Saturday, 29 December 2012

Smart plus size shopping

Whenever clients ask me about plus size shops I am limited to a few options in the UK. However due to blogging I realise more and more people are getting smarter and buying items from everywhere and widening their choice of online retailers to choose. City Chic is an online retailer who specialises in plus size clothes and at the moment it is the perfect time to shop Australian sales for your UK S/S13 wardrobe.

My top pick is this on trend monochrome striped dress at $69.95 in the sale.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Maxi maxi's

Australian brand Crossroads offers a whole range of different clothes, ranging from plus size dresses to jackets, denim, skirts and accessories. The plus size range is a good example of  a retailer being able offer a  collection from size 8 to 22. With the sales now on this is the perfect time to pick up maxi dresses whether it is for the Australian summer or for those of you in the UK who are hopeful of 2013 bring us a summer!

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Friday, 21 December 2012

Buon Natale

How has Christmas come upon us in such an unexpected fashion this year. One moment it was all about November and the next it seems like New Year is already here. Anyway that's my excuse for being too busy to post and I am sticking with it!

If you haven't got your sequin top or Sarah Lund jumper handily poised for Christmas Day then I suggest you don't worry, grab a glass of prosecco and dance along to this. Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

High St Pick of the Week

Having a lovely little sojourn with tweeter and blogger teawithonesugarplease on Thursday night in the freezing cold was not only delightful because at last we met (yes social media is truly social) but Ms.Tea had on the most becoming cossack hat.

There are a number of cossack hats around in M&S and other stores but even though the temperature has risen I can't be bothered to hotfoot it to any store. Lazy days and shopping is satisfied by ASOS and  the now reduced cossack hat from £16 to £12.

Do say Dr Zhivago, don't say Mariah Carey.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Owl Eyes

When I went to Hong Kong to do a presentation and judge an eyewear design competition one of my favourites, though not necessarily anyone else's was a pair of owl sunglasses. Designed by Kevin Ching of Wing Fung Optical the design range is called Big Horn Eyewear and the sunglasses are of course Owl.

It was wonderful to receive a sample of the metal sunglasses frame I loved and in a really gorgeous case as well. I thought the design might only work for a fashion shoot originally, but having revceived and tried on the modified sample from the original I saw back in September I think I will actually take the Owl sunglasses on a jaunt in the summer.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Stellar Sports look

Sports luxe has moved up a notch of late especially with the range for Adidas by Stella McCartney. It offers an alternative to formal dressing but yet somehow still looks put together rather than basically just casual.

Image: Net-A-Porter Lightweight shell hooded top Adidas by Stella McCartney

And it was these images I had in mind when thinking about a review of Katies Fashion. Conscious of Australian readers and of course the difference in seasons (what wouldn't I give to be down under right now for some sunshine) is a difficulty when taking of seasons.

However sports luxe cuts across continents, hemispheres and seasons. No matter where you are or what you do women's jackets are a must in your wardrobe. They add something to a look and at the same time offer a practical option. This lightweight cotton jacket from Katies Fashion's range of jackets  adds not only a bit of sports luxe but a northern hemisphere S/S catwalk hit colour in yellow.

Wear this jacket with shorts and beach bag on a cooler day or with straight jeans turned up with ballet flats. And I will be looking to wear the same come our spring and summer!

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Last ever ebay .... I cannot take anymore, ebay is officially a drain these days. However I do have a lot of items I need to sell as I declutter my life. The big clean out of my home will take place in January but I thought I would start early in December to get into the swing of it.

It is no secret that since completing my MA I have struggled to settle into a new career. Many of my fellow students from LCF have all found things difficult since graduating in 2010. The reasons are obvious given the economy and whilst it has been hard I have stuck to my dream of merely (or is it solely) being a writer. I am ending 2012 having finally got to the place where I wanted to be - a writer.

In January Girlynomics will be available to download from Amazon and I have recently won a couple of writing gigs (old school I know) and the blog is hosting a number of sponsored posts, something I've resisted but the bills need to be paid. Then in 2013 I start the new novel, because at last I am in a dedicated position to write fiction and finish the old film script. I do have a few styling obligations to honour but that is fine.

Along the way I have supported my ambition by dabbling in other ventures as I had to pay back my career development loan and contribute to the household coffers. Ebay and Stella & Dot were two sidelines (in addition to my styling work) that assisted my independence but thankfully now I can kiss it all goodbye!

Therefore....drum roll... I have made my final ever ebay listings of my jewellery samples and a few items of clothing that have been one off items (a vintage dress) and a couple of things I loved when I got but I have never been able to wear them. Isn't it madding when you really like something and that feeling doesn't dissipate when you try them on but somehow after that moment they never really work.

Anyway here is the link to my ebay page and the items for sale EBAY SALES LINK- take a peek, tell a friend and this truly is the last ever time I will be doing an ebay listing!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Shoulda Coulda Woulda?

In between writing for book and my usual copy deadlines I have found myself of late watching old episodes of Sex and the City. The clothes, the city and the dating, ah what fun. The old obsession with SATC started with the new Girls series on HBO which I have liked but not loved. Not loved in the way I loved every minute of SATC. When I had the opportunity to undertake a private project it was on SATC and more specifically the character of Carrie Bradshaw and the performance of the character.

My primary research found that the majority of women wanted to be the character Carrie Bradshaw. For the clothes, the shoes and either Mr Big or Aiden. Her walk in wardrobe had to be top of the list as well as her apartment in New York. Whilst I was watching the re runs I began to examine Sarah Jessica Parker's face. Recently I had gone to a Nigella Lawson book signing and Mrs Fab of Style at Every Age  had commented on how wrinkle free Nigella's face was. As I conversed with the 51 or was it 52 year old Nigella, she told me her age as we discussed her wonderful salmon fishcake recipe from a book published in 2001, I peered at her beautiful make up and skin. Nigella's eyebrows were perfection themselves alone! Back home I went through every cookbook of her I own, and bar one I have them all, and studied her face. Then I watch her on Nigellissima and concluded that Mrs FAb was right she MUST have had something done. The same is true of SJP, folks you do not get to be an American size 2 (UK 6) without it impacting on your face - we all know this.

Yet I can only speculate because I know nothing of the world of non surgical treatments and improvements. Folks I tell you I spent days pouring over my face, old photographs from 8 to 10 years ago and I needed to know - should I take the plunge? Could I get the natural look that SJP and Nigella have so obviously and effortless (apart from slashing the cash) achieved. Would it really be worth it and would it ruin my features. These questions came like a running tap you can't turn off.

The only place I knew where to start was the Cosmetic Skin Clinic in Stoke Pogis where I had recently had CoolSculpting treatment. The reason I choose to investigate the reality of anti ageing techniques at the Cosmetic Skin Clinic is because it just happens to be a female led medical practice. Dr Tracy Mountford is not only recognised as a leading expert in this field but her team is many decades worth of experience. It is also a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Harley Street. I have met lots of cosmetic practitioners over the years as a stylist and have had lots of clients who have obviously had work done. Only a few practitioners really deliver natural results. Tweaks to the face that no one notices and has to guess about, this is their forte.

Luckily they were happy to indulge my investigation in to the reality of anti ageing. The first thing that struck me upon my return was the fact I was right about the clinic it is an oasis of calm and they have really nice coffee. There are even biscuits but I am so focused on my interrogation, I mean interview I merely glance at them. I am guided through a process that all who enter will enjoy. A mix of form filling, a cosy chat about what you don't like and photographs of your face. No smiling is allowed. When I see the non smiling me, it isn't horrific but I felt a sadness of passing youth. The stark reality is you do really see the ageing process unfold in your forties. Clothes wise we can keep on trend, be stylish and enjoy fashion but the face isn't so easy to dress up.

My assessment with the nurse practitioner Tara was incredible. The practice is very clear about their ethos of only replenishing the face, achieving a natural look which is often underwhelming. They would rather be 10% under optimisation than 10% over. Tara patiently explains to my barrage of questions that it is really in our 5th decade that the skin gets thinner and out natural youthful fat pockets fall southwards without the firmness of the skin to keep them in place. I have a small face and this means I will be more prone to the skin sagging as a wider, larger face will keep the skin structure for longer. This small fact was like a lightbulb moment. I had often admired larger faced ladies and now I knew why. It isn't the bone structure it is the skin remaining firmer for longer. Or rather as the skin thins it stays put for longer due to the width of the face. As Samantha would knowing say in SATC 'width is everything'. Damn, my small head smugness was well and truly tipped on its head.

The advice I am given is I need a few areas treated to lift my face to basically prevent me look like a bitter old lady! The treatment in question would be Emervel hyaluronic acid fillers.  And if I really wanted the muscle relaxant Azzalure which is the purified protein derivative of the purified botulinum toxin. Don't say Botox which is a registered brand name do say botulinum toxin is what I have learnt.

Gosh this is the point where I almost feel physically sick. It is a mix of nerves and heady excitement. Apparently the majority of people at this juncture want the treatment straightaway. Having seen the before and after pictures of the many patients at the clinic I can see why. All that is staring back at me is fresh, natural looking faces. They just look good and normal. I actually bite my lip and say I will have the numbing cream applied because I want to know what it is like. But the next, coulda, woulda? I really don't know......

What would you do?!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More casual matters

Getting casual down to a tee is the new black. What has happened is a slight shift. Do as you were before and something isn't quite right. Fashion is funny like that, it suddenly moves on its axis and low and behold in a blink of a week or a month after years of inertia there is a style shift.

People if I knew the answer then you'd be paying handsomely for the information. The answer lies in the nuance, the fact how ever effortless the look looks, there is hard work and thought that has come into play to create it. Who you look to for style inspiration is probably getting tip top access to clothes, hair and makeup - not to mention PTs and dermatologists. The 'look' is a complete package.

It doesn't matter if you are a heels or flats gal, the opportunity to move your casual look into a new sphere is here.

Personally, keep it clean and fresh when it comes to casual. If you wear a bright colour or a pattern then  keep hair, make up and accessories unfussy. If you go plain jane with jeans and a top then you need to bling your eyes, hair, lips or accessories - obviously not all at ONCE!

The Daily Mail hated this SJP look at first but then went on to use it at least three more times in a positive manner! That is the thing with change it makes you react, look again and then embrace. I loved this look straightaway - it is casual and easy. It looks as if no effort has been made but the bright down coat with the restrained colour palette of the boots, printed jeans and jumper says this has been thought through. Note no jewellery, no make up, no up do. The emphasis here is on the garments and the main feature is the coat.

image: The Daily Mail

The more traditional casual look is epitomised by Olivia Palermo. This is the truly modern version of that Park Avenue Princess look of jeans, white shirt and jacket. 

images: The Daily Mail

It helps that Olivia has a great male accessory in her boyfriend but truly the detail is in her hair tied back without a hit of being brushed, some subtle pearl earrings and then the neutral palette of clothes and a splash of red in the shoes.

These folks are the new casual style stakes. Trying times indeed!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

High St Pick of the Week

In some respects unless you have presents to get or are in dire need of a new party outfit or the heel of a trusted pair of shoes have broken - do you really want to shop now? I never set foot in a clothes shop after November until the end of January if I can help it.

My biggest worry in December is my love of all that glitters and sparkle, the shops are stacked to the rafters in delightful little numbers. I just want it all, hence the avoid. Then when it comes to sales and January I prefer to stay at home with a book or watch a film. I really do hibernate in January.

But enough of me - who by the way has been ultra busy this week, hence neglected blog soz - and back to the pick of the high street. Given there is so much to choose from it is hard to have a pick that is fully reflected of the offerings.

I think you will thank me for this truly versatile little number as it is getting really cold and this could be a useful clothing tool in the fight with Jack Frost.

It is the lovely colour, that suits all, for this time of year. It is easy to wear on show or hidden under dresses, jumpers and tops to keep you toasty. Better still, wear it at home with some silk pjs on, the top of the pyjamas open and you sipping a mug of hot chocolate whilst watching television - now that is an indulgent all round perfect December night you don't want to miss out on.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dress or shoes?

When it comes to the festive season if your budget is tight I always think it is a good idea to choose where to spend your money. Rather than split the budget over two items in the vein of 'they will do', why not look in your wardrobe and see what you can wear again with ease and then use the budget to get what you love.

What you choose to spend the budget on really does depend on whether you are a dress or shoe person. This year I only have one formal do to go to the other is an annual stylists night out so that is another level when it comes to dressing! Luckily I do have enough in my now officially full wardrobe to select for both occasions, however if I had to choose I think I might go for a dress. There are two high street dresses I love based on their cut although they are top end in terms of high street pricing.

I have shoes to work with both these dresses (court or sandal style would suit) so the budget would go on either one - whichever suited best and was in stock. But of course if you are a shoe person then you can forgo the dress, choose a good pair of shoes to wear again and again. Taking my dress hat off, these pair of beauties would work with any dress.

How handy is a shoe called papparazzi especially when it is in the sale. 

What would you choose if you could only pick one item  - dress or shoe?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Fat be gone update

It in the interests of over sharing progress I am happy to update you all on the CoolSculting treatment I recently received. Those of you with weak dispositions when it comes to matter of the flesh look away. My caveat is that of course you know I am no Victoria Pendleton or Jennifer Ennis when it comes to my core. And these are not professional before and after photos nor has 60 days elapsed, this is merely 30 days after the treatment. If I remember rightly 60 days is the clear benchmark of all you are going to achieve in respect of fat loss from the CoolSculpting treatment.

This was me a week after the CoolSculpting treatment at the Cosmetic Skin Clinic. My usual bedroom in front of mirror shot. I really am not going to reproduce the one at time of treatment - you can go and check the previous post for that! At this point I am really quite pleased all looking much better and the CoolSculpting guys make no claims about improvement until after 3 weeks.

Then today I thought must take a photo as it has been over 3 weeks - for my own interest. And here it is...

No trickery involved and I didn't have time to remove the washing from behind me (sorry). If this is as good as it gets then I am one happy bunny. The motivation to keep on with the good work means I've already booked in the Pilates classes again. As I said before the swimming and before that the running never got me a passable core before. It ain't perfect but it is my core and I can cha cha cha about it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Everyday I find myself bombarded by emails from absolute tosh. Really really rubbish emails from companies purporting to sell fashion and other things with a ridiculous intangible 'fashion' link. How do these people get hold of me!?

Luckily this in on my gmail account but I spend time I really don't want to unsubscribing from these hideous emails. Then on my business email account I get at least 8 French emails a day, which, guess what I have to unsubscribe from but they keep coming back.

This unsubscribe malarky is taking over my life. Time I could use for writing, responding to proper emails, tweeting or making a call. HOW did this happen. WHO decided to send out these emails and WHY me? I realise having a blog is half the problem but just because I have a blog which incidentally I  have had for six years doesn't make me a BLOGGER. I blog but I am not defined by this fact.

Yesterday I was finishing off some copy so I could soothe myself with edifying fashion pictures. I am sure if I was floating around in this number at home 'unsubscribe' would be more bearable!

image: Gucci S/S13 

Do you have to unsubscribe?

Monday, 19 November 2012

All that Glitters is not Gold

It seems I have saved myself a lot of stress by not watching the X Factor as the bookies and viewers golden girl Ella was the latest casualty of a series gripped by cruise ship and camp mania. It seems X Factor fans of old cannot reconcile themselves to the fact the people voting actually like the singing of Christopher and the weekly showmanship of Rylan. That is why in fashion land we need editors or opinion formers and trendsetters.

These folks can steer a fashion ship away from the rocks with a mere sartorial slight of the hand. It is the moment of perspective when advice is given that prevents us from donning gold lame frocks and chandelier earrings for a dinner do.

It is what should have happened to Darcy Busell on Saturday night's Strictly. I was taken aback by her pastiche referencing of 60s evening do. It was way off piste. The trick with referencing is to make it modern not a poor imitation or if you want to be exactly vintage then get every single aspect of the look correct including genuine articles of the time. Which brings me nicely to the point of the post - how to wear gold and glitter this festive season. My main concern is based around a lovely pair of glittery gold shoes from Zara bought this time last year. I love them and want to wear them but this year I have realised that they can't be part of a party outfit as the context for glitter is drawn.

The shift is to a casual sense of glamour - the idea you put on your straight jeans, which are slightly rolled up and you add a crew neck and then slip on your sparkly heels. Or you wear plain heels, block coloured trousers with a top that has glitter on it. Glitter and gold folks is firmly kept in rein with dignity, add chandelier earrings with trepidation.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fat be gone!

Often I have bemoaned the fact the Viva Mayr Clinic has never called me for a stay in the interest of journalistic promotion. Boy would I leap at subjecting myself to their principles and philosophy for well being. My biggest bug bearer when it comes to my body is the fact I have never been able to shake a pocket of very stubborn fat known affectionately as my Michelin tyre.

It is that sort of wobbly bulge that creates the muffin top look when you pull your skinny jeans on or wear a tight fitting dress or even try to layer with a sheer top. And the fact of the matter is I used to run half marathons, I lift weights and now I swim 2 to 3 miles a week. I'm no slouch in the exercise department. Don't forget I have a exuberant young pup to walk daily as well (and no we are not talking Mr MDS).

The issue in my latter years, advancing far away from my 20s and 30s, is that I have to choose as the French say 'between my face or my backside'. I've kept it polite! In reality I don't want to look tired and haggard or try faddy diets. People I like my food and drink intake. On the whole I'm pretty healthy with a good intake of vegetables, complex carbs and protein. Occasionally on my more hormonal days I do scoff some cake and chocolate. I don't drink that much even though occasionally I do go OTT but I can count those memorable drink indulgences on one hand in a year. In short I'm almost the same dress size I was at 21 - just a little bit bigger and heavier.

In the summer I had the most awful brush with campylobacter and lost 10lbs in a week. Then following this I went to Hong Kong and couldn't eat much due to my allergy to prawns. The weight loss did improve the tyre but at a cost. I was starving and listless.

When I was introduced to CoolSculpting my reaction was when! Reading the list of 9 points of why you would consider CoolSculpting to treat stubborn fat areas I could answer yes to all. Although not technically sacred of needles I wouldn't choose to encounter them unless absolutely necessary. After my initial consultation at the wonderful Cosmetic Skin Clinic (more about them later) a date was booked into the diary. The date was important as it was based around the need to film it all. Yes, I am a star, mainly one who shares all her fat! The idea that my fat cells could be frozen and then dispersed through the body's natural process of elimination was enough to get the tyre out. Having had the science explained I was prepared to find out how good the solution is.

The procedure was extremely simple and pretty painless. The assessment of suitability is the worst aspect, as I stood there with the lovely Dr Tracy Mountford happily grabbing my tummy area and stressing how suitable I was with a good wad of my tyre in her hands. After the assessment it was on to the real deal. If you read the CoolSculpting blurb it suggests you might email or read a book while the treatment is taking place. This conveys it isn't too unpleasant a procedure and it isn't. I did read a page of my book and probably did a couple of tweets but in the main I slept! Well no dog, no kids and no anybody at all demanding my attention -what would you do?

Please can I stay and sleep some more

The only bit I winced at very slightly was my after treatment massage. It seems some people like it and some don't. I fell into the latter. However this was my only moment of discomfort unless you count having to leave the clinic. It was so nice and relaxing there I wanted to stay. Two weeks on from the treatment I can honestly say I have noticed a slight improvement although I was clearly told the results aren't truly noticeable until after 3 weeks. My clothes do fit better, I'm less bulky and more toned. Also the whole experience motivated me. Sometimes when you keep hitting a brick wall no matter how hard you try, you can't help but think 'oh stuff it' and reach for a biscuit or skip the gym or a walk. Now I want to do push ups and sit ups every day. I have downloaded the apps!

So here is a before - I'm warning you it ain't pretty. Also I have in the interest of 'over' sharing taken one after a week. I think you might agree that there is a slight improvement. In a few weeks when I really notice the difference I will share again. After which you might be very insistent I return to rubbish shots of me with my clothes on!

Told you it wasn't a pretty sight, the redness is due to having been treated, the practice nurse wanted these shoots for her records and the film crew have them too!

No trickery involved this was a couple of days afterwards and whilst it is minus the redness I think you would agree there is progress. Of course the real results will only be apparent after 30 - 60 days but I'm so happy already I felt like over sharing!

It was an absolute privilege to review CoolSculpting as it is a non invasive procedure and the industry speak of 'downtime' i.e. recovery is zero. I drove myself home but thankfully didn't have to cook supper I had taken care of all that. The procedure is permanent to the fat cells that die. They are frozen and gone. It isn't a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise but it is a viable solution to addressing stubborn fat. The evidence is that the camera can't lie, well certainly my iPhone photos have no ability to fib and the results are evident to see. I am realistic I don't expect to look like Jennifer Ennis and the reduction will according to the number or percentage of cells frozen and killed off. By all accounts I had 'a good draw' that is in house speak for my fat got nicely sucked up into the machine and was being frozen. Therefore I'm crossing my fingers and toes for that 'good draw' to give me a good this errr stomach space.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A departure of a good kind

Recently this image appeared as my twitter profile photo. Quite a few people commented on twitter and facebook about it. Well, all will be revealed soon, but let me say this I look like I am in pain? No. Do I look slightly smug? Yes.

The reason for this image is very cool I can guarantee that!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Change the 'Speak'

If you follow me on twitter @MakeDoStyle or fashion journalist doyenne Hilary Alexander @HilaryAlexander you will know we have a pet hate at the moment mainly the use of cliches. Hilary has for years been a real hoot when tweeting about Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor. Many a Saturday night I have had to send her a tweet simply saying 'Hilary!' when she has shown appreciation of good looks and muscles of the male dancers or contestants.

The lovely Hilary Alexander

After enjoying Skyfall on Saturday evening I managed to catch up on the Strictly tweets having missed it and caught the end of X Factor when low and behold one of the judges uttered the immortal words 'you owned it' in reference to a contestant's song choice. Ugh, in fact triple ugh!

Of course I tweeted my disdain and right back at me Hilary added 'you nailed it'. There are so many X Factor speak cliches it is untrue. Last year when I still loved X Factor and the year before lots of us used to play hashtag xfactorbingo (I haven't completely mastered the Mac yet and don't know how to do the hashtag symbol!).

But the real point of this post is to out dreadful fashion speak. Hilary tweeted me the next day to suggest that while we are on the subject of appalling X Factor speak maybe it wouldn't harm to bin a few fashion speak horrors as well, namely 'statement necklace', 'hero jacket', and 'power cardigan'. Let's face it fashion journalism is awash with tired lazy cliches and many fashion bloggers ape the speak too.

Top of my list  of fashion speak to go would be 'versatile' (I am guilty of this one), 'team with', 'modern twist' and  'off duty' plus a whole host of adjectives like playful and decedent preceding the garment concerned. It would require a lot more thought to write a piece!

What fashion speak would you bin?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Dress me!

What if you only had enough money to buy one item of clothing and you really needed it to work hard for you? My view on this is always buy a dress. Lots of you will shout but I'm not a dress person. This is most unfortunate. Go out and embrace the dress. With a dress you can layer, under or over. You can pretend it is a skirt by putting a top over it. It works well with tights, a jacket and dare I say a cardigan (note not the use of the phrase 'power cardigan')

Quite frankly a dress is not to be sniffed at. On Sunday night I saw my dream dress on Claudia Winkleman. It was black, hurrah, and it was by Isabel Marant, not so hurrah 'cos of price. Oh well. But if I were to recommend a dress in the reasonable priced mid range which is high end High Street - sorry but low and middle end won't do if you want to LOVE it and buy it to last a few seasons - then I would say Whistles would be just the ticket. Jane Shepherson the CEO of Whistles has finally got it right methinks. I have struggled with Whistles, wanting to love it but always hesitating over the offering. However it is really coming along quite nicely and offers women options for their wardrobe that exude grown upness. I'm still failing on that point but am going to try harder, let's call it work in progress.

My selection is based on all of the above and if I had a few spare pennies I would buy it. The colour is flattering to all, the lace is seductive not slutty and you can wear it day or night.

Friday, 9 November 2012

All about the legs

It was touching and uplifting to read all your comments on my previous post about a Zara skirt It was a mixed bag in a good way of understanding caution and blasting of don't get caught up in this sort of trap.

To celebrate the fact this is my first post on my new Macbook Pro and the fact for 3 days, due to no laptop, I did nothing other than potter and watch SATC the series...I give you my legs. My legs wearing Primark tights - get them they are a bargain-ous £3 - and the Zara skirt. I have 3 looks going on. Two different pairs of heels and then the skirt and legs in military coat and biker boots. I wanted to be able to do day and night in the skirt. You know what I think I've learnt where there is a will there is a way... you can pull off any look if you truly want to.

Zara skirt worn with Boden wedge heels 

 Zara skirt with Zara basic ankle strap heels

Primark tights (in the fashion hosiery section)

The day look, Zara skirt worn with coat (from Zara1 Yes I have a Zara problem but that is another post) and years old biker boots from Gap. Above the flash version to show the tights, below the overall look.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Computer says No!

My trusty Sony Viao of over 7 years bit the dust on Friday. I am in the process of making a new purchase. In the meantime no posts and no opportunity to read your blogs. Who knew extracting data from dead laptop and reading up on a new one would be so time consuming.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

When you wake up too old

I love this skirt from Zara.

I've got a good pair of legs and on that basis with a nice pair of tights what is to stop me. My age and lifestyle. Somehow this look doesn't translate to a mother in the suburbs who mainly works from home as a writer and the occasional styling job. If I were younger and if I were a woman not in possession of children and all my other things I would happily snaffle it up. How did this happen? I've basically woken up too old to buy certain clothes. Why, I avoided some great camouflage trousers the other day for a camouflage scarf based on the same reasoning. Mmm That's Not My Age is going to have to give me a good steer away from the short skirts and a talking to on casual glamour.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

High St Pick of the Week

How many trends and micro trends are there? Who knew that anything goes really is the truth when it comes to fashion these days. My task is to pick an item that defines the season as of the last week of October - don't expect it to last until November!

For one week only I'm suggesting you get owl(ed) up. In fact I'm giving you three micro trends for the price of one item, shirt (tick) detail on collar (tick) owl print (tick). Wear this shirt with jeans, a skirt or under a shift dress.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Poppy Power

Progress isn't always a good thing but sometimes it most definitely is, especially in the case of wearing poppies in honour of soldiers. As start of the First World War nearly a century ago approaches the danger of history is the lessons of the past are no longer drawn upon. The Royal British Legion has to battle it out with other 'good' causes and many due to the whys of recent wars some of us struggle to find the relevance.

Lets not forget the reality of humankind is that our progress is faltering in many departments but the fallen, the injured, the widowed and the children still rely on the Poppy Appeal to provide welfare for serving and ex-service people from across all the Armed Forces.

Sometimes fashion really does lend a helping hand with the advent of the poppy as a piece to wear with pride and style during the Poppy Appeal run up to Armistice Day on November 11th. I've already bought mine and as well as donating by buying the poppy to wear with ease, I also happily donate my lose change to the collection tins.

I bought my poppy from aptly named Poppy Sparkles for £9.00 including UK postage the poppies can be brought from Viv or via her Etsy shop.

On the high street Marks and Spencer are 'bedazzling' us with their Diamant√© Encrusted Remembrance Day Poppy Brooch £15  - this is a real wow poppy that I need for night time. Currently it is the easiest way to transform your day to night look! The M&S diamant√© brooches are available in stores and online.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Somerset Passion & Fashion

It seems the notion of six degrees of separation is bringing me and Alice Temperley ever closer. Given her parents have a cider farm in Somerset and my father has recently provided a cider press illustration for a book on a Somerset family it surely means we must soon meet and chink a glass of cider ourselves.

There is much to admire about Alice Temperley, her designs and success but more importantly it is her recent collaboration with John Lewis and her Somerset range that will surely endear her to the masses. Before writing this post I popped into John Lewis to have a good look at the collection. It is true to the aesthetics of Temperley London designs and reflects an idyll of living in the country which works as well for an urban city dweller.

Somerset is a county that is often neglected being neither Cornwall or offering the Cotswold's as does Gloucestershire. Although of course Somerset does have Glastonbury! It is an area of the country synonymous with cider and apples. Somerset has no pretensions, it is an easy going sort of place and quietly gets along with its own business of farming and remaining essentially a collection of towns and villages. Unless you count Bath and Bristol there is no major conurbation still in the 21st century.

Hence the romance of the Somerset collection in John Lewis

Yet the fashion for Somerset is not merely restricted to actual fashion garments nor is it merely the romantic conception of Alice Temperley. Somerset is alive and breathing in an amazing family tale of village life and a snapshot of social history in the book The Wrong Side of the Track

It is the opposite of Temperley's Somerset with its almost stately reverence and is a reflection of the village life of the workers, often the hardships of ordinary folk mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. Yet the same romance and magic that Temperley plays upon is captured in this book due to the interweaving of narrative and memoirs, historical investigation and reflection and ultimately the complexities of the family. Trish Jennings pays tribute to her father Fred Jennings as the last male of the family line in this book. It is all there in words in the way the popular BBC series 'Who do you think you are' can only touch upon. One of the most enlightening and amazing facts of the book is that the village of Shapwick suffered no male losses during both World Wars. There is much more to this book than mere pleasant facts as everything about the family is laid bare.

At £12.75 on Amazon 'The Wrong Side of the Track' is a lot cheaper than the Somerset line in John Lewis, but they both go hand in hand. Both are a homage to a county that is held dear to many. The rich jewel of Temperley and her Somerset designs are supplemented by the richness of exploration of Somerset village life in the Jennings book.

Therefore, I suggest you buy a dress from Somerset by Alice Temperley to look the part for the festive season and you have 'The Wrong Side of the Track' ready for January to read and digest the detail of a bygone era .

Friday, 19 October 2012

10 things I didn't know would happen with a dog

When I foolishly listened to the petit garcon and ceded to his plea for a puppy, other than the practicalities of walking, dog food, pet insurance, vet fees for jabs and sundries like bedding stuff, I really had no idea what it would be like.

1. I never knew that the dog we got, Patches Valentino, would become so fond of me. He loves and adores me and now I know why homeless people and drug addicts have dogs. They really are company and devoted company to boot.

2. I would know the names of around 20 dogs but not a single name of the owner.

3. That Wilkinson is the best place to buy doggie poo bags. Wilkinson is the new improved better Woolworths but this fact is a separate post to come!

4. That dogs are super playmates. When you are the youngest child you have nothing to look after or boss around and your dog fits that bill perfectly.

5. That there is a whole industry built around dogs - dog walkers, dog groomers, dog holidays, dog clothes, accessories, toys - you name it there is a doggy version.

6. That some dogs i.e. my dog is a cartoon dog come to life. He chews socks, buries bones, digs for things and like sticks. Often people call him Snowy as he looks like Snowy from Tintin. I loved Tintin books and always wanted Snowy as a child. The petit garcon has a cuddly toy he has had from birth called Snowy (who is slightly grey now and due for a wash) so it is amazing that we have ended up with a real life Snowy.

7.  That walking the dog would be such an enjoyable experience. It really it a necessity come what may and surprisingly it is a real bonus for your health and happiness. There is a lot of pleasure to be derived from a walk and I feel safe and secure with the dog.

8. You talk to strangers a lot. I thought I was a bit of a Welsh windbag when it came to striking up conversations quite happily in any situation but now I have all these people who talk to ME! All because of the dog. My engagement with society has broadened. I had no idea there were all these people who loved dogs and don't necessarily have their own.

9. That I would need a whole new dog walking wardrobe. Currently I'm making do with what I have but seriously I could pull together a good look if I had the funds. You really do need specific things and it isn't Parisian chic when you have a Parson Russell Terrier.

10.  That I would have to write a letter apologising for the behaviour of my dog. Never had to do this with the children but my naughty little pup decided to bully, yes bully, another really lovely sweet dog. He got a whiff of power and it went to his head. Unlike the BBC with Jimmy Saville I recognised the signs and have had to stop walking him at the same time and write to the owner as I didn't get a chance to properly apologise as the poor woman was rescuing her dog from the clutches of mine. You would never think it was the same dog who lies in my arms for cuddles and really stupid doggy talk (yep I do that and I didn't know I had it in me) and he really doesn't behave like that with any other dog whatsoever.. Mortifying but all part of having a dog it seems!