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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Back to the drawing board

So it just goes to show sometimes (often) what works in your head, simply doesn't work when you try it on.... 

I am having a sandal mare this season.  Ok, slight exaggeration there but still, I haven't found a pair that I like.  The brief (I've decided there is a brief) is a pair that I can wear during the day that will go with all sorts of jeans and trousers but also shorts and dresses.  So not much then..... 

They mustn't be high heeled - zimmer at the ready, I am all about the flat and the mid heel.  And that's about it.  

Actually to be honest, I was all over a flat sandal until I saw the Zara lace up ones and then my obsession with the mid heel was born.  Which grew on me like mould when I couldn't get hold of them.  Of course. 

I then managed to finally tracked them down in Ireland (when they were back in stock online in England, obviously...).  Giddy wasn't the word.  It would be sod's law then, wouldn't it, that they looked rubbish on me. 

Damn my skeletor feet.  They looked like they were trying to escape out of the shoes - seriously, as I walked, my toes actually moved out of the shoe at the front and touched ground.  Dear lord they were horrific. 

So I returned them on Thursday on the way back to the airport and lo and behold, I may have found another idea. 

The Flatform.  Idea number gawd knows what of the season.   Or should that be The Platform Wedge?  Who knows but what I do know is that this could be a contender.... (there's definitely wedgedge here....)

My bestie cottoned on to the trend super early in the season, bagging her 20% off at M&S with these beauties. 

Wedge Sandals £29.50 from M&S

They also do these in a denim but she chose the white. 

Limited Edition Ankle Strap Wedge Sandals £29.50



I will say for me, the jury was out.  They looked amazing on her, I just thought I didn't need the height and I was at my "not doing 70s" stage.  

However, I then came across these in Zara the other day when I was taking the awful lace ups back.

Crossover leather wedge £39.99



And I fell in love.  Obviously they're much higher than the M&S ones - much higher..... never let it be said I don't change my mind more frequently than my pants. 

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They are not remotely what I was looking for in a sandal this summer.  At.  All.  But suddenly I'm not sure I can live without them.

So yesterday, I had a day out with two of my closest girl friends in London.  Fantastic full on shopping day.  New footwear was the name of the game.  So yet again, I tried the Zara ones on.  And learning from my mistakes I nabbed them, so that I can think about them at leisure at home, not deciding that I have to have them and then scouring the country for them in vain. 



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It was then off to Selfridges where there is the most amazing selection of shoes for all purses, but I was definitely focusing on the affordable.   Best choice was at Dune.  


Dune Kimono Leather Mule £65  These I absolutely loved but they are a wide fit.  Ideal if you have wider feet but my skeletor trotters just walked out of the front of them. 




These were the next port of call - super comfy in spades, but I fear that despite having a very narrow foot, it's trying to escape from the sides.  They also come up very small - this was a 7 and it only just fitted. 

Dune Gladley Fabric Cross Over Cork wedges in black £49






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These I loved.  I really did but I'm not sure they did me any favours and I don't like them £40 more than the Zara ones.  I prefer the heel to be honest and randomly they are the same height wedge even though I think they look higher.  On my foot, I just found the Zara ones more comfy. 

Dune Keera Wooden Wedge £79



Of course I'm having second thoughts now.... yup, definitely don't know which ones I like best...  Any help?


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I've also had a look to see if there are any others that I should be considering and an added strap is also an option.  Personally I think I'm veering towards the mule.... but....


Mango Platform Strap Sandals £59.99



Leather plaited Ankle Strap Wedge sandals from M&S £35 (think my friend may also have purchased these with the original flat forms....)


So sticking with the theory that a mid wedge might be better - loving these at Boden.   And there's 20% off Boden at the moment and until the 28th April with the code G2LA

Sienna Wedge £89

Or navy.... hmmmmmm 


Staying with raffia at Next and adding an ankle strap.   These are great, but dare I say it, I'm looking for a bit more height (obvious statement being 5ft10....) 





Also in black £45 I like the tan but I think the black looks much more expensive.



But these ones look mighty fine too..... 

Espadrille Wedge Sandals from Next £56  Which they also do in black.  If you haven't noticed, I am rather obsessed with all things black at the mo.....




Finishing with outfits from this week.  Starting with last day in Ireland.  Great morning with the AA man freeing the keys from the boot of the car.  God Bless the AA.  Truly amazing, thank you!  But of course, this being us, why would everything go smoothly?  

Hour long "debate" with the Aspie 8 yr old about why he can't take a toy gun onto a plane.  Apparently the fact that "it's not real" should appease everyone.  I managed to persuade him that whilst this was a plausible argument and he was indeed correct, he was not in any way, shape or form going to change Global Aviation Law with this point. 

He did then, once at Gatwick, proceed to tell me that he didn't mind that he couldn't bring his gun, as (presenting me with the evidence), he'd bought his bullets instead.  Whilst the gun (back at Nanny's in Ireland) did look very plastic, the bullets on the other hand, look decidedly real.  One can only give thanks to whichever deity was looking down on us and persuaded small boy that it was prudent to keep them very well hidden throughout the entire flight. 

It's a miracle I'm not entirely grey and/or an alcoholic.  

Flight, nevertheless was without incident, picked up by The Husband who then cooked a fabulous dinner with a rather lovely bottle of red.  Tis very good to be home. 


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Grey Every day Jumper - Boden
Black Tuxedo blazer - Hush
Off white distressed boyfriend jeans - All Saints
Black Hobo Faridah bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs
Black buckle sliders - Zara

And on Friday - I was absolutely shattered so just went to the supermarket in the morning, put a load of washing in as we had one of my oldest friends and her girls visiting us for the day/night from Oz!  Lovely day and evening helped along by a couple of bottles of champagne, just for old times sake. 

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Navy and black print top - Zara
Real Straight jeans - Gap
Navy Lille flats - Boden
Navy swing cardigan - TKMaxx 
Vanilla Roxanne bag - Mulberry

Up with the larks on Saturday for a day shopping Up West with the girls.  

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Black jumpsuit - Kin by John Lewis 
Black blazer - Topshop
Charcoal Dakota flatforms - Seven Boot Lane
Black quilted bag - Zara

And last night, out for dinner with the same girls but we dragged our other halves along too.  Great restaurant owned by The Tanner Brothers called The Kentish Hare on Bidborough Ridge.  Can highly recommend if you're ever in the area.


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Black jumper - Tommy Hilfiger
Black leather A line midi skirt - Whistles
Black gladiator sandals - Burberry
Black clutch - Tory Burch

So we're off on for some lunch and a long country walk, followed by an evening on the sofa, catching up on the all the TV I missed when I was away.  Kids back to school tomorrow - actually have to say, I think I might miss them...... Huge apologies for having been missing for a couple of days - thank you to everyone for all your message!  Lots of things coming up this week, fear not. x

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

It's that thorny Summer subject....

...dare I mention White Jeans.  

Well hell, I'm going to as I think I've come up with a friendly option.  As opposed to the "sausage about to burst its skin" look that is so easily achieved (as if you were trying) from a pair of skinny white jeans. 

All hail the boyfriend white jean.   Now maybe these have been around for ages or maybe I've been slower than slow to the party (yet again) 

And here we are, inspired by something I saw early on in the season and the more I thought about them, the more wearable they became.

This image from Hush. 

White Boyfriend Jeans £75



So I do have my ecru dungarees which I am absolutely loving, but there's still definitely a white jean vacancy in my wardrobe. 

And I have to say I am OVER the humiliation of the white jeans changing room scenario.  I'm too old.  Have your laugh, Mr Retailer, at a non exercise loving mother of 3, in spray on white denim that sends me on a trajectory straight to Tragic Fashion.

To be fair, Mr Retailer is caught between a rock and a hard place.  We want our skinnies to be comfortable.  We don't want them to sag and go baggy after ten minutes of wearing them.  We also don't want Summer jeans to be thick denim that is akin to having your legs clad in loft insulation.  Just what you need in 20 degrees.  As if the humiliation of rolls of leg fat highlighted by damp denim isn't enough, we get a sweaty top lip and drippy pits to accessorise them with. 

They need to be a lightweight denim to work as a Summer jean and they need to have a good amount of elastane in them so they are comfortable, fit well and don't go saggy.  Alas, this also means that they cling to your legs like a wet shower curtain in a student bathroom.  
It also means that they are normally supremely unflattering.  You can do one, white skinny jeans.

However, lightbulb moment on seeing that pic of the new white boyfriend jeans from Hush.   I've mentioned it before but love that pic on so many levels.  I also think it would work just as well with heels. 

I was toying whether to just try them (even though I know that Hush trousers are ever ever so slightly on the short side for me being a giant at 5ft10) and then I came across these at All Saints yesterday in Kildare Village. 

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Both the mother in law and the 10 yr old thought they were ace - the mil even prefers them with the heels I tried them on with.  And the best news of all.  They were £22.   Yup, £22.  Amazing.  I am so pleased with them, even though they are too short to turn up, I actually love the look of them rolled down - so a cropped straight leg almost.  Perfect.  And, even though they say they are low cut they are super high on me (clearly they're marked incorrectly which may be one of the reasons why they ended up in the Outlet.  You'd be sorely disappointed if you wanted low cut and ended up with these which are just a couple of inches away from being able to tuck your boobs into them along with your muffin.  Proper high waisters.  Love 'em. )

So cue a mad hunt for others out there that will serve the same purpose, as I'm sure you can't all get to Kildare Village to track down these All Saints beauties.

Moto Ecru Selvedge Boyfriend Jeans £65  Slightly more cream than mine.




Jack Wills Boyfriend jeans with distressing £59.50



Denim and Supply by Ralph Lauren Boyfriend Jeans £110 now £52.50



At Gap - 1969 destructed Authentic Boyfriend Jeans £44.95




If white or off white isn't your bag but you are still after a pale pair, a couple of options I've come across are a pair that look very very similar to my All Saints bargain pair but in a very pale wash (not what I'd personally call indigo but who am I to split hairs on shades of blue)

Boy jeans in Indigo £98 from All Saints (adore these)



These are a bleached pair so not white white but a very pale blue. 

G-Star Bleached Boyfriend jeans £110




A pale pink pair at ASOS 

Weekday Ami Ankle length slim boyfriend jeans £35





I can't wait to wear mine.  Think they're a great alternative to blue denim and are definitely the perfect nod to the Summer whilst it's not quite warm enough to bare the flesh to the elements.  I appreciate that back at home, they've been basking in temperatures in the mid 20s.  We weren't quite so lucky today but have to say am over the moon with the weather we have had which, for April in Ireland, has been pretty spectacular. 

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Yellow Breton - Zara
Jeans - Zara
Trench coat - Banana Republic
Leopard Print skate shoes - Next
Yellow Scarf - Hush
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

So I should have posted this blog about three hours but god forbid we should have had a holiday without incident.  The 8yr old (could only be him.....) managed to lock the car keys in the boot of the hire car.  God.  Give.  Me.  Strength.   How you can do this, is totally beyond me.  Note to self, I shall never ever EVER rent a Skoda again.  Apparently the boot locks itself after 10 seconds.  Obviously.   I have therefore spent three hours on the phone to various people trying to sort this out.  And no, can't get the spare key from the (fabulous) hire people at the airport as the keys aren't held there, but in Dublin.  Wrong direction. 

The AA have finally agreed to come out.  Initially they said they could help.  Then your local man rang me and said he couldn't (I'm sure the fact it was 9pm at night had no bearing on the situation at all.... )  Anyway, they're coming tomorrow morning as they now seem to think they can. 

The fact our flight leaves tomorrow afternoon is something I'm not going to think about till the morning.  

Am merrily planning what to buy on my shopping trip with the girls on Saturday...... And breathe....................

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Shops you want to love

You know those shops that you really do want to love, you really really do, you know you should but somehow, you manage to just run their clothes when you put them on.  

Hobbs, I'm talking about you.  Oh lordy I'm sorry, but I have the habit of making your clothes look awful.  I really don't want to.  I would love to look elegant and chic but alas, I look like a librarian going to a wedding in the 80s.  Just wrong diddly.  

That's not to say everything I touch is awful.  One of the reasons I love the shop is that every season you can find the odd thing that is genius.  A pure classic that isn't like anything else you can find on the high street but will work in so many different combinations in your wardrobe.  

So last year, for me it was the navy and white check coat.  That, I saw today in Kildare Village for a mere snip now at 105 Euro.

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This year, I may have found another gem in the Ink Spot Coat that I tried on the other week.  Bearing in mind that I have the cream triangle dress from Hush which I have to report back on properly but sneak tip, I LOVE, and am also going to order the black one, this would be the perfect Summer special occasion coat to top it off.  (we're just going to gloss over the fact the above coat I have would work equally as well.  Totally gloss over it) 

Cream Ink Spot Coat from Hobbs £169  (with my black and blue Reiss sandals... oh yes....) 


And it works just as well for day wear as well (as if I needed any justification)

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However it was yet another piece of inspiration from my marathon stint at the hairdressers last week (to be repeated yet again next week as we try again to rid me of my "mail order bride" hair colour) 

Absolutely loved the idea of these and was, I will admit, rather amazed to see that they came from Hobbs.

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Et voila..

Blue Tula Cropped Jean £89 (not quite as good as the styling above...) 


And even worse on me... I SO wanted to love these.  I really really did - I thought they'd be amazing but they didn't quite live up to the promise of the magazine.  

Ok so they're not that bad but let's just say I didn't buy them.

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So the next two pieces were chosen by the 10yr old last week on our shopping trip - this is what she thought I should try.  (actually there were some other bits but these are the ones that I also agreed with... ) 

And I would definitely wear either of these. 

Cathy Tunic £89 in white  A linen top, which normally I would avoid like the plague, I will admit but I have to say I'd definitely wear this. 


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Brooke Jumper £69  This again, picked by the 10yr old and again, I would absolutely wear this.  Loved it over the flared jeans below.  Would also work over skinny jeans.  The perfect Summer throw on jumper.



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And then the wheels fell off.  



Suffice to say, I cannot do dresses from Hobbs.  They look utterly tragic on me.  Yes, this is the wrong size (and that's irritating to start with - a size 10 here, which is way too small, yet the jeans I have on above are an 8.)

Hobbs, I am so so so sorry.  

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However finishing on a much more positive note and the accessories.  The best cuff bracelets I have seen this season.  Pure lust for these. 








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I didn't have time to look at the shoes but they normally do get a big thumbs up from me (hit from last year definitely) and today at Kildare Village, they had some gorgeous (ridiculously high heeled mind you, so they didn't come home with me) shoes.  

I do so want to love Hobbs - and, like I said, there are some gems but generally I find the vast vast majority of it, dare I say, too grown up for me?   Would love to know your thoughts. 

Finishing with outfits from the last couple of days and firstly huge apologies for not being around as much as usual but internet connection where I am is sporadic to say the least. 

Plus we've been out and about - today the sister in law looked after the two boys, whilst the three remaining ladies bombed to the rather wonderful Kildare Village.  The sister village of Bicester.  An hour and a half across totally deserted Irish motorways in glorious sunshine.

Fantastic day out which I will report back on tomorrow (with only a small purchase..... I totally let the side down, I apologise)

Yesterday for taking the kids to soft play and out for supper. 


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Off white linen tee - Max Studio 
Ecru dungarees - H&M
Black tuxedo blazer - Hush
Black buckle sandals - Zara
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

And today for Kildare Village

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Navy and white striped tee - H&M
Black dungarees - H&M
Black military jacket - Zara
Black Wild Kat leopard print ballet flats - The British Flat Shoe Company
Black Faridah Hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

Well, this has taken me over four hours to write with intermittent wifi so I'm going to try and post it before I lose the will to live.....

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Pass me a zimmer

I fear that my days of high heels during the day may be numbered.  I've mentioned this before but for the first time, I am contemplating not actually buying any heels at all in a season.  Shock.  Horror.  Has old age finally kicked in and do I just find heels too much like hard and painful work or have I finally, merely come to my senses?

To be fair, I do have more than a couple of pairs that I can wear so it's not as if I'm going total cold turkey but I really don't need to purchase any (famous last words). 

The jury is still out on totally flat sandals - not that I don't want any, just that I haven't quite worked out which sandal tribe I'm joining.  Plus, I do still have my two pairs from last year that I am still very taken with (although the Clarks snakeskin birkie a likes are top of my list I think).

However inspiration comes from the strangest of scenarios and whilst the shopping trip to Covent Garden last week didn't pan out in shop number one (Cos), it took a bit of a rollercoaster turn in Zara. 

Walking round thinking same old, same old and suddenly I see a lady trying on a pair of sandals which I think are totally grim. 

Two seconds later however, my ridiculously fickle brain does a massive about turn and I suddenly think - hang on, these are amazing and I don't think I can live without them.  The 10yr old can bear witness to this, rolling her eyes at me as only 10yr old daughters can.  

She's charged with flying around the shop with me trying to find them, we manage to locate them and do they have them in my size?  Well obviously not.  I then manage to collar a Sales Assistant who looks at me in pity as I ask if they have more in stock?  "Sold out everywhere", was the response I got, accompanied by obligatory withering look only SAs seem to be able to master with such aplomb.

Oh that'll be right.  I need these shoes now.  They will work on every single level, with every single outfit.  With all dresses and skirts be them mini or midi, with cropped trousers, skinny trousers, jeans and dungarees.  Am on the online "notify me when back in stock" list (although they've totally disappeared from the website now even) and have one last hope of finding them here in Ireland tomorrow.  

These are the sandals that had a mixed response on Instagram.  They are the same at the front actually as my stiletto leopard ones from Zara last year which I absolutely adore.  They're also very similar to the Chloe wedge ones that everyone is going bonkers for.  The Chloe ones are higher in the leg I would say and over £800 more. (a mere snip)  I have to say I actually prefer the Zara ones.  I love the block heel - I really do.  



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It also made me think and suddenly notice how many block heel style sandals there are around and how useful they are.  They can be worn for the school run, out to lunch and actually can be ideal for dressier occasions too.  Heels - be gone.  Me and my zimmer are all over the mid heel sandal. 

So whilst I pine over the Zara ones - a couple more that have caught my eye and may make the shortlist.  

Firstly, a very similar pair at Next, although I much much prefer the block heel to a wedge.  Don't ask me why.  Actually it may also be the tiny gold studs that I think make all the difference.  Along with the zip at the back. 

Gladiator Style Wedge £35 from Next 




Whilst we're talking about love or hate, these are definitely going to be a dividing sort of shoe.  Weirdly though I do really like them, but they're so so not me.  I can see how they would work and I certainly do not think they look remotely like Clarks at all.  Definitely designer to me.  One for the more daring and cutting edge amongst us. 

Geta Block in Black Leather from Clarks £90





Talking of Clarks, they also have a great fringe sandal - not dissimilar to the Whistles ones but at half the price. 

Berrick Ruby from Clarks in black £65



Also in the interesting shade of mustard they call honey.  I think these are an amazing addition to a neutral wardrobe. 

In the honey £65





Slightly higher (moth to a flame...) but still not high high and a wedge which does cancel out some of the height.... But another tassel option which is why I'm putting them here as I've had my eye on them.  

Tassel Wedges from Next £38


And whilst we're on the higher tassel heel, these are right up my street from Zara.

Fringe Block Heel Leather £49.99



Returning to proper mid heel height now and back in the room with some more classic, simple styles.  These are actually much more befitting to my newly found love of the minimalistic chic (but clearly my fashion victim magpie isn't dead but only sleeping hence my obsession with the Zara lace ups)

Berrick Rock at Clarks £70  



Buckles Leather sandal from Mango £59.99



As minimalist as you can get at River Island.

Black Block heel sandals £45



However I appreciate ankle straps aren't for everyone so more on the minimalist theme...

Sandcastle Art from Clarks in tan £45



and in white 



More tan in a similar style but without the buckles from Carvela. 

Kimberley Block Heel Sandals £79


Sneaking in a slightly higher pair... 

Kin by John Lewis Fifty Five Heeled Leather Sandals in Grey £69




Mid heel for you?  Or are you still on the "they're frumpy and neither here nor there" bench.  I am all out on the search for the Zara ones - have I yet again lost my mind?  That be said, I should probably be wary about peaking too early as I have a list of shoe lust as long as my arm. 

So the sun is still shining here, fantastic trip to the Circus with the children and my sister in law and then back home for a huge family roast. 

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Black thin knit jumper - Cos

Black zip ankle skimmer jeans - Boden
Off white jumper - Kin by John Lewis 
Trench Coat - Banana Republic 
White cracked leather Stan Smiths - adidas
Leopard print scarf - Louis Vuitton
Black Faridah hobo bag - Marc by Marc Jacobs

Weather is supposed to be getting even better these week - dare I crack out the sandals tomorrow?