I'm not going to lie - before I had my boys, I would have loved a girl. A girl to go shopping with and with whom I could share clothes providing I hadn't turned in to a heffer moose by the time she reached teenagedom. But as it is, I have been blessed with two lovely boys when they behave and are not bickering or fighting or killing each other on Minecraft and in real life. But the clothes sharing and the shopping is not really happening (big sigh).
However, last week when I was doing a playground stint at the York Outlet, I managed to have a nosey in the Gap outlet store. And I happened on a blue stripe cotton sweatshirt for Ben. I picked the age 8-9 years as befitting a boy just turned 8, paid my £7 and left the shop.
At home, I took it out of the bag and thought - hmm - it looks rather big. It actually looks big enough to fit me. Could it be that Ben has reached the age where maybe we can share clothes? By that I mean, I wear them first, when I tire of them, I hand them over. Not the other way round. I see what he does to his clothes and some of those stains ain't coming out for love, Vanish or money.
So I tried it on and well what do you know? It fits!
Gap Boys Sweatshirt (outlet), Zara chopped skinnies (old), Carvela sandals (old)
However, it is really big on Ben (comes mid thigh) so I think I'd better look after it for him till it fits him - get my moneys worth and all that.
Makes sense right? :o)
I made a couple of updates to my denim wardrobe. Just a few subtle changes but enough to make me feel like I'm still hanging on in there.
Update 1. Big Turn Ups.
It's not escaped my attention that there seems to a big turn up thing going on at the moment. I always associated it more with the dark stiff selvedge raw denim kind of jeans but lately the faded blues are getting a bit of a look in too.
And I'm late to this one as I actually said that I couldn't do the big turn ups thing on Sharron's blog Style At Every Age when she posted about them as I said they made my legs look even shorter than they already were but I walked away thinking - why can't I? And the reason was, because I was cuffing the wrong jeans. I was trying to do it on my skinnies and it was looking all kinds of wrong on me. The look isn't about cuffing skinny jeans, it'a a more slouchy laid back kind of look.
The jeans which probably kicked off this trend and everyone seems to be raving about is the MIH Phoebe mid rise, slouch leg jeans with it's sliced off hem turn ups.
Now, I don't have any old slouchy jeans which I particularly want to cut the hems off to attempt this look with. But I do have a pair of old New Look straight legs which are the perfect length for turning up to try this look. Not as loose as the Phoebes but I have to say, I don't suit really baggy jeans. They make me look well ... baggy.
Carvela sandals (old), New Look Jeans (old), Nail Polish - OPI Skyfall
Normally I turn these up a couple of times to work the boyfriend look and have been doing this with these jeans for the last 2-3 years but it struck me that the bigger turn ups would bring me up to date and make me look more current. You need at the very least a pair of straight legs so they can skim but not touch your ankles. You're going for that half mast look which you see on kids who have had a growth spurt and suddenly their trousers are swinging around their ankles because their mums have forgotten to let the hems down ... by about a year.
I could have gone the whole hog and cut the hems off to get a similar raw edge effect as the MIH Phoebes but I actually like my jean hems which have the frayed tatty bits on the back of them where I've scuffed the ground with them - these are jeans which have genuinely been round the block a few times - they've earned their hems. Having looked at the 2014 picture above, I've actually turned these up another cm since (go me!).
And if I could be bothered to attempt to do this properly - I think I would actually buy a pair of men's jeans in a slim/straight cut as they tend to be cut a little looser on the calf and you would be able to get the swingy effect of the Phoebe's without the £200+ price tag (ouch). As you can tell - I have given this far too much thought whilst sat in too many play parks for far too many hours these past two weeks and if the Easter holidays had been another week longer, I might have done it in a fit of madness. Also if you are going to do this and you have swingy hems - can I recommend an iron of the hem to "cement" it and a couple of stitches either side just to hold the turn ups in place and stop them from falling back down.
Update 2. Cut Off Hems.
No one's really mentioned these anywhere that I know of but I just fancied having a bit of a play with some of my old jeans which I had fallen out of love with. I had a pair of old Zara skinnies which were banished to the spare bedroom clothes graveyard. I dragged them out and thought "ey up" (well I was born and bred in Yorkshire), had a funny brainwave moment and proceeded to hack the hems off using the method I blogged here.
Well I sort of like what I did but I don't think I did it on the best jeans for the job. But they will do for the summer and they make a nice change from turn ups.
Update 3. Normcore Jeans
Well this was a little unintentional and just happened to coincide with the "Normcore" trend. This strange term has been banded around a bit and there are many takes on it but I like the description of "understated non descript style" rather than "boring". Err ... what I am guilty of wearing most of the time and doesn't always get featured on the blog. I became aware of the Normcore phenomena on Alyson's That's Not My Age blog and the Uniqlo jeans she featured on there are the exact pair which I happen to have. Oh oh! And there was also a grey sweatshirt featured. And a mention of some New Balance trainers. I have all three! Oh oh!
So here I am chanelling Normcore. I even thought I'd throw in a rucksack for extra Normcore'ness.
Can I just tell you about the rucksack. When I was dragged kicking and screaming to go walking in the Lake District ten years ago, I was gently coerced in to the whole thing by the promise of new (walking) boots and a bag. The bag turned out to be this rucksack. I was offered a bright orange horrid cheapo thing and I shook my head and then pointed at the silver and black kick ass Lowe Alpine number hanging on the wall which cost oodles more. I thought it had a touch of DKNY about it circa early 2000s (yes I am that sad and deluded). Besides, if you make me walk up mountains. I make you pay ... literally.
Anyway, back to my Normcore jeans. I bought the Uniqlo Skinny Fit Jeans in shade 65 blue.
As you can see, mine looked nothing like the picture above in terms of colour. They are a more dare I say it "stonewashed" blue in real life. But the fit was good and I liked the skinny straight leg fit that they were on me. For the record, for those who like skinny jeans which taper right in to give you the full carrot effect, these are not the jeans for you. For those who don't want that and want a slim jean but not as wide a hem as some of the straight leg offerings out there - these are pretty good.
Anyway, a crotch shot for you ....
... just to show you the whiskering on the jeans which is done quite subtly rather than the big tiger stripes which so many companies are guilty of doing on their jeans. And they blend nicely in to the natural creases as well. Oh gosh, these are so Normcore, it hurts.
I bought these in a size 27 which I would equate with a UK 10 for those who have ever wondered about ordering Uniqlo jeans and don't understand their sizing. I didn't either but followed their instructions of measuring an existing pair of jeans to compare the measurements and lo and behold it worked. I got the impression that they give a little with wear and chose to size down to a 27 whereas I take a 28 in other stores. This is the fit around the top of the jeans ....
No gaps around the back.
I also had to hack off about 4 inches and do my original hem trick which I explained here previously.
Spot the join on the hem!
But they are quite comfy and haven't overstretched or anything during the time I've had them and worn them. Do I love them - no. Because they weren't the exact shade of blue I had in mind but if they had been, I would have been over the moon because I couldn't fault the fit (no camel toes here). Besides, it's a bit of a struggle to work through the variations in denim shades online so if you get the chance - just shop in store and besides, you can get your jeans shortened if necessary for free if you spend over £19.90.
So that's my my little denim update and here's my little photo bomber who thought he'd help out whilst he's on his Easter hols.
Chip off the old block!
.... going ....
Don't worry, he didn't really fall down the stairs!
I was doing the ironing and I'd just taken my joggy bots out of the laundry bag and was just checking to see if they had shrunk by trying them on when I had a brainwave. I was going to see if I could work this sports luxe trend. As the Grumps likes to point out "I am easily distracted".
By sports luxe, I'm going by Frances' definition of :
"... think sports clothing shapes in luxe fabrics worn with heels or mixed with sharp tailoring. This is not an 80's shell suit look, this is grown up, glamorous sportswear with a luxurious elegant twist".
Hmm .... well thankfully the Isabel Marant for H&M joggy bots hadn't shrunk in the wash so that's my sports clothing shape bit sorted. I also have my Tesco F&F ivory shell top with it's clean lines which I'm passing off as sharp tailoring and lastly, I have my M&S snakeskin heels from last year for the worn with heels bit. Here goes ....
Tesco F&F top, H&M joggy bots (old), M&S heels (old)
Hmmm. Not quite feeling it yet. Something is missing. How about a parka? Yeah. Now I'm feeling it a bit more .....
Topshop Parka (old)
.... and the finishing touch .... a baseball cap!
Was the cap too much? Sheesh. I always over do it. But that was fun. Well it was more fun than the ironing :o)
Like the Grumps says - I am easily distracted!
Last note :
- Replace the heels for some trainers or Birks and you have a perfectly normal workable, wearable, walkable in outfit. Baseball cap optional :o)
- The Isabel Marant for H&M joggers are from last year's collaboration and from the boys section. They go a bit baggy at the knee after an hour or so of wearing which unfortunately make me look a bit Nora Batty. I also cut the bottoms of them off because I was being a bit daft and didn't know what I was doing. They are now consigned to homewear. You live and learn .... you live and learn :o(
- If anyone can recommend some nice charcoal slim cut jersey (not too thin) joggers which don't cost too much, don't bag too much and don't have any zips on the bottom, I would be most grateful. Thank you.
Last year I saw some Seed Heritage espadrilles on Jamie-lees blog Mademois-elle. BIG love. A plainer take on the Chanel espadrilles which flooded the blogsphere.
So I was over the moon when Topshop produced the Koala espadrilles. But first I had to get my head around all the colour combinations they had (unfortunately no ivory and black) and I finally settled on the black.
And when I went to hit the buy button - they had sold out in my size online and at my store. Pffft! Undeterred, I found out the Grumps was going to London and hatched a cunning plan. A plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel*. I did my homework and armed with a list of where there might be some pairs in London, I set my poor London based niece to task on my shoe mission. She was also instructed to pay for them in cash so I could exchange them should something go wrong - see I even had a back out plan in place! Then on the Monday evening when the Grumps was in London, they needed to do the exchange. Cash for Shoes. It was so well planned and thought out, I gave myself a pat on the back.
What I didn't plan for however was the fact that I didn't like the way they looked on my feet. They fitted, they were a perfect untouched pair, really soft suede and leather but they made me look like I was doing P.E. at school - remember the little black plimsolls that you had to change in to for P.E? Bad. Very bad. And if looks could kill, I would have been ten feet under when I fessed up to the Grumps that I didn't like them after he had hauled them back from London for me. :o(
So I was over the moon when Next launched these two tone leather espadrilles which looked like the perfect dupe for the Seed Heritage espadrilles.
I couldn't order them fast enough. They came and I was so excited! I carefully unwrapped the first shoe and oh the disappointment! They were a dull (greyish) cream leather rather than a light ivory which is what I wanted them to be and they were a bit gappy. However, after I tried them on again, I appreciated the fact that they were leather lined and and the insole appears to have extra cushioning so they're kind to your feet. But the colour was off. I could have lived with the slightly gappy if they had been the right colour but they're not. So back they go.
I'm getting my head around kimonos at the moment. I think they might be the answer to my summer cover up prayers. I don't like my arms and I don't get them out unless it's blistering hot but I think a light kimono might just do the trick of keeping me cool but covered.
And so the voices started whispering to me ("kimono, kimono, kimono") especially after I saw Janelle at The Style Eater wearing hers and looking seriously cool and awesome. How perfect is this look?
So I took note and ordered her kimono because I adored the print. And I ordered another one as well which she mentioned because I haven't an original bone in my body.
The kimono worn by Janelle proved to be a bit meh on me. It's a little heavier than I imagined (viscose jersey and lined) and the sleeves finished a little shorter than I liked. The cut was a bit saggy baggy too which resulted in some funny flaps by my hips. It wasn't meant to be.
ASOS kimono (sold out), H&M linen tee, Topshop Jamie jeans, Primark sandals
But the other one? I think this one has something going for it ....
New Look Kimono, Uniqlo IDLF Tee, Zara Jeans, Primark Sandals
A little bit ethnic, a little bit Persian carpet. It is however, very light and there is much less fabric to deal with. This one floats and wafts and that's because it's a mid weight polyester and unlined. But don't go all sniffy on me because it's a manmade fabric - you've got to remember, polyester is virtually crease resistant and as this is not clingy, its not going to make you a sweaty Betty either! The cut on this is also a zillion times better (for me) than the first one. Think about going on holiday with one of these in your suitcase. You arrive, take it out of your case, give it a shake and you're good to go! Wear over a swimsuit, a playsuit, a dress, a jumpsuit or just a vest top and denim shorts! Sorted. Tis a garment of holiday wonder!
Besides, I also fancy wafting in to the school playground in a kimono rather than a cardi for a change. Let's live a little eh?
By the way, I'm not actually a kimono virgin. I already have this little lovely.
Meet my old Topshop kimono in all it's cream and grey glory. It's not often I am grabbed by a print but this oriental brushstroke pattern reeled me in good and proper and it's never let go. My only grumble - it's a shortie. It's longer at the front and more cropped at the back - I wish it was the longer length all way round then I don't need to worry about what my backside looks like. I actually have a secret hankering for a black jumpsuit to wear with it but oh the thought of my backside in a jumpsuit conjures up an image of a bag of marbles.
But I did wear it to a 40th birthday party the other year with a black dress like this.
ASOS black dress (old), Nine West Shoes (old)
Told you they were versatile didn't I?
So what do you think? Is it a yes for kimonos or are they a Kimo(NO)?
Do you have one?
Do you need one?
I was going through some looks on Pinterest and came across this one. I pinned it a little while back. Not the most inspired - a stripey top and a pair of jeans but this one is quite interesting to me because I actually have all the components to put this together.
- Breton with mid blue stripes. Yup.
- Black belt. Yup.
- Boyfriend jeans. Yup.
- Red pointy shoes. Yup.
- Blonde hair. Err no.
- Long legs. Err no.
Never mind the last two, let's plough on.
- Tripod. Yup.
- Camera. Yup.
- Timer set. Yikes.
- Sprint, pose and dodgy fake smile. Phew!
Johnnie B top, Zara jeans, M&S belt, Jigsaw shoes, Own Garden Fence
Well that killed 20 mins this afternoon :o)
Last Note :
- The stripey top is my old Johnnie B Breton dress which I had chopped down in to a top because I couldn't leave well alone. Last seen here in it's full length glory!
Handmade by me!
I was feeling quite proud of myself last week that I seemed to have stepped up the old blogging a bit and then Mothers Day threw me a curve ball on Monday. A seemingly harmless chat in the school playground resulted in me spending the last few nights sewing 21 of these padded heart thingies to be sold at the Mother's Day afternoon tea which is being held tomorrow at school. The children can bring in £1 to buy their mums a present and they will also be serving us drinks and biscuits. So not much blogging going on chez Sue's but lots of sewing of padded hearts instead.
I confess, I've never made one of these things before and now look - I've made 21 of them! By the way, I didn't pick the colour scheme - I was handed purple and pink gingham fabric and a bag of stuffing and off I went. Didn't I do well? Feel free to clap.
A couple of things I learnt along the way - I can't machine stitch round a curve so I had to do a lot of hand sewing to get them just so. And another thing is - a chopstick is good after you've sewed up the hearts to prod out the edges. Not too sharp so it won't go through your seams - just incase you come over all Sewing Bee.
And because we had no lavender to put inside them, I popped them all in a bag overnight with a Jo Malone drawer liner sachet to fragrance them a little. Ingenious! I do hope the mums like Lime Basil & Mandarin!
And because I've been pottering away at home, this is what I've been pottering around in ....
Tesco shell top, Uniqlo cashmere cardigan, Zara scarf, Zara jeans, Costco/Kirkland Uggy Boots
I broke out the Tesco ivory shell top today (first time) but I couldn't ditch the grey habit and went with the old faithful Uniqlo grey cardi. This cardi is a hardworking piece and credit to it, it doesn't pill. I pulled on a few other cardigans to try but somehow this one just feels right when I pull it on. And an old Zara scarf which is a bit of a favourite. I had my friend L2 come round the other day and offloaded about ten scarves on to her and she enquired about this one. Not on your nelly, mate. And did anyone notice anything about my Uggy slippers? The old grey ones have been officially ditched and binned. They gave me 18 months good service of pretty constant wear with a slight reprieve in the summer but I had to finally call time on them. But no fear - I had my backups ready and waiting in chocolate brown suede.
School run time meant the slippers were swapped for black ballet pumps - can't beat a pair of ballet pumps for ease and quickness and the old Mango jacket was dug out.
Matalan Ballet Pumps, Mango Coat/Jacket
So just a quick post to keep me ticking over and to show you my lovely hearts - can you tell I'm rather proud of my efforts?
Last Note :
- The Jo Malone Scent sachets are currently Blackberry & Bay. Mine are circa 2012 which were Lime Basil and Mandarin.
Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.
- 2014 (24)
- 2013 (115)
- 2012 (116)
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