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Monday, 29 June 2015

Letting it all hang out

Ok not literally but it has been brought to my attention by numerous people that the best thing to wear when it's a gazillion degrees (I've already confessed I don't really do heat) isn't perhaps shorts but a dress.  Not a clingy dress - oh no - we need to border on tent. 

It needs to be loose.  And I'm going to say, it needs to not have sleeves.  Oh I know, I know, some of you are worried about your bingo wings.  Well can I assure you that you are the only one who will be worrying about them in 34 degree heat BUT I appreciate that we all have comfort zones that we'd rather not move out of, so I will try and find some loose dresses with sleeves (ish.....)

So we have ONE day apparently of ridiculously warm weather.  But most of you will probably be jetting off to somewhere super warm (I'm going with I'll be ok in Suffolk with sleeves, shorts and a cardie - bring on the OTK boots as far as I'm concerned, however never say never) and I'm not sure I've done a proper blog on hot hot hot Summer dresses. 

Ones that you can throw on and still be cool in.  The main idea is that you're cool as in not too warm but luckily there is no reason why it shouldn't also be (don't all hate me as I use this ridiculous word) hip cool too.

The great thing about these dresses is that you will have them for years.  Honestly, there's something about a Summer dress that randomly stands the test of time.  For me, it's the seasonal equivalent of a polo neck.  Or a pair of ankle boots.  They transcend trends and are just those staples in your wardrobe that you rely on and drag out year after year.  

Dare I say you can ever have too many?  (well clearly I'm going to say that - any excuse for a shop eh?)

Starting with the more practical element of ones under which you can wear a bra.  I know for some there is never a excuse to let "everything" hang out....

Since we are going to need these imminently, I've only included ones that offer next day delivery and have put on each retailer the details.

Mine that I ordered earlier in the season and am dying to wear - the Triangle Dresses in both black and off white - now with 25% off special offer at £48.75  Hush next day delivery is £6.00

Other options which I'm also lusting after 

hush Catalina Dress was £45 now £33.75 in Limoges

The white version 

And the black one 

Nothing says summer like yellow.  This one some might feel is slightly dressy for the day but honestly, I'd happily throw it on with some more casual sandals.   Finery - next day delivery £5.

Larcom Ruffle Back Dess from Finery £45

I know some people prefer something waisted as opposed to a swing or shift shape so this one from Atterley in a navy 100% cotton might be on the money.  Atterley delivery - free for next day over £100 and £4.95 if under.

Atterley Navy Cotton V neck dress £48 Now this may seem like a lot for a casual dress but it I think it could be worn for work with a blazer and smarter sandals and flipflops for tripping to the beach.  And like I mentioned, they last forever so really are an investment.

Sale on at Warehouse now - this dress would be fabulously easy to wear.  Warehouse next day delivery (up to 8pm) £4.99

Grey Cupro Utility Shirt Dress was £42 now £25 

Print now in the sale at Boden - classic shift dress and yes, easily wearable for a host of occasions. Next day delivery £8, 1 day premium £6

Phyllis Dress was £79 now £39.50 - textured scallop, great 60s vibe.  This I would have worn to work with a black blazer.

Or the blue option again £39.50

There is always the option of a maxi dress and I love the fact this isn't maxi maxi due to the shaped hem. 

Panel Maxi Dress in petal royal blue and white from hush was £55 now £41.25

Or in the Stripe Hibiscus again on offer with the 25% off at £41.25

Now we do have a couple that you'll either need a strapless bra for or, if you're brave and flat chested enough to go without.  I know most of you will recoil in horror at that statement but personally - with the volume of fabric around the chest area, I have to say I think I'd probably swing free in this. (tmi?)

Rivington Fit and Flare Sundress from Finery £55 This is an elasticated waist as opposed to a belted one.  A thick elastic at that - much more flattering than a skinny nipped in design.

Now this one I assume you don't wear a bra as the shape holds it in?  This is one of those dresses that looks great on other people.  Doesn't work on me At All.  I have the ability to elevate this to a full on frump outfit as opposed to effortlessly chic holiday dress which is what other people manage to look in it.

St Lucia Dress was £59 from £29.50

I've been looking at the other prints and colours in this style (there are lots to choose from) and to be honest - I take it back - I think the black one would look pretty darn ok (were it again in a longer length - the hovering on the knee has never done anything for me) 

St Lucia Dress in black was £59 now £47.20

Another one that you could easily wear a strapless bra underneath - to be honest, I would happily wear this out in the evening, especially on holiday. 

Ellington Garland Print Cami dress from Finery £59 I love a dropped waist.

Strapless bra ahoy at Boden.  I love love love this look and would just adore it to be about 6 inches longer on me.  This would make the most stunning midi dress on the planet.  But for others, I appreciate this length works.

Sandra Sundress was £89 now £44.50

Another waisted dress needing a strapless bra and short but I love the length of this one.  There is something about the print, the shape - just the difference of it.  Adore.  Am so tempted to try even though I fear the proportions may be all sorts of wrong diddly on me.  With white sandals, black sandals.  For the day for the night.  Oh I just LOVE this.  

And here's an interesting concept.  If this was at Sandro say and was reduced to the full price that it was at Warehouse originally (in fact probably even double that amount... ) I would buy it in a heartbeat.  Now that's something to consider no...??

Aztec Cami dress was £45 now £25 from Warehouse 

The Grecian dress at hush offers you the best of both worlds with regards to belted or a swing shape.  You can wear with or without a belt. 

Grecian Dress in leaves print was £40 now £30

Waisted or loose in the hibiscus - loose here - again now £30 with the 25% off at hush.

Now for work.  There have been a couple that maybe you could wear with a blazer but these from Kin, in the sale would be ideal in super hot weather.  Corporate but at the same time chic and minimalist. 

Kin by John Lewis Cocoon Dress was £69 now £48

And the white version was £69 now £34

Some options with sleeves (of a fashion) - in fact I have one on today that I absolutely love.  It was heinously expensive last year but I have worn it more times than I can remember for both flinging on for the school run and with heels for a night out.  

Other options that could work just as well - for casual, for dressing up or even for work. 

Atterley Multi Mosaic Print Shift Dress £55

Swing dress in jersey which again, is ideal for work but loose enough to keep you cool.  This would also work perfectly for work on steaming days. 

Deep V Swing Dress from Me+Em was £98 now £49 in navy 

And in the black from £98 to £68.60   For me these are the most versatile dresses here and ones that I would wear and wear and wear.  With casual sandals or sneakers for the school run, to lunch with dressier flat sandals or ankle boots and out for dinner in the evening with heels and a bit of bling.  Honestly, how I do not have one of these in my wardrobe already, I don't know. 

Cap sleeved with volume at Boden - this one actually has breezy in the title - exactly what we need. 

Breezy Emma Dress from Boden was £79 now £63.40 in the multi tropical floral

Personally though I prefer it in the white which is handy as it's cheaper at £47.40 from £79

Or the Forget me not blue.... again £47.40

Bargain of the day though with capped sleeves and a defined waist at Warehouse. 

Black Stripe Dress was £32 now £10

I'm off to order the Me+Em ones - super excited actually, I can't believe I haven't clocked exactly how versatile they'll be.  I have a dinner party on Thursday night and this is exactly what I need to wear during the day and just change shoes for the evening.  Simply perfect. 

And here I am in my outfit from today.


Dress - Sportmax Code
White sandals - River Island 
Tan bag - Prada

Tomorrow I am back with a footwear revelation. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Nailing Summer

So I think we can finally confirm that Summer has arrived.  As I said yesterday, the heatwave is on the way and so it's all hands to the Summer Wardrobe deck. 

And I will say that my two main accessories that are non negotiable and total Must Haves are a hat and sunglasses.  Today it's all about the hats.  

I had a lovely comment yesterday saying I'd nailed Summer in my top and shorts.  Well I have to say, I'm not so convinced that the outfit as a whole would have worked remotely as well without my hat.  And I would say the same about the outfit I wore on Friday - a very billy basic outfit of jersey tee and cargos but the hat completes it and just makes it that little bit more interesting.

Not only does it help finish an outfit, it's also hugely practical.  It keeps the sun off your head and hair but more importantly, off your face.  As much as I love a freckle, I love wrinkles less and so I've taken to lathering on the fake tan and protecting my face from the sun. 

Like the tops from yesterday, I've also found them to be a timeless addition to your Summer wardrobe.  I currently have two and they both create very different looks.  One is definitely more boho and the other is a little more polished and works better with slightly smarter/more classic outfits.  Ish.  That all sounds very poncey but I think with a hat it's no different from accessorising with a pair of shoes - you just need to make sure that the hat actually goes with the outfit. 

My straw cowboy hat I bought when my second son was a baby and he's now 8, nearly 9.  Every year it comes out, every year it looks a bit more battered but the joy of the style is that the lived in look suits it (I'm hoping someone one day will say the same thing about my face....)

My one is long gone from the site but this is a similar style, also from Fatface and I can absolutely vouch for the quality.  Mine has been screwed up in a suitcase, a handbag, a drawer and it gets dragged out and reshaped every year with not a mark or dent on it.

Straw Cowboy hat - Fatface £22

The other hat I love that I wear constantly is from Zara last year, absolutely love the mix of white and straw with navy and white band.  Much less boho than my Fatface one and one I feel works better with more classic outfits.  That was from last year (or maybe the year before actually... in fact yes, i think it's two years old) so clearly long gone but this is a similar version from John Lewis. 

John Lewis Straw & Braid Fedora Hat in Natural £25

My one bug bear with hats is that they usually only come in one size and I have a huge bonce.  Which is a pain in the proverbial when most hats are too small.  

This one is only in one size but the review does say that it comes up big.  Let's hope that the reivewer (and her husband who it also didn't fit apparently) don't have titchy tiny pin heads. 

John Lewis Fedora £22

But there are the odd ones that come in different sizes.  And yes, normally that is for the more expensive ones but I've found a couple at ASOS which are bargains - especially fabulous if you're not entirely sure and want to give them a go.  For a tenner, I think it's worth a punt. 

ASOS Straw Trilby £10

Like I say, most with different sizes are on the more expensive side but seeing as I've had mine for years and years, I would say it's definitely worth considering for one that you love. 

Catarzi Wide Brimmed Straw Fedora £40

One I managed to try on Friday and have to say I'm rather taken with.  Yes it's yellow and yes that's a tad limiting but I figure this could really make either a black or monochrome outfit.  Or even with navy... or with white.... 
Marcella Yellow Oversized Trilby from Reiss was £45 now £35

Has the sun finally got to me?  Tad too Jamiroquai?


Whilst we're on the subject of oversized - I haven't ever got to grips with ones with a wider brim but I have a friend who wears one and looks amazing.  I'm thinking these with little dresses might make an interesting option.  Slightly more feminine?

ASOS Straw floppy hat in silver metallic £16

Another one with size options - be still my massive head. 

ASOS Straw Oversized Floppy Hat in black £16

However I think my favourite wide brimmed one would be another from Reiss and yes it's in the sale and yes it comes in two sizes. 

Lucien Neutral Cutout Brim hat in neutral now £39 was £59

The other option of course is looking at men's hats.  I keep going to borrow The Husband's panama hat but I daren't as it's his pride and joy and I know I'd lose or ruin it.  He got it from Lord's and I am not up for making a trip there to replace it. 

Straw Panama Hat from M&S £19.50

Now all the ones that I would choose are larger of brim which work for me as I'm a giant.  But if you are of a more diminutive stature, then you may prefer a slightly smaller shape. 

This would be top of my list - total bargain from M&S. 

Animal Print Scarf Trim Trilby £15

Or a much smaller brimmed fedora £18

And if you are more generous of bonce then there are some men's versions to consider. 

Straw Trilby hat from M&S £19.50

This is a men's but it's much more feminine to me. 

Straw Trilby Hat £19.50 in navy

So hopefully we're all set for the heatwave - or is any one else starting to panic.....??!

Speaking of Summer and panicking - it's sort of just sinking in that the holidays are around the corner.  Although we, thank goodness, are still able to count in weeks and not days.  Don't get me wrong, I love having my children around (and I LOVE not having to get up at the crack of the dawn.  Note to self - must train children to open the back door so they can take the puppy out as 6.30am might be killing me).

But it's a long time.  It's finding that balance to avoid dying of guilt at listening to their brains atrophy as you hear the beep beep of their ipdad.  Now the last couple of holidays, I have mentioned that I have discovered a cunning plan in the form of an online maths programme (which also works on the ipad - oh yes kids, so long as there is wifi, there are sums) called The Maths Factor

Clearly lots of you also thought it was an excellent idea as they contacted me after having a great uptake from my blog and have asked if I would endorse their Summer Clubs.  Well I can happily say, I am more than happy to tell you about them seeing as they have saved my bacon over the past couple of holidays and it's something that we already use and I've happily recommended.

Their Summer Clubs open on 1st July (although you can sign up from today) for three months and if you sign up by the 3rd July there is a special offer whereby you can get those three months for just £9.99.  Usual price would be £27.50 so it's definitely worth signing up now (you could buy a new hat with the money saved!)

For us - we have the dreaded 11+ exam in September (three days after the start of term. GAH) and the opportunity for my 10 yr old to daily practise Maths that isn't a Bond Paper, that is quick, more fun and something that bit different whilst still being work, is just invaluable.   The Summer Clubs are designed for daily use - I've had a look through the programmes and it's perfect for a quick hit of numeracy every day without overloading them with what they perceive to be "work".  It's a more targeted programme than the general one and you will be able to track their progress through the summer holidays.

I have honestly found The Maths Factor in general to be great and friends of mine who also use it have said the same.  So if you happen to see me out and about in the Summer and my children are all glued to their ipads in a restaurant, yes they'll be playing a game but I will be sitting there with my glass of wine, smugly in the knowledge that they're actually doing sums!

Seriously worth a look if you want to negate the guilt factor of the oft dreaded age of technology that is seemingly taking over our children's lives. 

But back to the fashion and here I am in outfit from Friday and yes complete with hat.  What a difference a couple of days make.... actually pouring with rain here now (are they "sure" the heatwave is on the way?)


White longsleeved slub tee - hush
Paint splattered cargos - Zara
Tan gladiators - Aldo
Cognac cross body bag - Campomaggi
Hat - Fatface
I hope everyone had a great weekend - we seemed to have done nothing but kiddy stuff (we clearly are horrifically selfish parents as we do usually get a night off) and the poor husband has a big trial starting tomorrow so has been flat out with work.  I have my autistic course tomorrow morning which is more than a little draining so tonight I think I'm going to treat myself to something online - seeing as I have bought NADA in the sales yet.  Yellow hat - yay or nay....?   Or a bag.... I think I may have another obsession brewing with a navy bag...... 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Feeling hot hot hot

So admittedly my moaning about the weather being pants may have been slightly premature.  

We seem to be going from zero to a 100 (or at the very least from 12 to 34 degrees if the current weather forecast is to be believed) in a space of a matter of weeks. 

All hail the heatwave.  

And (if you're anything like me), all hail total panic at what to wear. 

Firstly, may I urge restraint.  This weather, as much as it seems at 3am in the morning (when you're sweating like a pig and contemplating a shower except that you've realised all the clean towels are downstairs in the laundry room and you cannot be faffed to negotiate stairs - you get even sweatier thinking about that level of exercise at stupid o'clock) like it's going to last forever (just me?) - it's not.  Trust me when I say that in a fortnight we will be all over blanket capes. 

But for now, it does seem like Summer at circa 30 degrees is going to last until the end of September and WE HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR.  (again, just me?) 

Well actually I do.  And I'm sure you do too.  Because at the end of the day, you only need a couple of pairs of shorts (if you're up for getting your legs out.. come on...) or loose trews and a skirt.   At the very most.  One pair of shorts would suffice, let's be frank.

And my go to thing which works every time - a sleeveless top.  Are my arms like those of Nicole Shirtswinger?  No.  Do I care?  Well I might think twice about doing some sort of toning before a big event (note the *might*.  The will is there - the actual fulfilment of said action is frequently lacking) but for a sweaty hot day midweek, it's all I can do not to look like Waynetta Slob in a sauna.  So no, I don't care.

Why do I love the sleeveless top so much?  One - lack of ridiculous tan marks on upper arms (yes of course you do have them around the tops of the shoulders but since my days of strapless tops are exceptionally few and far between... bothered) and two - lack of leaky pits and big damp patches.  And that's my last comment on that subject. 

Let's just say, I have built up a decent little arsenal of these tops as every year without fail, I neglect to remember how shortlived our heatwaves actually are.  And so purchase one (or ten)

This year I have absolutely no need for one.  Will this stop me buying another?  Will it hell. 

I'm on a roll after the Summer Fair and am praying that if I order tonight, one of them will at least be here by Wednesday. 

Starting with ones that require a strapless bra.  Now even with boobs like pancakes, I find a strapless bra massively irritating but a necessary evil.  Hence I don't tend to drag it out too often and so I do tend to buy tops under which I can wear my proper scaffolding.  (as much as anyone could dare to call an A cup "scaffolding")

Embroidered Halterneck Top £26  From Topshop.  Love this and even though I always say I'm not going to go down the boho route - there is something about super hot weather that makes it a must.  And I always end up wearing them so they're not the most foolish purchase for sure.

Patchwork Camisole Top from M&S was £25 now £20  Again - me skipping through the fields in a Flake advert circa 1982.  Maybe.

Paisley Print Camisole Top was £22.50 now £18  On a roll.....

Another one which is a no brainer over denim shorts and now at least we can wear our proper bras. 

Flowy Printed Top from Mango was £13.49 now £6.74  yes you read that right.  Go forth and shop.  They also have in a red version - personally I prefer the navy but there is also the other option.

And just in case you needed something else to do tonight - the Boden sale has started.  Yippeee (that's my late night perusal sorted) 

Johnny is a legend at keeping us looking good in the heat whilst maintaining our dignity and the Betty Tops are absolutely perfect.  In print or plain.  Now at 50% off. 

Betty Top was £35 now £17.50  This is the Sloe Berry Compass (someone had a drink before thinking up that name, I'll wager)

Also love it in the navy. 

More boho but bra proof now - again at Boden and at 50% off. 

Summer Bloom top was £49 now £24.50

Another print but on the more sophisticated slant now.  I love these colours and the pattern - really really love them and would happily wear this over denim cut offs for the school run and then put over skinny trews or tucked into an A line skirt for a night out. 

Shell top from Boden was £49 now £39.20

So from Boho and print to something which I am much more comfortable in this year - plain colours.  And I have to say, these are things that I don't have.  Like I said - hot weather = me going slightly insane in the membrane with ordering things that I will wear twice a year (and that I wouldn't normally wear at all.  I'm half Irish.  We're not good in heat.  And yes, I appreciate that's a sweeping generalisation but I'm married to an Irish man and none of my family, nor any of his four sisters or gazillion cousins function on all cylinders in temperatures over 26 degrees.  So apologies if you're one of those lucky Irish persons....!) 

A long way of saying, I could do with some plain versions.....

Double layer top in off white from Mango was £26.99 now £13.49 (and for the record - everything is now 50% off in the Mango sale)

Linen panel t-shirt from Mango was £22.49 now £11.24

Now this is absolutely ideal for those of you who have to venture to work and attempt not to look like you've just got off the bus from Glasto.  Dressing for super warm weather for the office is notoriously difficult.  But this top should at least keep you cool on the upper part of your body.  I'd wear with loose trousers or dare I say culottes (no I still don't own a pair) or A line skirt (these I do and I may have another sneaky purchase to bring you but it's not even online yet) 

This one would also serve the same purpose - at offer until the end of today from M&S.   Another 20% off fest from them.

Pure Linen Easy to Iron Lace Yoke Vest Top was £22.50 now £18

But the bargain of the day has to be from Mango with this little throw on loose number in white.   Could be flung on over denim shorts, over smarter shorts or I love the idea of it over white skinny jeans (admittedly they'd be a tad on the sticky side perhaps but it would look amazing!) 

Flowy top was £13.49 now £6.74  Can be tucked in or out.  I think we should all buy two just in case we get ketchup (or red wine in my case) down one.

And if you needed proof that white tops over white trousers work - then voila!  This with the fringing is the ultimate in bargain indulgence at this price.  This has made its way into my basket.  Just trying to convince myself I don't need the black one as well.... (no no no) 

Fringed hem top from Mango was £26.99 now £13.49

And in the black if, unlike me, you don't have one exceptionally similar so are unable to justify.  Although there is always the thought that I wouldn't want to wear out my other black one and this one is slightly more dressy.... anyone see that straw there with me clutching at it?  

But whilst we're talking fringing (and have moved totally off topic with regards to what to wear on a super hot day when you're simply trying not to melt...... but hell - I would actually wear this over denim shorts with black sandals during the week.  Definitely), this one is top of my list of lust tops. 

Metal Fringe Top from Mango was £40.49 was £24.24 (and yes this does go in the machine.  SOLD.  Obviously it makes more sense to buy more expensive things as they're a bigger reduction at 50% off.  Would be rude not to.... oh go on then)

To prove my point - here I am in one that I bought at the beginning of the season from Zara.  At the time I thought - oh I'll only get it in black, I won't bother with the white version... well I'm a moron.  It is THE most amazing top that they now don't have either online or instore (I checked).  It's a viscose knit in a swing sleeveless top.  I could hoover both a McDonald's and a Burger King and no one would have a clue.  The hiding of a multitude of sins doesn't come close.  Genius.  And I only bought one of them.  Fool.

Am sort of hoping that the fringe tops from Mango are similarly as magic.  

Today - after football and drama this morning followed by the rest of the day at the Summer Fair.  The Husband has a huge work week starting on Monday so we're in tonight - Big Hero 6 to look forward to with the kids and I am going to merrily play around with the Boden Sale.  Watch this space. 


Black swing vest - Zara
Chino Shorts - Boden
Black lace up sandals - Forever21
Black Harker hands free bag - Anya Hindmarch
Hat - Fat Face 

So what will everyone else be wearing come midweek and the heatwave that is set to take over our lives?  (clearly by Friday and our Sports Day it will be peeing down with rain... but I'll be ok with my 3 new sleeveless tops to add to my collection.....)