clothes but honestly I think the easiest way to add interest to your outfit, that you'll get most use out of and will be the most versatile addition is a bag. 

What colour.....?  Well the world is your oyster.  My advice would be first of all to work out what your main colour palette is from the clothes part of your closet and then take it from there. 

So, if like me, you're mostly neutrals - black, off white, navy, khaki and grey - then you can pretty much go with whatever floats your boat.  My personal choice would perhaps be orange or yellow.... Other options could be green or red but for me, I think I'd err towards the citrus shades.  

It's also not a bag I think I'd spend lots on.  Having said that, I have a fuchsia Mulberry Roxanne that I have had so much use out over the past six and a bit years (yes it's that old..... I bought it for my six year old's Christening as I also had a 23 month old as well as a 3yr old plus the baby and had so much gubbins to cart around with me.  And before anyone asks, yes I was rocking in a corner for years.)

Therefore, backtracking here, if you do find one that you love and it's a colour that you know you would wear, year in, year out. then you could justify spending that little bit more. 

I'm starting with yellow as it's top of my list of super summery colours but I think I'd also use in the A/W as well - thinking about how versatile throughout the seasons, my marigold scarf has been. 

Orla Kiely Sweet Pea leather shoulder bag in lemon £180   Love the simplicity of this.


Another small across the body bag from Next, again in yellow £24  If I'm being picky, I prefer the brighter shade of the one above....




Am loving a tassel at the moment.  As opposed to fringing, I definitely think I'm a tassel girl. (that sounds wrong on so many levels, doesn't it?)

Yellow tassel front slouchy bag from River Island £32




Yellow Leather Snake Print Slouch bag £37 also from River Island.  A paler yellow, this could double as a beach bag..... (if you were the cleanest person on the planet that is....)




Out of all the yellow options, I have to say this would be the most me.  I would perhaps say this is more of an orangey yellow if such a thing exists... Ochre.  That's what I'm looking for.

Bright yellow flap suede bag £39.99



First duffle bag now and I love the shape of the Hattie from Paul's Boutique (which they do in amazing array of colours... scroll down for more) 

But the yellow would get my vote £60




Ok so I'm cheating now as apparently this is tan... but it's definitely an orangey tan 

Leather Vintage-look satchel from Topshop £65


Proper full on orange at Next and we're back with a tassel. 

Hobo Bag in orange £34  This is so so similar to my best friend's Anya Hindmarch bag, I can't tell you.



Aren't that many green ones out there and to be honest, I'm not loving them... 

But this one is quite cute if you're looking for this shade. 

Green Saddle Across body bag - £25 from Next.



Another smaller bag in leather this time, again from Next.  The leather here looks gorgeous.  This would work for both day trips and nights out - the perfect holiday bag. 

Pink Mini Leather Chain Handle Across the body bag £20



Variation on a theme here so not pink but red.  Think this is very chic indeed. 

Calvin Klein Leather Sofie handheld bag £240




A richer red at Mango. 

Saffiano-effect cross body bag in bright red £24.99



The Hattie across body bag from Paul's Boutique in Coral Snake £60 I love the clean lines of this bag so so much.




Slightly left field here but it is a colour.. just not a very bright one.  And it's not the most practical bag in the world although I have to say, I often carry my black quilted leather Zara one as a clutch and it works really well. 

Pale blue leather clutch from ASOS £28



A much brighter and on brief blue now - that Hattie bag again.

Paul's Boutique Hattie Across Body Bag £60





Another bucket bag at Mango in a slightly different shade of blue £39.99




More blue at Mango - this time cross body knot bag £34.99



Brighter blue again at Mango but this time in suede £59.99



Suede again but teal this time.  

Paul's Boutique Alexa in teal £130




And I could go on and on but I have news..... (and there are some great ones there to choose from, any get your vote?)  So today I've been to Bicester.   And no, I didn't buy one bag.  

I bought two.

I will report back tomorrow but I am absolutely the moon with my purchases.  Had just the loveliest day, it wasn't that busy, weather was amazing, there were some fantastic things to buy, was with some of my best friends and it was just one of those days you wish you could bottle.  The Husband is on his way home to cook me dinner (he did very well in Ralph Lauren today.....), catching up on Masterchef with the children and enjoying a little glass of red wine. 

Finishing with outfit from last night - lovely evening for dinner and drinks.  Embracing some colour here... finally!


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Silk jersey dress - DVF
Washed black suede jacket - All Saints
De Manta clutch - Alexander McQueen
Suede cut out ankle boots - Boden

And today - yup back to all black but there is a white tee underneath the dungarees. (which I appreciate is hardly colour but it's not all black?!)

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White tee - Eileen Fisher
Black Dungarees - H&M
Black military jacket - Zara
Ponyskin mules - All Black at Anthropologie 
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang

Anyone hazard to take a guess what coloured/sort/brand of bags I bought?  You might be surprised........


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

How have I lived without.....

..... an off white Tuxedo jacket?  Seriously, this would be the most useful thing on the planet - yet how have I just realised this?  

I am dangerously close to my Hush Tuxedo jacket becoming surgically attached to me and whilst I do love black, I know as soon as the temperatures start nudging late teens on a regular basis, I'm going to want a lighter coloured jacket.  So I do have one cream boucle style jacket that I do wear a lot but to be honest, it's more of a cardigan than a jacket.  It works really well, I got it from Massimo Dutti about four years ago and it does indeed get dragged out ever Spring and Summer. 

But I have become so attached to the fluid drape and relaxed glamour of the Hush one in black, I need a cream one.  NEED I tell you. 

I don't want a linen jacket, I don't want snow white. I don't want it too thin, I don't want it too thick, I don't want it too fitted as I don't want to look like John Travolta but I don't want to look like Don Johnson with it being to loose.....

So not being really that fussy then....  I think it would work so well over my dungarees, over Summer dresses, with shorts and little tees, over jeans, cargo pants and chinos.  Can you see how I suddenly can't live without one?!

However it appears I am the only one as I really haven't been able to find that many.  Ok so there are a few around and here are the best ones I've found. 

Next Soft Ivory Longline Jacket £50  It does say that this one is unlined and my ever so slight reticence would be that it's a tad see through?  Which could look, dare I say it, an eensy bit cheap?  Having said that, it looks fabulous in this pic.  I can feel all cream outfits a plenty in my future.



New Look soft lapel blazer £24.99  Again, same issue with see through-itis as above?



I wonder though if it's maybe worth spending a little bit more - I'm not going to lie, I have a slight wariness about cream polyester being able to look a bit naff.  I don't think it's polyster per se - as I've discussed before, these days there is poly and there is poly.  My Whistles dresses and tops (the one I've got on today) are polyester but the fabric has more of a crepe textured feel to it, as opposed to "don't stand too near a naked flame" vibe. 

ASOS Slim Jacket in Crepe £42  I'm hoping this one would be a bit more substantial but still not proper work blazer thickness, if that makes sense?




Goldie Blade Oversized Blazer £62  This looks just the ticket.



However top of my list would probably be this Topshop one.  But then again, is it a tad too White (suddenly I can hear Night Fever going off in my head....)  Maybe the Goldie one above is better. 

Long Tuxe Blazer £65



Upping the ante with two more expensive ones now but these could really pay for themselves if you need to wear them for a smart occasion, for work and could then double up to wear them over jeans on dress down basis. 

American Vintage Holiester Crepe Blazer in beige £125


And blowing the budget at By Malene Birger. Pasania Tailored Blazer £279




Slightly off brief now - this might appeal to some, I've seen it in real life and my symmetric klaxon goes off at a gazillion decibels but if that doesn't bother you, this is gorgeous.

Waterfall Structured Jacket in off white from Mango £34.99 - yes, the two collars are different.



So there are lots to choose from and hopefully next week I'll be able to do a trying on session.  Or maybe I might see one tomorrow as I'm off to Bicester.  Whoop whoop!  So what's on my shopping list?

Nothing. 

Famous last words, which means I will come back laden down with bags and having to eat beans for the rest of the month.  To be honest, I'm not sure I entirely want to spend Bicester money on an off white jacket.... one glass of red wine too many and the chances of me wearing a large proportion of it are high.  Can I please point out, mind you, that I very rarely spill a drink (those who know me will guffaw at that - SPILL A DRINK?  It's never around long enough for me to spill it...) but the law of sod clearly states that as soon as I am wearing something expensive and white, I will lose control of all my faculties. 

Had a fab day today - went back to the hairdressers as I'm still not totally happy with my hair and we've agreed a plan of action.  They were super super understanding and I'm going back next week to have some low lights put through my Go Faster Mail Order Bride Stripe at the front.  Had a lovely treatment and a blow dry today though which is brill as I'm off out tonight for a really good friend's birthday. 

And seeing as the sun is shining, it meant hot footing it to pick up some emergency fake tan and... brace yourselves.... I think the legs might be out tonight.  STEADY ON!  (clearly have to wear boots as I think an industrial sander would have a job on sorting out the current state of my trotters - a state which is not going to be improved with fake tan.... tan over all those dry bits.  To say it would look like I had some hideous skin disease would be an understatement.  Ankle boots it is.)

New blow dry and an ancient outfit - well the jacket owes me nothing - must be three years old this year.


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Cream sculptured top - Whistles
Patchwork skinnies - Mango
Boucle blazer in khaki, navy and cream - Zara
Taupe Jalouse Boots - Ash
Camel bag - Prada

So any bets on what I come back with tomorrow?  Am repeating to myself... "you do not need a bag.... you do not need a bag....."

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

It's time for the short sleeves.

I think finally, we can legitimately crack out the short sleeves.  Let's not look forward to the weekend (rain) but certainly at the moment, the sun is out.  It's warm.  So what on earth do you wear?  

Short sleeves.  That's the answer.  So that we can still wear a little jacket over the top. 

Today, I actually have my new short sleeved jumper on and so I won't need a jacket but that's primarily as I looked at my wardrobe this morning and thought - I am lacking in short sleeved tops.  Not tees, but something a little more put together.... The irony is that I have a fair few that are print.  But at the moment  (oh please please tell me I'm not the only one gets like this.....??) I look at them and just thing - no.   Plain, please.  Monochrome, simplicity is what I need.  Why?  Who on earth knows and you can guarantee I won't feel the same next week.  But then I'll be winning as I've got more than a couple of them which will work wonders!

So what am I looking for?  What do I think are the perfect tops for this weather?  Looking for ones that can go over jeans, trousers (chinos obvs), shorts and, a not mentioned yet this season, culottes.  Not forgetting under my beloved dungarees, which are the most comfortable item of clothing I have discovered in years.  

And, me being me, in an ideal world they would work on more than one occasion.  One of the great things about plainer clothes is that they're not as distinctive and therefore offer a versatility that is often lacking in a more detailed print top. 

Having clothes like this in your wardrobe, is so useful.  As I found a couple of weeks ago when I was packing to go to Ireland.  Clothes that you can mix and match and make up a whole host of outfits from, are really what we need as the building blocks of our wardrobe. 

These sorts of tops, teamed with skinnies or leather skirts can work wonderfully for evenings out.  Under a blazer they are ideal for work.  For me though, we're mostly talking about for every day with jeans, chinos and dungarees.  And hopefully soon... shorts!  It's all about tops that offer versatility.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I'm not going all out on colour today.  I am all about the neutral, a simple palette of shades that go together well and go with the basics in our wardrobes. 

Having said that, starting with an inkling of colour - a baby blue.  This is a great Spring colour that goes beautifully with grey, navy, cream and even black.  A pretty useful top that works both tucked in or left out. 

A disclaimer to start with... you will notice that it's sleeveless and not short sleeves.  And I can imagine that there are loads of you out there (me included at the moment) who are less than happy about baring the tops of your arms to the elements.  

This is the sort of top that I think works perfectly for the less toned amongst us, under blazers and jackets.  And as it's not tropical weather yet (or you may work in an air conditioned office....), a lightweight top to go under a thinner jacket is just the ticket now. 

ASOS Sleeveless Deep V Neck Blouse £22



They also do a white version £22




Seeing as I'm all about plain and simple - this top with absolutely no extra detailing on it would get my vote.  I love the looseness of it around the bottom (a muffin disguiser if ever I saw one)

ASOS V front back and front vest £14



Slightly more shaped at Hush with the Astrid Top £35 in antique white



Another sleeveless option at Atterley Road which would work for all occasions.

Y.A.S White Loua Plain Woven Tee £30



Moving onto a little bit of sleeve cappage here.... I would feel much more comfortable with that smidge of extra coverage.

Atterley Road Grey Panelled Woven Top £28




And a cream version although for me, the grey one win hands down. 



A Grecian inspired number from Atterley Road again, which I wasn't sure about to begin with but actually, I think is probably super flattering. 

Y.A.S cream Sonar Wrap Top £35 I think with smart cigarette pants, this could work very well as an evening outfit.  And fling on with khakis or jeans for during the day.



And finally - proper short sleeves.

ASOS Mono Colour block V neck Kimono blouse £25  They also do this in a Tall version.  I love the idea of this under black dungarees.



This is simply perfect.  It would be that magic top to turn a casual outfit into something with just that extra oomph of sophistication. 

Selected Femme Sasali Off White Shirt £50



Another smarter version of a tee.

Dark Grey Pleat V Neck Blouse from Atterley Road £38



There's also a cream similar version at Next. 

V-Neck Woven tee from Next £24



Moving onto round neck now and there are some gorgeous ones at Hush.  Very reminiscent of the shell tops I have had for the last couple of years from Whistles but with more drape in them which, I have to say, I would prefer.

Sophie top from Hush £45 in antique white 



And in black 


Speaking of Whistles, I love the extra trim on this one.  Slightly skipping away from the brief but it would still be versatile enough to wear with a whole host of bottoms and would work for nearly every occasion. 

Linen t-shirt with a lace trim from Whistles £65



Whilst we're talking skirting the brief, I'm going to fling this one in as I love the simplicity of it, the shade of the chambray which screams "Double Denim Is a Must" to me and the extra little detailing with the fray edge. 

Waven Crisp Blue Drop Back Blue Chambray Raw Edge top £44



Another option with short sleeves which I love and would work both day and night and with jeans or for work, are the silk tees from Hush - a scoop neck which is often hard to come by these days.

Silk Tee from Hush £65 in black 



And in antique white. These would work so well under dungarees too...



And of course, couldn't include tops and not have a stripe.... this is a bit dressier than your usual breton.  The front of this is like a light scuba fabric - really unusual.

Jessica Striped top from Hush £40



Moving onto different textures now.  This is a fabulous lightweight, but still chunky, knit.  Has a lovely fluid feel to it - would be ideal also to layer in the cooler days and months over a denim, white or navy shirt. 

Box Stitch Top from Hush £60



Another knit from Next - this is definitely more detailed than the rest I've found.  

Fringe V-neck Sweater from Next £32



Also in an ochre - although I have to say for me, I like the cream. 


Options a plenty there.  And one reason I love the idea of these tops that you can wear under thin jackets, is that I don't have to think about the fake tan just yet.   Although out for dinner tomorrow night and think I might wear a dress which means might have to think about the fake tan after all..... and on the legs too..... EEK.  

Finishing with my outfit from today.  Still sticking with the neutrals and just adding a bit of interest with my new shoes which I am obviously obsessed with. 



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Off white jumper - Kin by John Lewis 

Off white boyfriend jeans - All Saints
Ponyskin mules - All Black at Anthropologie 
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang 

Back tomorrow and I have more off white on the go.