It's New Years Eve and today is the last day of 2012 and it is also the last day of what I would regard as the party dressing up shenanigans. So I am going to end this year in sequinned glory. For Kristina.

I replied to one of Kristina's comments to say that I used to be called the Queen of Clash. Well what I ommitted to say was that Queen of Clash in my world is very different to hers. Queen of Clash in suburban terms means I rocked it up by putting on a scarf which didn't go with my top or I wore a brown belt with my black shoes. Anyway, Kristina keeps throwing me down these challenges of doing something different - a bit clashy, a bit fun. I had a long hard think and was about to walk away and pretend I hadn't seen the challenge but then I thought, lets give it a shot. What would Kristina wear? This is what I think Kristina would wear.

  
Jigsaw Sequin Shrug (old)
Topshop Boutique Tee (AW12)
New Look Jeans (old)
Nine West Bronze Sling Backs (old)

Shiny Shiny!

Yes - I have heels stashed away in the back of my wardrobe!

Based on this ....

Picture Credit : Kikisparlour.blogspot.co.uk

It took me a while to come up with this because looking through the sea of grey and blue in my wardrobe - I thought this is not going to be very easy. Do I actually have anything which is interesting and quirky? No - not really. You see, Kristina has a bit of Brit cool look about her - very different to my quite safe, pared down dressing. I love seeing her outfit posts . Sometimes she wears a mad skirt, other times she goes a bit 70's. Sometimes she wears cherries on her toes or glittery Louboutins but always with her tongue firmly in cheek and with a devil may care attitude. Brilliant. Its why I like it. It's totally different to me. Go check her out on Kikisparlour.blogspot.co.uk. I had to dig deep in the dressing up boxes before I came up with the Jigsaw sequinned shrug - this is one of those items which just sits there waiting its turn and opportunity to take centre stage.

However ... bearing in mind that I cobbled this outfit up from my existing wardrobe ... maybe I've got a little more in common with Kristina than I think? Maybe there is a little bit of madness and badness in little ol' me?

So, what do you think? And Kristina - would you wear this :o?

And don't you think this is the perfect fun but comfy casual dressed up outfit for New Years Eve? I do!

Can I also just take a moment to thank you for spending some time with me this year and making me feel so welcome to this blogging community - it's been lovely meeting you all ... virtually!

And Happy New Year!





.... and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. I have to say, I've actually enjoyed my little break from blogging over Christmas and I've been taking it easy just reading and catching up on everyone else's blogs late in the evenings before passing out with tiredness. However, the longer you leave it, the harder it is to find your mojo and get back in to the swing of things. Besides, I needed to get over the Christmas recycling affliction I came down with - you know the one where you meticulously strip the sellotape off the discarded torn bits of wrapping paper so the "good" paper can be recycled? I left no scrap unchecked! Anybody else go to this much trouble? No? It's just me then.

Anyway, I have a sordid confession to make - I have worn my joggy bots a lot this last week. But in my defense - I have not been out that much and I have eaten rather a lot. Pig goes pop springs to mind. But today I did get dressed. I didn't say I got dressed up. I just said I got dressed ... in something other than than joggy bots.

Zara Camouflage Scarf (not available online) & Whistles Edie Top (SS12)

I also seem to have rekindled a love with stripes this last week or so - the above is the Edie double faced top which I bought from Whistles way back in April and featured in my very first post on this blog. I also wore a Topshop stripy jumper with a gold collar trim on Christmas day and I received an Aubin & Wills Stripy jumper for Christmas. Yup - I can confirm - the stripes are definitely back in favour.

Anyway, amongst the other lovely pressies, I received, was my new Kindle Fire from the Grumps. And because I am daft, I've downloaded Vanity Fair by William Thackeray for my first book - a 900 page tome of a book. I last tackled it 20 years ago and got half way through and ... stopped. Aarrghgh. Now I think I might take another crack at it once I stop playing mahjong.


   Fun!                                                                Not so fun!

And you're probably wondering did I get the Kooples boots? No - I didn't. It's a long story. Having somehow managed to wangle an okay from the Grumps for the boots - I went in to the store the Thursday before Christmas to get them. It was a wet, horrid, miserable day. I was cold, I looked like a drowned rat and was not in a good humour. And my legs were having a fat day. No matter what angle I looked at them in the mirror, the legs were not behaving. The boots were lovely, the legs were not. I couldn't bring myself to buy them. Somehow, I think this also had something to do with the conversation I'd had with the Grumps where he said "If you get them, are you going to wear them?" He probably meant, am I going to stick them in my wardrobe for a year and get them out every three months to stroke them lovingly before putting them back in their box and wear them in 2014 or .... am I going to actually wear them? When did he turn into a woman? I dillied and dallied in the shop for about half an hour before I walked out but that was good because what I'd done was take a step back and tried to visualise myself in them and realised they were not a Sue boot and didn't go with much in my wardrobe. Don't get me wrong - they are still lovely boots but I'm no rock chick :o)

So a post to get me back in to blogging mode and the writing fingers tapping away again. Makes a change from the surfing fingers which have been flitting between numerous sale sites!




The laptop is not fully dead. It's about 87% dead (don't ask how I worked out that percentage). It is taunting me - it switches on, the screen looks the same but only five keys work. Pah! So providing I am good and that I don't have food and drink within a five metre radius, the Grumps is humouring me by letting me write the odd blog post on his laptop.

Last weekend, we went to a friend's birthday party. I took along some macarons :o)

My favourite are the pistachio and the coffee ones. Yum.

I can't lie - these are actually Lidl macarons. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them in the freezer section and quick as a flash squirrelled two boxes in my basket. At £2.99 for a box of 12 - I could not be more delighted! On the day, I put them in a  mooncake tin and passed them off as my own. Well the intention was to make some but after some googling on macaron recipes and the fact that most began with the words "these are one of the most difficult things you can make ….", I threw in the towel straight away. Did I ever tell you that a baker I am not? Anyway, like I said, I can't lie and I did confess to the macarons origins after everyone had cooed over how wonderful they were. And you're wondering what is a mooncake tin? These are tins which house little Chinese mooncakes* which are eaten during the Chinese mid-Autumn festival. I personally don't like mooncakes but I do like the tins which usually have really pretty designs on them and I ask my family to save me them so I can put brownies (the only things I can bake) in them as presents for people.

So just in time for the Christmas and New Year dinner parties, this is my tip for you. Go and raid the freezers at Lidl for some macarons. It will save you time, money, blood, sweat and tears from your attempts at making them unless you have nothing better to do and up for a masochistic challenge. You will have perfect macarons which are ready for consumption in 45 mins (time to defrost). Box them up and make them look even prettier than they already are and they will be the perfect little dinner party/Christmas party offering. 

Don't say I never tell you anything useful!

And if I don't get chance to do a last post before Christmas - I wish you all a very merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you good health and fabby presents! Ho Ho Ho!

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For Info :

  • Mooncakes* are a pastry which are filled with either red bean or lotus seed paste filling which usually contain the yolks of salted duck eggs. They are offered as gifts between friends and family during this festival time. 






The laptop is still going bonkers and whirring and clicking like Wall-E so I've commandeered the Grumps' laptop for a quick post before it gets dragged off me (he gets a bit precious about his toys).

I've been reading posts on this thing called "haute casual". Depending on which post you read and how it's interpreted, to some people it's about casual clothing in luxe fabrics and to others it's just wearing casual clothes and making them look expensive. I don't mind either way because it gives me a legitimate excuse to wear my joggy bots out in broad daylight (a big taboo in mummy land). Okay, I'm jumping on a late bandwagon and I don't know what I'm on about but I wanted an excuse to wear some joggy bots simply because I love wearing joggy bots.


Pic 1. The Basics - Topshop Oxblood Tee + H&M Joggy Bots & Converse
Pic 2. Topped off with Next Cream Bomber Jacket Thing

I had this fantastic brainwave as I was folding up Ben's joggy bots. I buy him his joggy bots from H&M for £5.99 and they come in a variety of colours but essentially they are quite a slim cut. Well I was eyeballing them and thinking they're quite nice and I hadn't seen any in the shops which ticked my criteria of (1) not too long (2) not too expensive and (3) not too thin when I had the lightbulb moment of raiding the boys section in H&M for a pair which might possibly do the trick. I was fair giggling to myself at my sheer brilliance and even more so when I found myself in an H&M changing room pulling on a pair of boys black joggy bots (height 152cm which equates with an 11-12 year old boy, I think) and they fitted!

 

Pic 3. It's not haute till you put a furry thing round your neck
Pic 4. Ta dah - haute casual (okay I'm taking the proverbial Michael here)

The sweatshirty knitty bomber jacket cardigan thing is from Next (yes Next!) which I spotted when I was using it as a thoroughfare to get to Zara and spotted it out of the corner of my eye. It's warm, stretchy, comfy and light coloured which makes a nice change from the darks which I've been gravitating towards just recently. The picture online is dreadful and I would not give it a second glance if it weren't for the fact that I saw it in real life first. And then I got to thinking where's the haute in this outfit? It's not haute in that anything is in a luxe fabric so I will have to take it the other way and try to make this look more haute by sticking a fake fur stole around my neck. I love this furry stole thing. It's the kind that you stick on the lapels of a coat to give you a fake fur collar but I have never worn it that way. Instead I tie one end over the other and it has a little hook in the right place so I can fasten it in place. I used to wear it when I was working in an office over my cashmere jumpers to stave off the air conditioning. 

So there you have it - my take on haute casual or as I prefer to call it ... elegant slumming. Whatever term you choose - it's still a good excuse to don some comfy pants isn't it?

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Last Note :

  • Joggy bots aka jogging bottoms aka tracksuit bottoms aka sweatpants aka sweats.

  • If you're thinking of going for a pair of joggy bots in H&M - get one size down. They loosen up and I am now in size 146 which is age 10-11. I'm getting younger by the day!

  • I think this will be my staying in outfit for the next two weeks whilst all the boys are off (school and work).



Dressing up is a bit of a chore for me.I don't like the whole shebang with the makeup, the heels and the sparkly dress. I find it hard work and beneath the glamour, you're cold and uncomfortable. And when you've eaten, you bloat. Lovely.

But I had the annual Mums Christmas Get Together last weekend. A night in with a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of grape'o vino. And I was in a bit of a quandary over what to wear and then bingo! We struck gold.

I dug out my black French Connection Berrie dress so named because it has da da dah ..... berries on it. I picked it up in the post Christmas sales when it had been reduced from £67 down to £52. Big savings. Not. But £15 is £15 and it's better in my pocket than someone elses. And as I'd been hunting it down, for once when I saw it, I bought it. No snoozing, no losing this time. This is what I call one of my curtsey rather than a take a bow dresses. Bend over in this one and everyone will be choking on their canapes.

French Connection Berrie Dress (old)
So far - looks more day than night.

Black opaques are an essential with the dress. And the boots? These are the Jigsaw Poppy boots which I hankered after for so long. I played the waiting game and scored them in the summer sale - woop woop! What you might not be able to make out in the photos below is that the boots have a hidden platform in the front which makes them that much more comfortable and still keeps them streamlined. This was their first outing and I'm pretty pleased with them.



Jigsaw Poppy Boots SS12
What - these old things?

L my friend was agog that it had taken me so long to wear them but that's pretty much what I'm like - I buy, I hoard, I stroke it, put it back in my wardrobe and then a couple of months down the line (or even years in the case of my Mulberry bag), I finally get it out and decide to wear/use it. It also means you can legitimately use the phrase "What? This old thing?".

And striking gold? I did this in my Hobbs NW3 cardigan.


It's like a gold spray paint job on top of a black cardi.

Perks up the dress a bit and makes it more nighttime.

I think that topped the dress off nicely - a nod to the Christmas spirit with the gold which also helps take it in to the evening. I didn't go overboard - I wasn't out on the razz, I didn't need sparkles and sequins (phew) and I felt neither underdressed or overdressed (which I am usually). The cardigan was a Christmas present last year and I like the fact that it's a dirty metallic (the grunge factor comes to the fore yet again) and you can work it with a dress like the above or with a tee and jeans as below. To be honest - it's the perfect Christmas cardigan but one which can be worn all year round.


Happier in this than the dress.

So which outfit would you have gone for? I personally prefer the jeans one but sometimes you've just got to take yourself out of your comfort zone and stick on a dress ... all in the name of Christmas.

So, are you in dresses, sparkles, jeans or velvet this year? If I had my own way, I'd be in a pair of joggy bots.


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

Just a thought.

For the DIY'ers out there. It might actually be possible to do this with an old black cardigan and a can of gold spray paint providing you don't keel over from the fumes first. Just a thought. I dare you!

I had some Christmas shopping to do and a couple of returns. The perfect excuse to head in to Leeds. The black wedge trainers went back but I kept the grey Aldo ones and I have to confess - they were very comfortable. I wore them for 7 hours solid, pounding the pavements of Leeds whilst doing some Christmas shopping, followed by a supermarket shop and not a murmur of protest from the feet.


These wedge trainers were made for shopping!
And that's just what they will do!
These wedge trainers were made for shopping!
And they'll help you shop like you never knew!

And a massive bag to put all the shopping in!

Marks & Spencers Altered Coat (old)
Zara Camo Leopard Scarf (not online but in store)
Black Butter Soft Bag (Hong Kong)

Like everyone has noticed, it really is starting to feel a lot like Christmas.  Speaking of which, have I mentioned that little George has decided he would like a dog for Christmas? Probably not. I asked him what he would like for Christmas and you expect an answer along the lines of "toys", "cars", "trains", but I got "dog". "Big dog". "Big white dog". The Grumps is delighted of course as he is a dog man. I however am cat woman (not the pvc clad one). Grumps would happily grant George his Christmas wish except for the fact that yours truly has said "NO" in capitals. "NO" on the grounds of I will be the one walking it and picking up its poo. Thanks but no thanks. But I don't really want a sad George face on Christmas day and I am good at improvising, so we have a barking toy dog for George courtesy of Marks & Spencer. Be it a brown one rather than a white one.


Cute but deadly for the nerves.

The dog barks ... a lot. I found that out as we barked our way round Leeds and in to the Kooples. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, along with the returns and the Christmas shopping, I had something I needed to check out in the Kooples. Something a bit like these boots. Actually, let me rephrase that. These very very deliciously yumtastic boots. 


I opened the door and the shop assistant looked up straight away and smiled at me and said "hello". Not "Bonjour". Just "hello" in a non French accent. Why would I imagine she would be speaking French just because I'm going in a French clothes shop? I stroked the boots, felt the lovely soft suede (we are talking seriously nice velvety soft suede here, not the cheap and cheerful variety) and checked over the clean lines of the leather straps. I asked the shop assistant if they had my size. There was a part of me that was wanting her to say "no" but she said "yes". And then the silly toy dog started barking again which makes for a good conversation starter but also means I am already regretting buying the darned thing. The shop assistant was lovely and friendly. We had a little chat and I said the boots were going on a Christmas wish list. I tried one on and had a nosey in the mirror and was very satisfied with the view but I knew I wouldn't be buying today so handed her it back. Then promptly asked her if I could try both on to make really sure they really were that nice. And they were. Le grand sigh. 

Just to wind myself up over how nice they were, I took a picture. The boots remind me a little of the Chloe Susanna boot but minus the studs. I love the Susanna boot but I would find them too much for me so it's good I can't afford them. But these .... not too much at all. These are the "gently does it" version which befits an older rock chick. A bit Chrissie (Hynde).

Dear Santa ....

And so it was that I came home with a Kooples bag.

Open the bag!

Katie (the shop assistant) was lovely - I have to say she was everything you would expect a shop assistant to be and very helpful and patient with me. I checked with her about stock availability and how good they were at replenishing stock as they are currently sold out online. We talked about the changing rooms and agreed how disconcerting it could be if there were a shop full of people and you had to come out to check yourself over infront of everyone. And we talked about blogs which she loves reading and she asked me the name of mine which I very sheepishly told her along with gibbering on about it's not really about fashion fashion but just about clothes and wild ramblings of a SAHM. And then she sent me on my way with a lookbook and catalogue to put in my Kooples bag!

A little bit of bedtime reading.

This is really good for improving your French.

Katie, you have done the Kooples proud in my eyes today and redeemed the brand in my eye. You were helpful and lovely and much more personable than the assistants I have previously encountered - all I could ask for in a shopping assistant! 

Once again, I have to say I love the clothes, the styling, the marketing, the branding ... but and it's a big BUT. I still don't like the changing rooms.


Well I've only been hunting since last January. And now we're in December. But I got there - like Alan Rickman in Space Quest and the infamous quote "Never give up, never surrender!"


Never Give Up - Never Surrender!!!!!

I've finally got a pair of wedge trainers! Actually, make that, I've got two pairs of wedge trainers! It's not that I've been slacking in getting in on this trend - it's just that I'd not found the right pair for me. Of course I wanted some long before now - what's not to love about casual footwear which promises you extra height without leg lengthening surgery? I am of course speaking as a fully certified titch. I think wedge trainers divide people - you tend to love them or hate them. They have that trompe l'oeil effect in that they are designed to trick the eye and elongate the leg. There's the argument that they look a little strange from the side but I've been subjected to so many images of them, I think they look normal now. 

These aren't the first pairs I bought. No, no, no. Let's go through my wedge trainer history so far.

First there were the Aldo Netz trainers in February but I wasn't sure. They arrived. I didn't like the ankle strap which I thought was an unnecessary detail. I returned those. And then I decided that I did like them, ankle strap and all but they had sold out by then. Serves me and my indecisive nature right!



Aldo Netz Wedge Trainers (N/A)

I didn't see any I liked for a while apart from some from the Kooples. As it was getting to half way through the year, I planned ahead and decided I needed some dark ones for the Autumn school run. The black wedge trainers from the Kooples looked dire on me and made me look like I had titchy feet and my legs unusually stunted. 

Kooples Black Wedge Trainers (N/A)

Then came early August and the Autumn/Winter ranges came flocking in. I saw these maroon coloured ones in River Island but I held back. 

River Island Red Wedge Trainers (N/A)

And then whilst shopping in Aldo for the Grumps, I came across the Aldo Anuka in lovely grey suede. I danced and pranced in the shop in them whilst the Grumps blatantly ignored me and I ended up putting them back - I was just about to set off for a blisteringly hot holiday in Greece so had no need for grey wedge trainers ... yet. And then ASOS had a promotion with 20% off. I ordered as quick as a flash. But I wasn't sure and I now know what my problem was - I was trying to wear them with my boyfriend jeans and they weren't sitting comfortably with the turn ups. So I returned them (thank you ASOS - I love you and your free delivery and returns).



On the Dorothy Perkins site, I came across this pair of black wedge trainers very similar in style to the maroon River Island ones (which had long disappeared from the website). What's that familiar saying? You snooze, you lose. 

Dorothy Perkins Black Wedge Trainers **

And dithered and dithered and dithered until they disappeared from the website too. So I rang the store and they had a pair in a size 4 at half price. Fantastic! They had my name on them. Literally. That's because I told the shopgirl to save them under my name :o)  By chance I took a look on the Aldo site at the Anuka wedge trainers and they were half price as well. Oh my, oh my, oh my. None in my size on the website but one pair left in the store. I told the Aldo shopgirl to save them under my name as well.

So I have in my possession two pairs of wedge trainers. One black, one grey. 


  
I have to wear a cover thy bum jumper when wearing skinnies.

Sorry you can't see the detail. But you get the jist.
Hard decision eh? Black or grey?

I confess - these take a bit of work or rather I'm not as comfortable with the way they appear on me as when I wear my ankle boots. They seem only to work with skinny jeans tucked in for me and I'm not sure I'm benefitting from the supposed leg lengthening which is supposed to happen or maybe I just can't see it? Can anyone see how much longer my legs look? No? I thought not. However, on the good side, they are comfortable and I get to wear socks and keep my feet warm during the chilly mornings when I fancy something different from boots. I know this is one trend I need to get out of my system. Black or grey, black or grey? You can see my little brain is going mad with the indecision.

However ..... if you never see them again, it's because I probably took them all back ... again. I like them in my head but I'm not sure I like them in reality on me. But you've got to give me credit for trying haven't you? Just remember - never give up, never surrender!


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*  Aldo Grey & Black Anuka trainers available on ASOS at £60 currently. RRP is £80. On Aldo's website, the grey ones are now down to £41 but they don't have all sizes. Off you go!

** The Dorothy Perkins trainers are no longer available on line but it's worth checking in store if they have them in stock still.



Nothing to do with the Duracell Bunny or red haired beauties - just a reference to my Whistles copper sequinned jumper.


Whistles Sequin Jumper (old)

I bought this Whistles jumper a couple of years back when I had a friend shopping with me. I liked the jumper but wasn't convinced I was going to get much wear out of it - where do you wear this kind of thing? "On the school run" said my friend. Really? You have to know my friend to understand that mentality - she likes a bit of the ol' sequins and sparkly stuff. I remember when I didn't know her very well and I knocked on her door for some reason and she was all togged up to the nines, skirt and heels, full make up on and tonging her hair to go to ... cake decorating class. So sequins to her are de rigeur where as to me ... they are sequins - the preserve of the night hours.

However, the words did sink in and I took her advice on board and decided that a sequin jumper like this could be worn casually. Consequently I have had more wear out of it than if I had saved it for the night time. I usually like to pair it with my old faithful Primark paisley scarf - the colours work somehow :

Primark Paisley Scarf (old)
Whistles Copper Sequin Jumper (old)

And then I stick on a pair of black jeans or black jeggings to create the basic outfit before deciding on the jacket and footwear. Last year, when I went for a spot of afternoon shopping before an early meal out with friends, I paired it with the following :

Topshop Tweed Coat (old)

Belstaff boots.
What a shocker! No boyfriend jeans!

The last time I wore similar, I had a pair of New Look black jeggings on instead. This year, I'm experimenting with the Topshop Jamie black ankle grazer jeans. These are the high waisted ones - so high, I can nearly pull them up to my boobs. So not a good look and no close up picture for your delectation. However, with them being so high, it does have its advantages which is they keep your belly warm, there is no muffin top and there is no inadvertent knicker flashing round the back. They are very stretchy which makes them very comfortable but I still get a bit of that bunching around the knees when they start making their way down. Where they would be ankle grazers on taller people, they are the perfect skinny jean length for me and need no alterations. The Belstaff boots are a semi-smart option of footwear - just dressed enough to look like I tried ... a little. 

Switching the coat and footwear changes the feel and you get another outfit.


Back to the boyfriend jeans - we love each other!

I don't think I would look too out of place sipping a mocktail at Harvey Nicks in this? I swapped out the skinny jeans for the old boyfriend style ones as it just made me feel more current and besides I don't like myself in skinny jeans without a pair of calf length boots on to balance out the carrot legs.

I think there are a number of shops who are doing the sequinned jumpers this year - the ones I spotted in Mango are very similar to mine in that they have a sequin front and the jumper itself is quite a fine knit.

Mango Black Sequin Jumper                          Mango Silver Sequin Jumper 

Both fab colours for you to dress up or dress down to your hearts content. Now if I was tall and willowy, I would love to wear the black jumper with a long chiffon maxi skirt with a split so you can pull a Brangelina and then finish off with killer boots. 


Mango Sheer Split Skirt                             Zara Studded Shoe Boots

But I'm not. But if I was there'd be no stopping me!

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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