It's like buses, none come and then two come together. I'm not actually talking about buses but the fact that I am debuting my first lot of dresses since August. Yes it has been that long since I had the legs out.

My first one is a very bright red Miss Selfridge Oriental Print Dress. Did you have to avert thine eyes and turn down the brightness on the old monitor?

Aarrghgh - I can't see. 
Put the sunglasses on!

Avril on SchoolGateStyle has been championing FrOctober with her vast array of dresses. And I thought it only right to join in the fun. Well actually, I was in the process of transitioning the summer wardrobe into the winter one when I came across this dress and I never fail to be astounded by how BRIGHT is is! What was I thinking when I bought you? It's the brightest thing in my wardrobe and you feel that all eyes are upon you when you wear it because it's a screaming flaming red. I did see a girl in the street wear it once - she was about 5ft 6 so it was a bit shorter on her but she wore it with such nonchalance as an everyday type of dress that you missed the fact that it was bright bright red- I noticed it because it was a dress I had and it looked lovely and normal on her. But it's not normal and everyday for me. Why is that?


Miss Selfridge Red Oriental Dress (doesn't look very oriental to me)
Olivey brown Jigsaw leather boots (old)
Primark tan belt (old)

This is one of those rather impulsive non explainable, against better judgement but bought it anyway type buys. I also probably bought it because it amused me that I could get into a size 6. That's right - it's a size 6. The fact that the body in it is not a size 6 is besides the point but if you want extreme vanity sizing - you get it here with this dress. If you think I'm vain enough to only buy clothing in certain small sizes, think again. From the same season, I bought another dress from Miss Selfridge. In a size 14. From size 6 to size 14. They had the other sizes but the size 14 was the best fit. What would you have done? Size up and get the fit or get the size you think you should be wearing because you can't bring yourself to go up a dress size or two? I've learnt not to be so vain and besides who can see your label except for you anyway? It's not like someone compliments you on your dress and you reply "Oh, this old thing, it's a size 6".

Draughty neckline calls for a Barbour scarf.
Is this East meets West?

This is the size 14 dress. 


A more subdued dress.

I was going to the pictures today and then out for God-daughters birthday meal so I thought I'd try and leave the jeans off and wear one of the many dresses I have. Luck would have it ... everyone else was in jeans and Uggs. The one time I can legitimately do chill out dressing and I missed it! After the meal, I had to undo my belt two notches. I read somewhere once that you should wear a belt when you are eating out, especially if you are on a diet as the discomfort factor of the belt prevents you from eating too much. Not me - I just let it all out ... and carry on eating. So I don't do diets. Say the word 'diet' and I eat for England. Give me an Eat All You Can Buffet and I say "no thanks". Reverse psychology is under-rated in my books.


Miss Selfridge Heart Print Dress
Topshop Ambush Boots
Black Pashmina Scarf
M&S Black Scarf

I donned a black scarf to stave off the cold (a little) but I could feel the wind whistle up the dress which is absolutely not my favourite thing about dresses and also I feel the need to constantly check that I've not tucked my dress into my tights or knickers. And I don't have a problem with black and navy being worn together - I positively encourage it. Anyway, I tried to get the boys to take some photos of me in full regalia before I set off out the door - this is why I take my own photos which though not perfect are still better than these ...

 
Picture Credit : Ben (not David) Bailey                 Picture Credit : George (not David) Bailey

Question : Who helps you with your photos?






My bag of delight.

What was in the Aubin & Wills bag? I left you on a cliffhanger didn't I? In the bag was this 
lovely Maybray merino wool crew neck jumper.  

Aubin & Wills Maybray Jumper

Teal houndstooth check design

Okay, okay, some of you won't get why I like this ... it's not pretty pretty, it's not berry coloured, it's not cashmere, it's not got some fab design on it, it's not leopard print, it's just .... my kind of jumper. It's the kind of jumper which makes a quiet statement. It's like me. Quiet. Honest. I know I jabber on in my blog but in real life I am as quiet as a church mouse and a very quiet church mouse at that. And I guess I like my clothes to make a statement .... quietly. Does anyone understand that? I'm a living breathing oxymoron. I'm not the kind of girl who bedecks herself with bling and fuschia pink to make everyone look, I want to be that person that people think, she looks nice - can't quite put my finger on it but she looks nice.

Confession - I haven't actually read Dante.


This is how I envisage the Maybray jumper to work in my wardrobe - just a nice simple piece to tie in with the existing fixtures of old jeans and even older shoes.


Aubin & Wills Maybray Jumper
Jack Wills Black Jeans (old)
LK Bennet Green Shoes (old)


I like to think it has a slight 60's retro vibe about it with the houndstooth geometric pattern on the jumper.  I have to say the houndstooth is a bit flatcap and whippets but I think it adds to the appeal that it's a bit of an old man's jumper. It's something like what your dad would wear - actually, it is like something my dad wears! Oh my goodness! You know what they say about when you get older, you turn in to your mother, it appears I am turning in to my father! And the old LK Bennetts definitely have a 60's vibe about them. And if we're channelling 60's, let's clip the hair back - a beehive would be just a step too far.

That's the extent of my hairdressing prowess.


I was just thinking I don't have any sharp pointy shoes like the old winkle pickers but I think these work too for a slightly more grown up look ....


Same outfit with Black Patent George at Asda Shoes
So what if I buy shoes with the weekly supermarket shop!


And if I was many years younger, I would love to wear this jumper with a black leather (yes leather) mini skirt just to funk it up a bit ... but I'm not so I shall leave that to the young'uns out there.

On the day, I got this jumper and I was googling Aubin & Wills, I also found out that the brand was to be axed after Christmas. Oh no! Gutted! This is one of my favourite brands! Remember in my previous post when I kept alluding to how few customers were in the shop ... this is what I was leading up to - the fact that the shop was being axed. I am truly gutted as this is one of the few brands that I genuinely like for its wearability. I read a couple of the news articles and I don't know if I should get a job as a retail analyst or what but they did cite high price points and even referred to the cost of their jumpers, as being part of their downfall. Did I not mention something previously in my post on Aubin & Wills about their expensive jumpers? Regardless - this has not stopped me wanting any of their overpriced merchandise.

Anyway, the child within me loves to play with befunky photo editing software which you can download for free and allows me to turn my otherwise boring photos into something fun. I couldn't get to grips with photoshop and it's a bit highbrow and expensive for someone like me who just likes to play a bit. I said that the jumper had a 60's retro vibe about it so this is how I see it .... oh and that's me below trying to do a bit of get on down dancing sixties style.  Try to imagine a bit of a northern soul thing going on in the background. Try .... hard.



  
Really bad for the knees this getting on down business.

Forget that ... just listen to Duffy to put you in the mood for a bit of dancing.



Haven't heard this in ages. Wonder where she's got to? She looked lovely when she did the promo for Rockferry. 

Photo Credit : Gossip.is

How did I get from an Aubin & Wills jumper to Duffy? Do I now need a black poloneck and dark blue jeans with big turn ups? No, no, no - but never say never. Anyway, there's a sale on now at Aubin & Willsready, steady, go!


The Grumps and I went to Manchester on Sunday without small people.  The parking was awful but the weather was nice and though we parked out of the city centre, the walk in didn't feel like such an ordeal as when we last did this accompanied by two small people pulling our arms out of our sockets. For once we were just normal adults with our own identities and not just parents.  It was nice. For those who are young and childfree - you will remember this post one day and think - aaah - so that's what Sue was on about.  When you become a parent, you no longer have a name, you just become someone's mummy. Fact.

We pottered and we pootled around the Northern Quarter.  We wandered the streets and bobbed in to shops without the need to watch for small hands touching things they weren't meant to and it was nice not to go in somewhere and be harangued out by small people being bored.  For a change, we had a look at the more "eclectic" shops instead of Harvey Nicks and Selfridges.  By eclectic, we mean "vintage dahling".


The polyester count was high. Very high.

White Handbag Graveyard.

Black Handbag Graveyard.

Do you remember these?  Chopper bikes!

Do you remember Chopper bikes from when you were small?  As I recall, good boys rode BMX's and bad boys rode Choppers!  Guess which ones I liked.  What do you mean, you can't guess?

And remember this thing I've got going about my white Converse being too white - you can now buy your Converse pre-worn and distressed. Personally, I prefer them white to the pre-worn conditions the ones below are in :

Not for me.

Think of students who have had too many bevvies having a good time wearing these old Converse. Think of the aftermath and possibly splashback on the Converse. Then think seriously about wearing them and paying £15 for the privilege.  No, me neither.

And we managed to have a proper browse in Magma, one of the little shops which caught our eye last time we passed through.  I can't really describe it - bookshop cum giftshop cum specialist newsagents? 

Quirky cool stuff.

I can't believe I forgot to pick these up.

I had a flick through the Gentlewoman and Lula magazines as I keep seeing them on so many blogs and I really wanted to see what they were about. I have to say I am a bit of a magaholic - I took out my first subscriptions to Mandy and Bunty at the age of 11.

Christmas Gift Idea for Bloggers?

And this takes me right back to my student days when I used to hop on a train to Manchester to visit Afflecks Palace.  Afflecks as it is now called is essentially an emporium of little boutiques. When I was young(er), it was full of shops selling second hand clothes and vinyl and weird stuff from up and coming designers.  I remember coming across my Economics teacher in here - I don't know who was more surprised him or me.  Actually, I think I was more surprised. In those days, anyone over 30 was an oldie (what am I now???) and here was my oldie (but probably no more than 30) Economics teacher in Afflecks looking at secondhand suede jackets. The entrance shown here is not what I remember - it looks too sanitised - there is another entrance on Tib street which is the one I always went in which looks ten times more interesting. I always remember it feeling a little "seedy".

Not seedy enough.

We met up with friends and wandered down to King Street because when in Manchester, I must visit King Street.  What is in King Street?  Aubin and Wills - I can't explain it. I just like this brand. We also had a quick visit to Jack Wills to look for a birthday present for my god-daughter.  The men sat patiently .....

They're not very good at shopping.

... whilst the women browsed. The Grumps glared at me everytime I walked past with some garment in my hand that I was about to try on. In the changing rooms, I sneaked in an outfit du jour shot.  

Carpet could do with a clean.
The walls could do with a bit of decoration.

I know that skull scarves are not for everyone - I'm not sure they are for me either these days but I chose the scarf because it was cream and black to set off the rather monochromatic outfit today. I was channelling quite a clean colour palate. The changing room was a bit of a disappointment given the excellent decor usually found in Jack Wills stores. I have been spoilt by the lovely luxury cell changing room in the Halifax Outlet.

On King Street, there is also Hermes.  I am always astounded that this shop is here and is still here after so many years.  But as I see it, it only needs to sell two things a week to cover the rent and job done.  

Pink seems to be the thing.

Nice to see a bit of humour in the display.

And we also found a shop specialising in selling American branded food goodies.  What we don't get is how they can charge £7 for a box of cereal and £15 for a box of Twinkies. 

£15 for a box of these No thank you!

But opposite is my favourite shop ... Aubin and Wills.  Aaaah.

Lovely, happy, lovely.

The shop is quiet.  It doesn't have the bustle of Jack Wills, it's sister company.  But I still like it.  I even think the Grumps quite likes it.  It is all serene because ... it is lacking customers.

A little too quiet.

My kind of shop ... but needs more customers.

I can't see any customers ... oh I have no eyes!

And today, I was treated.  The Grumps bought me a present because .... 

???

..... just because.

I dug out this little jersey top from Topshop which I got last year in this "pumpkin" hue.  Rather befitting to think Halloween is only a few days away. 

Topshop Pumpkin Top (old)
Jack Wills Black Jeans (old)
Office Namesake Boots (again)

This is one of those tops, I picked up, bought, took it back, re-bought and finally decided to keep. Because that's just what I do. I believe it's what a lot of women do - who can be bothered or who are as undecisive as me. Or is that just me? Last year, I wore it loads. This year I wore it not so loads. I've also noticed a gradual move over to the black jeans since we've hit Autumn.  It's not been a conscious decision but they seem to go well with most of the darker shades dominating my wardrobe. I guess we are going through transition.

This pumpkin shade (not orange and not deep peach) reminds me of when my best friend asked me to one of her bridesmaids. She told me the bridesmaids were to going to wear "peach". The colour drained from my face. Peach. Peach is a bit insipid. Peach is not happening. Peach is one of those colours which doesn't know what it wants to be. Peach is well peach. So I offered up "How about burnt orange?". "No, no Sue, it's going to be peach - you will look lovely". I kept a straight face as I thought "eugh" but it's not my wedding and I shall do as I am told and squirmed a little in my seat. They kept it up for about five minutes, extolling the virtues of what a flattering shade peach would be for all of us.  And then all the bridesmaids and my "best" friend eventually yelled "Fooled ya!!!!" as they knew I wouldn't be able to stomach girly "peach" and they know what I'm like for colour names. If she had called it "dusky satsuma" I would have been alright. Peach? Bleurgh!

Anyway, this is just a shorty and colourful post on what is yet another grey, wet and dreary day. The weather is pants, the lighting is not so good, I just about managed this shot. Let's quit whilst we're ahead.  

And my top is PUMPKIN not PEACH.









I have been bewitched by a pair of ruby slippers. These are not just any pair of ruby slippers but ruby slippers with jewels and feathers.



For those who have followed my blog for a little while, you will know that I'm not the girliest of girls, I don't swan around in floaty dresses and do pretty pretty. I don't do fluff bunnies and pastel pink. And I most certainly do not do jewel encrusted slippers ... with feathers. What happened?  Did someone hit me over the head with some jewel encrusted slippers ... with feathers?

Nah - I've just been blog hopping again and been totally entranced by Jamie Lee's footwear from Mademois-elle or more specifically her little pairs of ballet pumps. I remember thinking how extremely girly the silver Witchery ones were that she wore - they were nothing like anything I had in my wardrobe. 


Photo Credit : www.mademois-elle.com

I was even more entranced by her Miu Miu jewelled ones - I worship at the altar of these. 


Photo Credit : www.mademois-elle.com

And although I don't choose to wear cats on my feet, I can't help being charmed by the Charlotte Olympia Kitten flats she has. 


Photo Credit : www.mademois-elle.com

I think I am even charmed enough to want a pair so it is only good and right that (1) you can't get them for love and money and (2) I can't afford them anyway. What I'm trying to say is this girl has rocking flat footwear. Oh yes and boy do I have boring shoes!

But no longer. I have rectified this wardrobe malfunction and succumbed to these little beauties ... for now. My dilemma is how will I wear them and what will I wear them with? I have no idea but I am very happy just looking and smiling at them indulgently for now. Like Dorothy* about to set off on her adventure and not knowing where it will take her and what adventures she will have in her ruby slippers, we shall take each day of the return period as it comes before making that decision on whether these are keepers. If I do then I shall become the "Girl in the Ruby Slippers" ...... on the school run.


Total girly frou frou.

Where can we get these magical slippers ... where do you think? Net a Porter? Zara? Topshop? Err no. They are from Matalan* £12.  Bargain.

  • Did you know that Dorothy from Wizard of Oz originally had silver shoes? It was just as well with the advent of technicolour they decided to make the most and give her the iconic ruby red slippers which we have come to know. Silver shoes just wouldn't have cut the mustard.

  • Matalan. The shoes are not showing on the website at last look but they are in store. They also come in black and leopard. Cool. 

  • What are the chances of me keeping these and doing a school run in them? Slim or very slim?  It's funny how during the course of writing a post, one can suddenly fall out of love. Thank goodness for return policies. 

  • What are the chances of me going for any of these instead? Cleaner lines, lovely filigree toecap detail and more sensible for me. Classic shape, black but with a little interest.




Red Ruby vs Black Filigree.  Which would you choose?

Maybe I'll just have a look in the wardrobe instead and be done with.  All this looking for pretty pumps is proving to be hard work.  

Actually, I think I'm just going to wear my boots instead.  The weather's turning cold anyway.




I had half an hour spare this afternoon. Let's see what we can throw in the bag today and what comes out.

Let's start with a yellow stripy breton top and a pair of black jeans. 



And a pair of leopard print shoes.



So far so good and kind of clean and classic .....



Let's add a floral Liberty Varuna wool scarf.



Let's lose the floral Liberty scarf - it's so big, I can't tie it. Lets take the old favourite, the black paisley scarf instead. That's good - I can tie this one.  




Bit nippy outside - we need a coat.  Let's take this Topshop check tweedy one.



Give it all a bit of stir and a bit of a tweak and hey presto!



Mad Dandy. This is one of those outfits where I think they say "looks better in real life". Honest.

This is also one of those outfits which my friends wind me up about and say only Sue would put that combo together.  Stripes, leopard, paisley and checks.  But I think it works - because the yellow in the stripy top picks out the yellowy camel tones in the shoes, which also have black in them which works with the paisley scarf which has nearly every colour under the sun in it but is predominantly black which then goes with the jeans and the brown in the shoes goes with the brown check on the coat and the grey of the coat? Well grey is just a neutral anyway ... isn't it?

Shame I couldn't tie the scarf but honestly - it is huuuuuuge! But I think it would have worked as well.


I can't resist a Liberty print.  Even one this big!

Tablecloth anyone?


Anyway, who thinks this outfit is a pattern clash? Or a pattern compliment?

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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