Tag Archives: H&M

The year of skinny

24 Feb

Before I get started on my latest post, here’s a quick update on the ASOS competition I previously blogged about. From my failure to tell you about it before now, I’m guessing you’d all gathered that I hadn’t won (had I done so, I’d definitely have showed off all my new wares!). Following the disappointment, as predicted, I promptly logged onto Asos and bought one of my wishlist items (well I couldn’t let down all those who voted could I?) The item you picked for purchase was the watch, which secured 42% of the vote. Alas, on arrival it had to go straight back to the shop—it was far too big (and I couldn’t be arsed with alterations) and a bit cheap-looking (well I guess it is pretty cheap), plus Asos offers a very easy returns process. So, unexpectedly I overcame the marketing ploy. Are you proud?

Back to the shop: Tortoise-shell watch


With one craving overcome, it’s on to the next set…

So, where on earth did February go? I’m amazed at how quickly a month can fly by these days (these days referring to the fact that I’m currently living out the last month of my mid-twenties. My younger colleagues (Fliss!) unequivocally told me that when I turn 27 I will cross the line into ‘late 20s’. Eek). In contrast, during my teens, even 24 hours could feel like a lifetime, especially if my friends and I were counting down to (and meticulously planning outfits for) the next disco with the local boys school.

Anyhow, the combination of all this reminiscing, rapid time travel and a small age crisis, brings me on to the topic of this post: workout gear. Not an obvious link I agree, but let me take you through my thought process. Back in my youth, I was a bit of an exercise freak, spending hours each week at gymnastics training. However, sessions at the gym were often followed with the reward of a bar of chocolate, packet of crisps and a can of coke (note: fizzy drinks were only allowed once a week by Barbara—head of household rations). The problem is that over the years my love of naughty food hasn’t disappeared but my dedicated fitness regime has. The result = not the four-pack (it never made it to six) I once had.

Every January for the last few years, I’ve said to myself this will be the year I get fit, tone up and return to my pre-university weight. Unsurprisingly, aside from the few months following a rather unpleasant (but very effective) parasitic infection in Peru, this hasn’t been achieved. Until 2011, that is. This, my friends is going to be the year. What’s different you ask? Well there’s three things: I really need to do this before I’m 30 (friends have warned me figure-wise it’s all downhill from there); I’ve signed my life away to a gym, which’ll be taking £52 from my account every month for a year, and I really hate to waste money unless it’s on clothes; and most importantly, I’ve blogged about it now so it’ll be pretty embarrassing if I don’t stick to it.

Thankfully, thus far it’s going well. I’m three weeks and 10 work outs in, which have included aerobics, swimming, running/cycling/rowing, supple strength (yoga without the spiritual stuff), netball, the Ministry of Sound DVD and tonight Zumba! If you haven’t tried it you should give it a go. You feel like a bit of a prat to start with, but are soon shaking your bum like Shakira (in your head at least).

A lager lout no more?

The problem is, I’m currently on a post-exercise high, it’s early days and and my motivation will soon wane (it certainly does post-exercise when I give into my beer and carb carvings). As such, I think I need another driver to keep on track (bikini-time will be here before I know it). And that is where pretty exercise clothes come in.

I’m not sure I’ve every really grown out of the thing I had for branded sportswear when I was a kid. Each year my Christmas and birthday lists would be filled with sportswear from adidas trousers with the luminous green stripes to the latest nike trainers (which when received, would sit pride of place at the end of my bed while I slept—worrying). I try to keep the condition under control now I’m an adult, but it’s really just morphed into American Apparel hoodies and Abercrombie joggers—my staple lounging kit.

Below, I’ve put together a list of session-specific work-out gear that would definitely help keep me on the straight and narrow. Did I mention it’s my birthday next month?

My exercise week, complete with ideal gym kit

Monday: Aerobics

Adidas grey long top (to cover the bum)

Nike black lycra leggings


Wednesday : Netball

Adidas black track top

Nike blue and yellow Livestrong shorts


Thursday: Zumba

Nike black racerback

Abercrombie dark pink trackies


Saturday: Swimming

I’m afraid to say, that despite extensive internet and high street shop research, there is not a single swimming costume designed for big boobs and serious swimming that I deem fit to feature on my blog. It seems that as soon as Speedo add an inner shelf to their costumes, their style goes out of the window.


Sunday: Supple Strength

H&M blue marl sweatshirt

Adidas berry red tank

Adidas petrol grey straight leg pants


Extra bits and bobs

Nike Lunar Eclipse blue/grey running shoes

Black Puma gym bag

The Shock Absorber (essential kit - already purchased)

(Photo credits: retailer’s websites as below)

The shopping list:

  1. Adidas long top, John Lewis – £28
  2. Nike leggings, John Lewis – £45
  3. Adidas jacket, John Lewis – £35
  4. Nike shorts, Pro-direct – £13.49
  5. Nike top, John Lewis – £22
  6. Trackies, Abercrombie & Fitch- £50
  7. Sweatshirt, H&M – £12.99
  8. Adidas top, John Lewis – £23
  9. Adidas trousers, John Lewis – £33
  10. Trainers, Nike – £90
  11. Bag, Puma – Debenhams – £25
  12. Shock Absorber sports bra, Bravissimo – £30

Sorry, that was a bit of a John Lewis overload—they aren’t sponsoring me, promise.

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Blog benefits and faux fur overload

12 Jan

FOUR BLOG-RELATED CHRISTMAS PRESSIES

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!

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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!

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