Tag Archives: fashion

Blog benefits and faux fur overload

12 Jan


A nicely-lit corner, educational too....thanks aunties!

Who drank all the wine?...Thanking you Mr and Mrs Brown!

New book and ends...cheers Jane and Mick!

Last but not least, my new blogging aid. Big thanks parentals.

Happy New Year my lovely blog readers.
Yes I know it’s a little late, what with it already being 12th Jan and all, but I’ve had a bit of a sluggish start to the year (I only took down my Christmas tree yesterday—I hope that doesn’t mean I’m in for a year of bad luck). So, my Christmas break was really rather enjoyable, with two full-on turkey lunches and lots of amazing presents. It turns out having a Christmas wish list on my blog really does work—see pics above, thanks all! After a drunken New Year’s Eve, Steve and I decided to put off going back to work until 7th Jan, with a short excursion to a pretty countryside house in Kent—complete with a secret room hidden behind a bookcase—courtesy of Steve’s cousin and wife (thanks Lindsey and Vicky). The purpose: further cheese eating, wine drinking and the odd countryside walk.

My intention was to feature a fetching shot of me dressed in my winter gear on one such country walk, in order to bring me neatly onto the topic of this blog post: faux fur. Unfortunately, I seem to have caught a rather severe dose of Steve’s misplacing things disease, and left my camera in Kent. (Other items currently missing, presumed lost, are my favourite gold bird necklace and the aforementioned bargain of the century £3 waterfall cardigan. If anyone’s seen them, please let me know, I might stretch to a reward!)

Anyway, in the photo I’m wearing two of my recent purchases (now demonstrated below with product shots), which were bought specifically for a last-minute work trip  to -24 degree Moscow last month. On hearing of the baltic temperature, Steve recalled an old Norwegian saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” I decided that this (and a small handout from my generous father) gave me permission to buy ‘good ‘ clothing.

Pick up a puffa, Esprit - £95

Stomping through the snow boots, Snow & Rock - £59.99

(Photo credit: Esprit.com)

Now, I’ve never been one for puffa jackets in the past (this blog, is enough to scare anyone off) but for once in my life warmth was going to have to come before fashion. So in between the numerous trips to the Russian visa centre (it’s seriously labour intensive to get into that country!) I trotted off to Esprit on Oxford Street to pick up a coat in the style of a Russian oligarch’s wife (i.e. luxurious fur trim – mine’s faux though, don’t worry). The shop assistant revealed, as if sharing a dark secret, that once you wear a puffa jacket you will struggle to put on anything else until Spring. And, oh how she is right—I’m a convert. Snow boots were next on my, ‘let’s ignore my blog challenge’ shopping list and these furry bad boys are amazing. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any snow in Russia, as I was unfortunate enough to go in an unusually cold spell—think numb fingers, toes, legs and face within minutes, but they were great for whizzing past people who were skidding around on the ice last month on my walk to work. Smug, who me?

Anyway, since discovering the joy of being warm and yes, smug, I’ve basically gone a bit winter accessory mad (you’ll realise it’s mad when you see the state of my scarf drawer in the pic below). Clearly, at the end of 2010, resisting my consumer cravings went out the window. So just to get the confession off my chest, here is my latest loot:

Overflowing scarf drawer, but I still want more

Naughty purchases

Seriously comfy slippers

Now here’s to a better behaved 2011!



A moment (or three) of weakness

15 Nov

I seem to be making a habit of leaving it far too long between blog posts, which makes me a very bad blogger indeed – sorry! I do have an excuse prepared though: I’m blaming Stieg Larsson. Since my chair entry, I’ve spent a remarkable amount of time sitting in said chair glued to the Swedish author’s millennium trilogy. I’m only managing to write this now as I’ve got to the end of book two and don’t have book three instantly available to me. In fact, I’m almost too scared to buy it, as once I get into a crime thriller as good as Larsson’s it takes over my life until I reach the end (picture me reading until 1.30 am in the morning, nearly missing tube stops etc and you’ll be on the right track) and once I’ve rattled through The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest then that’s it—there’s no more. Sad times.

Addictive book one of the millenium series

Book two - led to many late nights!

Book three - not to be read if I'm going to keep this blog going!

Unfortunately, now the apologies are out the way, I’ve got more sins to confess. After nearly a month of controlling my consumer cravings, I’m afraid I cracked. I’m going to bring into play the “essentials” disclaimer I mentioned in my first post i.e. there are some things you just have to buy. And, that can be extended to new jeans, nail varnish, and an eyeliner, right?? Hmm, this might take some justification.

  • First up, the jeans. My workplace is pretty casual, so jeans are an everyday staple for me. As such, my old faithful H&M dark blue skinny pair have definitely had some use (see photo evidence ).

    Unusual rippage - new pair required!

  • I admit it is a rather peculiar place for jeans to wear out—I’m not sure if this is an indication of unusually fat knees or a rather weird walk—but we won’t dwell on that. When you combine unsightly fraying on an essential item with a pretty stressful week at work, you’ll understand that a visit to Topshop for some retail therapy is a must. Obviously, nature then took its course and I found myself £40 poorer, one pair of Indigo Baxter jeans richer, and a very happy lady. If you too are after some new skinnies, I would definitely recommend this style—they aren’t made of that awful, unflattering stretch material, and yet seem to have kept their shape after a week of non-stop wear (they’ve made it into the wash this weekend, don’t worry).

    New jeans - an essential surely?

  • As an aside, in a bid to further justify my purchase I thought I’d go through all my old pairs of jeans and get rid of any I no longer wear. In doing so, I came across one major error of a purchase. I seem to have in my possession an unworn pair of dark blue skinny jeans (noticing a pattern yet?) from Uniqlo in a size six . Now bearing in mind I haven’t been that size since my early teens,  I was clearly having a moment of madness (or hadn’t eaten for a week) when I bought them last year. As I don’t really like being reminded of the fact I’m not a size six, I wondered if any of you reading this who are lucky enough to be that teeny, would like to take them off my hands for free? Just comment below or send me an email.
  • Now on to my reasoning behind the beauty goods. I don’t know about you, but I always find buying presents for my friends a lot trickier than buying things for myself. In fact Christmas shopping usually results in me buying one gift for a family/friend, and one gift for me (naughty, I know). Recently, my way around this is to pick something I would like myself and then accept I can’t have it, and instead buy it for the person with a birthday. It seems to work quite well. So a few weeks back I was in Urban Outfitters (my ultimate shop of temptation) looking for a gift for my friend Rachel, when I came across the shop’s new nail varnish range, which now includes the colour of the moment: greige (gray/beige) or taupe if you’d prefer to use its real name. I’d been wanting to try out this shade for ages, but hadn’t come across a version I liked, other than at Chanel (which at £16.50 a pop isn’t very fitting with my new budget), so with this pot’s price tag of £6, out went my original plan and now Rach and I both have greige nails.

    UO Nail Polish - the lovely new range for £6 a pot

    (Photo credit: www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk)
  • As for eyeliner, well that really is essential and I won’t have anyone argue otherwise. I’m fed up of buying cheap eyeliner that needs constant re-application so this time I’ve gone for the £13.50 MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack. It goes on really easily, doesn’t need sharpening and if the sales assistant is to be believed will stay put even after a vigorous game of netball (I’ll soon find out!).

So Sunday’s confession time is up. All I can do now is promise to be much better next week. Although, just to add to the pressure I’ve got a trip to Milan to negotiate on Wednesday. I guess I’m going to have to keep my mind on the job (going to see a book printers – glam!) and not get distracted by the shops!


Fancy dress for less

26 Oct

First up, a quick apology for the long delay between my posts. My excuse: a severely temperamental  internet connection that has resulted in several major attacks of rage, worsened by the baffling computer speak I’ve been wading through on trouble shooting forums. Today, I finally accepted assistance from a MAN and despite him not being able to find the root of the problem or therefore a solution, things now seem to be working.  Nonsensical.

So, I thought I’d make the most of the (probably temporary) breakthrough and get a post up, which is already rather out of date. A few weekends ago, I received an invite to a 1920s-themed 30th birthday do. Now, I do love a good fancy dress party (they always seem to be the most drunken affairs) but the actual process of putting together an outfit is one I find quite stressful. I put this down to two reasons:

  1. The first is a rather traumatic experience I had as a child. Aged about five,  my parents took great joy in dressing me up as Oliver Twist for a school friend’s fancy dress bash. I seem to remember it was quite a good outfit: muddied cheeks, a flat cap, ripped shirt etc, but when I arrived at the party, all the other little girls had come as princesses and fairies (not quite sure how Oliver fitted in with the theme?). The result: lots of tears, a temper tantrum and a flat-out refusal to go inside.
  2. The other factor is the cost. Whenever I’m presented with a legitimate reason to go shopping I tend to get a bit carried away. You start off with good intentions, raiding the charity shops and trekking up to Camden market to seek out a bargain, but somehow end up in a panic on the day of the party shelling out £30 for a pair of shiny lycra leggings from American Apparel in a colour you’ll never wear again (a putrid blue, if you’re wondering) because your outfit (retro ski-wear in this particular instance) just won’t work without them.

So you’ll understand, that sorting out a 1920s outfit, while trying not to shop is something of a challenge.  I had a good idea of what I wanted to look like (think Kate Moss in that lovely jewel-encrusted, nude dress – yes, wishful thinking!), and a definite option in mind that would do quite nicely (1920’s fringing seems to be a look that’s in at the moment) but no such budget.

Ideal Fancy Dress Fix: Tiered Fringe Dress, Rare at Topshop - £45

(photo credit: www.topshop.com)

The solution:

Beg, borrow…and do what any right-minded lady should if they find themselves with any kind of a clothing dilemma: visit Primark.

The outcome:

  • One pair of long black gloves, a black feather and an accompanying head band loaned by a generous Miss Smith
  • One long pearl necklace retrieved from my ever-expanding fancy dress box
  • One £5 drop-waist dress (thankfully, the 1920s style drop waist was one of this summer’s trends, so it was in the sale) purchased after a stressful dash around Primark, Oxford Street on a Friday night, which required nerves of steel, an aggressive elbows-out stance and a glass of wine lined up for after.

And, here we have the flapper girls, ready to go to the party:

Trying out twenties style on the cheap, with Alana and Charley


No such thing as a free lunch

14 Oct

I’m one week in to my ‘no shopping’ challenge and I think I might have found the secret to my ongoing success: bringing lunch from home. Ok so it’s not rocket science and I think my colleagues might have already twigged, but after a few days of eating boring old soup and homemade sandwiches (no offence Steve, my wonderful boyfriend who makes them for me), it has dawned on me that by avoiding Covent Garden and its enticing array of shops I have been keeping a few extra pounds in my bank and losing a few from my waistline (that second bit is just wishful thinking).

Boring £-saving sandwich (not representative of Steve's efforts).

This groundbreaking theory was confirmed yesterday, when Steve failed to make my lunch in the morning, having been ‘forced’ by his friends to stay out in the casino until 4am the night before. As such, I had to venture to M&S for my back up roast beef & horseradish sandwich (Charley that’s for you) and cheese tasters (Sal that’s for you). I just so happened to wander past a rather bulging sale rail (I’m such a liar as the food is downstairs and the clothes are upstairs) when out jumped a cute little black jacket, down from £39.50 to a mere £19. I tried to resist, but began thinking about all the outfits it would go with, and how great it would be for both work and nights out. Justification complete, off I trotted to the till. But, disaster struck; I’d left my wallet on my desk at work. There was no way I was losing the jacket now, but the mean shop assistant refused to hold it for me, mumbling incoherently about the shop’s policy for sale goods. She then tried to take it out of my hands (probably to have for herself) so I did what anyone else would do: panicked and ran out the shop with jacket in tow. Joke! Actually, in a much more dignified fashion I grabbed it off her, walked briskly to the corner of the shop and stuffed it at the back of a rail of really ugly tops, before sprinting back to the office to get my wallet.

I know this is becoming one of those long rambling stories that my family loves but no-one else does, but bear with me, it gets good! You’ll be relieved to hear that on my return to the shop the goods were where I had left them, so I jubilantly made my way back to the till, proud of my quick-thinking and happy to see a different lady serving. And now for the best bit. As she rang the jacket through, £12 popped up on the register. Awesome I thought, it’s even more of a bargain. But, wait, she wasn’t finished yet. She then typed in some code, and down the price went to £3. Result! Must-keep-straight-face-and-not-look-surprised-at-major-mistake/deal-of-the-century. Turns out my jacket was cheaper than my sandwich.

And here it is: the super-soft, day and night, waterfall-style jacket, that went very well with my work outfit today.

Posing in my £3 purchase: this kind of shopping is allowed right?

So the moral of the story: bringing lunch from home is bad; shopping at lunchtime is good. Ah, not quite what I had in mind for this post.


On the straight and narrow

11 Oct
So I’m only on my second post, and aleady my new mantra to spend less has been severely challenged. Worringly weak I know, but what is a straight hair-obsessed girl to do when her ghds malfunction on a Monday morning. After five long and happy years, my loyal straighteners gave me a shock (literally) when sparks started shooting out of their base. My first instinct was to immediately order some new ones as I’m pretty sure the shaggy dog look isn’t coming into fashion anytime soon.

Me minus ghds (photo credit: Zach Flanders)

However, the £100 price tag made me have a re-think. Instead I decided to embrace my blog challenge and brave a ghd repair service. On Tuesday, I nervously shipped my favourite beauty aids off into the abyss, and prepared myself for their disappearance. But, three days later, just like magic they arrived in my pigeon hole at work, fixed with a new plug and cable, freshly polished plates and free heat matt. And all for just £19.95.

It turns out, frugality is pretty pleasing. Well, unless someone else is paying, of course. If that was the case, then I’d go for an even pricier breed of straightener: the Cloud Nine, costing £129.95. Created by the original founders of  the ghd, they offer adjustable temperature control to reduce damage, and apparently “a secret ingredient that adds shine and sparkle to the hair every time they’re used.” Sounds good Santa, don’t you think?

Cloud Nine Styling Iron (photo credit: http://www.cloudninehair.com)