Favourite Friday Flunk - Khaki Utilitarian

Friday 31 August 2012

Today should be a Favourite Friday post but I've still not got my mojo back after the hols so can I just reference one of my Favourite Friday posts instead (a little bit of cheating going on but who's judging)? In one of my Favourite Friday posts about my old Pied a Terre boots not so long ago - I mentioned a nice khaki coloured jumper with a black tie detail from Zara which I thought the boots would go quite well with.  I did actually try the jumper on a little way back and didn't buy it.  Then I went to look for it online and horror of horrors - it had disappeared.  So I did my usual obsessive stalker act around the Leeds stores and eventually one turned up from a stock room. You can run khaki jumper but you can't hide!  I bought it a couple of days before I went on my holidays and I only shook it out of the bag yesterday to "assess" it and to review whether it was still for me.  And then I noticed it had come back online whilst I was putting this post together. Sods Law.

After many unsuccessful contortionist attempts and not getting a single decent shot of the back of the jumper whilst trying to take my own picture in the mirror, I remembered I had Dolly (my dummy) which I could have used.  Doh.  

As modelled by Dolly

As modelled by me

Pied a Terre Old Boots

Gosh - looking at the pictures makes me realise - I'm such a grunge queen aren't I?  But I am happiest when in sludge colours - a bit like a pig in muck.  Actually, looking at the pictures, I look like I should be mucking out pigs in muck.  I just need a padded gilet and a pitchfork and off I go.  Oh dear - I seem to be talking myself out of this one quite rapidly.  I'm not sure if this is a keeper or not especially after that last observation.  

Lets try again but with different boots .......

       Slightly less farmhand?                                             Belstaff Boots (with heel - gasp)

I loved it when I first tried it on and it kind of goes okay with what I have on but I'm trying to work out if it's just the tie detail at the back which sets this jumper off or anything else?  I quite like the colour too admittedly but my sensible head says the opening at the back could get a little chilly and I know this is a door handle hooker of a jumper.

So I have a little time yet to decide.  If you have any thoughts pass them on and then I'll know if I've cracked this utilitarian look too.  In which case I can put another tick in the fashion box and give myself a pat on the back.  Or if not, a visit to the Army Surplus store may be imminent to see what they have in the way of this year's flak jackets .....

Liebster Award and Paying it Forward

Thursday 30 August 2012

Can I just say I was really surprised and touched by the lovely comments on my first post after my holiday and to find that people missed my blog posts.  Aww shucks.  It's really nice to find that I have such lovely people reading my mad ramblings.

The other lovely surprise was receiving my first blogging award from Clare from Another New Day. Thank you Clare!  I started following Clare when I found she was doing a 30 for 30 challenge - I love reading about self imposed masochistic fashion challenges - 30 items of clothing for 30 days.  Clare started blogging around the same time as myself so it's interesting to see her blogging journey running alongside mine.

So I am now the proud recipient of a Liebster award.  Some of you will already know what one is, some of you will have received one before and others like me know nothing .... till now.  After a bit of googling (funny how no one says "yahooing" or "msning") I have determined that it is an award given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers ... and that Liebster is a German word that means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome (you can tell I copied and pasted that bit).

The rules for receiving the award varies slightly depending on where the information comes from.  Some say you nominate 11 people, some say you nominate 5, some say you answer questions, some say you just write a little about the blogs you recommend.  Clare, I hope you don't mind but I found this a little easier and it helps me to explain a little about why I chose the blogs I did for their Liebster award.

So... the rules I'm following are:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog.
4. Revel your 5 blog picks.
5. Let them know you chose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

This is the difficult part having to choose just 5 blogs out of the many I read and not offending anyone in the process.  I'm apologising now in advance for the ones I haven't managed to include.

Photo Credit : Chocolate, Cookies and Candies

What can I say about Marlene?  This is one classy lady with impeccable taste and a penchant for very expensive handbags.  She writes about everything, seems to be good at everything (apart from putting IKEA furniture together) and is self deprecating, witty and a laugh a minute on her blogposts.  What I have also noticed from her responses to myself and her readers is her kindness.  Her fabulous pictures say a thousand words but her written words are equally engaging.  Thank you for your wonderful comments which have helped me so much from when I first started blogging.  And she can cook.  Respect.  And I know you've received an award before but what the heck - have another one.  You deserve it. 

Photo Credit : Lapin de Lune

This is a beautiful looking blog. I could look at this blog all day and go back and do it all again and look some more.  Oh I do!  Louise has a style of her own which I wish I had the discipline to emulate but I am too much of a a fashion schizo for that so I live vicariously through Louise's clothes and her beautiful home.  I relate to Louise in that she reminds me a lot of my younger self when I first had my own little workers cottage, mad Monty cat and everything was "just so".  Have a look at her spin off blog dedicated to the Breton tee (http://la-mariniere.tumblr.com/about) and oh did I mention she is also an illustrator? Lovely lovely fantasmagorical (is that a word?) artwork.  

Photo Credit : Absolutely Fuzzy

When I don't want to be Louise from Lapin de Lune, I want to be Stephanie from Absolutely Fuzzy (told you I was fashion schizo).  Stephanie is that cool girl that you want to be and always has that edge.  And she's lovely person and friendly too for someone so scarily cool!  She's a Sydney based graphic designer and this shows through in the clothes she wears, the pictures she takes and her photographic view on the world.  Her last couple of posts have shown the most gorgeous backdrops and have been an education in themselves.  And I love the fact that she mixes her Alexander Wang with her Topshop and Zara.

Photo Credit : A.L.L.O.

Clare from ALLO is a northern (Leeds?) based fashion buyer.  I found her through doing a google image search on white leather Primark strap sandals.  Yes, that's how weird I am.  A picture of the aforementioned sandals appeared on her blog and I was gently reeled in to reading her little mini posts.  It's usually a little snapshot and a couple of lines but it's nice.  A bit like a daily Grazia.  I like the mix of high end acquisitions intermingled with the more affordable items - I want to know what a fashion insider really buys.  She seems to be tall too. And she has good shoe porn.

Photo Credit : Porcupines Wisdom

I stumbled across Ekatarina after seeing her leave a comment on someone elses' blog.  This is how I sometimes find new blogs because I figure if we are reading the same things, we must have something in common.  Ekatarina is fab and cracks me up.  She is a totally engaging read and I love her opinions on matters of the world such as TV being the best babysitter in the world and whether butter is a killing device.  I also love the fact that she is not a domestic goddess and she makes no apologies for it.

I appreciate just how busy you ladies all are and it may not be possible to "pass it on" but that is okay.  Just take a bow and a moment to enjoy the recognition.

Toast .......

Tuesday 28 August 2012

........ but not the fashion kind.

Okay - to some people this is very wrong but to me this is very right. 

Peanut butter and condensed milk on toast.  And no I'm not pregnant again.

Try it before you mock it.  The Grumps said it was dreadful but gradually over the years, when I've made a piece, he's started sneaking the odd bite .... and he doesn't pull the same retching faces that he used to (yes - you do - if you're reading this).

It might seem very strange but actually it's less strange than you think - what's so different about this from peanut butter and jam (jelly to those American type folk out there - and which confused me terribly for years as I tried to work out why anyone would want to put some wibble wobble jelly on their toast)?

In Hong Kong, the street vendors sell delicious egg waffles and they put peanut butter sauce on them with a dash of sugar.  It's yum.  And fattening.  I know because I've eaten lots of them.  My sister and I, when we find one of these vendors, huddle together egging each other on to buy a portion ... followed by a second portion because one portion is not enough when something is this delicious.  So it is a kind of tried, tested and accepted recipe actually.

Now bananas on toast ... to me - that's weird.  What weird combos do you do?

M.I.A. in Greece

Sunday 26 August 2012

So as you will have probably gathered from the lack of mad musings last week, I was on holiday.  I did create a little post about what I was packing but in reality, it would have been of no use to man or mouse. 

Also, can I just apologise for disappearing off on holiday just like that (do Tommy Cooper hands when you read the "just like that" bit).  In this case, I have to blame the tools of the trade - our dodgy router meant I had no internet connection to say something as simple as "Off on hols - see you when I get back". And thank you to everyone who was kind enough to leave a comment on my last couple of blog posts whilst I was way.  I took an active decision to be internet free for a week and it has been good for me but I will get back on track soon ...... after the mounds of laundry.

Oh hang the laundry (no pun intended), let's do a holiday post!

George's first time for flying - we didn't dare before now

We've all been nervous about our first flight with George.  Ben's been on a plane several times and has been impeccably behaved and that's including long haul at the age of 11 months and 3 years to Hong Kong.  However, George is the proverbial cheeky chappy and can be quite vocal whether expressing his pleasure or displeasure at whatever is amusing or displeasing him at that moment but phew! he was good as gold (all hail the IPad!).  So after a successful and quiet flight, we arrived at our hotel in Iixa in Rhodes early afternoon to scorching temperatures, scantily clad people in bikinis around the pool and a thumping disco beat in the background - we were in Family Club Med!  I had a lovely time people watching and there were lots of itsy bitsy bikinis to take in and "review".  I confess to chickening out of wearing my bikini at the last minute as my bagel belly was becoming a jelly belly and I didn't want to lie there everyday looking at it and more to the point, I didn't want the Grumps wobbling it for fun as he would have done given half the chance.  However, having had my eyes opened to the body & swimwear bazaar in front of me, the next time I go on a holiday where swimwear is the outfit de jour, I may try again.  Whatever you think about yourself, there is always someone bigger, smaller, firmer or wobblier than you and ...... no one gives a damn.  I also found myself strangely drawn to watching the "entertainment crew" perform their daily show by the poolside to some Euro disco number where everybody is supposed to join in - think "Macarena" style.  If I'd been there another week, the force would have been great and I would have been compelled to join in.  Thank goodness, I was only there for one.

My view most days!

And this one too! I'm walking behind as usual.

On one of the days that we decided not to be poolbound, we managed a trip to Rhodes Old Town which I'd been to previously 10 years ago on a day trip from Marmaris in Turkey. Amongst all the traditional leather goods, there is a "market" for cough cough "branded" goods.  This year Longchamp, Rayban and Converse seem to have a strong presence.

Bags Galore!

George took a shine to this pink pair!

A veritable Greek Aladdin's Cave

Stray cats are always around and the one below looked well fed and content enough. It does  break my heart when I see little stray kittens though.

Looking good for a stray!

So cute.

Being in Rhodes Old Town did bring back memories for me.  The Grumps and I had only been married a year then and children were not part of the picture as yet.  Fast forward a number of years and how things have changed.  See!

Double Trouble!

Ben & I, Hot & Sweaty in Rhodes Old Town

Having children means a visit to the Falaraki Water Park which was a good day out actually despite my general dislike of water.

Unfortunately, this wristband does not entitle you to endless ice cream.

Floating down the lazy river.

This apparently is fun!

Happy chappy!

We forewent the culture in favour of ease and lack of grumping from small people - so no pictures of the Acropolis here this time.  They wouldn't thank us for it and we wouldn't have liked them by the end of it.

Evenings were spent in the hotel restaurant - we went with friends (George's God Parents and their children (our God children)) which always make for a jolly atmosphere and most evenings, there was the obligatory fashion shoot for my 15 year old God daughter - who looks good in everything.  Do not stand next to her unless you want to feel really old and really fat.

Kirstie - my God Daughter.  The bloom of youth.

And then it was my turn.

Awkward camera pose - it's definitely easier to be holding the camera.

And having seen that I am wearing black in all the pictures (blending in with the Greek widows look), I have included a colour combo :

H&M combo & grey tatty bag

We like trilbys!

And did I buy anything on my jollies?  I bought some ornamental cows and a donkey!

They clash terribly with the decor at home!  Should have bought them for Grandma!

No I didn't .... I bought another trilby and a bracelet.

Perfect for the September school run.

So I'm feeling almost human again after a couple of days at home and sleeping in my own bed with no air con blasting away in the background.  The toes are repainted. I'm moisturised and I'm settling back in to my own routine.  I'm a little bit browner but not too much - there was a lot of suntan lotion being applied as I didn't want a tan.  Unfortunately, I don't go a delicious golden brown like my Ben, instead I just go mucky coloured which is not that good a look so I do my best to avoid the sun (says the woman who just holidayed in sun soaked Greece).  The stripes are back on along with the comfy jeans as somehow, I managed to put on 5lb and am now officially a heffa-moose! But still it's good to be back in Blighty with it's temperamental weather and all. 

So I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs - it's like all the magazines have landed on your doormat all at once!  Kettle on and Earl Grey at the ready, blogs away!

Seeing Red

Monday 13 August 2012

I'm getting this vibe ... it's all around.  It's been filtering slowly in to the shops (it is only August after all).  It was mentioned in Grazia last week.   And when Marlene from Chocolate, Cookies & Candies  recently unveiled some new offerings from Isabel Marant, it was confirmed .....  that red was in the air.

Red is the colour of love, the colour of fortune and prosperity according to the Chinese or the colour of "harlots and whores" to those of a naughty disposition.  Red seems to have been out of the fashion radar for an indeterminable age but I think this year it's been drawn out of the hat by the fashion brigade.  So red is back.....

 .... but more specifically the red I've been seeing and really taking a shine to is a shade of ruby red bordering on bordeaux.  I quite like it.  I'm fickle like that.  Call it bordeaux, pinot noir,  berry red - all lovely.  Call it burgundy and and images of burgundy flocked wallpaper adorning the walls of the local Indian restaurant springs to mind.  Well it does, doesn't it?

I've spotted a few pieces on my shopping travels and have indulged myself with just one item so far in my nod to 'red' from the High Street for this Autumn.  I'm still unsure how 'red' as a colour works in my wardrobe so I have just tentatively dipped my toe in with this jumper from New Look.  

New Look Slub Jumper
New Look Slim Boyfriend Jeans
Office Namesake Boots

Another holey jumper for me to hang myself on when passing a door handle

When I walked through the store, it was the only thing I liked but at least it's a goodie (in my eyes at least).  This piece is quite an easy piece to work with our old favourite, a pair of boyfriend jeans.  Coupled with the Office boots.  Job done.  But credit where credit's due - I didn't realise my inspro had come from Kate B - I'm also only one year late - she wore this in 2011 :

Photo credit : http://itallbeganinparis.wordpress.com

Does this mean I need the bag too?

And for those days when I need to run fast after the boys on their scooters, a swap of the boots for a pair of Converse works great too!

Cons for hotfooting after small people.
They are also still very white.

It has a slight drop hem at the back which is always a bum pleaser for those with less than peachy assets and I like to think it has a small hint of the Marant jumpers with the slubby texture which is good for those who can't afford the real things (me). Interestingly, the contrast colour in this jumper is navy as opposed to black which would have seemed the obvious way to go but consequently it goes extremely well with blue denim.  

The second ruby red item I like and call me a slow coach, snail or fashion luddite but I've taken quite a shine to this particular pair of wedge trainers :

I have tried innumerable pairs of wedge trainers over the last 6 months or so and they can be very much a hit and miss affair.  These are actually really nice in real life - definitely better than in the picture.  The price (£40) for those who who want to indulge this whim for a short period of time is good and they are much better made than a lot I've seen out there retailing for more.  The maroon shade is a little less harsh than black which is always good for me.  For some reason whenever I wear black footwear - I always feel like they're full stops on the end of my legs and "shorten" my legs (says she who has just invested in the black Topshop sandals).  This dark red pair are just that little bit easier on the eye for me personally with not too much going on.  I don't think I have much in my wardrobe which goes with them apart from the New Look jumper which is not a good enough reason to invest  .... but I am not of a sound mind and am a bit of a fashion slut. 

Other nice little pieces include :

This would look nice over a grey marl sweatshirt to 'dress up" a weekend look.  Or over a black crew neck jumper with the below jacket and jeans for a days shopping.

Come on - this is very Marant inspired don't you think? A little bit naughty but a little bit nice because it's done in such a great colour.  Dress up, dress down - any way you please.

And this is just a lovely Autumn dress with the bonus of nice length sleeves don't you think?  Worn with an oversized cardi, grey tights and brogues - great for the season ahead.  Or with black tights and black square toed courts for a pretty work look?  

All 3 items - quite versatile - to be worn as befits your lifestyle.

So - red done now on the fashion to do list.  Owls ticked off.  What's next?


* 3 mentions of Kate Bosworth in the last month or so in my posts is wholly unintentional.

One In - Two Out!

Sunday 12 August 2012

The culling blogs are working on me.  At last.  It's all done by osmosis of course.  Read enough of them and eventually something will sink in to your subconscious.  And even better than that - instead of a one in, one out - I've even managed to do a one in - two out in the shoe department. 

Remember the Bensimon pumps? I didn't take to them.  Shame - the colour was lovely but they just weren't as "chunky" as the Converse, both of which I'm currently enjoying now that the sun has deigned to beam its sunny beams on us.  So I cut my losses and got rid.

Bensimon Pumps - Gone 1!

And the lovely Zara TRF black wedges?  I decided they did nothing to flatter the leg when worn with skirts - the top strap was just a little too wide for me and shortened my already short legs which is a good enough reason in itself to get rid.  Shame - they were a nice sandal but if they don't flatter, they don't flatter.  Yes I like to argue myself into submission. 

Zara TRF Wedge Sandals - Gone 2!

So both went to Ebay, the proceeds of which were used to buy the Topshop Newark sandals which have just disappeared off the Topshop site so unfortunately I can't provide a link for anyone.  Not as clunky as the Zara sandals, a little bit more feminine but not a million miles different from the Carvela Krimble at the front, after all if the formula isn't broke - let's not make up a new one.

Topshop Newark Sandals (some left in selected stores)

And here I am doing my best prim and proper in the sandals.  I have to confess I feel a bit like a kindergarten teacher like this.

Whistles Frill Bib Blouse (old)
Topshop Skirt (old)

Oh that's better - I've loosened up the top button and let my hair down.  More me.

Best Victoria Beckham toe point pose

And apparently, I'm in good company - Ms Bosworth has been spotted in a pair of the Newark sandals too.  

Kate B looking okay in her sandals.

Did you know that even if you buy these sandals - your legs don't look like KB's?  When I spotted the pictures of KB wearing them, I stared and stared at them for ages because if the osmosis is working for me with respects to culling - I thought maybe it could work on me and my legs too.  It doesn't ............ I have the legs to prove it.

Favourite Friday - Grazia Tuesday

Friday 10 August 2012

On Tuesday mornings, I look forward to the thud on the doormat and the knowledge that my present has arrived in the form of this week's Grazia magazine.  Except sometimes Grazia Tuesday becomes Grazia Wednesday for some strange unexplained reason and then I feel rather short changed that I have nothing to browse whilst I have the morning cup of tea ... and second breakfast - some people have elevenses - I have second breakfast.

I decided to treat myself to a Grazia subscription maybe about two years ago and I think it's money well spent keeping me entertained and well informed on everything and nothing.  I don't take it too seriously and it's not a bible - it's just a fun way to keep up with the fashion world out there.

If I was to say what my favourite bits are - they include :


I love looking at this bit to see what's coming in to the stores this week.  Sometimes, if I'm lucky I manage to fit in a small shopping trip which allows me to check out these newbies - providing they are not just London based stores.  I usually like 2% of what they feature ... which is a bonus as it works out a lot cheaper to not find anything you like.


This makes me laugh.  Especially as I like to imagine a bunch of 30 somethings all sitting behind a desk giggling and writing about lusty young men like Harry Styles and Tom Daley.  But I unashamedly get where they're coming from.  That's really bad isn't it ;o?  But this week we have Daniel Craig at number 1 and that's okay because he's age appropriate.  And just something I wanted to drop in ... Grumps used to hang out with Daniel Craig in his teen years.  We even have photos to prove it and I can vouch that he wasn't always quite so buff.  I find it very amusing whenever DC comes on TV as I then look at Grumps munching his peanuts on the sofa and think ... what if it had been him being Bond?


Where "normal" people are featured wearing their own ensembles and which has been voted the best.  Funny thing is, I've never seen people like the ones featured walking around the streets of Leeds and York when I've been out and about.  All I see is young girls in cut off shorts worn with tights, lopsided Uggs and some kind of hoody top and such heavily mascara'd eyes, they can hardly see where they're going.  Where are these fashionistas please?  Oh sorry - they all live in London .... or Miami in this weeks case.


Where the panel slates a load of celebrities and what they're wearing.  But sometimes what they say is so true. Just because you're famous does not mean you can go round looking like  a crazy loon and expect to call it fashion.  Sometimes it's just good to know that even the rich and famous get it sooo wrong.


This is the cheap and cheerful bit. The bit where I can almost afford some of the items featured.  So I like it.


No that's what it's called.  It's the final round up of snippets that they just put in because they probably didn't know where else to lump them.  But it's usually quite entertaining.

The weirdest thing is - for a fashion magazine - I don't actually like the proper fashion editorial bit.  That bit I find boring probably because it feels unreal to me.  Super leggy models wearing unwearable clothes.  I know I'm supposed to just take inspiration from the super thought out fashion shoot outs in lovely locations but I have my head too tightly screwed on to think that it's okay to look like Willy Wonka minus strange hat. 

Someone's been watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this week haven't they?

Inspiration comes in the strangest guises.

If I want wearable fashion, I look to RED and Marie Clarie, Easy Living where the trends are translated down for me - I'm not cutting edge, I just like nice wearable clothes which don't make you look silly.  

And I don't pay much attention to the beauty bits either except where nail varnish is concerned ... or the horoscopes or the letters.  

So that's my favourite Friday offering this week - my weekly Grazia fix.  What do you read?

Susie So So