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Monday, 15 September 2014

A little bit of leopard does you good

Apart from if you're The Husband as he hates it with a passion.  It is the one major thing we disagree on fashion wise (oh and Uggs.  There is nothing he says about these I can type without an imaginary bleep bleep bleep over the top).  He loathes all things leopard print.

Why?  "Because it looks cheap", is his answer.  "Brassy barmaid.  I can't get past Bet Lynch and women who wear ankle chains", was his follow up.  He's not even persuaded by a Louis Vuitton scarf (possibly, nay definitely my most favourite leopard print item I treasure) 

Ah feck 'im.  I love it.  I love it more every year and I think the connotations of cheap and nasty are long long gone.  Apart from if you're The Husband and he is still firmly in the 70's Coronation Street Camp.

It makes a plain dull outfit suddenly special (in my book anyway) - just by adding a belt, a pair of boots or shoes, a scarf or a bag.  Or, throwing caution to the wind here, how about a whole coat? (I can just see The Husband rocking in a corner now at the very thought) 

I did start this post by thinking that most of my leopard print ensemble is accessories based but actually I have a Zara sweatshirt, a silk Zara sleeveless shirt and some dark Great Plains leopard print jeans.  I think there may be more but at the moment I'm having a leopard blank....

However I am Queen of Accessories.  The easiest way to inject a little leopard without going over the top.  Mentioned the LV scarf (and I know these are scarily expensive but cost per wear it has to be one of the best investments I've ever made) but my next fave things have to be my boots (good old M&S in the sale) and a Tory Burch clutch (Bicester special).  Brining up the rear we have the fiver special shoes from H&M which I love love love too. 

Now there may be more stuff, but typing that out, I don't think that's much (this always comes back to bite me in the derriere as someone points out the oodles of other leopard print things I have languishing in my wardrobe) and there is clearly lots of room for more. 

(Oh yeah, I may have just remembered my ponyksin skater shoes from Next and bag from Zara but in my defense, those are more cheetah print than leopard.  Know thy Big Cats)

(Oh I've also just remembered the three leopard print dresses I have. Ho hum.  I never said I had a good memory.... But I'm sure that's it.... )

Moving swiftly on, there are loads of fabulous leopard print things out there.  Some can just be a nod to the theme - the Reiss Cuff from the other day for example or a belt. 

I love this one from M&S (and I don't have a leopard print belt.)

M&S leopard belt £19.50

A bag - especially a clutch can be ridiculously useful to give a whole different look to an old black dress, or even just plain black shoes and a black blouse.

Leather Ponyskin clutch from ASOS £30

Or a Zip top clutch from Boden £79

Moving into a blue arena, I love this scarf from M&S.  Great size (huge) and yes, it's a take on old LV favourite but at £15, you can't really complain. 

Modal Blend Lightweight blue leopard print scarf £15

Another move away from the classic tan print with an orange scarf from ASOS. 

ASOS Orange leopard print scarf £12 - adore the blue in it and think this would work so well with navy. 

Of course the ultimate scarf may well be the Cashmere Leopard Shawl From Hush £150.  This always sells out so if you want it, nab it (and shove in a drawer for Christmas if needs be!) 

Cashmere Leopard Shawl £150 from Hush 

And they're so thoughtful, if tan isn't your colour palette then fear not, they've bought out a grey version too.  Isn't that kind?  I bet your husband will be equally as impressed....

Cashmere Snow Leopard Shawl £150

And blow me down with a feather, there's a blue one as well.  Although this isn't cashmere so it's only £35.  Result! 

Leo Print Scarf £35 in everglade, mallard and black (not blue...) 

Shoes - well, as I've said, I think these transform an old outfit into something new and - I know this sounds unbelievably sad, but exciting to wear.  Shoot me now, but yes, I get excited when I have something new to wear that I love.  It makes a massive difference to my mood (which the small thing I call offspring try to kill on a regular basis but they will NOT bring me down... not when I have new shoes on anyway.....) which can only be a good thing.  Every little helps as someone once said...

Brown leopard pony hair slip on trainers £45 from River Island (and for the record I have been more than impressed with my white sliders that I got from there in the summer.  They are unbelievably comfortable and have lasted really well, considering they've been worn extensively and are white!) 

Slightly more formal but to be honest they would work as well with jeans as they would with a smart look for work, and are frankly, quite fabulous. 

Fashion Pointed Pumps in tan leopard from Boden £99

Now these are high - totally taxi shoes - but they are so gorgeous from Dune.  Love the detailing on the heel. 

Dune Bellini Leopard Print Shoes £85

A cheaper option would be these in the sale from London Rebel - these are identical to mine from H&M which I wear all the time (in A/W anyway)

London Rebel was £35 now £28

From the sublime to the ridiculous now - scarily expensive boots.  Which most people will probably think are mingarama but I am more than a little bit in love with.  Now I have my pointy wedge leopard print boots so not even I, Queen of Justification, could wrangle a story that anyone would believe to enbable the purchase of these.  

And I'm more than a little bit sure that I have seen a much cheaper version of these somewhere (do help me out with this if you can.  Although even at £20 I'd still be struggling to persuade even myself that I could justify these as well as the other ones) 

Kurt Geiger Ezra Boots £295

Of course if you do have a totally plain wardrobe, then an injection of leopard can work wonders. 

I love this, even more than I love my sweatshirt. 

Brown leopard print fluffy brushed jumper £35

Simply adore this tunic shift dress from See U Soon in the sale - partly silk so this is a great price. 

See U Soon Leopard print dress with curve hem was £54 now £28.  This with the black accent sleeves and in the grey shade, doesn't seem quite so in your face as a tan leopard print, I don't think. 

River Island leopard print faux fur oversized coat £100  Full. On. Bet. 

Finishing though with my bargain of the day from Splendid - love this sweatshirt. 

Splendid Leopard print sweatshirt was £108 now £30

So are you in mine or The Husband's camp?  Love it or loathe it, let me know.  And if you've seen anything leopard that you think is too wonderful not to share, please do point it out.  You can never have too much.... (in my personal opinion that is...) 

Finishing with my outfit from yesterday.  Rugby.  All day.  Can't say I'm fully won over yet.  90 mins watching the 6 yr old, followed by 60 minutes watching the 9 yr old.  Then the club house.  Which the men try to tell me is "greatly improved".  Hmmm, really wouldn't have wanted to see it before hand.  To be totally fair, I haven't spent that much (ie any) time in recent years inside a rugby club, so this may well be the Chiltern Firehouse equivalent of rugby clubs.  I am prepared to totally readjust my opinion (whilst I dream about Sunday mornings on the sofa with tea and croissants.... to my friend who texted me that that's exactly what she doing whilst I was getting told off by the 6yr old for drinking his "rugby water", you can go off a friend, you know.....) 


White linen tee - Max Studio
Turned up jeans - Earl
Chunky knit cardigan - Hush
Black sliders - Zara 
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang 

And yes, that is a pink Peppa Pig plaster on my toe.  Don't ask. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

So this dress thing seems to be working out ok

Me wearing dresses during the day - and I'm not going to a wedding, Christening or First Holy Communion.  Oh and it's not Christmas.  And I'm not on holiday.  

I have come to love a dress (as you may have noticed)  I am still firmly firmly wedded to my jeans and I am starting a little bit of a fling on the side with my A line skirts but it's so so easy to wear a dress.  Just one thing and you're off - no thinking about what top to wear (which is fast becoming the bane of my life with the midi skirt - I KNEW this would be the case.... am hoping it will be easier in the A/W with jumpers...).  For the record may I please point out that I do wear pants.  Just in case anyone was vaguely concerned, it's not literally the one thing.

I used to have shoe issues with them but I have to say, the ankle boot is working its magic just fine.  I may have a go this week with a sneaker as well.  Don't say you haven't been warned.  

And speaking of sneakers - this dress covers it all for me.  You could easily wear this for work but with a denim jacket or casual blazer or coat, this would just as well with sneakers for the school run.  Dress down lunch, just swap for brogues or loafers.   

By the way - I've realised that this post is slightly M&S heavy, apologies - I have ZERO contact with them and this isn't sponsored in any way shape or form.  I just think they are pretty great value for money and I spent a lot of time in there the other day!  

Best of British Pinstripe Stripe Dress £59 from M&S 

In fact, the new Best Of British range at M&S does have some more reasonably priced items this season. 

I haven't mentioned LBDs yet this season but no doubt it's a matter of time.... so starting early, a very versatile number from Best of British for only £59.

I know that the above one looks incredibly svelte and as if you couldn't eat for a fortnight before wearing it but on closer inspection, the centre bit is ruched which, believe me, is very very forgiving and flattering.  I've also seen that M&S have some new sets of sucky in underwear (clearly that's not the technical term), the sort that you can wear with your own bra like the one I have from Sainsburys but ones which are more leotard like ie include pants as opposed to being a slip.  My slip version from Sainsburys rides up when I walk and as useful as it is to create clean lines for wearing clingy things, it's immensely irritating to wear.  Especially after a drink or 10.  I shall be trying the M&S ones - I absolutely promise there will be NO photos of me in them but I may try a dress over to see.

Another flattering one would be the slightly longer length in grey.  I actually love how they've styled these with flats. 

Best of British Drop Waist Drape Dress with Wool £59

Another dress that would be great for work - it is very smart and would be ideal to take you from work into the evening.  Actually I do think you could get away with this for a Winter wedding or smart occasion - with some full on funky (I know it's a totally bobbins word but I'm all out of options - trendy, cool - they're all just pants words) shoes or shoots, I may well wear this for a dinner out...  It is honestly so flattering and so comfortable and gave me curves where God didn't.

Windowpane Checked Bodycon dress £55

I have a bottom - LOOK! 



Staying with M&S as there are still a couple of gems I want to mention, they seem again to be taking their inspiration from JCrew.  Not sure if anyone remembers but there was an amazing pattern last season that they did in a number of different pieces.  Most though were in a flattering (honestly it is - it has wonderful sucking in abilities) scuba like fabric. 

And this one has such a JCrew vibe about it, I had to try it on.  The main difference being the price....

Bold Floral Shift Dress from Autograph at M&S £59 

I have to say, I did prefer this to the windowpane check one.  I just love the colours and think it will work well in both the Spring, Autumn and Winter - definitely covering all bases.  But it didn't love me.  GAH.  I am just too tall for it - it's super flattering though and surprisingly hides a multitude of sins.  But because the dimensions aren't right on me, it's all sorts of wrong.  Please try this if you are even a couple of inches shorter (or more) as it's a total surprise in a dress. 

Ok so it doesn't look TOO bad in this photo (even though my expression is saying something else....).  My hand is in a cunning hide all place.


But you can see on the right hip here in the back view how it's riding up and just too short in the body for me.  Creating all sorts of lumps, whereas if it were a couple of inches longer it would be so so much more flattering.  A bigger size wouldn't work on me either as this fits perfectly on the shoulders and the bust.  It's just not made for 5ft 10 people! (funnily enough seeing as the majority of the population isn't that tall) 


Again on my right hip, just not fitting properly at all, making me look 6 months pregnant.  Admittedly I haven't been to the gym in forever but it's not that bad looking normally.....


One of my very good friends has got a rather fabulous new job and asked me where she could buy a very last minute treat work outfit and I suggested Autograph at M&S.  She came for dinner that night wearing this dress - no-one else could believe it was M&S, it honestly looks amazing on, much more By Malene Birger!  Apparently it was much admired on her first day at work again - highly highly recommended. 

Faux Leather Trim Striped Shift Dress £55

And whilst we're there I love these shoes as well - I honestly think these would look amazing with a pair of jeans or capri pants, I am so going to try them and report back.  Simply perfect for work outfits. 

Leather High Court Shoes sling backs £79 They also do them in a cognac shade but I definitely prefer the black. 

Now I know this will be so many people's idea of hell - a polo neck AND a jumper dress but for me - with fried egg boobs, no waist and a pancake arse, this couldn't be more perfect for the winter with opaques and biker boots.  Perfect dress down every day bliss.  Throw on some heeled ankle boots for a slightly dressier look. 

Polo Neck Sweater Shift Dress from M&S £35

Needless to say I wouldn't be wearing it with bare legs and kitten heels. 

Now I saw this one in store and I loved it.  I have absolutely no idea when I would wear it (I wouldn't....pretty much that about sums it up) but I love it.  Coat wise - well.... hmmmm, I think a shorter jacket like a biker jacket - anything longer and with no shape, I think the risk of looking like Mary Poppins would be high).  Maybe a fitted cropped blazer (my Tuxedo one may work.... hard though) 

Frankly, I am not remotely cool enough for this. (although maybe on a night out for a dinner party... hmmm but then like I don't have enough other stuff to wear. I am looking for more versatile dresses however I will hawk this one in the sale perhaps.) 

Daisy Print and Embellished midi dress £69

But now for something a bit different - a brand that I found at John Lewis called Damsels in a Dress.  I've come across them as I've wandered through a couple of times but have always swerved as they've looked slightly on the mumsy side.  However I spied this amazing one the other day which I thought would make the ideal A/W dress - perfect for during the day actually (ok so you'd have to be doing something a bit special, it's hardly emptying the dishwasher and the bins attire), so a dressy day occasion.... and ideal for a night out. 

Now John Lewis have let me down massively and I can't find it on their website at all.   But I did manage to track it down at House of Fraser.  

Alderley Park Dress by Damsels in a Dress £149 


It then made me have a closer look at some of their other pieces.  I have no idea who they are, where they've come from, if they're a part of someone else but they do have some decent items which I don't think you'd bump into anyone else wearing (the perils of buying a dress from Next, for example......) 

More super flattering ruching and a wonderful neckline if you're more generous of bust. 

Damels in a Dress Arundel dress in grey £129

This is an amazing dress, I saw this in store as well.  It looks like a jumper dress but is actually a properly structured dress with the texture of a wool/tweed.  But not too thick to be overpowering, if that makes sense?!  It's gorgeous. 

Damels in a Dress Barrington Dress in Neutral £109


Damsels in a Dress was £109 now £49  This is obviously from the Summer but I think would work just as well into the Autumn with opaque tights.  A wonderful cranberry shade which wouldn't look out of place on Christmas Day.  Yes, I know I know, I mentioned the C word but I think it's something like 12 Fridays left till the big day.  Ha. Oh ha ha ha ha (kill me now)  I may have to just cave and start looking for party dresses.  Faint.

Another v neck dress I saw at John Lewis was from Wishbone.  The colours of this are perfect for Autumn I think, especially with this warmer weather.  Not too wintery but it would go so so well with shades of grey and navy.  Gorgeous and unusual at the same time. 

Wishbone Manon Geo Dress £120

And another from Wishbone - again in beautifully wearable colours for warmer days and cooler nights.  V neck and ruching = super flattering.  Great price on this one as well. 

Wishbone Watermark Print Dress £75  I actually this would look a lot better on someone with curves.

And there are loads more I've seen but it's coming up to Saturday night with the kids - something we don't do very often but I have to say I love it.  We've had a fab family day - crazy golf and the driving range this afternoon, family over for coffee this morning and now it's nearly time for The X Factor.  

Just in case you think this all sounds rather idyllic, as I'm typing, the three offspring are having an absolute screaming match over making a Lego Video with a plethora of lego men and an Ipad.  Who thought that's how World War Three would start..... (amazing App by the way if used sensibly and not by marauding siblings)

I'm about to crack open the wine.  Obviously.  So I will be continuing with the dresses another day - this is definitely my new favourite thing but fear not, I haven't forgotten my beloved jeans and have some more ideas which are slightly (ever so slightly) off the beaten track.  Ish... But now finishing with my outfit from Thursday I think.  The day the sun went away. 


Wine and bone breton top - Massimo Dutti
Paint splattered khakis - Zara
Camel knitted jacket - Whistles
Taupe Jaouse boots - Ash
Tan bag - Prada 

And today 


Nude vest - Primark
Stone oversized linen square top - The White Company 
Patch skinny jeans - Mango
Linen scarf - Zara
Patent Sliders - Zara
Black Diego bag - Alexander Wang 

All geared up for Rugby tomorrow morning..... Thank god it's not going to be cold.  Yet.

Friday, 12 September 2014

A tiny Friday treat

In case you needed an excuse to treat yourself, hell it's Friday!  

And if any of you are Mothers like me, then this may well apply:-


In which case, I think it's perfectly acceptable for a little pick me up before the onslaught of children and the weekend.  Looooooong gone are the days of Friday night after work drinks.  I don't actually want to cry when I recall my old company's tradition of Friday drinks in the office at 4pm, followed by drinks in the bar downstairs, normally ending up somewhere rather nice for dinner resulting in a weekend either on the sofa with a takeaway (that is for lunch....) or hair of the dog in a pub.  I don't want to cry, I want to dissolve into full on hysteria.  Only sometimes....

No, for us, the weekend starts at 9am tomorrow morning with dropping off after a sleepover (that's the joy for this evening), drama and the 7yr old has the bright idea of the whole family going to the driving range.  Sunday morning it's rugby all round.  Lie in?  What lie in?

So yes, I think a teensy tiny purchase as a reward for the lack of me time that you get as a mum at the weekend, can be easily justified. 

Oh and it's my wedding anniversary today so double bubble. (even though we never do gifts on our anniversaries - details, schmetails.  Actually this year we're buying each other a bed.  Just the one bed to share, can I please point out.  Vaguely romantic..?!)

So I'm talking cuffs - NOT of the handcuff variety... even though the 11th wedding anniversary gift is Steel.... Nope, sorry dear Husband.  I'm talking jewellery.

Now I know I've talked about these before but I am always being asked where I get my leather ones from that I wear all the time.  I literally wear these every day, all year round and have done for over 6 years.  Actually one of mine - from Hultquist is nearly 8 years old.

Therefore starting with leather ones which are similar to mine - tan leather, go with everything and at a bargain price. 

Pieces Mitsa Leather Wrap Bracelet from ASOS £12 

Mine are all tan/brown but I do love the idea of a black one for A/W.  This one from Argento is a bargain at £12 in the sale. 

August Woods at Argento Black Leather gold lock cuff bracelet £12

They do actually have a chocolate brown one as well in the sale. 

August Woods Brown Leather Cuff £15

And in fact, I found a tan leather one.  Again - from August Woods at Argento.

Gold lock cuff bracelet £12 BARGAIN! 

A navy blue faux leather version from Mango in the sale may be useful. 

Fastening Cuff in navy now £6.99

However I may be moving on from the leather as I've seen this instore at Reiss and it's simply gorgeous.  Absolutely ideal if you're thinking of keeping your wardrobe very simple and monochrome.  One bracelet and you're done.  Quite often in the A/W, for a night out especially, I love wearing all black and the addition of this would finish the outfit perfectly. 

Darcy Print Animal Cuff £49 from Reiss

Or a smaller width if the wider one is too full on for you.  They also do this in a plain black and a burgundy as well. 

Patty Print Animal hair cuff £39

Another option that I'm quite keen to explore is enamel - this looks like a fab bracelet and easy to put on - very important in my book as I'm trying to juggle three kids, football kits, swimming kits, packed lunches, homework folders etc at 8am in the morning.  I simply cannot be doing with those fiddly, blasted lobster clasps on bracelets.  Cursing they ensure.  A lot of it.

Oasis White Enamel Dome multipack bangles £12

With the enamel bracelets, a plain gold one would be perfect.  In fact, plain gold ones work perfectly against most, if not all, of the cuffs here.  (I can feel a plan coming on....)

Belt Buckle Bracelet from Topshop £18.50 (free shipping at TS with the code LFWTREAT)

Ditto this one - on its own or stacked with one or all of the above or below. 

Plain Black Cord Bracelet £14.50

And another one for good luck. 

Hinged Bracelet £10

As I'm on a roll (and want all of these), last one.  All of these gold ones together would look just sublime.

Cut-Out Star Bracelet £8.50 from Topshop

For an injection of colour, I have one of these in rose gold and black (admittedly no colour there....) and I love it - wear it with my watch. 

Whistles navy friendship bracelet £20

I also love the horn and leather bracelet which would look perfect on its own or layered with a selection of other cuffs or smaller bangles.

Horn & leather bracelet from Whistles £20

Or in the silver and pink 

And whilst we're on the subject of layering - this is one of the cutest bangles I've seen in ages. 

Bee Bracelet £9.99 from Mango   They also do a dragonfly online as well.

Spike torque bracelet £9.99 from Mango - also available in silver

So there we have a selection, all of which I would wear in a heartbeat. Make mine look quite dull now - oh darn writing this blasted blog.  I loved mine before I started this post and now I Need (yes that is my version of *need* clearly) a set of gold ones....

Finishing with my pic from today and yes, I did go out for lunch, I did not swan up on the school pick up in this.  The Husband took the afternoon off and we went out for a lovely lovely lunch locally.  Exceptionally abstemious of us as normally we'd be off for the day or the weekend but it's the first day back to swimming lessons for my three small things and "polish halo", I thought I'd best be there to make sure it all went swimmingly - boom boom (new swimming teacher, new time, son with Aspergers - I'm sure all those in a similar boat will understand!)  

However, we have benchmarked a day out for the near future and in the meantime I got to wear my favourite dress (well actually it's a toss up between this and the Sportsmax Code one to be honest....) of the year.  Thank you sun for shining as you were 11 years ago today. 

Reina Dress - DVF
Taupe Jalouse boots - Ash
Whisky Medium Marcie Satchel - Chloe 

I have a large glass of wine waiting for me and a sleepover to supervise.  Rock and Roll.......  (Oh and I might have had a Zara delivery.  If I write it really small, I don't think it counts)