Thursday, 27 March 2014

So in love with TOAST at the moment

And not just the edible kind :-)

They do such lovely timeless basics. I'd been away for a while, pursuing Zara et al. But when I walked into Toast in Bath yesterday it felt like coming home. Maybe the style is just 'more me'. Thinking about it, I do, unhindered, tend to look a bit losse and baggy - which is (or can be) the Toast look.

But I defy anyone not to like these beauties.

Green 'boyfriend' sweater - so so soft. Long, forgiving, cosy. But not sack like. What's not to love? Er, well the price. I am waiting for the sale.

Breton tunic dress. This is lovely. And not a bad price really, especially considering how well Toast stuff lasts.  Nice length - just above knee on me (5ft5).

Merino Waterfall coat. I didn't try this on, but it looked sublime on the mannequin. Another 'snap it up in the sale' item for sure.

Denim coat.  Just love it.

Boxy breton top. Surprisingly the boxiness looked good, and not too boxy, jut not clingy, which is sometimes an issue with stripy tops. Being of a larger bosom, I sometimes struggle with 'wavy' lines not straight stripes.  Not with this one.  Love the elbow patches with contrast direction stripes too!

Last but not least I love this tunic, which has a sweatshirt type consistency. Especially love the neckline. It's on my sale wish list.


I'm afraid I forgot to take changing room photos in Toast, but I did take some in River Island.

I saw this coat there. I liked it apart from the fact that the checks at the seams didn't match up, which looked very odd indeed. A shame as it was a nice coat, a very useful weight for the (hopefully soon to arrive) Spring - and only £40.

Nice coat.....(from the front)

Shame about the non-matching side seams - pet hate.
(You don't get that in Toast....)

By the way, I would urge people to get themselves to Gap. I also got a bit of a haul in there. They have up to 50% off.   I bought:

These dresses - one chambray, one navy - down to £29


This sweater - love the waffle knit  £17.48

The White Company also have a sale on (up to 50%) and I nearly bought this knitted peacoat, as they call it, now sold out online but a few instore, but decided it would not wash well (never have much success with knitted jackets)... I reserve the right to change my mind though!


Thursday, 20 March 2014

The bag of doom

It occurred to me yesterday that the most boring ‘pieces’ (fashion speak alert!) I own are the most useful and the stuff I turn to most often. Like this:


Yes: they will usually be black, unexciting and mundane. But sadly (in terms of my own life and opportunity) that makes them the most wearable.
I suppose it loosely ties in with the whole minimal wardrobe / capsule thing.  I have reached this state of affairs following several grapples with my wardrobe last year which resulted in a pretty neat wardrobe - if I do say so myself – but also in a huge, indeterminate and unwieldy ‘bag of doom’. Like a restless sea, the bag of doom is a constantly shifting creature. The bag of doom contains stuff which, at any moment in time, is out of favour because:

(a) it doesn’t suit my current mood or preferences;
(b) it is say, green, and my capsule is taupe (OCD overload); 
(c) it is more 'individual' / detailed etc - which means more effort is required to contrive an interesting outfit.
And time, sadly, is what I lack.
I dare not ditch the 'bag of doom' entirely, as come the following month (sometimes even the following week), something in it will call to me, or an inner voice of my own will cry out for something red, something purple, and the contents will suddenly go from ‘banished’ to ‘most necessary’.

This does result in a rather large and unsightly storage problem - but, putting that aside, it’s the best compromise I have been able to come up with in my 40-odd years.  Thankfully that’s just what Ikea blue bags, and spare rooms (and wasted hours scurrying between the two) were made for, no?

Putting aside the boring but necessary (and the fact that I actually need a replacement black pair!), let’s look at the unnecessary but attractive. 
I want these:

And these:   
And these:

Or possibly all 3.  (Disclaimer: I don't work for Russell & Bromley, I just have an unhealthy addiction to their wares.)
As well as pondering the likely cost per wear of red, blush and pale blue respectively (likely candidates for the bag of doom if ever I saw any), I am currently evaluating what else I could spend £495 on, should I just happen to have that at my disposal. 
To be continued...
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Friday, 14 March 2014

Should've bought that crumpled rag

Namely - this (spied in TK Maxx, by Sisley).....
Doesn't look too attractive on the hanger, does it?

It looked better on, I think:

In other news, I bought this (M&S Autograph), but sort of wish I hadn't.  More like a jumper than a dress. Rides ever upwards. :-/  Hence has limited wearage, other than as a tunic, which is pretty inconvenient seeing as the weather is warming up. 

C'est la vie chez ASH.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Zip code, I think I love you

I went out today to return the awful (with apologies to anyone who actually liked them) 'Guess' sneakers. 

Job done, I wandered over to Russell and Bromley to see if they had recovered from their mysterious fire. Things were even more surreal today. Immaculately coiffed young men kept emerging from the basement wearing blue surgical style dust masks with their hands black from soot. I didn't ask.

Now I don't know about your experiences there, but the staff still doggedly persist in bringing out 'matching' bags every time you try on shoes. It's quite quaint and I normally humour them (while secretly being a bit irritated) by making appropriate noises. This time however, I actually had a proper look (in a fairly desultory way to pass the time) but wow I was glad I did: what a bag!

I give you my new crush: ZIP CODE.  Possibly the cutest and best and most ingenious cross body bag I've seen for many a year.

Reader, I bought it. I came away shoe-less sadly, as my size was out of stock.But I am so happy with this bag.


It is cleverly designed inside (a bit 'a-la-Hindmarch') with self contained card slots and pockets. These are in the centre of the bag between the 2 outer zipped compartments. You wouldn't need a wallet, just a coin purse.  There's another useful open pocket at the back of the bag.  The two halves of the bag snap together even when the top flap is left undone (I loved this bit - am easily impressed!) - as magnets are sewn into each side.

The size is perfect, the strap length is perfect. The leather (lovely textured grainy effect) is perfect. The colour is perfect. I could go on. I simply just fell in love with this bag. It has enough to contain all you need for a night out, or a shopping trip. It's about 20cm wide and 17cm high, so it's not a general everyday bag, it's not large enough, but it's well deigned for what it needs to do. 

I bought the navy, althogh it's available in several other colours and finishes (even glitter to match the sneakers I blogged about the other day! Bit OTT that would be maybe...)

The only snag is that it's a bit pricey at £145 but I was in need of a pick me up and today, this bag was the answer.  I will get so much use and enjoyment from it. :-)

 I bought this bag with my own money and have not been paid to review it. I genuinely love it and wanted to share.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Here are the sneakers from yesterday, which (unsurprisingly) didn't feature large on any theoretical wish list. They just happened to be "there" when I was in a fug of trainer mania. They will be returned.

(Sorry photos are upside down, they would not let me correct 'em - it's a sign, I'm convinced!)

And one of my January sale purchases: a grey loose fit sweater from The White Company.

Reduced to £30. At first I thought I'd blundered badly as the fluff came off and stuck to everything.... but I worked through the pain and the excess fluff eventually ran out. It's now a useful workhorse basic.

 Worn with Whistles tube skirt (longer version), Gap 'Pure Body' long sleeved top, Mulberry Antony messenger bag and Russell & Bromley Aquitalia ankle boots.

Monday, 3 March 2014


I'm in 'save or splurge' befuddlement.

What started it all off was 'the sneaker'.  A must have item, which, as  seen when browsing seamlessly through the 'all is beautiful' land of net-a-porter and so on, looks so alluring, so up to date and so easy to incorporate seamlessly into one's wardrobe.  Now browsing the likes of net-a-porter for inspiration is all very well, but I am lost in the mire. I am swamped by sneakers.  

My head is going 'ow ow ow' and I have a virtual shopping list as long as you like, which brings me back to the title of the post. (I had better prefix this post by saying I am always very late to the party with matters such as this - i.e. sneakers - and so apologise in advance for my insane ramblings about something which any and all readers probably have sussed long ago!)

Here's a quick round up of what 's been doing the rounds in my head. I shall divide and conquer my wish into 'flat' and 'high'. 

First flats.

Dilemma: hmm how much longevity here?

Or maybe black would be better? 
Dilemma: But then again black is maybe a tad boring and by the way your perfectly good black Converse do not currently work with anything so why buy more black you daft woman?  (That's me talking to myself, you understand...)

Dilemma: see above

Dilemma: see above - black again plus the super high sole is a bit clown like?  (Bargain though - Russell & Bromley do you read me?)

Dilemma(s):  Lined partly with sheepskin these would no doubt be warm which is not necessarily a bad thing. But how would that cope with bare feet and is that such a good idea for s spring / summer item?  Also compounded by above 'more black' dilemma

Dilemma: Not black, but would probably tire of raspberry, not being a big wearer of the shade. 

Oh and there was one non-sneaker which made it onto the wish (or whatever) list too. Which is probably the only sensible thing on there as it would bring new life to my boyfriend jeans with which I had another tussle at the weekend which amused and depressed me in equal measure. A good look was not obtained, let's just say. A topic for another day perhaps!)

Now the 'highs' (technical term, you know what I mean hopefully!)

Item: Ash 'Bea' midnight. Er, from My Wardrobe I think. £179.  Losing the plot a bit at this stage. 
Quandry:  Love the midnight. Love the name Ash (geddit) plus 'Bea' - it's a personalised number plate in a shoe!  Not so love the white sole though.  

Then spotted these......

Item: Ash Bowie black.  £169 My Wardrobe
Quandry: Love the dark soles. Wish could buy navy version with navy - or black - soles. 
(Could I take a marker pen to the Beas above? )

Then oh glee of glee, I found some higher glittery ones on the Russell & Bromley website. These my magpie like brain really does like.  But the cost is WAY too much for what they are, I think. I mean, really - almost £300? Might as well go the whole hog & get  Saint Laurent or something.)

Dilemma:  just don't feel they are worth it.

Item: Back to Ash Bea - burgundy and gold from Atterley Road. £179.  Scratching the 'shiny' itch again.
Dilemma: have reached saturation point and can no longer form coherent opinion on any type of sneaker.

Dilemma: as above

Finally a 'non sneaker' to finish off the high brigade:
Russell & Bromley Style name 'Manned' (Stuart Weitzman) - £245 (again - 'too much' I say...)

Well I guess (assuming you are still here) that after reading that lot you are probably as befuddled as me.  

Final thought: If you fail with shoes, look at handbags. 

* * * * *

Any advice on sneakers gratefully received!

The answer, I'm sure, is not to go to TK Maxx and buy some bizarre 'Guess' brown canvass logo'd ones, which is of course what I did. I tried to upload a photo. iPhoto crashed. It has taste clearly. Probably no bad thing except that I have deprived you of a howl of laughter!

Oh - and having made Russell & Bromley today with a few minutes to spare (my usual style of shopping - so relaxing - NOT) I discovered they were closed due to a fire. Although the door was open, jeans clad assistants barred the way and men were inside hurling sand around the still immaculate pastel and coral loafer and tote displays. An odd kid of fire. But mine is not to reason why.

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