Dog Days

Friday 30 August 2013

The Grumps gets notified daily by the Dogs Trust on his iPad of dogs available for adoption. And every other night or so, he says "Sue, Sue, come here!" And I duly walk over and look on the iPad at some dog with sad eyes and he goes "Awwww" and I go "Awww" and as I walk away, I say "No". On this one matter, I stand resolute. I let him have kids. I let him watch rubbish TV. I let him drink dirty beer. But we are not getting a dog. 

Meet Talisker.


We have just adopted him.

No. We haven't. I told you on this matter, I stand resolute. But if he didn't have a home, I might consider it. Like if he just turned up on my doorstep with a "Please can I live here" sign around his neck and a nice new handbag in his paw, we might be talking. Instead we kind of get our dog fix with friends and family who have dogs.

We went up to Silverdale to stay with some friends who have two border terriers, Talisker and Arran. Two old boys named after Scottish whiskys. My two young boys loved the two old boys and were assigned one each according to the dogs and the boys temperaments. Talisker is the nice calm one, like my Ben. And Arran is the licky boisterous hyper one. Err... like George.

Our friends are big walkers and so off we duly went, walking boots and wellies on.

That's me bringing up the rear (as per usual)

Still not budging even if they do look cute with their doggies.

We walked through woods where the blackberries were just ripening. 

Soon be ready

... and had lunch at the Wolfhouse cafe. I can't recommend it enough. A lovely cafe, lovely food and lovely outdoor eating area complete with playground for kids. Bliss. 

How glorious is the setting and the weather?

We made an extra doggy friend

I can personally recommend the French toast, bacon & maple syrup - deelish.

Hmmm... choices, choices.

Want to share? Don't think so - ha!

No chance Ben! #meanmom

And afterwards we made our way down to the beach ....

Coastal beach between Arnside and Silverdale

Carefully does it!

Not listening and forging ahead

And we found yacky jellyfish ....


And sent a birthday message to my sis ....

I forgot to post a card :o(

Basically, we had a fabulous day. And my footwear du jour?

Yes, well.

My Scarpa walking boots. Like new after 10 years. Because I didn't wear them for 7 of them. And I didn't wear them much for the other 3 either. Me + walking go together like water and oil. The two do not combine. I have to say, though I am not fond of them, they are a necessary evil as they do provide your ankles with the necessary support you don't get from regular footwear. But boy, I was glad to change out of them at the end of the walk and back in to the old faithfuls.

Converse - I think I love you.

And then back home where this picture sums it up .....

Zzzzz, rabbits, rabbits, zzzzzz!

So cute. And the best thing about the dogs? As with kids that are not yours, it's great when you can hand them back  at the end of the day and you don't have to clean their poo. 

Hope you all have a nice weekend.

Marks & Sparks

Thursday 29 August 2013

Good old Marks & Sparks.

I haven’t bought much from them in years but this year I’m feeling the love. They're definitely having a moment.

They came out with a rather gorgeous looking camel coloured coat last month. Poof. All sizes gone just like that. Took me ages to track one down and when I did, I didn’t buy it only because one side didn’t fit as nicely as the other. But who’s to say another size 8 wouldn’t have been just perfect? Or maybe I’m a little wonky? And even Grazia gave it a mention. Means it was fashion worthy. Let’s move on.

I also saw a rather fetching leopard print coat which I also had to track down in my size but track down I did. I walked round the store with it before I put that back too. Why? It looked good, it fitted well but leopard is leopard and leopard coats aren’t really me - believe me I’ve tried. However, this is actually a great coat for anyone who wants to do leopard print without the bulk of a furry one (been there, tried it on, scared myself, put it back). So a good coat but not as good as the camel one -  Grazia hasn’t mentioned it ... yet.

But don’t feel sorry for me - I came out a winner. I saw a lovely navy coat just as I was hanging back the camel coloured one. 

M&S Navy Coat (keeps selling out online so no link)

I tried it on and Ben who was with me at the time nodded his approval. I'm not saying that I take fashion direction from a 7 year old boy all that seriously but approval is approval and I don't need much encouragement. If I’m being honest, I did think it was probably going to wing its way to the returns desk the following week but when I got home, every time I tried it on, it just felt right. Right enough to take the tags off and to get the sleeves altered. And guess what else? Grazia are loving the M&S navy peacoats too. Yusss!

Now this is going to be of no help to man or mouse but I can't provide you a link online as it seems to have just sold out but there are usually some floating around instore. I've learnt from experince speaking as a small person - when you find something that fits - go for it because you'll kick yourself by the time you've made your mind up and it's gone. You have less chance of finding something which fits you perfectly than someone who is an average Joe of 5ft 4 and above, so snap it up and make your mind up at home. I've had this coat in my possession for around 3 weeks now and it's no longer available online, just like the camel one and the leopard one is rapidly dwindling in stock. Get going!

I have to say the M&S coat is a much more comfortable and flattering fit on a small person than any of the Zara offerings which are currently out there. I loved last year's Zara military inspired coats and they have done a similar one this year which I had to try on to see if I fared any better with this year's model. However, just like last year, the arms were quite tight and the buttons are placed wrong for anyone lacking in the height department. So no good for fat armed shorties.

Also, see where the coat ends on the model just below the bum and still a good way above her knees? That coat finishes just above my knee so where the buttons fasten is mid thigh and throws the whole look of the coat out. I just look like I nicked my dad's old coat. And see where the buttons sit on the M&S coat on me to give a more flattering fit? Across my middle so it looks like I actually have some legs. Granted that the styling is slightly different for both coats but both have a nod to the "peacoat" in their design - you've just got to find the one that works for you .... believe me it's not always the one you have in mind which works. You need to think about proportions and go for what flatters even it's a little girlier or a little less detailed  or even from somewhere where you don't normally shop. 

Primark Jumper, H&M jeans, M&S Boots

Anyway, have a nosey in Marks when you're next walking by. You might surprise yourself with what you find there.


Last note :

  • I sized down to an 8 so the shoulders sit nicely. But I think taller girls could take their normal size and wear a thicker jumper quite comfortably in this. The code is T49/1247 if anyone is interested. If you decide to try, let me know how you get on.

  • I also spotted this gorgeous number. Oh to be a foot taller!

  • Told you I was stocking up for winter. And we're not even out of August yet. 

Primark Owl Shopper & My New Favourite Other Colour

Saturday 24 August 2013

Primark Owl Shopper (in stores), Gap sweatshirt (last season), Topshop sandals (last year)

Okay, so it's not up there with a Celine Trio or a nice Chanel but I think it has a little certain something?  Killing time the other day in Primark, I spotted this little owl tote. And what do I really like about it? I like that the little owl is blue which also just happens to be my new favourite other colour. Yellow has been demoted for me this year. Announcing to all and sundry that yellow was my second favourite colour was basically the death knell for all things yellow in my wardrobe. The owl being blue means the bag is the perfect accompaniment to all the lovely blue garments which I seemed to have accrued recently. Don't go adjusting your screens - yes, that will be me in blue, blue, blue and ... ta dah! ... more blue. Or more specifically - navy blue. You're going to get very bored of seeing me wear navy blue. You're going to get bored of reading the word navy blue. 

And speaking of navy blue - my sweatshirt isn't actually a true navy blue, this is more what people describe as an indigo blue. There is a difference (check wiki) and I am picky about my colours.  Grumps will testify how many times I painted the kitchen in the old house before I was happy. He said the walls were probably about an inch thicker by the time I finished. 

So anybody else out there getting the whole navy blue vibe? It kind of just snuck on me and then hit me BAM full on! Has it got you yet?

And is anybody else a decorating fascist out there? It can't be just me? And I look so sweet too don't I?

Looks can be deceiving (cue evil cackle).

Zara Two Tone Knit Jumper

Thursday 22 August 2013

This jumper breaks three - no make that four (!!!!) of my jumper rules. 

  • Rule 1. It must not be made entirely of acrylic. It can have some acrylic in it but on the whole, it should be made of lovely natural materials like linen, cotton, cashmere and silk (dream on). This one is 100% acrylic. Can I reconcile myself with the fact that this jumper is likely to pill or worse - go up in flames?

  • Rule 2. No stupidly long sleeves to make me look like I've bought a jumper which doesn't fit. The sleeves are meant to be long - look at the model! But can I reconcile myself with the fact that they are going to flop in my food?

  • Rule 3. No chunky monkey knits to make me look a chunky money. Can I reconcile myself to the fact that this jumper might make me look chunkier than normal though I've not had the pleasure of stuffing myself with delicious food to warrant looking chunky? Hmm - seems a little wrong doesn't it?

  • Rule 4. No loose knit weave jumpers which you can catch on a door handle as you pass by. This jumper is practically shouting at the door handle to do it's worse. Is it wise to have a jumper which will cost you £25.99 for a single wear because you caught it on your way out of the house and you can never wear it again?

Hmm food for thought indeed. Four strikes against already and here's come's another one ... the sleeves are really bulky inside my coat.

So what made me bring it home? I was really drawn to the jumper because it was black and navy which in fact is one of my favourite shouldn't be mixed colour combos. The fact that it goes with the Opening Ceremony loafers is not lost on me either :o). And lastly, it's not too long in the body which counts for a lot in a short person's world.

Zara Jumper, H&M Jeans, Opening Ceremony Loafers

So what's a girl to do? Put your votes in now. Keep or return?

A Tweak Here, A Tweak There

Monday 19 August 2013

I can't leave things alone. It's gotten to be a bit of a habit with me and it all stems from the fact that if you're a bit of a shorty, things don't always fit. A sleeve here, a hemline there, you just get used to doing a few alterations to make things work for you.

Take my old linen top from Jigsaw. I bought this the week I finished work years ago and it was the top I wore when I left the premises. When I bought it, there was part of me that said I have no job now and I shouldn't buy this as I should be watching the pennies but there was the other argument that said - it might be the last nice thing I buy for a while. I preferred the second argument and bought it.

It is however a little low on the cleavage front. 

That's the nearest you're going to get to a cleavage shot from me!

Bend over in this and you get a veritable eyeful. I tend to wear it with a little vest top underneath for modesty's sake but on hot days I prefer to not have to wear a vest so I decided to unpick the lace detail off an old top and attached it to the linen one to raise the neckline. The same effect if I were to wear a lace cami vest underneath ... but not as hot.

There we go. Little Miss Prude.

And not happy with that tweak, I did a second tweak. I bet you thought this was a pretty straightforward outfit didn't you? I also sanded my sandals.

Left - unsanded. Right - sanded. 

I started sanding the left sandal before I remembered to take a picture (doh!)

The sandals were in the H&M sale. I liked the back detail and the higher ankle strap which I find quite flattering on the leg. I have to say, I must be one of the few bloggers who does not have a pair of Sam Edelman Gigi thong sandals. They do not suit me whatsoever and heaven knows I've tried but my fat feet need more coverage. The only thing about the sandals which I wasn't keen on was the the silver leopard spots which were a touch too solid and shiny. So I sanded the silver spots down. Like you do. I'm not recommending everyone do this - it's just that the spots looked to be printed on suede so I had a feeling this would work. A little scratch with a thumb nail proved me right and then further work with an emery board and the spots were erm ... tamed. 

So that's it. Just a little tweak here, a little tweak there.

Jigsaw linen top (old), Gap Mini Skimmer Khakis, H&M Sandals

So are you a bit of tweaker like me or do you live with things as they are? 

.... and who's a thong sandal girl? And who's a strap across? I'm definitely in the second camp.

Uniqlo Down Jacket

Thursday 15 August 2013

I’ve taken it easy on the blogging front this last week - hope you don’t mind too much. Some times it’s like that - there’s not a lot to say and besides the brain has gone dead after endless hours sat in the playground watching the boys hanging upside down and off things they're not meant to.

But I’ve not been totally idle. I’ve been getting ready for winter. I started in June just as the weather was hotting up. Starting in June seemed like a good idea to me - no snoozing, no losing. And what did I start with? I started with a Uniqlo light down jacket. I missed the Uniqlo/Comptoirs des Cotonniers collaboration last year. Okay, I didn’t miss it, I wasn’t that fussed at the time because I don’t do really short jackets and I don’t like to look like I take my fashion cues from the Michelin man. What changed my mind? I saw my niece at Christmas and she had one of the Comptoir down jackets which she was wearing as an alternative to a fleece/cardigan. And she looked really good in it ... and warm. And I'm a right little copy cat if the truth be known. And I love being warm but not hot. And so I started hunting down the CDC ones on Ebay. None. Then I went on line on Uniqlo to see what they had - they had down jackets galore if you were in the market for a wishy washy namby pamby pastel affair which I was not, so when June hit and I saw down jackets arriving in autumn shades - bam. Button pressed. 

I got this one. In plain black. 

But the wine coloured one looks good too.

Can I tell you now - it’s really hard to get excited when your new down jacket arrives and it’s 28 degrees in the shade? But I’ve got it so that's a tick on the A/W list. First A/W 2013 score in June - beat that. I’m going to use this under “thin” coats for extra insulation. I'm going to wear it under thick coats for extra insulation. I'm going to wear it at home as a cardi. I'm going to wear it as it is, a neat little jacket for the school run. Fact is, I'm going to wear it ... lots. That's the plan anyway. It also folds into a teeny bag too so you could keep one in your bag just incase it gets a bit nippy or is that going a bit far and does that mean I am officially turning in to my mother?).

Wonder if they do sock versions for boots? Get’s mighty chilly standing in the school playgrounds in January.


Last note :

  • I ordered an extra small (I am a size 10) and this was fine as I intend to wear this really underneath coats and I didn't want extra bulk. It fastens fine but is a little snug around the chest.
  • I'd model it but it's too hot. Looking at it makes me feel hot.
  • It's good to be prepared. Start in June.
  • Anybody got one?

Loving It, Loving It, Loving It.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Ooh la la.

That peeps, is Jack Wills. It is! Cross my heart and hope to die. I bet you thought it was some French minimalist label or some thing. Just teeny bop English Jack Wills doing a bit of growing up in their latest campaign, going a bit Aubin & Wills and and you know what ... I'm seriously loving it.

And this jumper .....

... has my name all over it. Forget all the Zara offerings out there with their little houndstooth checks and all that, this one is better. And a little pricier. But honestly, so much better. Grey & berry. I'm in total autumnal heaven even though we are still in August and I was sat in the park with an umbrella shading myself from the sun today (bonkers).

And yes I spotted this ...

... so similar to my Aubin & Wills jumper from last year before the demise of the label. 

I was just wondering ... maybe the Aubin & Wills designers went to work on Jack. Boy, I hope so.

Pony Slip Ons

Monday 5 August 2013

Next Black Pony Slip Ons, Next Leopard Pony Slip Ons

So I'm a bit slow off the mark. But I got there. I found some. Black pony hair slip ons. Err and some leopard ones whilst I was there too. In Next of all places. That shop which everyone goes in to buy their work wear. Who would have thought?

My hunt started a while back. I first spotted the black Zara pony slips on Ebay being touted for huge amounts and then they started popping up on various blogs. Red rag to a bull. I took the bait and started my internet trawl to find them. And it was interesting. What did I find out along the way? I found that the Zara slip ons arrived roughly at the beginning of the year and came and went in a blink of an eye. Did anyone see them? No? Me neither and I think I'm pretty good at spotting these kind of things. I also found that the Zara ones are actually Celine inspired and that Celine are now doing python ones, petrol effect ones, coloured hairy ones and snakey ones. At a price of course. Can't find any online though. Not that I was going to get any Celine ones anyway.

And how did I come across the Next ones? I was doing my usual using Next as a thoroughfare and I was exiting the store past the last of the sales shoes when I spotted the leopard ones out of the corner of my eye. Now leopard are nothing like plain black but I forgot to mention that I've also been eyeballing the Kurt Geiger Laurel leopard ones. I've actually tried those on but I balked at the price and put those back but kept my eyes peeled for suitable alternatives. Well find them I did and for the princely sum of £18 in the Next sale. Score! I ordered my pair online as there were none in my size in store and they still had lots of sizes last time I looked. The black ones are full price at £36 as they are new season stock.

How will I wear them? Not sure but Fen's given me some lovely ideas with her latest post featuring Studio Nicholson.

Madewell's lookbook helps to cement the reason why I like these skate style slip ons. And how not to look like a skater girl wearing them.

 And if I look half as cool as one of my favourite bloggy girls, Steph, I will be very happy.

Yo Steph - I found some!!!


Last note :

  • Sorry, can't find a link for the leopard ones but they are in the clearance section of the Next Directory under women's casual shoes.

Susie So So