Black Friday

Friday 29 November 2013

Black Friday. It's Friday and you wear black. No, not really but I think it would be a good idea for when you have to think up a theme for those days when you can dress out of the norm at work. Every one loves a bit of black don't they? Black Friday is actually that funny sales thing that goes on the US where the shops get a bit discount crazy. We don't really have it over here in quite such a major way but I think we're catching up fast.

I got a sudden influx of emails saying 20% off this, 25% off that, 30% off that. If it wasn't for the fact that I've got major Christmas shopping to do for everyone else but me, I'd seriously be thinking of dropping some of these in my basket :

I think pointy shoes are here to stay for another year at least. I've decided that I'm not doing the pointy leopard heeled court as I'm not going to get my wear out of something like that. I think I would prefer to do strange nod to animal (but couldn't tell you for sure what animal - guinea fowl maybe?) print and keep it a bit more under the radar. Coupled with the pointy factor, I can knock two trends on the head in one fell swoop. Woo hoo. Oh yes, the vamp also comes up a little higher than some of the other pointy flats I've seen (yes, I'm looking at you Whistles) and so are a little more flattering for those who are fat of foot. These are from Jigsaw and have 20% off till Sunday. 

I really want the burgundy ones but can I get them for love or money over here in the UK? Can I eckers like! (I think that's a northern expression). They have them all over the jot in the US and the nearest I can get over here is the black version from Yoox. But the more I look at the black, the more I like them. I hear they are doing something like 30% discounts over on the Yoox US site but we can only muster up a measly 10% off over here in Europe. Which leads me on to grumble about if we are going to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon, can we have the full whammy discount too? Please? But 10% discount is 10% discount and you get free delivery too with the code CHRISTMAS13.

Err yes. Another bit of footwear. It has come to my attention in the last year that I have a thing for shoes in a way I don't have a thing for bags. And I have a thing for practical shoes that I don't have for impractical 4" heeled shoes. Anyway, I started at the beginning of this year looking at trainers in this post and did I get anywhere? No. Not until now. I did do a mad search for some burgundy New Balance 410's round about March but they sold out everywhere by the time I decided those were the babies to be had. So new season, new version and I'm loving these.

A little bit retro, a little bit cool. A word of warning - they come up small and you're best advised to go up a size. They also do them in a navy for all you navy lovers but the burgundy are the ones to get you noticed. Office have a good selection of New Balance which you can get 20% off with the code ELF and there's a lot of styles to decide between. But if you really want the burgundy 410's, they are in stock full price on Asos where there is no discount code (humph).

I've wanted this since I first clapped eyes on it but it's a little steep. It's still a little steep even with a 25% discount from Avenue 32 but every little bit helps. I toyed with the Whistles logo'd sweatshirts and I've to'd fro'd with the Madewell Bien one but I think I'm really holding out for this one. I already have plain sweatshirts so I'd quite like one which is a little more interesting and maybe this will hopefully make me look like an intellectual as it has a scholarly vibe about it. Actually, it will probably take a lot more than a sweatshirt to make me look like I've got half a working brain. Maybe if I add a pair of spectacles in to the mix? Hmmm.

I guess the thing with these sudden Black Friday discounts is not to lose sight of the things which you actually had your eye on and use them as an aide for something which you had already earmarked. Everything I've chosen is something which I've had on a wish list and slots in to my wardrobe quite seamlessly.

Now a little competition for you guys. One of these four are on their way to me. Can you guess what it is? And Michelle - you're not allowed to say as I know you know. 

Put your guess on a comment and next Wednesday, I will pick one of the correct guessers and they will be sent a little handmade jewellery gift. To see what I do, take a peek in my shop at the top of this page. By the way I will be adding a couple of extra bracelets and necklaces over the weekend if anyone is looking for stocking fillers or Christmas gifts so pop back.

Go on, get guessing :o)

Park(a) Life

Wednesday 27 November 2013

It's been getting a bit parky hasn't it? The temperatures are playing that "how low can you go" game aren't they? They think they can win? They have to reckon with me and my parka!

Tis a thing of beauty and warmth :o)  Okay, it's a thing of warmth but it's not been shortchanged on the looks department either. Translated, I don't feel like I gave up on fashion just because it got cold. I'm afraid my old faithful Primark padded number is starting to wear a little thin. It's done 5 years and at a cost of £13, it's served me grand but I really thought I could do with something a little more substantial this year. I toyed with the idea of the North Face Metropolis which I tried on last year but I didn't get the same gush of love that I got when I tried this on. You have to go with your gut instincts some times. 

The sleeves are a little long but that's not a bad thing because when it's really cold, I drop them down a bit and pull the cold hands in (I am only 5ft 1.5").

Now you see them, now you don't!

And the word "waterproof" totally grabbed me. Not something you normally associate with garments found in Zara. 

And other things which reeled me in? Look at this lush furriness! On the collar, I have baby labrador. On the hood, I have baby wolf. Ow ow wooo! 

It's "furry furry" nice.

And did I mention the pockets? Look at these pockets!!!!

Not only are they huge and deep ... they are fleece lined! Honetly, I didn't know fleece lined pockets could induce such excitement from me either but well you learn a new thing about yourself every day. If you get the chance to see this parka in store, go and check out the pockets and you'll understand where I'm coming from. Think how a baby Joey would feel in it's mummy's pouch and this is how your hands will feel in these pockets. I could hibernate in these pockets. I could sleep a hundred years in these pockets. Can you tell I love these pockets? I luuurrrrvve these pockets!

It's got a lot going for it hasn't it?

But the piece de resistance? Look at this hood.


It's a proper Kenny hood! Hee hee hee.

I'm the one on the right.


Last Note :

These were a few I also considered :

I'm a bit of a sucker for the waxed finish and I know it's from the kid's section but if you can fit in one, why not? They go up to size XXL which they equate with an age 14/15. I bet that would fit a UK 8/10. Or if you can't squeeze in the kid's one, they do actually do an adult version here as well. But it's £80 more :o(

It's in a colour called Forest. Not green. But Forest. Fab. I am a colour snob. It's like we don't have magnolia on the walls - no, no, no, no! We have "parchment" or "sandy dunes" but never "magnolia".  The colour takes it up a notch. Looks pretty smart too.

For some reason, this just looks warm. This one appeals because it's a little utilitarian (plain in other words), and looks like it's there to do a job. No frills on this one ... but a little bit of fur on the hood just to make sure we are not totally a dull boy. Okay, okay, the word "down" totally sold itself to me  as well. Down = warm.

So - what are you keeping warm in this winter?

Suspicious Minds

Friday 22 November 2013

I was having a cup of Earl Grey and a browse through the Matches website when I spotted this  ....

.... which promptly took me back to my singleton days when I used to bop around my living room doing a Sunday morning clean to Fine Young Cannibals and their version of Suspicious Minds. I bopped to a lot of things but this was one of my faves. It does stop you cleaning though it has to be said because I always had to do a funny shuffly leg dance a la FYC style around the room to this and this is not conducive to effective cleaning. 

Elvis is good, Elvis is king but Roland makes me want to get my groove on. Defy you not to hum this for the rest of the day :

And in the sea of  God-awful 80's fashion that there was around, Roland in his white shirt was a breath of fresh air? Yes? By, the way, I'm ignoring the blip of a gold suit which makes an appearance half way through.

Happy Friday.


Last Note :

  • Bet you young folk have never heard of The FYC's have you? Some of you weren't even born when this came out. Pah!

Layering Up

Monday 18 November 2013

I keep reading all these posts about layering up and everyone is sticking a shirt under a jumper and all is good in their perfect shirt jumper (J Crew) world ... but not in mine. I have tried it before here and it's quite good if it works for you and everything stays in place but I don't think I suit it and I'm not very comfortable in it either. I feel like a ... bloke ... with long hair. I know it's all about getting the right jumper with the right shirt and everything but somehow, I still feel it's not my look.

But I don't give in easily either so I'm trying this layering thing again, my way.

Isabel Marant Blouse, Mango Jumper, H&M Jeans, Kurt Geiger Boots

Rather than preppy, I'm going for a slightly more feminine slant by using the Marant Stacey blouse. I like the little (and I mean little) peak of autumn colour from under an oatmeal jumper. Recognise the jumper? It's the Mango one I featured the other day in my picks for under £30. Mine is a size medium - I could have got away with a small but I dithered as usual with the things in the basket (i.e. months) and of course, they couldn't wait for me any longer and sold out of the small. But I got the medium anyway and I think it's okay because the extra room allows for ... da da dah ... layering! I'm loving the asymmetric detailing at the front - just puts it on the right side of interesting whilst still being a technically plain jumper.

And when I can't be bothered with shirt/blouse layering .....

Mango Jumper, H&M Jeans, Office boots

..... I'm just going to pile on a couple of heattech/thermo layer tops underneath as layering with collarless stretchy things is a different thing altogether and I can get behind this kind of wearing layers. Infact the more the merrier - let's pile them on - I hear there's a forecast for potential snow this week - eek!

Anyway here are some picks which I came across which I thought would also work quite well with this jumper.

So what do you guys think of this layering thing then?

More Making Do & Mending

Saturday 16 November 2013

River Island Jumper, H&M Jeans, Primark Thermo Zone Top (sim to Uniqlo Heattech)

The weather has been somewhat chilly this last week which is always a good excuse to drag out any big jumper you can find. Out came the big old River Island jumper for it's annual wear. This is one of those weird jumpers which you just hang on to, you don't really love but you'd hate to give it away so you give it a wear once a year just to make sure it's marking it's place in your wardrobe. My only variation on how I wore it last year to this year is that I swapped blue distressed jeans for black distressed jeans. Go me!

Anyway, speaking of jeans, I took the comments and advice on board that you left me in a previous post about these jeans and I had another go at patching them up. Basically I did such a rubbish job first time round, I didn't want to wear them. Even the cute little patch near one of the pockets lost it's loveable appeal after a day, so off came the patches ..... which I then put under the rips and holes whilst I executed a near perfect repair job. Lots of secret stitching and all that. Marks out of 10. A gazillion.

Pocket rip patched up

Knee rip patched up

I have to say that I'm delighted with how these have turned out now and have been wearing them to death but I will continue to look for the ever elusive perfect pair of black jeans as I know these will fall apart at some point.


Cheap Thrills for Under £30

Monday 11 November 2013

As I was browsing online, I came across a few bargains - all under £30 and I just thought I'd share.

A classic. For those who have been itching for a reefer, peacoat or anything else you want to call it,  how about this one from H&M which is 50% wool and currently on offer for £19.99? What I did notice when I popped it in the basket and went to checkout, the price automatically dropped to £14.99! How nice :o)  For those girls who are not getting on with the Zara fits, this might be the one for you. I personally am not so keen on bright gold buttons - antiqued finished buttons would be subtler and upgrade your coat in an instant.

This is actually from A/W 2012 but it's still stocked on their outlet. I personally preferred their knitwear selection last year to this year's. Yes it's predominantly acrylic but I'm going to overlook that small detail because I love the asymmetric front which adds detail to an otherwise plain jumper. They have it in navy too. Why not have both??

This one squeezed in just under £30. But hey it's cashmere and it's going to be lovely and soft next to your skin. One thing I have really come to appreciate - you cannot beat a cashmere scarf around your neck and why not make it a red one to make you feel all Christmassy? Compliment it with a red lipstick - that will brighten up your day! Or you could just go for classic grey :o)

I don't have really have much in the way of bags for evenings. So maybe this one might be a good starting point. It might be horrid in real life but from where I type, it looks good. I'm loving the gold lattice work detailing. Bling bling.

I love these. They don't love me but I couldn't not include them. How elegant for a flat shoe for an evening out. Why oh why don't they love me? Oh yes - I have fat feet. But if you don't - these are pretty aren't they? Yes sometimes I do, do pretty.

Yes it's from the kiddie's section but they have small, medium and large and the large actually fitted my large head and didn't make me look mental. It has enough looseness to be flattering on the head - I find a lot of beanies are quite tight and serve to make your round face look rounder. This one isn't bad. It's only £7.99 and even has a little matching scarf which you could buy and you would still come under £30. Again, it's acrylic but at £7.99 - what did you expect? But it fits my head and some of the more expensive ones don't. 

Anything grab you? And who's snaffled any bargains recently which are worth sharing?

Make Do and Mend ....

Saturday 9 November 2013

.... or rather I can't find a decent pair of black jeans any where that are skinny but not too skinny, black but not too black, not too high rise but not too low either AND don't make my legs look carroty should I choose to wear them full length. Or give me the dreaded camel toe. Not asking for much am I?

Jack Wills Jeans, Maison Scotch Pea Coat, J Crew Sailor Tee, Matalan Leather Ballet Pumps

I noticed last year that come October, November onwards, I unconsciously gravitated towards the black jeans and tended to leave the blue jeans behind. Black Jeans = autumn/winter. Blue Jeans = spring/summer. And I noticed I was repeating the same pattern this year with the exception of the blue boyfriend jeans on those milder days.

It's not that I don't have black jeans, I do but they they all serve a different purpose or provide a different look :

I have my Jack Wills black jeans. Lovely faded black. Not very skinny but still shapely enough. I like these best when I cuff them as I have done in the top pic.

I have my Topshop off black Jamie jeans seen here. Lovely colour and getting better with each wash and tumble dry. Fading beautifully and perfect length for me though ankle grazers for every one else. For once, being a shortie had it's merits but they are very stretchy and very shape revealing .... and they make my belly look huge which means they are only good when wearing long tops and big jumpers. They are good for tucking in to ankle boots however as they taper right in to the ankle. Bad with any other footwear on me as they give me carrot legs or parsnip legs as they call them on Mumsnet ... whichever vegetable floats your boat but  you get the gist.

I have some old black New Look jeggings seen here with the tightest waistband ever. I can forget eating in those - a cup of Earl Grey and a biscuit is about as much as I can stomach and then it starts to hurt. But they have their uses some times and they tuck well in to boots too. They fall in to the vegetable jean category too. Both the Jamie and the New Look jeans also have that annoying habit of slowly working their way down so the crotch ends up mid thigh. There's a lot of inelegant hoicking going on with these two pairs. 

And then I have my H&M distressed jeans which I picked up for £12. They are the perfect faded grey but with a touch too much distressing. The frayed knee wasn't too bad till I kept kneeling in them and the fraying eventually tore in to a bigger and bigger rip. The rip is now a pothole and quite cold.


There is also another hole near the left hand pocket at the front which the lining keeps poking through.

Little peekaboo

Very very annoying. In fact these would be my perfect jeans because of the fit except for the holes. I can even wear them with shoes and not feel too carrotty. These are so close to perfect - I could cry :o(

So I went on a mad search recently and tried on black jeans after black jeans after black jeans. But alas no luck. And so I decided to do something about my holey H&M jeans. I decided to patch them up. With iron on patches. My inspiration gleaned from the the patchwork jeans currently making their rounds on various blogs.

Pocket Patch

 Knee Patch

I did actually do a really big patch to cover the whole of the knee area but found that this didn't work as the patch doesn't bend as much as the existing fabric due to it's stiffness. Instead I cut it down a fraction so it only covered the area it needed to so the rest of the knee area could bend comfortably. 

Sorry (didn't realise how grainy some of these mirror photos were going to be today)

A little more discreet.

This is not a perfect solution (especially the knee patch) but it has extended the life of these jeans by at least a month during which time my search will continue and if you don't look too closely, the patch blends in not too badly. I have to say though, I'm rather fond of the little pocket patch. Strange how these things grab us.


Last note : 

  • Before anyone says anything, I've looked in H&M, Zara, M&S, Topshop, New Look and also had the Mint Velvet zip biker jeans and the M&S version too. The Mint Velvet and the M&S version were ruled out as the rise was a little too high and I sometimes like to wear a belt and have that showing. Oh go on I admit it, I sometimes like to do a fashion tuck. So any other recommendations anyone? Which won't break the bank?
  • Helpful hint. If anybody fancies doing their own patchwork jeans for fun or any other reason using iron on patches - remember to round off the corners as this helps prevent the corner catching and working loose. I learnt that from all the iron on name labels I did on George's school uniform :o)

Round your corners off!

Black and Lacy

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Rollnecks or are they polo necks? I get a little confused because different people have different names for them but for the purpose of this post, I will call it a rollneck. You have to roll the neck down so a rollneck it is then. 

Anyway, I've had a hankering for a rollneck for some time now.  I had the perfect one years back but it's long gone. The fact that I've been thinking about them now is probably a sign that I'm getting on a bit as I've always thought rollnecks were worn by the older generation or the golfing fraternity but just recently those Landsend catalogues have been looking a whole lot more interesting and appealing ;o)  Anyway, I wanted a navy one and I didn't want it too tight round the neck and I didn't want it tight on the body either. It needed to be a "relaxed" fit. A lot like the one above actually. By the way, doesn't the blonde model look striking with the black jumper? Much more so than someone with darker hair. When I think of black dresses and black tops, I always think they go well on blondes - very Hitchcock heroine don't you think?

Tippi Hedren (one of Hitchcock's "heroines")

I digress. Anyway, my first port of call - Marks & Sparks. I took a cashmere one and a lambswool one in to the changing rooms. The tightwad in me said, get the lambswool as this will be a one week wonder when I realise I don't really like rollnecks and they make me look all kind of Moonface. And yep, true to form the lambswool was too itchy and tight round the neck and I did look all kind of Moonface. The cashmere one was fractionally better (less itchy) but still tight around the neck. I left them both.

Next stop - Woolovers. I've read good reviews about them for basic knitwear so I thought I'd try. I ordered their unisex navy lambswool rollneck. Perfect fit and the neck was much better but still itchy.  I knew the lambswool was going to be itchy so I don't know what possessed me to order it. For your information, I ordered the size small but I think anyone who is long of torso and long of arm might struggle with it. The M&S ones are fractionally longer in the body but I did size up to a 12 (I normally take a 10) to get the relaxed fit I wanted.

Anyway, during this half term, I managed to get to a John Lewis and I tried on their cashmere rollnecks. I took in a navy one and a grey one and bought a .... black one. Like you do. I suddenly decided I needed a black one because I have it in my head that I want to wear it like this on a night out ...

John Lewis Rollneck, Press & Bastyan Dress, H&M Shoes

Sorry - some of you are going to feel a bit cheated on the black and lacy bit I promised you but hey, I give you black rollneck here and some lacy trim on my skirt - I delivered! The skirt is actually an old Press & Bastyan dress circa 2001 with the rollneck worn over it. This is my nod to the lace trend floating around currently without the need to spend any money. The Grumps even got a little excited at seeing me in the dress and exclaimed "I bought you that!" which is true but what was even more amazing was the fact that he actually remembered it. Most of my clothes are by the by for him - this dress he remembers. In the old(!!!) days, I might have worn a wrap or put a little cardigan with it but I'm no longer comfortable wearing the dress like this - the less I have on show, the better I feel. The jumper also covers up the bagel belly a treat and does a good job of keeping me warm. I hate sitting in arctic air conned restaurants freezing my assets off.  Goose pimples and chattering teeth are overrated.

And the details schmetails? The lace actually has a touch of black in it which might not be evident from the above picture but can you see now? Hence the pairing with the black jumper and shoes.

See the black touches in the lace?

Actually if you look at the silhouette, I could imagine a modern day Tippi wearing this.

Or I might choose to keep it simple for a mum's night out like this.

Primark bracelet, Zara Jeans, M&S Leopard Courts

The leopard heels are M&S which were ordered during their 20% off shoes promotion. Trying to find a pair of leopard heels is a bit like trying to find rollnecks - there is a pair out there for you. You've just got to keep trying till you find the right pair and you have the added problem of finding pairs where the spots are not too dissimilar on both the left and right shoes. For your information - I actually ordered two pairs so I could match up the best pair together - a tip I picked up from a reader's comment (thank you Deadlysims). I'm not sure these are the right ones yet but they are being "assessed". I tried a pair on in Dune whilst out shopping with the Grumps and I was quite amused when he said "there's too much toe cleavage on them". Seriously, he's picking up and learning such a lot from reading my blog. Girls take note to start making your Christmas wishlists on your blogs now!

And for the daytime, we can go extra casjjjj ...

Maison Scotch Chinos, Next Pumps

... with chinos and cheetah pumps which I am actually getting quite a lot of wear out of. I guess this is a laid back as it gets. Any more laid back and I would be horizontal. Someone said to me recently I was the most chilled out person they know. Really? Funny how people perceive you. Hmm.

Basically there are so many ways to wear a black roll neck - or if you can't do a roll neck, stick with a classic crew. To be honest, I didn't think I  would find a roll neck that I would feel comfortable wearing but find one I did. But trust it to have to be cashmere to reduce the itch factor! I wonder if the Grumps will remember he bought me it whenever I wear it. Somehow, I don't think so.


Last Note :

  • What do you think of rollnecks then? Stylish or fuddy duddy? 

Laidback Sunday

Sunday 3 November 2013

I took a little break from Blogsville over the last week and I have to say - I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being a reader instead of a blogger. It takes less effort and besides I had nothing to say and kids to entertain - it was half term after all. But the problem with taking a break is you can get really used to it and if you don't put fingers to the keyboard again ... you might never blog again. So here I am tap tap tapping.

Anyway, this is me in my Sunday finery. All seen before and nothing new to report. And yes those are my Uggy slippers you see before you. I am at home after all. Do you honestly walk around in a pair of heeled boots around the house?

Whistles striped top, Zara jeans, Zara belt, Kirkland (slipper) Boots

Anyway, that was me checking in and I will be back this coming week with hopefully something more exciting than a pair of slippers. Maybe something a little black and lacey? Ooh err!

Susie So So