Archive by Author | ambernectarine

Can I wear a crop top?

Possibly one of the most terrifying trends of the past few years is the return of the crop top. Circa 1998 I was happily trotting around in a Kookai cropped t-shirt with my low slung baggy combats, pretending I was the fifth member of All Saints, but this is 15 years and two babies later so can I still wear one?

To be honest I had dismissed the matter out of hand with a hollow laugh, until I was browsing the Adidas website (looking for running tops for my dear husband’s birthday) when I spotted this:

I have a bit of a thing for pineapples. I eat at least one a week and just love the look of them. No idea why, but we all have our niche interests. So you can see why this appealed to me. I ordered it thinking I’d just wear it over another vest to the gym, but when I arrived I liked it too much to condemn it to a life as exercise wear.

A pair of high waisted jeans and a boyfriend cardi later we have this. So can I pull it off or am I delusional?



Cardigan – Gap
Top – Adidas x Farm
Jeans – Goldsign
Shoes – Next

What should I wear to a theme park?

So after several days schlepping through Disneyland Paris and a day at Peppa Pig World with two demented toddlers this week, I feel I’ve earned my stripes on this subject. It’s a question I’ve seen pop up on the style and beauty boards of Mumsnet many times, so I thought I’d throw my two-penneth in.

I’ll start from the bottom up. There are two things that can really ruin a family day out. The first is being unprepared for inclement weather and the second is inadequate footwear. I always, always wear flats on this kind of day. I’m quite comfortable in a chunky mid heel but I wouldn’t consider it for theme-parking.

Another pitfall is wearing a shoe you have not worn for a prolonged period before. I destroyed my feet on a brutally hot day at Legoland last summer by wearing a pair of gladiator sandals. Sweaty feet and multiple straps = the seventh circle of chafing. I recommend trainers (I prefer high top or sporty styles, but I’m sure Converse/Superga would work equally well) for cooler weather or something like a Fitflop (I know, I know, but they are SO COMFORTABLE) for summer. At the moment you could probably pass ‘em off in the name of Normcore.

I’ve just snapped up these fabulous pink Nike Internationalists after stalking them for months – they’ll be perfect for future days out.

Nike Internationalist - now on sale at £47

Nike Internationalist – now on sale at £47

Next you’ll be wanting trousers. Theme parks aren’t really the place for skirts, IMHO. Too short and you’ll be flashing unsuspecting tourists, too long and you’ll be stumbling on it as you clamber on and off the log flume. I suppose knee length could work but I’ve never had any success with knee length casual skirts. Comfortable jeans with at least (because no one wants to see your arse) a mid rise are good for cooler weather, whereas I find a cropped version good for summer. If you’re so inclined you could do shorts, but be wary of thigh chafe if you’re not a sylph. Keep the length decent though (see arse point above – underbum is even worse).

I’ve been favouring my new Gap distressed straight legs lately, they feel slightly fresher than skinnies or boyfriends. They are showing as £69.99 on the website but I picked mine up for less than half that on offer in store, so I’d advise checking there. I like the fact the distressed areas are patched at the back (keeps the chill out, said the gimmer).

1969 destructed raw-edge real straight skimmer jeans - £69.99

1969 destructed raw-edge real straight skimmer jeans – £69.99

On top, layers are always a winner. You usually start out on these days at the crack and it can feel nippy, even in summer. Chances are you’ll be in and out of overheated attractions too, so you may need to shed a layer. On my most recent trip I found a vest, short sleeved tee and lightweight sweater a good arrangement. In winter, I recommend a full layer of Uniqlo Heattech or similar (yep, leggings and all). This was my saviour when we went to see Father Christmas at Peppa Pig World. I was deliciously snug while Mr TMT cried like a little bitch all day.

On our trip to Disneyland Paris I favoured these Gap Pure body tees. They’re a great price and my grey one is now coming up on three year’s service and still looks as new.

Pure Body short-sleeve tee - £10.95

Pure Body short-sleeve tee – £10.95

As far as jumpers are concerned, I tend to prefer a lightweight merino knit or a slogan/graphic sweatshirt. Currently tickling my fancy is this little Zoe Karssen number:

Camo cotton-blend jersey sweatshirt - £95

Camo cotton-blend jersey sweatshirt – £95

Coat wise, I would always suggest a waterproof of some description, especially if in the UK. Theme Parks rarely have a great deal of shelter and being wet and soggy is THE WORST. In winter you obviously want your all weather down jobber. Again Mr TMT shivered in his waxed jacket while I was a paragon of smug warmth in my Barbour. How we laughed. Well, I did. This time, it was fairly fresh down in Hampshire so I wore my lightweight neon parka which was last year’s Gap. It was also excellent at keeping the worst off on the water rides. However, I appreciate neon yellow may not be everyone’s bag, so this grey Mango one may be a tad more versatile…

Mango Lightweight Parka - £69.99

Mango Lightweight Parka – £69.99

Bag wise I always take two. A cross body for my essentials (read: iPhone) and a rucksack for the kids’ crap. As my Disneyland Paris wardrobe was a capsule collection of navy and grey I chose this lovely lime number to add a bit of interest.

Twin Henderson - £39.99

Twin Henderson – £39.99

Rucksack-wise, it was my trusty Kanken. This bag has been hands-down my best buy of the year so far. I use it pretty much every day, either as a gym bag or to cart toddler paraphernalia. I’ve got a sensible navy one, but I quite fancy the slightly less practical but gorgeous blush pink. Can you tell I’m having a love affair with pink at the moment? You can currently get 15% off with code BONUS15.

Blush Pink Kanken Classic - £65.00

Blush Pink Kanken Classic – £65.00

I’m probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here, but I thought I’d throw it out there anyway. Hopefully it will prove useful to someone! And to prove I practice what I preach, here I am at not-so-sunny Peppa Pig World (looking ever so slightly broken by the experience).

photo (10)


Coat – Gap
Sweatshirt – Zoe Karssen
Jeans – Gap
Trainers – New Balance
Bag – Balenciaga

Where the magic happens…


I’m currently residing chez Disneyland Paris where mes enfants are having a fantastic time and my husband and I are speaking a lot of Frenglish.

Quote of the trip:

Mr TMT – ‘oh look, there’s Peter Pan and Dr Hook!’ I was quite disappointed when the Captain did not break out a rendition of ‘A Little Bit More’, but clearly you can’t have it all, even at Disneyland.

Back soon with some proper fashion chat!

Next – New In Event

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to be invited to the Next New In Event showcasing their gorgeous summer collection.

Held at the swanky Soho hotel the Next girls brought a little taste of summer to their suite – a welcome respite from the grey drizzly outside!
There was a fabulous selection of espadrilles. My personal favourites are the Mono Leather Luxe Espadrilles price at £40 (very Chanel), the Metallic Luxe Espadrilles (also leather and also £40) and the Mono Stripe Platform Espadrilles, price at £18. I think any of these would be a great addition my my summer wardrobe, but I’ll probably go for leather for longevity.

Continuing with accessories, I loved this little metallic drawstring bag. I can’t find it on the website, but all these items will be dropping soon so keep your eye out. The mule is having a fashion moment this summer, and this gold pair would be an affordable nod to the trend at £30.
20140329-080015.jpg20140329-080452.jpgAfter months of black, navy and grey, I do like to break out the brights in the summer months and I love this Aztec-y print which ran through the summer collection – the top in particular would be a fab holiday staple, perfect for throwing on over a bikini and denim shorts. Again, I don’t think these are on the website just yet, but will be arriving soon.

20140329-080857.jpgI love the look of a denim skirt but can sometimes find the weight of the fabric a bit oppressive in the summer months, especially on a beach break. This lightweight Sporty Skirt, £22, is a lovely lightweight solution.

My love of Equipment shirts is well documented on this blog, and recently I have been looking to invest in a sleeveless style. This sleeveless Utility shirt gives the look at a fraction of the price. Be quick though, the smallest sizes are already sold out!
20140329-080919.jpgAren’t these Silver Point Slingbacks dead ringers for my Boden ones? They’re not leather, but at £26 I think we can forgive them that. A great way to get the look for less.

20140329-080927.jpgIf flats aren’t your thing, how about these asymmetric pointed courts? I love the summery duck egg blue!

20140329-080935.jpg20140329-080950.jpgI’m pretty happy with my style as a whole, but sometimes I wish I was just that little bit more girly to be able to pull off the two lovely items above. This cream lace dress is just so cute and as it was stretchy rather than structured, would look great dresses down with a denim jacket. Pleats are back in a big way and this dusky pink skirt is an easy way to wear them – so pretty. Again I couldn’t find either of these on the website, but I’m sure they’ll pop up soon.
20140329-080958.jpgAnother of Next’s key prints was this gorgeous muted floral, appearing on a variety of items. My favourites were these tailored shorts and court shoes. I think these would look fab worn together with a simple grey marl tee and stacks of silver bangles.
20140329-081006.jpg20140329-081017.jpgThe ‘fugly’ sandal is big news this year, and these wide strapped snake versions are a gentler nod to the trend if you’re not ready for platform pool slides or Birkenstocks. I had a much loved pair of snakeskin gladiators which finally died last summer and they went with EVERYTHING so I’m very tempted by these.

A huge thanks to Next for having me, and to Blow Ltd for my gorgeous beachy waves – unfortunately no pic as the weather meant I went from beach to bedraggled as soon as I left the building. Boo!

Denim dress in action

Today was the inaugural wear of the Espirit denim dress.
20140322-152843.jpgWhile I concede it will be approx. 1 trillion times better when worn with bare legs and sandals I do quite like it like this. I’ve had the slip-on flats for a while but I don’t think I’ve featured them on here – they were from the Next clearance section and were a bargain £18, for leather. Don’t mind if I do.

So what do you think? Please don’t all say farmhand, the comedian I married has already said it once today, and also criticised it as another iteration of dungarees (a pair of which I have also recently acquired, much to his chagrin).


Dress – Esprit
Scarf – Isabel Marant
Shoes – Next

No pain, no gain

It would be disingenuous of me to pretend these shoes are anything other than instruments of torture, designed to mutilate one’s feet, but they look awesome with this outfit so I am forced to commit the cardinal sin of coming to work in my running shoes and changing at my desk. Normally a practice reserved for heels, but it comes to something when your feet regard a 40min lunchtime run as a respite from pain.
20140318-185658.jpgAs you can see I have found a Breton. It’s not perfect, but if I was a stickler for perfection I’d never have married so I have had to compromise a little. In an ideal world the fabric would be just a little stiffer and the white a little whiter but hey, as I said on my wedding day, ‘it’ll do’.


Top – Espirit
Trousers – Fenn Wright Manson
Belt – H&M
Shoes – & Other Stories

So, what else have I been buying? Well, I also ordered the red version of this top but it is basically orange and cream so that is going back.

In the same order I picked up this dress, which I think is a keeper. The cut is quite masculine, which I like. There are no wanky, wannabe cowboy, pearlised popper buttons (dangerous for anyone over a B cup, I always feel) which have historically ruined many a denim dress for me. The length is decent without being indecent – i.e. exposes my knees but keeps an acre of cellulite under wraps. I just need to ponce around with some different belts to confirm, but my denim dress hunt could be over.
The last item I’ve ordered, which I’m very excited about, is this Paul and Joe Sister playsuit.
Reasons why this could be great:
It has rabbits on it.

Reasons why this could be terrible:
It’s a playsuit.

Time will tell. I will be sure to post a picture on here whatever the outcome. You can either celebrate with me or point and laugh. I know where I’d put my money…

P.S. I’m quite fond of my husband really and I rarely refer to him as ‘it’.

On my wishlist

Don’t worry it’s not all technical wicking fabrics chez Nectarine, though I won’t deny these have featured heavily in my shopping bags of late, I’m still as covetous as ever. Here is a round up of my Spring wishlist:

First of all I need a new Breton top. Let me tell you it is the DEVIL’S WORK finding one with a white background (not Ecru, Stone or Ivory). I quite like the look of this little Boden bad boy though ignores description navy/ivory.
On a similar theme is this Boden tunic, which shortarse here would wear as a dress. Will order to try and cross my fingers that it covers my cellulite.
As the sun shone for about 20 minutes this week, my thoughts turned to sandals. I really shouldn’t wear yellow as it does me NO favours but it’s such a happy colour that I can live with the prospect of jaundiced feet.
20140307-105311.jpgAlso a happy colour is this Jaeger bag. This has popped up on a few blogs now and I just love it, the perfect antidote to those winter navys, greys and blacks.
This T-shirt is wonderfully silly – I love pineapples, so this would be a cute addition to my casual wardrobe.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned my perennial quest for a denim shirt dress. I’ve wanted one for ^years^ now, but never found one that didn’t make me look like a middle-aged farm hand. You may have think I’d have taken the hint by now. You’d be wrong. This Next one has had rave reviews so I should at least try it, right?
Back on safer ground, these Carvela skate flats are right up my avenue, so to speak. And Kurt Geiger currently have 25% off with code KGMARCH25. Rude not to.

So, that’s what I’m after – what’s tickling your fancy at the moment. Do tell – you can comment below or hit me up on Twitter!

Off the grid

When I went to the Laura Ashley SS14 press day on the wettest November day EVER, it’s safe to say Spring wasn’t really on my mind. However, as the mercury has risen (incrementally), I’ve found my eye drawn to some lighter pieces. Now let’s not go nuts here, it’s still pretty brisk, but today I felt able to swap my cashmere knits for this fabulous cotton intarsia knit. I liked it so much back at the press day I actually named it best in show, so I lined I had to have it! Geometric prints are ^everywhere^ at the moment, but I love the hint of red livening up the simple windowpane design.

This jumper is really well finished and a lovely weight, and being cotton I can see it becoming a year-round favourite.

And here I am modelling it. I’ve teamed it with simple navy trousers and burgundy courts, with a perky hit of bright green to remind me Spring is on the way.



Jumper – Laura Ashley
Trousers – Fenn Wright Manson
Shoes – Michael Kors
Bag – Anya Hindmarch

Shoe Selfie: Win a pair of Melissa shoes with The Dressing Room

Morning all!

So, you all like shoes, right? Thought so. Well, how do you fancy winning a gorgeous pair of Melissa shoes from The Dressing Room as part of their Feb Feet Month?
It couldn’t be simpler – all you need to do is take a Shoe Selfie, a pic of your favourite shoes. Your feet can be in them or out of them, and they don’t have to be from The Dressing Room.

You can then enter in one of three ways…


Follow The Dressing Room on Twitter (@dressingroom1) and tweet them your Shoe Selfie using the hashtags #FebFeet #DRShoeSelfie


Like The Dressing Room’s page on Facebook (TheDressingRoomStAlbans), then post your Shoe Selfie to their wall using the the hashtags #FebFeet #DRShoeSelfie and share with your friends


Follow The Dressing Room on Instagram (THEDRSTALBANS) and tag them in your Shoe Selfie pictures using the hashtags #FebFeet #DRShoeSelfie
So what are you waiting for? The competition ends midnight Sunday 23 February and the winner will be announced on Monday 24 February.

I’ll start us off by showing you one of the fab pairs you could be choosing from if you win…
Melissa Lady Dragon Cluster Heels – £98

Boden Bargains!

My love of Boden is well documented on this blog. I recently had my personal style analysed (more on this to come) and it turns out Boden is a great place for me to shop. Hooray!

Anyway, I just wanted to flag the fact that they have some great deals in the clearance section of their website, where selected items currently have up to 80% off.

20140214-103350.jpgI ordered this cashmere crew neck for a ridiculous £23.80. Amazing!

Check it out and see what gems you find!


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