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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Can You Pinch More Than an Inch?



I can! Special K - you have a lot to answer for - that has been ingrained in my consciousness since I don't know when.

And so I find myself liking my shirts and blouses more than I like t-shirts these days. I've only recently made this discovery but then again, it wasn't something that I was losing sleep over. I found my hand would hover over and skim past the tees hanging in my wardrobe and automatically reach for a favourite blouse or shirt.

Why? They are just more flattering on me. They are my new best friend. I like that they give you a little coverage and hide the bingo wings. I like the looseness of a woven fabric which helps skim the chubby bits whereas jersey tees like to point those bits out. And I also like that you can undo a few buttons at the neck and show a little skin. Covered up but not totally - that's what it's about. And I have a preference for blue shirts. Because they work well against my skin tone. And they feel a little less formal.


H&M shirt, Bag from Hong Kong, Topshop Koala espadrilles, MIH Tomboy jeans

A Birthday Bag Present from the Grumps


The black leather bag is about 5 years old and one I picked up from Hong Kong for a birthday present when I was last there. Not bought from a shop or anything but from one of the street stalls that was around when I used to go for an evening stroll in to the village. And just because it's a stall, doesn't make them peanuts, believe it or not. But I did like this bag - I think I visited it 4 times before I handed over the Grump's Hong Kong dollars.  The lovely thing about it, is I can wear it as a shoulder bag and it also comes with an extra strap in the same webbing detail so I can wear it across the body (last seen here). 

It was that little strip of burgundy which nabbed my heart! 


Anyway, my blue shirt is an H&M number. A little bit oversized but not so much as to overwhelm. It's a light thin cotton and came with some horrible sleeve tabs which I unpicked as I'm not fond of these. My other blue shirts include my Gap Oxford one and my Zara light denim one. Both still going strong, but very useful and getting a lot of love at the moment in the daily wear stakes.

  
Gap Oxford Shirt                                                  Zara Denim Shirt


Anyway, like I was saying, I removed the sleeve tabs on my shirt and if you're not keen on them either and you want to remove them, can I recommend you get a thread picker if you haven't already got one. This is an indispensable little tool (you can get them on Amazon) and is fab for fraying hems on denim and their intended purpose of unpicking thread. It's just that bit more precise than when you get a pair of scissors out and go a bit gung ho with them and then realise you've put a big nick in your fabric. Doh!



In this instance, I also started unpicking from the inside as you're less likely to catch the sleeve fabric. However, you will be left with something like this ....



... lots of small holes in the fabric at which point you go "nooooo - what have I done!!!" but what you do then is get an iron, dampen the area and steam and press it and it should look more like this. Which is a bit less scary.


A once through in the washing machine and the marks should practically disappear. The washing and drying action should knit the fibres back together again and then you're good to go!


See ya!


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Last Note :

  • Be careful which fabrics you choose to undertake this task on. Silks and finer fabrics are a little less forgiving and the holes might remain. 


Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Very Short Wishlist



1. Bella Freud Aura Dog Sweatshirt


Woof woof. I have a navy APC sweatshirt with a logo on the front. I have a black Ganni sweatshirt with a logo on the front. And if I get this one, I will have a really cool grey Bella Freud sweatshirt with a logo on the front. Navy, black and grey. Tick, tick, tick.







2. John Lewis KIN Allerton Bag


Mwah mwah! I walked through John Lewis and stopped at this bag. What a gorgeous navy and black combination. I played and pranced in front of a mirror with it for a very long time as I didn't want to put it down. I luuurrrvvve it. It's soft and it's squishy and it's roomy. Hey Santa Grumps - can you note this as being down on my wish list? Thank you!








3. Hobbs NW3 Lucian Duffle Coat


Lush, lush. I saw this last year and I actually tried this one on in store and loved it but it was full price at the time so I sadly put it back on the rail. It is beautifully made which appeals to me enormously and so smart for a duffle coat. The leather trims are well finished instead of being a little rough around the edges which I see on so many coats (go online and look at the closeups) and again it's another navy and black combo which gets me every time. I may look a little Paddington but I will look like a very chic Paddington, so there!






I told you it was a short and sweet list :o)








Thursday, 25 September 2014

Damson



I've harped on a few times about damson coloured Porselli ballet pumps in the past and if the truth be told, I can't bring myself to pay full price for them ... yet. There are too many other fun things to be had for that amount of money! And I've always wondered how much wear I would get out of them anyway given the amount of shoes I actually have and then I would be worried about if I was actually getting value for money.

Well fear not. I can work that out for myself with these little damson coloured pumps I picked up from Dotty P's. 



They are the most perfect shade of damson - almost identical to the Porselli's in colour. They call them oxblood (bleurgh!) online but I think damson sounds better - agreed? And no they're not leather and they're not like for like - mine have gold tips on the bows and the Porsellis do not but at least I won't be all huffy and puffy if the boys stand on my toes or I'm out in the rain in them and they get sodden. And if I get my wear out of them, then that makes a strong case for investing in the original and hopefully the best. Part of me says though, by the time I've worn these out, I will have exorcised that Porselli demon right out of my system anyway.

Time will tell :o)

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Last Note :

  • These were on offer in store with a 30% off which brings them to a grand total of £8.40. They don't look bad for £8.40 don't they?
  • They have a cushioned insole and are a wide fitting. They come up a fraction big on me so not good for anyone with narrow feet.
  • These actually look less plasticky than some real leather ones I ordered and sent back earlier in the year.
  • For those who don't like excessive toe cleavage, they have these black ones (selling out fast online) with a higher vamp.
  • I only venture in Dorothy Perkins once in a blue moon so it must have been a blue moon when I went in.
  • That was a lot of last notes wasn't it?
  • One more last note - Dorothy Perkins are running a 30% off promotion online and in store till Sunday.





Sunday, 21 September 2014

Jigsaw Pom Pom






I first clapped eyes on one of these early on in May when I saw a few Instagram and Facebook pics of them from the Jigsaw press day and my gut reaction was "I WANT ONE!". There's no explanation - these things just get me.




And just recently, they've started cropping up again in my Instagram and Facebook feeds so I started stalking the Jigsaw website to see when they were coming online. Guess what - they've arrived!

I spotted them last week and the lovely inky blue one was only available in a few London stores. Pah! I even tried to to convince the Grumps to swing past one whilst in London but unfortunately he was on the wrong side of town. Pah! x 2

Anyway, the inky blue one finally became available online (stalk and ye shall find!) and free postage & packaging appeared too so guess what's turned up in the post? My pom pom keyring! 


It's so cute!




Monday, 15 September 2014

Totes Amaze



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)


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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. 





Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Memories ....



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.


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Last Note :

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


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Back to School



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


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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!





Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tan, Beige and Camel



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???