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.