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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Queen of Returns



The wonderful thing about the UK and general online shopping is the fab returns policy. I like the fact that we actually have changing rooms and you can do your own thing in them in privacy i.e. shake your hair like a shampoo model, pout like a member of the Jagger family, pose like a hot model and admire yourself in your chosen garment before you choose to buy. I like the fact that even if I've tried something on in the changing room and I buy it, I can still change my mind when I get home. Absolutely wonderbar! 

I also like 365 day return policies (they do exist) and 28 day ones. I can live with 14 day ones and though not happy, I'll take the 7 days return which is still better than nothing. Because I am the Queen of Returns.


In January I bought and returned :


Manebi Fluorescent Pink Espadrilles.

Because that's what all sane people buy in January when it's hailing and there are thunderstorms lashing outside.



Basically I developed an obsession for pink shoes after seeing this pic on Pinterest.




So simple an outfit- so demented a pair of shoes. I loved the whole outfit and it set me off looking for Marc Jacobs pink mouse pumps because yes I truly am that susceptible. In the end I decided I didn't really want to wear mice on my feet but I wouldn't mind a pair of pink shoes. Which is how I ended up ordering a pair of fluorescent pink espadrilles from the Matches website when they had an extra 20% off their sale. They said they came up small so I thought the size 5 should be fine. They came, I opened the box, I moved aside the tissue paper, gasped and slammed down the box lid. They were the most truly terrifying shade of pink EVER. That pic above of the espadrilles are not a true representation of the colour - that's at about 50% luminosity. I eventually got them back out of the box and tried them on. Absolutely humongous! Boats! Cruise boats! Luminous cruise boats. They went back.


Dodo Le Parisienne Ballet Pumps

And then I put my sensible head back on and ordered some burgundy Dodo Le Parisenne ballet pumps because I thought they looked a pretty good dupe of the damson Porselli ballet pumps which I had been hankering after so long but couldn't bring myself to buy. They came, they fitted, they went back. The  pump was a bit too structured, the leather a touch too shiny and the colour was a soup├žon too red - basically they were not the damson Porsellis. And the daftest thing? I haven't even seen a pair of Porsellis in real life (!) to compare them to but I have this mental image of what they will be like and they will be the softest squidgiest leather ever in the most perfect yummy scrummy deep fabulous damson shade. I guess, this might be one of those pairs of shoes where it's the original or nothing. Ho hum. Better get saving.




Manebi Pink Espadrilles.

Errr .... at the same time that I ordered the Dodo Le Parisienne ballet pumps, I ordered another pair of  pink Manebi espadrilles because I never learn and I was still on a pink shoe bender. This time in a much softer shade. And in the right size. I had high hopes for these and I thought they were the most lovely stonewashed pink. I opened the box and unwrapped the tissue paper and I smiled. And then I took them out and my happy expression turned to one of puzzlement as I tried to figure out which shoe was the left and which was the right. Yup, it's a pair of those unifeet type shoes. Hmmph. It took me a while but I got there - the giveaway was the embroidered logo on the outer part of the shoe. I never even noticed this funny little trait with the previous pair as they were so big, my feet never touched the sides. Anyway, I did my round the rug strut in them and found myself flip flopping my way out of them. Huge again! So who's the clever eejit (I've been hanging around too many Irish ladies) who wrote that these came up small? They need to go back to school to learn their big from small. Anyway, the espadrilles went back.

Manebi Pink Espadrilles


Dotty Perkins Denim Dress

Yes I extolled the virtues of this dress and I still stand by the fact that this is a fab little dress but there was the tiniest niggle - the length. And yes yes I know I said I didn't care anymore about how short my skirt lengths were but it turns out I do.

Dorothy Perkins Denim Dress


I think the dress cut off at an unflattering point on the legs for me.  I'm classing this as a return as I didn't keep it but it did go to to a good home - to Michelle who has better legs. I errm bought another denim dress to placate my loss. But that's a story for another day. Moving on quickly .....


H&M Denim Dress

What's this? Not another denim dress? No sooner had I got rid of one and bought another, I spotted this one.



Beautiful summer colour and cut in a buffet style i.e. eat all you like style. And huge jam your hands in pockets. I loved it on sight. I took it home and threw it on and it was sooooo comfeeeee. And an inch too long. An inch doesn't sound like much but it really can be make or break on a dress for me. That one inch can land me in frumpy dumpy territory. There was also a little part of me which said "Come on now Sue, another denim dress ... really, seriously?" Yes really and seriously. Anyway, to cut a long story short, it's a lovely dress but I returned it. A girl can only have so many denim dresses you know!


Zara Sweatshirts

I ordered them in both colourways and kept neither. I liked the designs and disliked the material - a little bit too synthetic on the eye and to the touch. Such a shame as the cut was good and if it had been predominantly cotton, it could have been a whole different story.



I actually had high hopes for the minty green one - I am going through a serious trying every colour under the rainbow phase but alas it was not meant to be. Ah well. Besides, more sweatshirts have passed through my front door since then.


Zara White Ankle Strap Sandals

The thing with me is once I've get a bee in my bonnet about something, it buzzes till I finally splat it to death. I wanted white sandals last year and I found a lovely leather pair in Zara but there was a strap part at the back which gaped.

Last years version with gappy bit at the back.


The gap bugged me enough to return them. I almost wish I hadn't as I haven't found a pair I like as much since. I still have this thing for the perfect white sandals and then these came along.

Zara Sandals


I loved the style, the heel was workable and the only hiccup I could see was that they were synthetic rather than real leather. And they appeared on the website for two days and then poooof! Gone. Oh! This is where I lose my mind again and then realise it's not me - it's them - they've sold out. But hey, I found them lurking in the corner of my local Zara! I brought them home, examined them thoroughly and declared the patent finish too plasticy. And they didn't fit me properly at the back again. So back they went. And do you know what? I already know I don't get on with Zara shoes and I never have (save for one pair of leather espadrilles) and I don't know why I still keep trying but I do. One day ... one day!



Moving on to February I bought and returned :


Zara Black Wax Coated Chinos.

I love chinos - a shape and style which works on me. I have 5 operational pairs (yes, sometimes I take a break from jeans but not often) so I think I can vouch for them. The Zara chinos I'd spotted online and then the Allwornout girls extolled their virtues and I thought this might be the answer to my wax coated prayers.



They came, they looked lovely from the front and were incredibly flattering and looked dire round the back. It wasnt the chinos fault, it was something more to do with my backside. Usually I don't look too closely but for some strange reason I was compelled to with these. There was a part of me that was thinking, what the eye doesn't see, we won't fuss about too much but I'm afraid the memory of my bum was lodged in there and it wasn't good. It really wasn't good. They went.


Zara Ivory Sweatshirt.

This came along at the same time as the lilac jumper and the black wax coated chinos.



There is nothing wrong with this sweatshirt whatsoever. It's 100% cotton, has a touch of the Marant about it, looks great with blue jeans and yet I was strangely aloof to the said item. I don't know if I'm tiring a little of looking at the whole boho Marant thing but there's a part of me which thinks maybe its  days are numbered. I still like what she puts out but I prefer the simpler lines and less flamboyant pieces. That's my thought for February - come March, I will be running round in rara skirts and will have probably bought this sweatshirt again. Oh yes, I bought this in a size small as opposed to the medium which I would normally have taken. Just incase anybody out there likes it.


Cos Graphic Print Jumper.

Hello? Are you still with me? Or were you just nodding off - this post is getting a bit long isn't it? I started it off thinking there wasn't that much but lo and behold this is an eye opener. Anyway, now that you're back in the room, did you know that Cos have some amazing sales? I got a bit trigger happy with the old buy button when they reached the end of their sales when some of their tops and blouses were going for somewhere between £15 to £18 each instead of their usual £45 - £60 bracket. I ordered 4 things (in for a penny, in for a pound) and the one I returned was this weird fitting little jumper. I liked the print, I knew what the cotton was going to be like - I just hadn't bargained on the fit. Short in the body and a bit off everywhere else. I bidded it bye bye!

Cos Jumper


Zara Pleated Skirt

Yes it's a skirt. I'm branching out in to stuff I don't normally wear. And once I realised that, I had to send it back.


But it is a lovely colour and print. So sharp and vibrant for those who want to do colour but not a smack in the face colour as it can be toned down with a navy v-neck and dark accessories. I don't have a navy v-neck and for once I had my sensible head on because having this skirt would have meant additional purchases to make this wearable. Polish halo. But I still like it. Though it does little for my hips.


Chinti & Parker Dusky Pink Shirt

Guess what? I don't just shop and return at Zara you know and I do purchase from other places. This is a lovely cotton voile shirt. I had my fingers crossed for this and it might have been the reason why other purchases went back so I could have something nicer.



The thing with me is I can't resist a nice soft cotton voile and especially when it's a lovely soft dusky shade like this. It has a timelessness about it and I love clothes like this which stay in your wardrobe year after year. Timeless and effortless. However, lovely as it was, it didn't fit. The armholes were cut very low which meant the sleeves pulled and were restrictive when you moved your arms. Gutted. Really gutted. I notice that this is now back at full price. Pfft!


Jigsaw Bayswater Pumps

Remember these? I put them on my Black Friday post last year and didn't buy them. They came up reduced at John Lewis just recently and I nabbed a pair.





They don't fit :o(


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So now that I've gone through that exercise, my conclusion is :


  • I've not had much luck shoe shopping these last two months. You don't say?
  • I've  bought and returned a lot to Zara. Somewhere along the way, they will finally get some money out of me.
  • I like denim dresses. No kidding?
  • I'm really susceptible and impressionable. Pink mouse pumps. Hmmm.
  • When I say I like something, I mean it. Hence the fact I'm still chasing my tail over things I coveted last year.
  • I guess I like to be really sure about what I want in my wardrobe. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
  • I've well and truly earned my title as the Queen of Returns. Well and truly.

Or are there any challengers to my title out there? Who's as bad or worse than me? Fess up. You're in good company.







Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Colour Lilac



Confession time peeps. I'm still on the fence with my bright pink shell top. I wince and squint at myself in the mirror whenever I put it on. However, I am sticking with the ivory one because I feel good and comfortable in that one. I know I will get my wear out of it and it doesn't make me break out in a cold sweat every time I look at it. I am a little colour coward. 

But I still want to introduce colour in to the wardrobe and I thought it might be better if I went a bit softer. How about a little bit of lilac?




Did you think you had the wrong blog then? Yes it's me in pretty colours! Such a soft colour and so very feminine! Dare I say it - I think this suits me better? I  did actually umm and aah over this one for a while because it is a very fine merino wool and my first thought was I'm going to snag it and kill it on first wear but I kept going back to it and thinking "That's the one, that's the one". No harm in at least trying it and seeing. But I was smitten when I got it - the colour is one of these soft pales which work well against my skin tone - much nicer than a sharp pink even if I can take strong colour ... and looking through the wardrobe, the flint grey Gap skinny mini pants were an obvious choice for this jumper, and they even take on a slightly dusky heather tone when worn next to the jumper.  I love it when new things gel instantly with the existing wardrobe but just help to give it a bit of an update. Oh and I thought I'd sharpen the look slightly by adding black accessories instead of something soft and prettier. 


Topshop Sandals, Mulberry Bag, Susie Ho Bracelet

Something to note  - I like this jumper because it is a v-neck. Universally flattering even for ladies with more va va voomage than me. Crew necks are great in the winter but a v-neck is good for the spring/summer when we can leave the scarves off and expose a touch more flesh. 

And because this is me, I can't do a post without a pair of jeans in it and look, it's really nice and fresh with jeans and Converse. Have I lifted the grey gloom with this lilac jumper?


 Zara jeans, Converse, Susie Ho Bracelet


So what do you think about my change of colour direction? It's kind of funny that whilst I was over at the Allwornout blog, Eve was trying to work out pale pink jackets and ended up settling on a deeper strawberry hued jacket than intended and I started off with something brighter and louder and ended up with something much softer. You just can't tell how things are going to pan out sometimes. 

Anyway, this leads me on to say - which ones of you have ever had your colours done and do you think this works for you and the way you shop and view your wardrobe? Do you stick to your rules rigidly or bend them as you please? I've never had my colours done and I've always gone by instinct and hope that I've got it right along the way. But if you fancy doing a bit of an analysis on yourself, why not pop over to Donna's blog where she helps you to assess what kind of colour palette you are. 

I turned out to be "deep". As I commented on Donna's blog "I've never been called deep before".





Friday, 14 February 2014

Love & Bracelets



Well it is Valentine's day after all isn't it? What better day than Valentines Day to wear a jumper like this? To be honest, I actually wore it yesterday but what's a day between friends? By the way, I flipped the picture so you could read what was emblazoned across my chest.

Gap Jumper (old)


I was having a rummage through the wardrobe and this one fell off the hanger. It does that because it has a wide neckline and kamikaze tendencies. Oh and it's not new (breathe Grumps breathe), it's an oldie ... last seen here. And I thought I'd experiment with camera angles as I once read somewhere that sometimes it's more fun and interesting to take pictures at funny angles. A bit like this .....



... but I'm not really sure ... because all it really does is make you tilt your head to the right doesn't it? Ahh!! You did it didn't you! Got ya! So I think we'll just carry on as we are, okay?

That's better isn't it?


Anyway, spot the two blobs of colour on my wrist? This is one of my new bracelets that I made for fun the other week but I've had some positive responses to them so I've put them on the shop. I think after the miserable weather we've had and all the grey/navy/black everyone has been wearing, a little bit of colour is just what the doctor ordered. 



And I made some mother of pearl button bracelets too .....




.... and some other little small gemstone and heart ones. 




(The blue is my personal favourite (just so you know ;o)) Goes lovely with a pale blue denim shirt!)


And no I didn't forget about the rabbit one which some of you enquired about.


I know there is a big love for statement jewellery out there right now and they look wonderful on the right outfits but for someone like me who is a more casual dresser, something simpler works much better with the clothes I wear. 

See!


Anyway, have a look in the shop and treat yourself why don't you? Just incase your other half forgot to! 





Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pink Shell Shock



I do like a bit of a Tesco shop. You can pick up all sorts of things there. Things like this little pink shell top for instance :o)



It's bright isn't it? Scareee! But brightness aside, this is actually a little gem of a top. Remember Whistles were doing their expensive sculptured tops last season?  Well this one is a lovely take on them and it only costs £12. There are a lot of similar tops on the high street currently and some are done better than others and this one in my humble opinion is a goody and looks more expensive than it actually is. It even manages to look more expensive than some of the more expensive ones out there too! It's a nice crepey polyester fabric (the Whistles one is too!) which means minimal creasing so you can shove this in your workbag for going out and then pull on a statement necklace if you're into that kind of thing or you can wear it all day casually like a tee and be safe in the fact that your top doesn't look like a Sharpei's face by the end of it.

It's also a little lighter in weight than the Whistles top but that's not a bad thing because eventually the weather will turn a little warmer and what you have here is a a great little throw it on top which you shouldn't overheat in. It even has a little stepped hem - just like the Whistles version which I happen to have in ivory/white.

When I got bored of the ironing the other day, I thought I'd have a little play with this top to see how I if I could work the pink or if I'd had a moment of madness. I have to say that this pink is very much a summer colour for me and though it looks a little wrong in the cold February light, it will look very right come June/July when the light denim comes out, the toes are aired and we are all looking a little more tanned and healthy. If I had a lovely white skirt to wear with the top like this one - and long long legs, that is what I would want to wear but I haven't so you will have to make do with me in blue jeans instead.


Zara Jeans, APC Bag, Susie Ho Bracelet


... and it looks okay pared with black too.


Jack Wills Jeans, M&S Shoes, Topshop Necklace


.... and I kind of like it ... but if I'm being honest here - I'm terrified of the colour! I love it! But I'm terrified! I love it! But I'm terrified! Can you see the turmoil? I'm also trying to work out if this is the right shade of pink for me. I might sit on it for a few more days before I make my mind up. 

Anyway, what do you think? Am I a pink girl? Can I do this? Or should I stick with the ivory white version instead?



Zara Jeans, APC Bag, Susie Ho Bracelet


Oh, did I not mention they also do it in white? I could have this as the day version of the Whistles sculptured top and save that one for evening wear. And besides, it's always good to have a backup. I can be a bit of a muck tub :o)

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Last note.

  • In all honesty - these are lovely tops and well worth the money.
  • If you can't do pink, get the white. If you can do pink, get the white as well!
  • Size up. Well I had to - doesn't mean you have to but I had to.
  • For all those people who struggle with wearing a casual white tee - this is a good alternative!
  • Take a look at Trea's post on shell tops where she has done a great roundup of the ones out there currently and look at how she's wearing hers for more inspiration.
  • Update : 08/02/14 - the link to the top keeps moving so for reference - the product code for the top is bb411193. It is the brighter pink of the two pink shell tops which they currently have on the website. 





Tuesday, 4 February 2014

An Update Of Sorts



First month of 2014 down already and I 've only just got this post out. I started it a little while back and in between I went off and did stuff and then found it again and thought ... hmmm... let's pick up again and let's try and finish this time.

Anyway, I thought it might be an idea to do a little round up of some of the good AND bad things which landed in my wardrobe last/this year. It's good to include the mistakes - they always say, it's how you learn.


Good Wardrobe Items
  • Gap mini skimmer chinos. These were a a godsend this summer especially when I put on few pounds over the summer months. I didn't bother to tell anyone but just wore these chinos which disguised the thunder thighs. Besides if you shout about it, people look all the more and go "oh yeah - heffer moose". The temperatures were high last summer and on the days when it was just about cool enough to put your legs in something, the Gap mini skimmer chinos were the trousers of choice. These were one of those items you try on in the changing room and you know it's a no brainer. They fit, they flatter, you buy them. And when you get them home and you're strutting your stuff in front of the mirror and they still look and feel good - you know you've got a winner. When I wasn't wearing the green khakis, I was wearing the flint grey version. Yep, I bought two pairs - they were that good :o) 

  • Zara denim shirt. I tried on innumerable denim shirts but really struggled to find the perfect one. If the fit was right, the finish and distressing would be just a little too manufactured and too obvious on many of them.  So I bought one which didn't have this kind of finish on them. Problem solved. I have to say I have enjoyed this item more than I thought I would and it has proved more versatile than I first imagined. I even found myself doing double denim with this shirt as it contrasts significantly with all the other denim bottoms I have in my wardrobe. And it must be a goodie - I bought it last spring/summer and they continued it through autumn/winter and Zara have just brought it out again. It's one of those little under the radar numbers.

  • Silver leather Zara espadrilles.  I got these at a brilliant price when I thought all chances of nabbing them had gone out of the sale window. These (along with my other two pairs of River Island espadrilles) were my go to footwear during the hot weather. Not as stifling as a pair of Converse and lighter and comfier to be honest. They also hold your foot so much better than ballet pumps or flip flops. No toe gripping required. I like the pairs which have a rubber sole on the bottom rather than the rope soles. If you get caught in the rain, the rope soles absorb like sponges. Squelch squelch. I'm obviously speaking from experience. But they do dry out. Phew!

  • Medwinds Black Ankle Boots. I got rid of my Topshop Ambush boots earlier this year and thought nothing of it till I got to the winter months and found I had no daytime footwear to wear with a dress. But somehow, these ankle boots manage to magically do the job. And they work well with jeans too. I have Marlene to thank for putting me on the right track for getting a pair of boots like this. My first instinct would be to go for a more casual boot only to wear with jeans but these smarter ones have a touch more class and elegance. Maybe I'm growing up finally .... maybe.

  • H&M Low (not very) Skinny Jeans. I switched allegiance from New Look jeans to H&M jeans this year. I used to buy jeans from New Look because they had the perfect leg lengths for me and they still do but I haven't got on with their washes, cuts or finishes for the last couple of years. I found this pair of H&M Low (not very) Skinny jeans earlier this year and they proved to be the perfect jeans for wearing without turnups. I think they might best be described as the perfect "skinny straight" jean. For the record, I'm not wearing them much at the moment, they are erm .. snug and they don't have much give - I still haven't lost those Christmas pounds and I have to say, I'm not trying very hard or rather I have no will power. But they will be back in action soon or I'll change my name to Big Fib.

  • Zara Boyfriend Jeans. Yeah, I needed another pair of distressed looking boyfriend jeans like I needed another pair of shoes but I just couldn't help myself. I love the fit of these and the slouchiness. There's nothing like a pair of jeans threatening to fall off your backside to make you feel like you never ate all those mince pies at Christmas.



Bad Wardrobe Items
  • H&M Blue Marl Sweatshirt. Yep I know it was only £3.99 so it's not a great loss or anything but it ended up being a major wardrobe fail on the account that it pilled magnificently and you know how much I hate pilling. I read the composition for the grey version of this sweatshirt  which was predominantly cotton and everyone who bought the grey one have said they have not had this problem. I went and bought the blue one thinking it was the same fabric composition and it wasn't. Even I slip up sometimes. I have to say, I genuinely loved this sweatshirt when I got it. It was snuggly as it had a fleecy lining, it was the perfect worn blue marl colour, the sleeve length was good, the fit was on the right side of fitted yet loose and then it went and pilled on me. I haven't thrown it out yet - it's my current decorating sweatshirt. I told you I liked it even though it now looks pants. Pilly pants at that.

  • Splendid Grey Tee. I bet you're surprised to hear this one in here right? It's the perfect grey, it's a nice cut but the composition has meant it has pilled. As Victor Meldrew would say "I don't believe it!" but pill it does. Not so hot for an item which would have cost more than £60 full price And it's only a tee shirt. Pah! Infact, I've just recently relegated it to nightwear category.

  • T for Alexander Wang Blazer. Yup it was a bargain but it's a bargain that's not for me. I don't really do jackets like this if the truth be told and it's not very me. I might also have been better with a size up if they'd had one. Fat arms and all that. Everywhere else fits. You live and learn and move on.

  • M&S Navy Coat. Yes really. We were not destined to be. I bought it in August and eventually got round to wearing it in November. Two wears along and I noticed the fabric rubbing up around the pockets and the sides. Two wears. Tsk tsk. Not good enough. Credit to M&S, they did refund me after I took it back to Customer Services. It's the first complaint I've made since 1998 when I bought one of their Italian Fabric suits - my skirt looked like a concertina after I got out of the car the first time I wore it. I was disgruntled enough to complain and I almost never ever complain (except to you lot).



    Wardrobe Regrets
    • Zara Two Tone Jumper. This one stayed for nearly three weeks and then went back to the returns desk. I took into account of all your views and I was that close to parking it in the wardrobe and then returned it at the last moment. It wasn't the acrylic that got me - it was the length of the sleeves. I just hate sleeves in my food. I already have one jumper with overly long sleeves and my wardrobe ain't big enough for the two of them. And do you know what kills me -  Caroline de Maigret wearing this in the Zara lookbook and looking major in it. Regrets? I have a few .....
    Credit : zara.com


    Items Which Were A Bit Of A Surprise
    • Next Cheetah Pumps. I love these. I wasn't sure if these were going to get that much wear but I found them strangely adaptable and magically update an outfit. If the weather was better, these would be on my feet just about every day. They were a little snug across the top when I got them but after a couple of wears, they've broken in nicely and they go perfectly with a pair of boyfriend jeans. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather when I can realise their full potential. Not bad for £18. Still available from the Next Clearance section here.


    Items Which I Haven't Worn Much But Not Regretted So Can't Really Comment On Fully.
    • Jigsaw Red Suede Shoes. I never mentioned them on here. I bought them and stashed them away. I saw them and my inner Dorothy said you must have them and look there's only your size left! These are crimson red. I can only liken the colour to the first drop of blood drawn before Sleeping Beauty passed out when she pricked her finger. Daft mare! I've only worn them the once on New Years Eve. For one hour. But I don't regret getting them for a minute. I get them out sometimes and smile at them dangling on the end of my feet. Tell me you do this too with shoes you love :o?

    • Opening Ceremony Loafers. Hmm, I'm detecting a bit of a theme here and we seem to be all about the shoes. I've only recently noticed it myself but I am a shoe girl and not a bag girl. I'm not even a Jimmy Choo, Valentino type of luxury shoe girl. I'm just a regular high street practical shoe girl. But these loafers were a bit of a curve ball shoe. I wanted loafers. I wanted Bass Weejun loafers and what do I get? A pair of flowery loafers. I've not had much chance to wear these either as I got them at the end of summer but I don't regret these either. They go with a surprising amount of things actually because of the colour mix - navy, grey, black, green. Brill.

    • Isabel Marant Blouse. This is essentially a spring/summer item and I bought it at the end of summer last year so I haven't had that much opportunity to get my wear out of it. I have a feeling this will come in to it's own this year. It's one of those chuck it on blouses and it looks fresh and light. The bonus is, it's one of those designs which have a bit of longevity with it - it doesn't really date and you wouldn't really know where it is from. I kind of like that anonymity  about it.


    The Most Useful Things I Bought

    • Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket. I have a love hate relationship with this little number. I love it because it provides extra warmth on those cold cold evenings when I'm hanging around watching U8 football training. I layer up and then pop this jacket on before I head out of the door. I feel naked if I go out without it. I think part of this is all in my mind that is supposed to keep me toasty and so I believe it to do that. I think it does it ... but not as well as I would have liked. Infact, I think what I really need is this one which I think is the slightly warmer version of the one I've got. And the hate part of this jacket? I hate it because I should have bought a size bigger and I kind of look like I'm doing a Superman mid change thing with my undone poppers AND the neckline is a little irritating as it's a little "sharp" around the edges. It can be remedied with a well placed scarf but if I was doing it again, I'd buy the one with a higher neck. Anyway, I've got my jacket, I'm not getting another, let's make the most of it and I have to say, I have worn it for every training session since we started. It's been nothing if not useful. Oh yes - it also packs away to diddly squat so I quite often take it away with me when I'm going anywhere where I think I might be cold.
    See! I never fasten it fully!

    • Zara Parka. You've seen me extolling it's virtues here and I have to say, it's my go to coat of the season simply because it's a damned toasty coat and I can't get enough of those fleece lined pockets. It's big and I can fit layers underneath it. It's had a thorough 1 hour pouring rain waterproof testing and it passed with flying colours. The bad points are the zips on the pockets (yeah yeah Helen), the sleeves are a touch long and when I'm standing outside on a cold evening, I wish it was another 10 inches longer to cover my knees but only when I'm standing outside on a cold evening. Other than that, I like it's styling and it's actually a good length without swamping me. Oh yes! You're also liable to get knocked down crossing the road in this if you've got the hood up. It's one of those hoods that stays facing forwards even when you've turned your head. You have to do a whole body turn to see which way cars are coming when you are crossing the road. But it's not the end of the world. Unless you don't do a full body turn ... :o(

    • Sorel Caribou Boots. Yep, I've only had them less than a month but I think these boots make my outside world a much better place. I like the feeling of being almost invincible in them because they do look like they could do some serious damage along with keeping your feet warm. Imagine being in the Canadian Wilderness with a pair of these on your feet. A big bear looms up behind you - a few karate kicks (Hi-Yah!!) with these on your feet and it's off! Want some more Mr Bear? No? Didn't think so. But to all intents and purposes, they keep my feet warm and that's why I bought them.


    There are probably more items I could have included i.e. silk spotty blouses, brogues, trainers etc but we would be here forever. The ones mentioned were the ones which came to mind first and I think that's enough to be going on with. Maybe I should break this kind of summary down in to half yearly chunks and re-appraise at the end of summer to see if I got the wear out of the items that I haven't had my wear out of yet. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Do you like my non-commital stance on things? Then you can't hold me to it :o)