Well it was never going to happen me splashing out on a Mansur Gavriel tote no matter how much I like them.






But I think I can stretch to this little number from Zara for now. 







Try as I might, I don't seem to get away from tote bags as I still seem to be in the habit of carrying every man and his sons' junk for them when we go out. This one caught my eye because of it's uncanny resemblance to the Mansur Gavriel bags. That flash of inside colour is a winner isn't it?

Anyway, this bag clearly is not leather for it's price but it's not a bad man made faux leather - I'm okay with carrying it and put it this way, I won't have to go through that pain when it gets it's first scratch if it was the real deal and I paid the real price. Ouch. 

And if you get bored with it being black, you can have a red bag day instead - Zara didn't call it a reversible shopper for nothing. 

(I prefer the black side)


-------------------------------


Last Note :

  • If you have kids, this would be a fab bag for taking swimming gear in.
  • I wonder how long it will be before Zara bring a bucket bag version out.
  • Update 16/09/14 07:05am. I woke up and decided I don't actually need this bag as I have a Longchamp tote which is a similar size and does the job equally well and is more me. Gah! Apologies everyone - I don't know my own mind sometimes and I really shouldn't blog late at night. 







I have a little framed picture of myself in a frock standing outside the old family house in Hong Kong. It's a sweet little frock and I am rocking some awesome frilly ankle socks. I never thought much about that picture and what I was wearing but my sister said to me one day when she saw the picture "I remember that dress. I made you it". It turns out my sister was quite good with a sewing machine and as we were not wealthy, she used to use her wages and walk down in to the village and buy some fabric and make me my dresses. I look at that picture in a new light now because my sister took the trouble to do that for me. I must have been damned cute :o)

The thing is ... I don't really remember that little dress very well at all but there are a few which do stir up some memories. There was one particular dress which I remember well. It was made from a white seersucker fabric and it had red trims (bias binding) on the short sleeves and collar and was empire line. It had a little pocket. With a red strawberry on it. It looked a little like this.



I also had a lemon version. Same design, same fabric, yellow bias binding and with a lemon on the pocket. I remember I always wanted to wear the strawberry one and not the lemon one. So do you know what I used to do? I used to crayon all over the yellow one and pretend it was dirty. I feel quite guilty now but at the time, no remorse! And yes, I now realise I was a horrid little brat!

My next memorable dress looked a bit like this.




My sister also knocked this one up and it looked like something Laura Ashley would have quite happily put her name to. In a mossy green floral fabric (it was the seventies) - this one had ties at the side to make a lovely bow detail at the back and it had a deep swooshy bottom frill. If you swished this way, it swished with you and then wrapped itself around your legs. If you swished the other way, it did it but the other way. If you went swish, swish, swish, you fell over after you got yourself all tangled up in it. And I loved the fact that it was a long dress because long dresses are special aren't they? Even now (excluding summer maxis) when do you wear a proper full length dress? For a special occasion, that's when! And I have to say that I wore that dress till it became a midi because I didn't want to give it up ... and also because I couldn't fasten it up.

I had a school skirt that my sister made for me too. A circular skirt. A navy blue polyester number  which nipped right in at the waist and flared right out again. Another swish swish swish number. It was cool ... and long. The idea was that I would grow in to it and at the start of the year it was mid calf and by the end of the year I remember it was above my knee. I even recall the teachers saying how tall I'd grown. I had a big growth spurt that year and then I stopped growing ... forever.




And last but not least when I was about 5 or 6 I had a awesome fake fur hat with furry pom pom ties.  It was so lovely and soft. I remember the teacher putting it on me and saying how cute I looked before sending me out of the door to meet my mum in the playground. I really loved that hat. Years later, I found one similar but somehow, I didn't look as good in it as I imagined I would. Not cute. Quite demented actually.




That's just some little memories of mine - related to clothing - which seem to have somehow stuck in my mind. I guess I must always have loved clothes and fashion. I know there are things like wedding dresses and celebrations where you have reasons to buy something special but do you have any fond memories of something you loved or wore from way back when or which had meaning for you?

Do tell.


------------------------------

Last Note :

  • I'm no Garance Dore but it was fun to doodle. I haven't done that in a long time :o)




Well the boys have been back in school the last few days and my sanity is slowly being restored. First day back was this Tuesday just gone. And for once, I was all prepared and ready. I had their uniforms hanging up ready, everything labelled, P.E. bags assembled, drinks bottles done. We even walked it to school. And I was so prepared - I was the first person through the school gates and 15 minutes early and believe me that never happens! I am that mother throwing one child through one doorway and charging across the playground with the other trying to scrape through before they lock the doors. Don't believe me? Ask the other mums.

This was  my ensemble ....



Old top, H&M jeans, Manebi espadrilles


A pretty top for the lovely sunny morning it was on Tuesday. I was a happy soul and it was nice to catch up with the other mums in the playground who I've not seen since the start of the holidays. 

Anyway, do I have any tips after 4 years doing the school run?

Yes - two tips actually. The first tip is take a big bag with you to help with all their gumph that they lug along. First day of school and I was feeling kind and I wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything so I crammed everything in to my Kate Moss freebie tote which the sales assistant let me keep when I returned the Kate Moss Topshop boho top earlier this year.





As you can see, it fits a lot ...

.... and on some days, there will be even more ....


More often than not, when they finish school, they come running out with bottles, lunch bags, coats, jumpers and some weird recycled structure they have made from a cereal box and a kitchen roll tube (no toilet roll tubes are allowed anymore believe it or not (health and safety gone mad)). They will then proceed to throw all this stuff at you. This is where the bag comes in to it's own - just throw everything in instead of dropping bits left right and centre as you try to keep up with them racing off down the street. I usually let them carry some of their own stuff but some times I take pity and help them out ... like when I see them trailing their jumpers along the floor and I can't stand it any more - arghgh!

And the second tip - label their clothes. Especially if you have same sex siblings. I have George who is 5 and Ben who is 8. What happens through the year is the smaller sibling grows and the older siblings clothes shrink. There comes a point where it's a bit touch and go and you don't know whose clothes belong to whom. So label them for your own sanity and your older child's dignity as well as the sensible reason that you can easily find them in the school's lost property. I can tell you hand on heart that Ben was not impressed when he came home from sports club wearing George's P.E. t-shirt which looked like a crop top on him. #truestory


-----------------------------

Last Note :

  • Any little gems you want to pass on to help with the school run? I already know the one about a good coat to hide all sins i.e. you're actually still in your pyjamas!







I was having a nosey at the Matches website and the title "How To Wear : The New Denim" caught my eye. Along with some nice pictures of ladies in tan/camel/beige clothing and jeans. Cool. 





This means I can drag out my old beige/oatmeal cashmere boyfriend jumper out of hibernation and whack on my jeans (which I do every day anyway) and tan sandals and pretend that I am all fashion and with it :o)




George Cashmere Jumper, Topshop Necklace, Jigsaw Bag, New Look Jeans, H&M Sandals



And I like the suggestions they've pulled together to work this look because I bet we've all got a little bit of tan/camel/beige in our wardrobes just busting a gut to have it's moment!




Anyway, I found a few beige/camel/tan items on my travels which might be of interest to you :


The Budget Friendly Cashmere Jumper :

I like a bit of a cashmere. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll take cheap cashmere over similar priced lambswool any day - it's still softer!



This slouchy H&M number is not dissimilar in style to mine but the colour is definitely more camel whereas mine is "oatmeal" but it's in that colour group if you give it a lot of leeway. I've not had any experience with H&M cashmere - they never stock it in the Leeds stores so I can't vouch for how well it washes and wears but I can't really say I've had many problems with my cheap cashmere knits. Besides, the cheaper they are, the more likely I am to wear them. I'm less "precious".

And I've just thought, there are always the men's Uniqlo cashmere v-necks to investigate. This one is nice but it doesn't have the deep v which makes for a more feminine take on this kind of jumper.


The Not Quite As Friendly on the Purse Cashmere Jumper



This has a neater narrower neckline than on the H&M jumper but is still quite deep which will probably be a lot more flattering on. I bought and tried on a number of v-neck jumpers earlier this year and I was trying to work out why one jumper was more flattering than another and a lot of it was to do with the way the V is cut. Narrower deep V shapes are more flattering than the wide V's and will also stay in place better. Well at least for me. And you get a bit of nice cuff detailing here on the J Crew jumper here. As for the feel and wear - you tell me, if you order one :o)


The Affordable Cardigan

Well it was near the jumper when I was looking around!



I like a boyfriend cardigan - I wear my grey Uniqlo cashmere one a lot and this is a similar shape so it should be a nice sling it on number. And I think the lack of buttons means you can style this up by belting it with your own leather belt to add interest to an otherwise plain solid piece. Or you could buy it and the jumper together and have a twin set. Infact, twinsets have not been in fashion for some time so I'm pretty sure it's only a matter of time before twinsets have their moment again - right?


The Not So Affordable Cardigan :

This one costs a few more pennies and pounds.



The Acne Denice Cardigan. Big cardigans are in I believe. This one is a good one - the shape is almost kimono like and I like that's it's a boiled wool - it saves you the trouble of shrinking it yourself. The wide sleeves are good for all that layering you're going to be doing when the temperatures plummet and to really get your money's worth out of it - you can wear it as a dressing gown too! 


The Nice Bag :

Sweet isn't it?



This is the Eric bag from Mimi Berry. A brand which I've started getting quite interested in since I discovered this little beauty. I think of them as a more affordable less ostentatious Mulberry. And that's good in my books. Now this is a lovely rich colour going by the photo and wouldn't this shout out against what you're wearing? I think that once this is carried lots, it will take on a lovely patina and tell the world how much it is loved. And if Eric is a little small - take a look at Frank (I love the names!).


The Other Bag :

Because we can't all afford to indulge in the Mimi Berry bags, there is this Carvela one ....



.... which has a bit of a nod to the Mulberry Willow tote but at a much more forgiving price. Again, in a rich tan which will add a bit of colour to your sombre winter garb. It has a strap, it has grab handles, it's got a zip to prevent pickpockets (it's a Chinese thing), its a useful size, what more could you want?


The High Street Winner Coat.

Good old M&S. They came up with a camel coat just as I was doing a little search. 





I actually saw this one today but there were none in my size but I couldn't resist a try on even though it was two sizes too big. This one has a lot of potential for an affordable high street camel coat. It's a nice weight and has a bit of structure which looks like it will wear well. After I tried this one on, I went and hunted down Topshop's camel offering this year which looked pretty poor after the M&S one. The fabric felt thin yet stiff and I have a feeling it will crease a lot. Yes it's half the price of the M&S one but if you can afford it - go for the M&S version which is still cheaper than the next one which is ....



I also came across this on my travels.




The wool looks nice on this which means I would stroke it lots. And it's single breasted. And it's a very simple cut which shouldn't swamp. And it measures 85cm in length. This means it hits above my knees which is good. I think this might be a goer ... apart from the price. 

I wonder if there will be any left in the NAP sale in January???







I like COS and just b'COS they have some lovely things, I thought I'd tell you what is floating my boat in there currently.

Kimono Sleeve Coat



This coat. The deep red is gorgeous and sultry. A lovely muted rather than a slap in your face kind of red which is a little more forgiving on the old winter pasty palettes. Some reds are a bit primary, this is a grown up red. I like the texture and the fabric as well - the marled effect is good - it hides dirt well :o) Do you think it has a touch of Little Red Riding Hood about it? I do. 

Hmm, the cropped sleeves. This will probably put some of you off as cropped sleeves in the winter always seems like a bad idea. They're probably not cropped on me though but full length (yay - no alterations). A true fashionista would happily wear this coat and freeze her wrists off but I'm not a true fashionista. I do however have a pair of long leather gloves so if they were still a little short on me, I could still manage this coat. But would I then look like a true drama queen when I swan in to the school playground with my kinky leather gloves and my divine red coat. Yes? Oh good!


Soft Leather Backpack

  


And backpacks are still happening aren't they? Most of the ones being mentioned at the moment seem to be black which I don't have a problem with but isn't this grey one rather nice for a a slightly softer take? It would probably go very nice against all those powder blue coats which seem to be the fashion colour for coats this season. It looks more grown up than some of the other offerings out there and I like how very simple it is - there is no hardware on show so it doesn't stress those people out who have to match their hardware on their belts to their jewellery to the buckles on their shoes.





This top is good and I would actually have this as a going out top. To me, that's dressing up. It's also in a polyester crepe which means you are going to look as lovely in this at the end of the evening as you did at the beginning. I like the simple woven shell tops which have been floating around for the last year and this is a nice take on them with a small detail but doesn't detract from the overall simplicity of the styling. (I would however totally ignore the styling on the COS site for the top - I think it's awful and I don't often make a comment like that). I'm  also inclined to go with gold jewellery for more impact like this simple cuff bracelet.



 


Now this jumper is a little bit different from all the usual grey jumper offerings out there. It looks like a cardigan, but is a jumper and you don't have to mess around with putting all the flaps in to place. And it's a little more sophisticated - a de-grunged Allsaints type of top.

I would say that if I was working and allowed to wear jumpers in the work place, I would probably buy this. And I would actually like to continue the grey theme with something like these charcoal grey wool trousers on the bottom rather than black. Because sometimes black is too obvious and I've never got on with black trousers for some reason. And burgundy suede shoes like these that you can walk in. How very buttoned up and sombre and sexy. But I'm not, so jeans it is for me ... again. Ah well ... I can't complain, I used to dream of the days when I was getting dressed for work and wished it was a mufti day.





It's getting colder and gloomy and I need a bit of colour. Something to remind me of the sunshine that was and besides I did once say here that yellow is my favourite other colour after grey, black, white, beige and navy. Sometimes you need a shot of colour like this peeking out from under your sombre dark winter coat to perk up the soul. The weave on this jumper is nice - a bit of texture without adding bulk which some cable knits can do. And the colour looks a bit sharper and brighter on the website than it does here. It's also a cotton mix - less pilling - hurrah!




And some days, I'm a bit of a prissy missy and this top appeals on that level. I have something similar which I scored in the January sales and I have to say, I've really enjoyed wearing it this summer. It is a little strange though with it being a crisp cotton poplin, you can hear yourself move. It rustles. I would say this was a more autumn colour way than mine and the neckline detailing is different too - more interesting. I will be keeping an eye out for it in the sales. I regard this kind of a top as a nice to have but not urgent. 

So just a few things which took my fancy whilst I was having a browse through the COS site. Everyone is doing Hush and Boden at the moment and you must have seen the same things so many times over so I thought I'd give you a little COS love just b'COS ..... 

..... it deserves it.






I'm spinning around,
Move out of my way,
I know you're feeling me, cuz  you like it like this
I'm breakin' it down
I'm not the same
I know you're feeling me, cuz you like it like this!


Go on - you know you want to have a bop! Go whack a bit of Kylie on or whatever gets your disco groove on!

I was on the Yoox site and a new shoe drop must have just arrived. I love it when you're there at the right place at the right time and you can pick up some little bargains. I ordered 3 pairs but when the starting price is £18 for one of the pairs of shoes I picked up and there is a further 10% off your order, I figured I could live a little and order 3 pairs. Besides what are the chances of me keeping 3 pairs? Slim! - I'm only keeping 2!

Anyway, want to see what I got?

C Petula Disco Shoes (I named them that)


Teal and copper. What a combination eh? Crazy aren't they? A bit disco? A bit Scissor Sisters? A bit Ladyboys of Bangkok? See how I put them in a very un-disco like setting to give them some level of acceptance and normality? I luuurve them! I know some of you are recoiling in horror and wondering whether the sensible shoe fairy has gone on holiday, well yes it did! It needed a holiday. And the kick ass shoe fairy has come to stay for a while. Okay?

Looking at them, makes me smile. Putting them on, makes me feel tall (well with that heel what did you expect) and there's a little bit of something magical about them which makes you want to get your boogie on and feel alive and a little fun. I'm all for investing in classics and usually go for something a little more "tasteful" (some would insert the word "boring" here) but tasteful and boring doesn't always make me smile and these shoes do. So in my world - that's truly a good thing.


Now, I was just wondering when the hot pants fairy is coming to stay?







Sometimes I get a little bored being a plain Sue and I remember the days when I used to dress up more and put on a necklace in the morning and a pair of heels and go to work. So what do I do when when I get bored? I jump in to the dress up wardrobe and see what I can unearth and do you want to know what I came up with today?

A gold necklace, a sparkly boho bag and a pair of gold espadrilles!





The necklace and bag are from days of old. Things which I still like but don't see the light of day very often but don't get rid of as I think they have their uses. I confess I'm not sure about the bag - it was a £4 impulse buy and it's probably the handles putting me off but I feel a style hack coming on with this. 

The minimalist part of me wants to unpick all the beading but that would be tantamount to stupidity. But never say never.


It may resurface as a clutch - what do you think? Or I could add straps somehow and make it a shoulder bag! And the gold Gaimo espadrilles were an impulse TK Maxx last year which I still love. The squidge factor on the leather is amazing.

And the basics? The navy jumper is a men's Uniqlo cotton linen crew neck from their spring summer range. I bought this in a size XS earlier on in the year and it is on the right side of loose without being overly baggy on me. I tried on some of the womens' knits but didn't get on with them as they tend to make them more fitted around the waist and I don't like anything which clings to the mid section so I started to look in the mens' section instead and bingo - lots of lovely cotton linen knits there to be found. I do have a fondness for cotton/linen knits - I like the slight slubby weave and texture. 

And we have to have jeans. A pair of boyfriend jeans today. I'm wearing the MIH Tomboy jeans. A slightly more fitted boyfriend style jean - a slim skinny should I say and these are in the New Original wash. So those are my two basics.

And when I've finished reminiscing - I go back to this ...

Uniqlo Mens Crew Neck, MIH Tomboy Jeans, Pieces Slides


The plainest combination on earth? It's the kind of look a million women out there pull on day in, day out. The stuff that normality is built on. The stuff that my wardrobe is built on actually.


-------------------------------

Last Note :

  • I will get round to sorting out the geraniums. 
  • The MIH Tomboy jeans are available on Matches in the same wash as mine but with limited sizes.  The new season colour seems to be this but more expensive :(
  • The Next Relaxed Skinny are probably the nearest high street equivalent to the MIH's. Donna has done a brilliant review on them here




Hi there!


Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.

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