Friday, 31 August 2012

Seasonal confusion?

Or exhaustion maybe?    Or perhaps apathy...

Whatever it is, it's not very conducive to fashion blogging.

I thought I'd write a quick blog post to show that I am in fact still here!  

Not feeling very fashionable or stylish at the moment, I'm going through one of my (delete as applicable) phases:
- house feels more important than clothes
- tis neither one season or the other
- there is tat everywhere (including sadly my wardrobe, the sales purchases 'gone bad') and I can't get inspired.

I hopefully will be back 'up to speed' soon and organise myself and my clothes and get going with my entires properly again. For the moment though, I feel a washed out style free zone, and would not want to inflict that on anyone!

I think I need to get into autumn styling - that will give me a boost - but it's still August and really I shouldn't wish the time away!

Does anyone else go through phases like this where they go into mini hibernation mode I wonder...?!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A wee dress from Wick

I'm back in 'civilisation' and I'm not sure I like it :-/

After a blissful week of being on the north coast of Scotland about 50 miles from anything or anyone, and where a Spar and a Post Office felt like a metropolis,  it's a tad depressing to come home to car alarms and foul mouthed youths... You see, this is why it's ironic that one such as me should attempt a fashion blog. Really I could survive very happily far from anywhere in a tattered shirt and jeans - maybe one day I'll make it a reality, but in the meantime there is a living to be had and schooling to be done...and I grant you shops to be shopped. There have to be some compensations to living in a man made jungle. (And I don't even live in a particularly busy town. I could never be a city girl, that's for sure.)

Anyhow, apart from enjoying the majestic isolation and the beauty of the mountains and the sea, I did manage one small concession to my homebound hobby.  A journey through Wick revealed a surprisingly large Tesco, with a clothing department. The purpose of the visit to said Tesco was NOT to buy clothes, but somehow... as you do....I bought a cute coral pink bird print dress.
Tesco Florence and Fred Bird Print 'flutter hem' dress - £16

Completely unwearable for the holiday but sweet and I think I'll wear it into autumn layered over a T- shirt and with my cropped Brora cashmere cardigan. And in case anyone's wondering, Brora (the place) bears no relation to Brora the cashmere company - there is no trace of a factory shop or the like!

However, I like the idea of wearing the namesake cardigan with it's north-coast neighbour dress from Wick... it will cheer me up until my next visit to the far north!

And no doubt it's also available in Wigan, Warrington and Wolverhampton Tesco...  but to me it will always be my wee bird print dress from Wick :-)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A/W Essentials Part 1: Opaque Tights

I can't quite believe I am blogging about opaque tights in August, but there is a small part of me which actually looks forward to Autumn (winter, not so much: cool I can do, icy I hate!) I'm a country girl at heart, and I love the cool, crisp days, the ploughed fields, the (few but beautiful) blue skies, the last of the amber leaves clinging stubbornly to the old oaks, the sense of nature changing pace and the smell of woodsmoke lingering in the air on a misty afternoon / evening.

So it's always with relish that I start once more to think about cocooning myself to make the most of my favourite season.  Today my thoughts have turned to opaque tights, a key buy for me.  Oddly perhaps, in autumn I tend to wear skirts more, maybe because of the security and warmth of the opaque beauties, I can get my legs out more without feeling too mutton like. Opaque tights can, of course, also prolong the wear you can get from lighter weight 'summer' dresses and the like - layer up with thick tights and a warm knit and - 'ta-da' - many a garment is transformed into a transitional outfit :-)  This is where you can also have lots of fun with different coloured opaques - there is a fantastic range of colours available if black or grey are not your bag.

For me, tights are a 'splurge' rather than a 'save' item.  One good quality pair last me all season and beyond. Last year my best buy were the Cotton Touch tights by Falke - soft, matt, velvety and hard wearing - what more could a leg can ask for? I  also invested in a Falke hosiery wash bag to protect from snags in the wash.

Another favourite of mine are the 'Wolford Velvet de luxe 66' tights - I like anthracite (dark grey), a more subtle and versatile look than pure black.

I usually buy my tights from as they offer free UK delivery and fast service - but prices are in fact slightly lower on the John Lewis website - though John Lewis do charge for delivery unless you are spending over £50.  The 'mytights' website  also has a good selection of colours and thicknesses.

A worthy drawer-fellow this year might be the M&S Autograph tights with cashmere - which seem to have good reviews and are (compared to Wolford etc) a bargainous  £9.50.

I am also excited to see that Boden are selling tights this year - a two pack for £29 - charcoal spot and fig rib anyone...? (sounds like a variety of pig and/or flavour of crisp!)   Being the tights freak that I am  I will probably end up investigating at least one of these colour-ways, and will no doubt report back in due course...

Now, I wonder if someone will come along who can swear that Primark tights are the best out there...?

Who knows... last week I would have said that shoes were one of my 'splurge' not 'save' items - but here I am loving my £4 Primark pumps, so I am very open to trying other tights brands this year!

Monday, 6 August 2012

A beautiful pea green....trouser?

After much hmm-ing and haa-ing - the leopard print skinny jeans from Primark are no more. Smaller size or not - I decided they just were not me. The intention was to return said skinnies plus one or two other items bought in Primark a hazy first flush of 'oh it's all so cheap' love... and then return home, maybe a a leisurely browse and skinny latte or two later. (Mindful of self imposed spending ban as of last week.)

However, with cash put back into the kitty, I wandered back past Zara (unfortunately it's impossible not to, as it's on the route back to the car park...) It would have been unreasonable not just to have a look. Of course, sales and 'just looking' rarely go hand in hand, and I came away with a new pair of green skinny jeans and a pair of 'distressed' slim fit jeans.

Dorothy Perkins is also on the way back to the car park. As are (or could be) most shops actually...!  Needless to say, the Dotty P London Flag Print scarf is now mine as well.

Oh well - it was 'cost neutral' as I'd returned the Primark stuff - so I didn't really breach my spending ban did I?!

New Zara green skinny jeans

New Zara distressed jeans plus Dorothy Perkins 'London' scarf

Close up of the Dorothy Perkins 'London' flag print scarf

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Something old and new, and something 'Made in Heaven'...

The subtitle for this post is: 'Just wear what you love and it will be OK'..... 

Today I donned the softest, most wonderful pair of trousers / jeans I've ever owned - my 'Made in Heaven' Vienna super skinny trousers. They are lightweight with a soft peachy finish, like a second skin, and I love them. Well worth the investment.

I paired them with an old Hobbs cotton navy blazer and my new Zara butterfly print scarf.

Now call me old-fashioned - which I most probably am! - but I really don't like the mania for all these skull print items. I know that McQueen started it and it's uber cool etc etc - but I don't care, they give me the creeps and that's that. I've seen enough of real skulls thank you very much and I can assure you they're not something I want to dwell on :-( Anyhow, enough of the philosophising - this is a fashion blog after all.

The butterfly print scarf however, manages - either by accident or clever design - to have something of the look of the skull design, but is in fact just nice wholesome, pretty butterflies. How clever is that, and if there is someone at Zara's creative team who can get inside the mind of someone like me - well I salute them :-)
Scarf - Zara
Jacket - Hobbs (similar here)
Shoes - Primark (£4......£4 - for shoes?! Amazing.)

(Also available with a white background).

While I was on the MiH website getting the link for the jeans, I also came across this Dove Print t-shirt which I thought was lovely.  
Link to dove print t shirt here - T shirt is £65 so not for me (strict self-imposed no buy zone) at the moment - but one to keep an eye on I think!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Take a navy Jigsaw top...

...and add a necklace or two:
Bright pink necklace, Zara
The Jigsaw top is a favourite of mine. The neckline has a very pretty ruffled detail with a row of little satin covered beads. I thought it had gone into the sale, but have just looked on the website and couldn't see it. Hopefully a similar style will be repeated next season.

The pink necklace is from Zara and is very a bright, almost neon pink. I love the droplets and the fact that it is ornate without being too 'bling' or looking like it's trying to be some kind of gemstone... It doesn't seem to be on their website yet. I also have my eye on the necklace below, which is also very pretty in the flesh.

The other necklace is the gold tone one from Primark as mentioned the other day.

I now absolutely am on a spending ban and will soon have to turn my thoughts to packing for our Scottish break. Wet weather gear is featuring large in my mind at the moment. We are heading to Altnaharra in the the far north so style may (I'm afraid) have to take a back seat, it will be Barbour jackets and sensible footwear all the way - especially as the only way to reach the beautiful Sandwood Bay is a 4 mile hike by footpath!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Owls and the studded tote

I've had a few days off lately, and you have to pack as much shopping in as and when you are able :-)  I set out yesterday to return the leopard print skinnies - but I ended up exchanging them for a smaller size which feels much better. My tea dress outfit yesterday was a bit of a wash-out - literally. The heavens opened as I arrived at the shops. I will draw a veil over my fake tanned leg running in the rain and move swiftly on to report on my buys.

As Susie So So blogged the other day, there are an awful lot of owls around at the moment and Primark was no exception. I found a nice owl print scarf which I thought rather cute.

And the tote bag I've harping on about - I got it to shut myself up as much as anything else!  My husband's verdict was blunt: "It's naff..."

Is it?!  I must admit it's not something which would normally appeal to me, but still something was 'calling' me. Maybe somehow, through the pages of Vogue or Bazaar (normally read when almost comatose), I have sub-consciously absorbed that studs are good.

I also bought a bronze tote lined with coral (in the sale - £5) which will be a good beach bag for our holidays.

Primark studded tote bag - £12

Today's outfit below:

Zara skinny trousers in dark brown, Zara beige linen knit cardigan, the new Primark owl scarf, and just to see what it looked like - the new bronze tote.

I also have my eye on another scarf - spotted in Dorothy Perkins. I know, I know, like so much else in my life I'm a bit late on the bandwagon with the patriotic theme - but I just liked the colours and print - which will work with the navy in my wardrobe long after Jubilee / Olympic 2012 fever has faded.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A tea dress and Mulberry

Today it's back to the (for me) tried and tested outfit of a tea dress. A Brora 40s style tea dress, in fact. This was a sale bargain from last year.

Much as I love my new Primark style finds, I do love my dresses.  "You have to wear what suits you Ash..." as my dear old Mum would say ;-)

I recommend waiting until the bitter end in the Brora sale, as the prices are initially £££ but come down to more sensible levels in the clearance section.
Brora tea dress

Together with my gorgeous Mulberry Mitzy Hobo - close up below.

I am lucky to live near a Mulberry outlet store, and have picked up some amazing bargains over the years... (that makes me sound so old - wait, I am!)  I will be blogging about more of these in the days ahead.

The outlets often have styles which have been discontinued, as I think is the case with the Mitzy hobo - so definitely worth a call - Google Bicester, York, Chester, Shepton Mallet Mulberry outlet - they are usually happy to post if they have something you'd like and it's too far to visit.
Mulberry Mitzy Hobo in Oak pebbled leather
And having extolled the virtues of Brora and Mulberry, where do you think I am off to today? 

........Primark - that's where!  I think I will return the leopard print skinny jeans as I had a 'tag removal session' last night - the point at which (in my zany world) the new items officially transfer themselves into my possession... and something stopped me removing the tags on the leopard print. My inner 'style-o-meter' telling me they were not quite 'me' I suspect.   Ho-hum.  I could change my mind once I get there, but they're coming with me just in case!  

I may well get the Pleather studded tote from my post the other day instead. Will report back!

Hope everyone has a nice day, the weather has cheered up nicely here. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Morning routines (and the skirt)

An early post! I've been doing some gardening so will spare you those photos, but now to 'make myself presentable'. My favourite beauty / make-up / products with today's perfume (inspired by my garden roses - see below!):
Left - right: Jo Malone Red Roses; Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner; Benefit Benetint; Bobbi Brown eyeliner brush; Body Shop Carrot Moisture Cream (recently discontinued - wail!); Bobbi Brown flint eye-shadow; No 7 Protect & Perfect Intense; Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle; Lancome Extencils Mascara; Garnier BB Cream.

Still pondering what to wear today. Planning ahead yesterday (get me!) I considered my White Company white jeans (below) but it's a bit gloomy today and I feel like something darker... will ponder more and report back.

Here are some flowers I 'pruned' from the garden. Boy do my roses have vicious thorns - ouch! - but they are beautiful. I love pink and orange as a colour combination in flowers :-)
My roses with industrial strength thorns.
So, more outfit considerations for today. I think I have settled on my well loved M&S Autograph bootcut jeans, with my new Primark tan and black striped top. Thought it was tan and navy originally, (but it's still lovely...)  together with my Mulberry tote bag.

I earlier considered my striped breton t shirt from Zara with a Hobbs denim skirt, and a yellow White Stuff belt and bag, but (a) my legs are too white (note to self, crack open the self tanner); (b) it doesn't feel quite right for today and (c) I'm matchy-matchy again....
Maybe plain is best...

It's interesting how many of us seem to wear fewer skirts nowadays. I wonder if it is because of issues like leg 'maintenance' (and in my case laziness therewith?!)

I love skirts but they can seem too formal for day to day life. (With the exception of denim I guess.) I find they just take more effort to wear. What are other people's thoughts?
I have this Zara Guipure lace skirt in my online basket - and as much as I love it, I would probably not have much occasion to wear it. It's so pretty though, and only £15.99...

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