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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

These things are sent to try us..

... and no heating will do that. 

Yes, these things come in threes (to be honest, I've stopped counting) and there's nothing left to do but laugh at the situation.  Brand new underfloor heating and the timing box thingy on the wall has died.  The electrician has said something to do with a circuit board - frankly, I don't care what it is, I just want it fixed and I want it warm again.

I am off tomorrow (not quite believing it will all go to plan at the moment but you've got to stay positive, haven't you?!) leaving my mother and my children here in what appears to be plummeting temperatures.  With, at the moment, no heating. 

So, let's do the Plot Twist thingy again (it's not remotely getting tiresome.. not at all.  A bit like the smile that's currently plastered on my face isn't at all fake.  Again, not at all.....).  Another day at (very cold) home whilst waiting in for the electrician to come back to fix the heating (plumber has passed the buck) and no lovely day perusing the lovely new season collection at Hush.  Fingers crossed I'll be able to go and see them when I get back as I can't wait to see what they've got in store for us this S/S.

I could so some hoovering (I've already done some more washing - Rock And Roll.....) or I could ignore the lashing rain outside and the fact I'm struggling to feel my fingers and get my determined jiggy on and focus on brighter, nicer things. 

Shoes.  Oh yes, let's pretend Winter isn't going to arrive with a vengeance next week (I'm holding out for them getting it wrong like they got the NY blizzard wrong....) and think about baring our ankles to the world. 

I will actually say that I did this the other week - armed with a woolly hat, scarf and gloves and honesty, they weren't cold!  Go figure. 

I am so over thinking about my thigh high boots (the levels of confusion between Stuart Weitzman for R&B Lowlands and plain old Stuart Weitzman Lowlands boots which you can only buy here at Selfridges & probably Harrods et al - a staggering £100 difference between the two.  Is there really that much difference between them?  I decided that I didn't care in the end) and am now all about the new season. 

I'm going straight into shoe mode.  So I do have my heart set on a pair of navy Stan Smiths (I might just go original - still shuddering over the disaster of the New Balances though so am shelving that thought for a while) but more importantly I know that I loved my skater shoes and for years I have been the hugest ballet pump fan. 

I couldn't quite get my head around the full on slipper thingy that has been popular in the last couple of years, but this year, there seems to be a real mix up of footwear.  It's as if they've thrown all the shoes up in the air, the rule book out of the window and just blindly made up a mix of classics.  (along with quirky ones thrown in)  Which make for a very divided set of opinions... one man's meat and all that....

But let's start with something more traditional.  For me this is classic cross between a ballet flat and a slipper style pump.  And a pointy toe.  Like I say, a mishmash.

Did I mention that I am all about the pointy toe.......??  (for today at least.  Fickle?  Moi?)

Jigsaw Cecile Flat Ballet flat in silver £69



However I may have found another option at a more palatable price point. 

The Albert Flat pointed toe pump from M&S £45



They also do them in a black suede for £45 These are made of magic suede apparently.  "Stain away"......it's not just any suede, it's M&S suede.  So of course it's magic. (I don't care, I love them and think they're amazing for that price and I've tried them on and they're super comfy.  I would say if you're in between sizes, then size up.) 







More suede back at Jigsaw and they're in the sale - a perfect Spring colour. 

Jigsaw Cecil Flat Ballet pumps were £69 now £55




Other pointy black flatties. 

Suede upper and heel ballet flats £85 at Uterque. 



Now some strappy versions. I can already tick the box with my Delphine pumps from Hobbs and I therefore have no need to jump on the Irish dancing-a-likes - sorry, I mean Aquazzura inspired lace up pumps.  I do love them though, I really do but it does make my feet twitch when I look at them (you can take the girl out of her Irish dancing classes but.....plus The Husband nearly bust a lung laughing when I showed him) 
Dune Hobra Lace up shoes £85




These are another strap version - very different and not nearly as on trend but for some that may not be a bad thing.  I would say these are a cross between my Delphines and the Aquazzuras.  With a lot taken out.


Aldo Civitate Strap Point Flat shoes were £50 now £35





However now let's move on to the proper bonkers.  The real Bob shoes, that I know most people will vomit a little into their mouths on viewing.  I can only imagine what The Husband would say (I can see the pity in his eyes and the mirth on his lips as I type)

I LOVE these.  


Fur slippers (yes they actually call them that - I'm sure it loses something in translation..) from Uterque were £89 now £39 




To be fair, I am more than prepared to be chomping on humble pie at the rate of knots after a couple of wears (the ghost of the New Balance haunts me still...)  However clearly the shopping gods are conspiring against me as they're sold out in the my size.

Therefore in for a penny, in for a pound.  

I've found cheaper ones at ASOS. 

ASOS Dance with me Suede Pointed pumps were £28 now £25 (and they're leather!) 



(still prefer the Uterque ones though - penguin look or no penguin look.  Yes someone mentioned that when I posted a white lace up pair months ago and DARN THEM, I can't look at them without thinking penguin.  Am determined to get over it)

A much easier to wear pair with not a penguin reference in sight are these from the new Spring Collection at Seven Boot Lane.  These are perfection.  Love them. 

Dakota Charcoal Suede loafers £120 



And finishing with a bonkers pair that I have a soft spot for.  If I squint, these have a hint of the Marc Jacobs about them.

Swiftheart Slippers from Topshop £26


As I type, I'm watching the weather forecast which is saying it's going to snow tomorrow.  Here.  You couldn't write it.  I'm going to bed before anything else goes wrong!  (but my heating is now working.. Whoop whoop)


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Pink linen tee - Zara
Damson thin knit jumper - Hush
Nessa Cardigan - Hush
Blush and pink Camel scarf - Virginia Johnson
Uggs

So this is goodbye from me but hopefully I can fling something on when I'm out there, I'm taking my laptop with me so fingers crossed I'll find "something" to write about.   Ha ha ha. 

I will of course be posting like a loon on Instagram, my new favourite choice of Social Media that I may have mentioned one or a million times - name thingy is @doesmybumlook40.  See you from across the pond!  (this is assuming I make it....I will, I will, I will...)


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Do you remember that Plot Twist thingy...?





.. well I'm yelling it now.   I am not where I should be.  I am sat here tapping away on my sofa when I should be thousands of feet up in the air, nursing a Bloody Mary. 

But I'm not.  I am grounded.  Courtesy of snow.  Actually it does seem that my flight is going to take off, much delayed, and so I would have got into NY late this evening.  On my own.  My friend who was meeting me is coming from Boston.  Where they are knee deep in snow.   She is literally snowed in and would no way be able to get to New York in the next two days.  Would I even be able to get from the airport to the hotel?  Oh that I had to cancel by the way as yesterday it looked like no-one was going anywhere today (and I didn't want to get stung for the room if I wasn't going to using it!) so I wouldn't have had a hotel room to go to.  To say the logistics were becoming beyond stressful was a slight understatement.  

And last night, it looked as if it was still going to be horrendous tomorrow as well.  But some amazing amazing lady on Twitter who works for BA offered to help.  A true angel who went our of her way to help me change my flight for Thursday.  When The Husband (who is living it up in Chicago having flown First Class whilst I stay at home on my birthday stressing about being abandoned at either Heathrow, JFK or somewhere in a blizzard in NY) definitely arrives.   (oh and yesterday morning I also had the added complication of my lovely but ever so slightly scatty mother who is coming to look after the children, calling to say she wasn't going to be able to come as she wasn't feeling well and so was on her way to hospital.  Cue heart failure on my part due to her potentially being really sick and also no idea what I was going to do with my children.)  It was an interesting day. (when I say scatty, she was sent home an hour later with nothing wrong with her..... Bless her.  And thank goodness, fine on all counts!)

So - all set to go on Thursday and therefore today I had an unexpected day at home and oh hello, to brighten up what could have been a miserable day, the new Next Directory arrived (no it doesn't take much to cheer me up - total saddo that I am).  I was able to have a lovely cuppa this morning with a leisurely leaf through - the perfect opportunity to see if I could hunt down another Next Dress  The Next Dress from last year - the grey and black linen one, having been so popular in all of the shades it came in.  I should have texted my friend to ask if her mum has spied her dress as it was her that I got the inspiration from.  But no, I thought I would see if there were any that would do the same job.

Starting totally off piste.  I LOVE this dress - definitely not an every day throw on number (well, not for me anyway... slightly on the dressy side - for slightly, read very much)  But for a First Holy Communion or other relevant Occasion, I think it's simply amazing.

Printed Oversized Lace dress £75



But fear not - back on brief now and whilst this isn't good for the height of summer which was the beauty of the linen one, it would be easily dressed up for evening (would struggle with the linen one on that front) and with a pair of sneakers, trainers or little ankle boots - hello Spring.  Love love love.  And all a bit Marant too, no?

Charcoal Geo Print Shirt Dress £38



Now this is going to be more yay or nay I think.  A dress to divide.  I love a shirt dress and I'm really drawn to the colours in this - again, perfect for throwing on during the day and actually, you could wear out in the evening with heeled ankle boots.  Little black blazer and you're off.
Utility Shirt Dress £48



And in black £46




Mono print dress £40  Same print in a different style. 




Splice Print Dress £45  This dress is featured a number of times in the Directory (in the accessories section - you can test me on it later - oh yes, I am truly a weirdo in that I read all of it.  Actually I lie - totally skipped the underwear and jama section.  Yawn)

This grows on you, I promise. 



But with my cold hat still on, I also spied some knitwear which would be great for Spring days but certainly could justify buying now for layering. 

A light weight version of my much favoured wrap coat. 

Belted Cardigan £45 (and they do this in a Tall and a Petite as well) 



Alas they only do this in a regular in the camel but I think they are quite generously sized anyway £45




And jumper love in earnest.  I don't need this in every colour.  Do I?  Which would you go for?  I can't decide. 


Love them all. 

High Neck Sweater from Next £45 in black


In grey 


And in yellow...


Fear not, like I say, I have done my research and picked my best bits which I will bring to you another day (although most are above to be honest).  An hour well spent - I especially have a huge list of jeans and trousers that I want to try (starting with the grey zip ones above)  I will do a big try on with pics in the not too distant future, I promise.
Going back to cardigans though - I have to just show you these from Hush.  Now in the sale at a ridiculous price - these are the same style as my Nessa Cardigan I have.  Loads of other Hush goodies at rock bottom prices as well. 

Chunky Waterfall Cardigan now £25 was £85




And whilst we're talking about Hush, one advantage of not being in New York is that now I will be able to go to their Press Day tomorrow in London for the launch of their S/S 15 collection.  Which I never miss, so every cloud and that.  

However I won't be able to go to their Sample Sale which I'm not so pleased about, as it's on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  But they have said I can share the details with you.  Up to 80% off.  Gutted I can't be there.  Please can you go and report back on all the bargains.  Best bit is - bargains that are a one off as some of them will be samples not produced.  Go forth and gather Hush goodies, my lovelies.




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So pics from yesterday - as much as I spent a good 9/10ths of the day (on my birthday) trying to sort out the shenanigans for going to New York, I did manage a lovely sushi lunch with friends.  Wasn't at all bitter that The Husband swanned off to Chicago looking vaguely stressed after having to ...... pack his suitcase.  His ONE job.  Whilst I juggled three children, a mother who was very sick and then miraculously fine, potentially no childcare for six days, organising lifts for all three from their myriad of after school and weekend activities so my mum doesn't have to leave the house, stocking fridge, freezer and larder to WW2 bunker levels, doing battle with hotels, the Heathrow car park system, British Airways and purportedly the worst storm to hit the North East coast of the US.  Oh and yes, I had to pack too.  Not bitter at all though.  Oh and on my birthday.  BUT my scarf arrived from ASOS and I love it.  I could genuinely use it as a blanket - it's coming with me to the frozen other side of the pond.  


And on the upside, I love this outfit.

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Scalloped bib collar - Zoe Karssen
Black merino jumper - Uniqlo
Triple zip jeans - Mint Velvet
Camel wrap coat - Zara
White leather trainers - Zara
Whiskey Medium Marcie Satchel - Chloe 

And today - at home, not on a plane but did manage to spend a lovely day with my mum and the two hours at football with the small boys.  (which equates to catching up with friends over coffee and pretending I saw all the goals they may or may not have scored)

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White tee - Topshop
Damson thin knit jumper - Hush
Real straight jeans - Gap
Camel coat - Zara
Hot air balloon scarf - Lily & Lionel
Camel Cypress boots - Acne
Camel bag - Prada

So tomorrow, off to London to see my friends at Hush - very excited and very much looking forward to reporting back.   Snow, schmow, you can keep your weather NY, I'm suddenly all about the new season. (which doesn't really matter as there'll be lots of that on tap from Friday when The Husband is now OVERJOYED that he has to come shopping with me.  Whoop whoop!)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Getting ahead of the game

This was me on Friday in Selfridges.  Well, trying to...... But of course, foiled.  Foiled foiled foiled, just as I had found the most exciting brand I've come across in eons. 

A dress brand that I've seen on Instagram and tracked down finally instore.  Gob. Smacked.   I'm talking the rather wonderful Self-Portrait.

Now I struggle with finding dresses that I both love and that fit.  I know that sounds ridiculous but honestly, it's true.  And I'm massively jumping the gun even contemplating buying a dress for my son's First Holy Communion in June but from bitter disappointment (slight exaggeration for sure) in the past, I have learnt that you have to buy these things when you see them.  Otherwise they sell out. 

Funny I should mention that as, well what do you know?  They've sold out.  GAH. 

Now I'm chuntering on and I haven't even let you in on my new secret. 

First off - these are not going to be for everyone.  "Hmm ever so slightly Alice in Wonderland....." was my friend's not entirely enthusiastic response when I pounced on them instore squealing in glee.  Judging by their exceptionally on trend styling on the website, I'm not entirely sure 40+ is their target market but this season, I think most of their dresses are eminently wearable.

Although I sort of see where she's coming from (I type grudgingly) with regards to Alice, I utterly love them.  The quality is amazing - truly truly amazing.  If you'd said they were four figures, I would have believed you.  And I wouldn't have bothered trying them on but thankfully they're not.  They're really well priced.  

Don't get me wrong, they're not cheap cheap but compared to the higher end of the High Street, they are definitely comparable and for a designer dress which is where they're pitched in Selfridges, they are a veritable bargain.  

They also come up small. 

Self-Portrait Lucille geometric trim mesh dress £250



And here I am - yes it looks like it fits but the back tells a different story.  This is the 8 and it didn't nearly do up. 

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This one was in my size (a 12) but I really really want the midi length. 

Lucille geometric trim mesh dress £250



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Liliana Embroidered dress £320  This is the main one that elicited the "where's the White Rabbit?" comment.




It doesn't go with the leopard print boots but I pretty much love it.

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I'm going to email them tomorrow to see if there is any way I can get hold of the Lucille dress in a 12.  


There are though some others that I think may also be worth considering.  Not sure this one is what I'm looking for thinking of the Summer but I wish I'd seen it at the beginning of the Winter (even though it's actually Spring stock...) 

Fireflies metallic dress £225



Or this one - Ava Embroidered Midi dress £260 - again NOT IN MY SIZE! 


Look how amazing it can look.  Sold out pigging everywhere...



Looking at their new season which you can pre order, this is the one that I've got my eye on.  I think with a pair of black gladiator heeled sandals, this could be the perfect go to Summer Dress.  I am utterly in love with it and I may even curb my NY spending with this in mind (*may* being the operative word....) 

Lila Midi Dress £260 (I'm ignoring the shoes)




This has made me think, I'm on a midi roll.  Tis the season to be Catholic this June and we've got a host of First Holy Communion parties to go to as well as the usual round of parties which hopefully there'll be.  I've also got two 50th parties (clearly I have MUCH older friends........!) and so there will be the usual need for dresses.  June is notoriously a difficult time to dress for in my experience, it can be downright chilly.  I have now got to grips with my fake tan issues that I've had in the past but there is still nothing more unattractive than a goose bump frenzy. 

Midi dresses are hard to wear for lots of people but I do think the key is the right size heel for the proportions of the dress.  Personally, as I've said, I don't like them so much with the flat heel above.  I think go high.  I also think go properly midi - not just below the knee which isn't so much midi as mumsy.  Be bold with the length and your heel and I promise you it will work.

These are some that I think it will be worth considering. 

ASOS Floral Mesh Midi insert fit and flare dress £58  This one doesn't seem too long - personally I'd want it more mid calf midi than just below the knee, politician's wife style...... So I'd say this would work better if you're not super tall. 


Totally off piste but I LOVE this.  Absolutely love love love it - Jalouse boots and Spring lunch outfit sorted.  All rather Marant at a fraction of the cost.  This will not be around by mid Feb I can guarantee.

Glamorous Off the shoulder Midi dress £30


Thinking ridiculously ahead, I know that one of the 50th parties is going to have an Ibiza theme going on - I'm thinking this could be perfect..... Huge gold earrings, fine gold chains, gladiator heels again....

Kiss The Sky Tie Dye Midi dress with coin necklace £45


This I fear may be too short on me.... I'm looking for longer, but it is a Tall so it could be worth a go.  I love the fact it's a blank canvas.

ASOS Tall High neck textured midi dress with short sleeves £45


On a roll with the Tall dresses - this is by the same brand as the white off the shoulder one.  I can't help singing Cher's Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves when I look at this which probably means it's a no - certainly the shoes are not helping in the slightest.  However I reckon it could be worth a go.  

Glamorous Tall Flippy off the shoulder dress £30



Another black dress - clearly I have a lace thing going on.... This one I think will be too wintery looking for Spring but would be ideal for the next couple of months.  

ASOS Lace Pleat Midi dress £48


All the Wiggle dresses at ASOS are fantastic - there are a whole host of them in different fabric and prints - but the one thing they all have in common is that a) they remind me of Ted Baker dresses and b) they're about a quarter of the price of them.  Result.

I love these colours.  ASOS Midi Wiggle Dress in paisley print £48


So you could buy an All Saints dress... OR you could try the ASOS Wrap Dress for £48!  In Scarlet...


Or in grey.... This to be is pure elegance (even lined).  For £48.



So I could go on and on - this is a subject I need to explore in more detail but The Husband is off to Chicago in the morning so we're going to have a lovely meal (cooked by him - bliss) before we go.   

I also need to start packing.... Might have had a slight disaster on the weather front.  It looks like there may be a little (optimistic code for "a lot") of snow in New York over the next couple of days.  However I won't let this get me down, I am layering within an inch of my life.  I have ordered my new blanket scarf from ASOS as a happy birthday to me tiny gift and I'm packing thermals.  Problem everyone says it that as soon as you go inside a building, the temperature becomes sauna-esque.  A lovely problem to have, I appreciate and to be totally honest, snow on or around my birthday is not remotely a surprise to me.  42 years on and I have had more birthday plans be rearranged due to copious amounts of the White Stuff than I can remember.  Can let it get you down or you can just drink and shop through.  Oh well, go on then...... 

Finishing though with outfits from the last couple of days.  Slight dilemma as to what to wear on Friday - panic posting on Instagram - thank you all for your kind comments.  It was actually the print Sandro dress that was most popular but I'd already thrown this on with the leopard print wedges and my long black knitted cardigan coat (coming to NY with me as it's ideal to strip off and perfect for layering).  Was most pleased with my outfit.  And an amazing day was had with my lovely lovely friends at the Chiltern Firehouse (via Burger King on the way home obviously...)

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Yesterday I had lunch out with my 10yr old before I go away.  We're the only ones in the family who love Thai so we went to our local new Thai restaurant for a quick girlie lunch.  I'm going to miss her so so so so much. 

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Champagne cashmere off duty jumper - Boden (a lovely gift from them which I am OVER the moon with)
Khaki skinny jeans - By Malene Birger
Camel wrap coat - Zara
Mushroom suede boots - Zara
Whiskey Medium Marcie satchel - Chloe

And last night, out for a friend's birthday party.  Vodka jellies and Champagne.  Suffice to say, I actually appreciated the fresh air at rugby this morning. 

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Cobalt silky blouse - Zara
Indigo Baxter jeans - Topshop
Midnight boucle jacket - Zara
Midnight satin shoe boots - Dorothy Perkins
Dynamite necklace - Marc by Marc Jacobs
Tan De Manta clutch - Alexander McQueen

I have everything crossed that I can get hold of one of those Self-Portrait dresses.  Or maybe they'll be able to let me know if there are any stockists in NY.  Although that's all a bit arse about face isn't it?  I should also be putting a shopping list together.  

So what would you have on yours - what should I be buying in the US?  The Husband's suggestion is "NOTHING!"  Oh how we laughed.....