Thursday, 29 November 2012

So what's so chavtastic about this little cream cotton jumper? It looks kind of unassuming and pleasant enough but not chavvy. It's easy to wear, easy to wash, easy price (£12) and has a little touch of the Guernsey styling about it. It's 100% cotton, a workhorse type of jumper and it's also what I would deem a bit Margaret Howellesque. So what's so chavtastic about it?

Well nothing really. But it does go really well with this Burberry cashmere scarf. Now that's chavtastic.

Next Cocoon Coat (A/W 2011)

Hear me out whilst you're shaking your heads and mentally thinking "nooooo - what fashion planet did you fall off Sue? I thought you had a little bit of fashion wisdom about you but here you are singing the praises of a chav scarf!" I'd like to say in my defence - I really like this scarf. I'm not sure how much of it is to do with the Burberry check - not that much I think but the colours are sharp and good and the cashmere is beyond soft. This is baby fluff bunny soft. Actually, that should be baby fluff goat soft. For this reason alone - it could have bright purple and yellow flowers on it and I would love it. Actually, I lie, if it had bright purple and yellow flowers, I would not love it at all but I can live with a Burberry chavtastic check. 

Go on, tell me - do I look chav in this?

I "procured" this scarf many years ago. It was offered to me by an ex boyfriend who wasn't particularly enamoured with it. I was cold and it was soft. I wrapped it around my neck, revelled in its softness and took it home. Though I left the boyfriend, I kept the scarf. You would have done the same right? I thought so :o)

I have to say, that this is not a particularly big scarf and doesn't lend itself well for doing that manic wrapping thing that most of us women are used to doing with our big oversized scarves. This one is a bit of a mean size which is surprising given that this is a men's scarf. Why are men's scarves smaller and shorter than womens? Incase they wee on the ends when they lean over to do their number ones? Anyway, the point I'm making is that I tend to pin this scarf due to its lack of length. Ooh err. Go back up and play spot the kilt pin.

Anyway, chavs are really a British thing - they only exist here. You don't get this look anywhere else in the world that I know of. 

Photo Credit :
The now famous picture of Daniella Westbrook in full Burberry regalia.

Be thankful.

But Christopher Bailey worked his little socks off to bring the brand round with great success, don't you think?

Photo Credit :
Emma's coat needs an iron? Yes?

Try not to think of Burberry in the mid 2000's - I like to think those were the wilderness years but if you think of Burberry post 2009 when CB took over as creative director, then you won't be so disgusted with me.


Last note :

  • Christopher Bailey was born in Yorkshire. Yay! That's it. And he's good at his job.

  • For anybody unfamiliar with the term Chav, this is the Oxford English definition : 
          Noun. British, informal, derogatory. 
          A young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour and the wearing of (real or 
          imitation) designer clothes.

  • No offence intended to anyone who likes Burberry or chav style. I have a scarf - what more can I say?

Plaid, Check or Tartan?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Jack Wills Mens Lambswool Check/Plaid/Tartan Scarf (old)

Worn with "altered" M&S Grey Coat (ancient)

When will I learn not to put myself in the same picture as a model?

So Hedwig from Northern Light has been going round with her funky plaid/check/tartan scarf. Well guess what, I have one too. Yay! And I got mine two years ago. Woo hoo! So does that make me extremely fashion forward? A trendsetter? Ahead of my time? Or .... just plain lucky that they've just come back in fashion again. The latter. I thought so.

This was originally a Crimbo pressie for the Grumps but there was a bit of the raised eyebrow about the bright pink bits in the scarf, so I decided it was best if I kept it for myself. And I'm pretty pleased that I did because apart from being big, warm and funky - it means I've got the 2012 check/plaid/tartan scarf trend ticked!

And I didn't even have to spend a penny (this year).


Sunday, 25 November 2012

I'm pretending this is a bit D&G.

I was looking for something colourful - I felt that I'd been doing a bit too much of the grey, black and blue thing just recently so I dug deep in the clothes boxes and unearthed this extremely ancient jumper. It's a very old River Island one circa 1980-90's I think. My sister gave it to me last year declaring that it was mine and that I could have it back. Mine? I don't remember this being mine but the more I looked at it, the more it looked like it was something I might have worn way back then. Yes - I used to wear things with print and colour and not just grey. 

Very very old skool and 100% cotton.

I tried to make it a bit interesting by pairing with a denim skirt and some ankle boots. I was trying to avoid wearing the beloved boyfriend jeans but somehow in the skirt, I just looked bad ... not quirky or cool - just bad. So I'm afraid, I went back to the jeans. I do actually have more things to wear than boyfriend jeans but I can't seem to break the habit and besides, every magazine at the moment is extolling the virtues of the boyfriend jean and how they are the 'IN' thing. So that's my excuse anyway.

Sleeves rolled up and ready for action.

I somehow managed to persuade the Grumps to go outside with me to take a few shots with a more interesting background than my usual landing. But not before I donned a big parka - don't you know - it's officially freezing out there!

Eskimo Sue

River Island Rose Jumper (very old)
Primark Parka (very old)
Falmer Heritage Boyfriend Jeans (old)
H&M Trend Yellow Mohair Scarf (A/W 2012)
Gap Boots (A/W2012) below

I'm afraid the Grumps didn't take the task at hand very seriously as he pretended to "pap" me whilst I posed infront of the 'interesting' red brick background. The first set - none usuable. So I dragged him out in the cold to do a second round of pictures. We managed the just about passable picture below. I was about to go once more into the breach but decided against as he looked even more grumpy than usual by then and frozen solid.

That's the gently disguised "I am not amused" look.

So no "oooh la la" today. Just a bit of "brrrrrrr - man it's cold". 


Last Note :

I saw this on my travels - I'm quite taken with this as a 2012 updated version of my old jumper. And it's black!

I like!

Photo Credit :
See - I said it was a bit D&G!

French Dressing Up - Part 2.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Playtime again - what's in the dressing up box today? Sorry, cough, cough, clear throat, adopt serious voice. I mean, here we are again for the rest of the rules. 

French Chic - The Rules Part 2

  • Avoid Clashing Prints
  • Experimenting with keeping it tonal
  • Wear a silk blouse like a T shirt
  • Go easy on the heels
  • Draw attention to the decolletage
  • Show some flesh
  • Never be too perfect. 

* Go Easy on the Heels.

Okay, this doesn't mean stop wearing the heels but let's wear elegant heels. None of these  poledancer platforms, porn shoes and chunky clunkies. In Grazia, they are showing these beauties which look divine and are a stunning colour but they also happen to be crippingly high and look like they are one step away from an injury.

Once upon a time, I would have looked at those shoes and just cooed over them. Now I look at them and wince. Age makes you soft.

* Show Some Flesh.

So VB is saying it's sexy to go bare-legged ... even in the cold months. American tan tights are a no go. They had a lovely picture of the journalist in a pair of shorts and a pair of over the knee boots to balance the leg exposure ratio and in my thoughts - probably to minimise the cold.

Cold but cute

* Draw Attention to the Decolletage.

Make a bit of a feature around your neckline. Wear something which draws the eye ... but I don't think she means get your stack out. Yes, that would draw the eyes. Hello boys! They mean like Audrey Tautou below. So pretty. If you're going to make people look at your top half - look for the right reasons at least.

Photo Credit :

I'm going to cheat again. I'm going to cover all three rules in one outfit and this is an outfit I'd been planning to wear for a friend's birthday meal until it had to be cancelled but hey, I can use it for this post instead .... and I am re-using some of the clothes seen in the previous post. Excuse me for not showing you some new exciting, different clothes but I'm enjoying some of the things I have so I'm just going to get them out again and get my moneys' worth.

My interpretation of showing some flesh is to get the bare legs out and wear a dress. Come on - did you really think I was going to parade round in a pair of dinky shorts with over the knee boots? You did? You really did? I have a cut off point for skirts and dresses which is just above the knee. Anything south of the knees goes a bit to pot in my eyes so I like to stop where I think it's okay. I know shorter is funkier but shorter makes my legs look chunkier. Fact. So I'm wearing my black lace shift dress. Quite simple, with sleeves (I don't like my arms) and no waistband (I like my food). 

Just a LBLD (Little black lace dress)

I bought this little black lace dress from Matalan for about £20 last year. I'm not usually a big fan of black lace dresses but I have to say I just wanted something to wear which wasn't the same top that I'd worn for the previous two Christmas do's. I saw this little dress, I tried it on and it fitted... so I bought it. I figured it could also be worn in the day time with just a regular grey cardi for a more dressed down look. Admittedly, I have yet to try this day time look. Admittedly, I live in jeans. Admittedly, everything is good in theory .... admittedly, admittedly.

Footwear. We're looking for a more refined heel. I don't have much call for heels these days but I do have a couple of pairs and these are about 4" high. That's my threshold. Just because the above Sergio Rossi's are sky scrapers, doesn't mean I have to wear sky scrapers. Sky scrapers are the epitome of non elegance when the woman is hobbling down the street in agony. However, a slim heel and a pointy toe might be all that's needed.  I'm wearing the same pair of heels as in the previous post. They're not very high but high enough to know I am wearing a heel. Pointy but not injury inflicting pointy. 

Fact - I've never had to shave my legs
Fact - my legs look anaemic (it's the lighting - honest, guv!)

I was going to wear this along with the Mango jacket featured previously to pull the look together a bit and dress down the dress. 

Tweed and lace.

And throw on a small bag for me to house the keys and phone. No Chanel this time - just a little black Chanel'esque style bag which my sister bought me over 20 years ago when she went on holiday in Spain and which I've still hung on to. I am actually quite attached to it due partly to it being made of impeccably soft leather and it's one of the few gifts I actually liked from my sis.

Old but loved.
And all together, it looks like this.

Ta dah! Or should that be "Ooh la la!"

That's me doing the coy pose

And that's it. What? Finished already? What happened to the last rule of drawing attention to the decolletage? Well I thought I would add a necklace but decided against it at the last minute as it wasn't sitting quite right on the neckline ... and then it dawned on me to take the advice of one Ms Ines de la Fressange which is to remove one thing before you leave the house and so I did - I chose to remove the necklace. Afterall, Ms de la Fressange is as perenially chic and French as they come and if it's a good enough for her, it's good enough for me and it also gives me the perfect cop out.

Well - that's the end of the French play-dressing - it was fun. What have I learnt? 

  • I like French style ... whatever it is - (Ms Alt and Ms Moss dress identically sometimes). Go figure.
  • I don't like having bare legs in November. 
  • Goose pimples are not sexy on bare legs.
  • I don't like wearing silk shirts in the daytime near children
  • I like dressing up for fun.
  • I like dressing up for fun. Yes I did mean to repeat that.
  • Carrying small black quilted leather handbags looks instantly French.
  • That Mango jacket goes with everything.
  • I like dressing up for fun :o)

Back to the joggy bots - it's time for UK cleaning style! And no, I'm not going to do a post on that.

Have a good weekend everyone.

French Dressing Up - Part 1.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I saw an article a little while back in Grazia which had Vanessa Bruno advising on how to achieve that French Je Ne Sais Quoi when dressing. There were a few basic rules from the article which I thought I it would be fun to road test to see if I could achieve this bit of ooh la la la. You can mark me at the end and it's okay to give me extra credits for effort. I'm not proud.

French Chic - The Rules Part 1.

  • Avoid Clashing Prints
  • Experimenting with keeping it tonal
  • Wear a silk blouse like a T shirt
  • Go easy on the heels
  • Draw attention to the decolletage
  • Show some flesh
  • Never be too perfect. 

I've taken 4 of the rules above (the purple ones) and provided one outfit which I think covers them all off. I was lazy and then I got busy. On a good day, I would have taken all the rules apart and given you an outfit offering for each rule but I've just found out I have a Christmas fair to do in a day or so (Hello Sue - I was just calling to remind you about the Christmas fair - are you all set and ready? Yep - lying with my all limbs crossed) and there's not enough daylight to take any half decent pictures these days, that is, if you take your own pics, without a tripod, in a mirror. So you just get one outfit.

Let's discuss the rules.

* Avoid Clashing Prints. 

Piece of cake - this one's not too hard - nearly every jumper and quite a number of my tops are plain. In the article, they have a picture of Emanuelle Alt in a white blazer and black skinnies, black tee and black pointy shoes. I get the jist.

Photo Credit : 
Miami Vice but in a good way.

All easy on the eye and nothing screaming at you. No print, no clash.

* Being Tonal.

VB (Vanessa Bruno not Victoria Beckham) says colours are good but you need to be tonal. They quote khaki, grey, brown, camel.  Cool - I have a lot of those colours in my wardrobe.  I also have grey, black, white and navy. I think I can safely classify that as tonal. We can work with this.

Photo Credit :
Yup - that's tonal. Zzzzz (whoops did I really nod off there).
Slaps oneself awake.

Again - easy on the eye, pretty and not in your face. Fair do's but a bit snooze (the above pic that is).

* Never be Too Perfect.

Photo Credit :
I think I prefer the dark side.

Quite self explanatory - don't look too put together, hair a little messy, slightly scuffed boots, not too mitchy matchy, leave something a little out of the mix. I normally do this everyday just by having bed head.

* Wear a Silk Blouse like a T Shirt

So they have Clemency Poesy modelling her little shirt and making it look so cool and effortless. 

Photo Credit :
I swear she's wearing a cotton shirt and not silk but that's the pic in Grazia! 

This is where I go digging in the depths of the spare clothes boxes - I have silk shirts. I used to wear them a lot when I was working but obviously as a SAHM, it's not what I immediately think of wearing on a daily basis and certainly not treating it as a tee. Cooking splashback, chocolatey fingers, snotty noses equals hell for silk garments. But for the purpose of this exercise, I have unearthed a silk shirt.

So armed with said shirt and a few accessories, here we go with my interpretation of the rules ....

We start off with a basic navy silk shirt which is yonkers years old - actually about 15 years old from Jigsaw but still looks okay current day - due primarily to the cut of the shirt which hasn't dated (what a lucky girl am I!). I put this with some blue jeans and added a black studded belt for a bit of interest. The belt used to sit more on the hips when I wore my jeans slightly more low waisted but the kind Timpson shoe man popped me in some extra holes so I could carry on using the belt with my more recent slightly higher waisted jeans (essential for minimising muffin tops and bagel bellys).

Jigsaw belt (yonkers old)
Jigsaw silk shirt (even more yonkers old)
New Look jeans (a bit little yonkers old)

I stuck on the H&M pointy heels which I picked up recently to inject a bit of new life in to the wardrobe. I think after so many years in the wilderness, pointy shoes are having their moment again and it feels quite refreshing to see them on my feet. I'm probably very behind with this trend but hey, I got there didn't I? Eventually. This is the basic outfit so far.

H&M Suedette Heels (not yonkers old at all)
The finish and styling on the shoes is pretty good actually.

I added a jacket (making like Ms Alt) ......

Mango Jacket (yonkers months old)


... and added a bag.

The watch doesn't quite go but that's good (remember the rule of never look too perfect).
Okay - I totally forgot I was wearing my watch.

Denim, tweed, leather, suede(ette) - lots of textures.

My sister's Chanel bought in the 1980's.
She doesn't really use it but there's no reason why I shouldn't.

And all together we get :

Ta dah! I feel like a right proper mademoiselle!

So what do you think of my interpretation of the rules? Am I wearing the silk shirt like a t shirt? Am I being tonal? Am I adhering to the rule of no pattern clashing? And the not looking too perfect. Did I pass? Did I get extra credits for anything? Or do I need to try harder next time? Do I sound like a rather enthusiastic puppy begging for biscuits? 

I have to say, I didn't try that hard as it was a relatively easy ensemble to put together but the hardest thing to apply would be wearing the silk shirt as a tee - I'm just too scared of it getting spoilt or getting grease marks on it. Hence it was perfect as a work shirt but not for every day rough and tumble. Anyway, this was just a bit of dressing up fun after all I'd look a bit daft dressed like this doing the ironing. And nice as it is to wear pointy shoes, my feet are freezing ... it is November after all.

Part 2 coming soon ... daylight permitting.

Brief Encounter

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

M  :  Would you like to meet?

S  :  Yes.

M  :  Where

S  :  Liberty's ... by the flower stand.

M  :  I'll see you there.

S  :  I'll see you there.

The day arrived, the weather was grey. We met outside the flowers as arranged and hugged. 

We went for coffee and we talked. Two hours later, we came out of the coffee shop and walked a little. We talked some more and we walked some more until our hungry tummies told us we needed to eat. Conversation cannot fuel you alone. We ate and then walked out in to the late afternoon. We walked some more and found ourselves back at Libertys the loveliest store in London. 

We pottered and browsed the store but eventually we had to call it a day. We both needed to go home to our families. Who did I meet for my brief encounter? Marlene.

When in Liberty's - try on some Marant!

Marlene from Chocolate, Cookies and Candies sent me an email asking me if I fancied going up to London to meet. Yes - why not indeed, it's been too many years since I've set foot in the capital and now was a valid reason to go - to meet one of my favourite bloggers... and to have a bit of child free shopping time. 

Maison Scotch Coat, New Look Jeans, Gap Ankle Boots (No links for any)

Posing in the middle of a street - harder than it looks.

That day was also the day I did my very first and very awkward streetstyle pose as directed by Marlene. I owe her big apologies for being such a decrepit model. I was not an easy subject to photograph - she can probably vouch for how devoid of model potential I really am. I didn't even manage a proper smize. And when I tried to take a picture of Marlene on her own camera - I'm sure she was wondering what halfwit did she had on her hands. I was probably her worst pupil ever even though all I had to do was press the button after she set it all up.

Marlene, can I say, it was a privilege to have been able to spend a day with you. Libertys' handbag department through your eyes is an eye-opener. You know your goatskin from your calfskin and truly appreciate great workmanship. Me, I am a heathen - I carry a tatty bag most days but I can tell you it's made from cotton and it washes well on a 40 degree cycle :o)


Last Note :

  • Before you correct me and say "Sue, you live in Yorkshire, you are going down to London", can I just say that I was once told that as London is the Capital city, we travel "up" to it, in reference to it's capital status. But I don't mind being corrected if I am wrong. Some people say it has something to do with the railway networks and how they operate which is why the say we are going up to London. If anybody knows - do share.

  • Pop over to Marlene's blog to see what she said of our day.

  • Yeah - she's taller than me. I'm officially short. Really short.

Thoughtful Friday

Friday, 16 November 2012

When I was a student, I came across a strange little book called Zen Flesh, Zen Bones whilst browsing through the aisles of Waterstones. I ended up taking the book home with me after perusing a couple of the pages.

I lost the book but for some reason, I wanted to replace it - it was a "unique" and interesting little book. I somehow managed to track it down and just recently I picked it up again and this is one of my favourite stories because it strikes a chord in so many ways. I have paraphrased it to remove all copyright issues.


The Muddy Road.

Two monks were travelling along a muddy road. They came to a river.

By the bank of the river, a beautiful girl in a lovely silk kimono was waiting, unable to cross.

"I'll help you" said the first monk and carried her across.

The second monk did not speak until that evening. Then he could hold back no longer. 

"We do not go near females, especially young and lovely ones. It is dangerous - why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said the first monk. "Why are you still carrying her?"


This is my modern take.

The kids are monk 1. I am monk 2. The kids have played up and I have yelled at them. They have forgotten everything in a shake of a lambs tail. I am still seething.

They win. I lose. 

What's your take?


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Yup - I'm the bonkers mum taking pictures of my own feet in the playground.

Do you UGG? I do. I know you haven't seen a pair on my feet yet or hear me mention them but I UGG. I am not alone in this activity of UGGing. Most of my friends have a pair of UGGs and Ben's school playground is awash with UGGed feet usually from October onwards until the following April. They are the essential school mum footwear for playgrounds on cold, frosty mornings. And also the chosen footwear for teeny boppers and D-list celebrities.

Over the last few years, UGGS have waned in popularity (sales down 31% last year according to the Huffington Post) and have unfortunately managed to acquire a "chav" tag which serves to give them very little fashion credibility. So they're out of favour but I don't care because did I mention how lovely, warm and comforting it is to wear a pair of UGGs? Those who have a pair are nodding in unison with me at this point. Especially if you're standing in the school playground in sub zero temperatures waiting for the school bell to ring? Nodding increases pace.

I UGG inside and I UGG outside. I UGG inside because they keep my feet warm and because they stay on my feet. Stay on my feet? Yup, that's exactly what I said because when I wear slippers like these .....

.... they slip off my feet. This is because we have some barstools which I like to perch on and my legs are too short  to reach the carpeted ground I walk upon. So I wear Uggs inside as slippers. So they don't slide off my feet. If you have a pair of slippers like the ones above, raise your feet, point your toes down and watch them fall off. See!  

I have a new grey pair this year in the Bailey style. I actually got them in A/W 2011 but I hadn't finished with my current chestnut classic pair until now so I've had them in storage for about a year. Along with the other chocolate pair. I can't help it - I stockpile sometimes - especially when something this good comes my way. I have to say, these are not the official UGG Decker branded ones - these little beauties are actually from Costco ... from the childrens' section. No VAT. Fabuloso. For about £25 - proper twin faced sheepskin booties. The only difference to the real branded ones so far that I've noticed is there is no label on the back of the heel ... and the price difference. Hence the fact that I make an annual pilgramage just to stock up.

You'll be chanting that for the rest of the day.

But when outside, I have the Classic chocolate UGGs or the toast UGG Kensingtons. 

The chocolate UGGS I've had since 2006 - Ben's birth year. The year I decided I needed these comfy boots for walking in whilst pushing Ben around in a pram. I didn't do much pram pushing (had a bout of lazy-i-tis) but it was a good excuse for getting them for a Christmas present. Six years later they are still going strong and under the recommendation of Lucy from Suburban Style, I popped them in the washing machine to clean them up and waited with bated breath to see whether they were going to be shredded or come out lovely and clean. Phew - they came up fine. But if you don't fancy taking on this dauting task yourself - some dry cleaners and shoe menders will undertake the activity for you.

You'd look a bit like this if you were 6 years old ....
... and been through a 40 degree wash.

The UGG Kensingtons I bought a couple of years back and these are a love hate boot. Boy I wanted these and when they came I thought they were the bee's knees but getting them on was an ordeal and a half. The reviews of the boot echoed exactly what I thought which was they were unfathomably tight around the ankle and with no zip to help matters along, all you can do is push hard .... really hard. But I managed because where there is a pair of lovely boots, there is always a way.

That's Mad Max Monty (16yrs and counting)

I'm going to sit here right and make it difficult for you to take pictures.

So tell me now do you UGG? Or would you rather stick needles in places unmentionable rather than have to wear such footwear?


Last note.

I hate seeing this though ......

Picture Credit :

Why oh why oh why?

Susie So So