Things what I bought in the sales

So January is FINALLY over, I’ve been paid (thank god) and I’m ready to embrace the new season. Sorry you’ve not seen much of me lately – I’ve come good on my New Year’s Resolution to do more exercise and have been out running pretty much every spare minute of my day.

So, what have a bought in the sales? Well beside a lot of neon running gear, which I’ll spare you the sight of, quite a bit actually…

You’ve seen these already, the Isabel Marant Bennett wedge high top:

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These are already proving their worth and have been worn many times. They tick all the boxes for me. A good buy!

Zoe Karssen ‘Homme’ hoodie:

20140131-125104.jpgI’m wearing this as we speak. I picked it up half price in the Matches sale and I love it. So comfy while being fitted and still slightly edgy so I don’t feel like a total slob.

Hobbs Lulu dress:

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I’d been stalking this dress for a while and when it dropped to £50 I bagged it. A great work basic.

Jewel of Liberty silk scarf:

20140131-125758.jpgSometimes an item just speaks to you. I spotted this scarf when I was mooching in Liberty just before Christmas and I just fell in love. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure, but I’ve never liked tea anyway. I got it at half price which I was very pleased about. I’ve worn it a few times air hostess style but I’m looking for inspiration to tie it in other ways if anyone has an idea!

Me&Em Ruched Cowl Neck Dress

Me&EmI have the short sleeved version of this dress in navy and it has been so useful that I couldn’t resist the forest green long-sleeved version. I’ve said it before but these dresses feel as close to wearing your pyjamas to work as possible – perhaps I shouldn’t be so pleased about that, but in my world comfort is king!

James Perse Tank Dress

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I’ve shown you my James Perse dress before, but I am so pleased with this one, it really is a ‘take you anywhere’ dress with the right accessories – not bad for £50.

Dune Nins boots

Dune NiinsThese were a bit of an impulse buy while roaming the Selfridges sale. They have a very definite look of the Rag & Bone Newburys but were about a tenth of the price. I’m finding them very useful on evenings out when I want to look a bit glam but can’t face cold feet (i.e. 9 months of the year).

Comptoir des Cotonniers wedge boots

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Irritatingly these boots are now cheaper than they were when I bought them, but I have had so much wear out of them I can’t begrudge £20. They are fabulously French chic and easy on the feet. What’s not to like?

Charles Phillip Slippers

CPSAnother buy you already know about, my fab tartan slippers. Impractical and a bit ridiculous, these make me happy every time I look at my feet!

Rich and Skinny jeans

R&S

These jeans were a lucky TK Maxx find. I always find my best buys in their clearance section which either means I have hideous taste and am hopelessly deluded or that the general public are less appreciative than I. I prefer the latter option. These may have knocked my Goldsign Virtuals off the top of my jeans hierarchy – they are so flattering. There were a few different Rich and Skinny styles in my local branch, so could be worth a look.

Dr Denim solitaire jeggings

Dr DenimI needed black jeans and I was all ready to spring for some premium denim but was struggling to find what I wanted. I know my favourites The Dressing Room stock this label, and Deryane the manager knows her stuff, so I thought I’d give the Solitaire jeggings a whirl. I’m really glad I did! When they arrived they were TINY. I genuinely didn’t think an actual human could wear them, but man, do they stretch. The rise on these is high, as in up to my navel, but I love that as there is zero danger of flashing my pants. They keep their shape remarkably well and for £30, I’m made up.

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Resolve

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Last year I made only one serious resolution (obviously I included all the old gumph about diet/exercise) and that was to pass my driving test. I notched that up 6 months ago (ahem, 6th time’s a charm, apparently) and have been floating around aimlessly ever since.

So it is with some pleasure I set myself a new glut of goals to fail at today (I had to get over the NY hangover, then I got ridiculously spannered on the 2nd so I had to get over that too) so here goes:

1. Blog more regularly. I had a lot of good feedback on the more ‘thoughtpiece’ type stuff I did towards the end of last year, so I’ll be trying my hand at a bit more of that.

2. Shop more mindfully. I’ve been honing this quite well over the last couple of years, but there is still room for improvement. Generally my mistake buys have been the cheaper ones – I just can’t ever really LOVE something that cost £8 because I don’t feel really invested in it.

3. Diet/exercise gumph. I am loath to admit I’ve put on a couple of lbs over the festive season, but I have, so I need to sort that. Also I would like to spend less time stressing about my cellulite so more fluids, more exercise, less biscuits.

4. Resolve work dilemma. My present work situation isn’t really making me happy, and I’m worried by the impact it is having on my family, so I need to think very carefully about where to go from here, especially as my eldest starts school in September *sob*.

And finally, and most importantly…

5. Make the most of my kids. I spend far too much time ‘worrying about the next thing’ rather than enjoying the ‘here and now’. My babies are growing up so fast and I need to STOP responding to work emails on my days off while batting them away saying ‘in a minute!’ and soak up every delicious molecule of them before they go to school, make loads of friends and decide I’m a sad old tosser, good only for the provision of lifts and money to spend in Hollister.

So there we go, nothing to taxing, except the diet/exercise bit which will doubtless fall by the wayside long before the end of the month and the lure of the luxury M&S biscuit selection in the cupboard proves too great.

So, have you made any resolutions? Broken them yet? Do tell…

Monday Morning Lust List – Me&Em

So, all the sales are well under way it seems, but the one I’m really interested in is yet to start. Me&Em is still something of a niche brand, though rapidly gaining popularity, so you may not have heard of them. And so begins your education… My Me&Em dresses are just about the most comfortable, flattering and versatile I’ve ever owned (take that from someone who has real difficulty finding dresses) and are fabulous quality too!

On to the Lust List…

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The classic Capped Sleeve Ruched Dress is an essential in any woman’s wardrobe, I think. I have it in the navy but I wouldn’t mind adding a black one to my wardrobe. Slimming, stylish and easy-to-wear, everyone I know who has one loves it!

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This Boyfriend T has more than a touch of T by Alexander Wang about it but for less than half the price. Definitely going on my sales hitlist!

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I could do with a new pair of black skinny trousers for work, and these Soft Tailored Ankle Trousers, with their cropped length and tapered fit, will be perfect. I’ve also heard rave reviews these, so I doubt I’ll be disappointed!

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I had a Ruched Skirt a lot like this when I was pregnant and it was just SO easy to wear. Ruching hides a multitude of sins, let me tell you!

20130701-074357.jpgI don’t have a red dress – can you believe it? How have I overlooked such a glaring omission in my wardrobe for so long. Fear not, hopefully it will soon be rectified with the addition of this Scoop Neck Ruched Dress! How sexy is this little number? Va va voom!

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Last on my list of must-haves is this utterly fantastic Ruched Maxi T Dress. I need this dress, I have dreams about it. I love the fitted top half and swishy skirt, and the ruching at the waist will hide my, ahem, relaxed muscles. Check out the lovely Fiona over at Avenue 57 looking fabulous in it here!

So, Me&Em, if you’re reading, please could you get on and start your sale before I go on a no-buying challenge the end of the month? Oh, and if you could reduce the items on this list by at least 50% I’d be much obliged. Cheers!

Review: Invogue Nail Polish

I love nail polish. I mean really properly love it. After biting my nails for 27 years, I made it my New Year’s resolution for 2012 to stop and I’m still revelling in the novelty of having something worth painting, so I change them several times per week. However, that sort of habit can get expensive, so I’m always on the look out for reasonably priced, decent polishes. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve spent the best part of £20 on designer polish and been disappointed by a watery, easily-chipped formula.

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I was asked to review the wittily-named Christian polish by Invogue (available at OhBeauty). Unsurprisingly it’s a grey shade (see what they did there?) but it’s quite blue-toned and in some lights looks almost lilac, making it really versatile.

20130514-211928.jpgIn terms of the polish itself, it’s quite a thick consistency and needed only two coats for good coverage. I’m impressed with the staying power – I’m the world champion at chipping my nails and this has stayed chip-free for four days on both occasions I’ve worn it. It also comes in a lovely range of shades; I like these:

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The Navy

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Neon Green Light

See the full range here. Delivery is free within the UK and the code GET10 will bag you an extra 10% off. I’ve just ordered the neon green – which one will you go for?

Charity begins in my wardrobe

Since the tragedy of the building collapse in Bangladesh, I’ve naturally noticed a great deal more discussion surrounding dressing ethically. It even came up on a girls’ night out last week (in between discussing which member of One Direction we’d like to corrupt). The general feeling was that it’s very difficult to know how ethical a retailer is, and that known ethical retailers (for example, People Tree) don’t exactly cater for our demographic. Now, without doing extensive research or a trend-led, affordable ethical fashion brand popping up (which would be great, by the way), what can we do?

Well, one option is to buy second hand. eBay and dress agencies are great for this, but does anything beat the thrill of finding a gem stashed away in a charity shop. Not only good for the environment and your soul, charity shopping is kind to your purse too. Yesterday, on my way to collect my children from my parents’ house, I popped into a few. They live in an affluent area, so donations are impressive. Some great buys I spotted yesterday included Jimmy Choos for £30, a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania dress for £9.99 and J Brand jeans for £8! However, I came home with this:

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Not the best shot in the world, but it’s a DKNY silk shirt dress, which I paid £14.99 for. It is in immaculate condition and fits beautifully. I’ve been looking for a shirt dress for years and never found on that’s quite right; they’ve always been too long, skirt too full, sleeves not quite right etc. But this one is exactly what I wanted, and so versatile.

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Here I’ve styled it for work, adding a skinny patent belt, white tots a ballet pumps. It would would equally well with courts, but all my sensible work-y shoes are in my desk drawer!

20130510-102532.jpgThis is the dress as part of a wedding look – a bold necklace and simple clutch glam it up a treat.

20130510-102903.jpgAnd how about some sightseeing on holiday? Beaded flat sandals, gold cuffs and a cross body bag make it the perfect outfit for pretending to be interested in cathedrals.

All that for £14.99 and I’ve done my good deed for the day? I call that a win! Why not check out your local chazza – you never know what you might find!

Happy Koople

I spotted this Kooples top on one of my many maternity leave potters round Westfield last summer and really liked it. However, for some reason (because goodness knows I am no stranger overspending) I deemed it too expensive at £115 and bought a cheaper alternative from Gap.

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Like all good cheaper alternatives that top was worn once and hangs forlornly in my wardrobe, so I now have a policy whereby, if I seem something I really like, I visit it a couple of times, either online or in store, and if my ardour doesn’t dampen, I buy it, even if it is expensive. Yes, I may have to rein my spending in for a bit, but isn’t that better than ending up with a wardrobe full of unloved ‘also-rans’which never live up to the memory of the original?

Anyway, I’d completely forgotten about this ‘one that got away’ until I happened on a Kooples outlet store while out shopping for my husbands birthday. Immediately that I saw the word ‘outlet’ the words ‘I wonder…’ floated through my mind… And, lo and behold, there it was. The broderie top of my dreams, reduced to a considerably less painful £46.

I’ve worn it today with a pale grey vest underneath, which helps to show off the beautiful cutwork detail on the front, which is also reflected on the sleeves. I like the fact that this top is slightly longer at the back, for obvious reasons, and that the fit is quite neat – often cotton tops of this nature can be a bit matronly on a larger bust.

I fear I’m not doing this top justice really, as I only had time to take a quick snap at the end of a busy and stressful day (hence the scowl), so it looks a little creased. Never mind, I know I’ll get lots of wear from it over the summer, so next time it will get a proper (non iPhone) photo to show off the detail.

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Outfit:
Top – The Kooples
Trousers – Gerard Darel
Shoes – Charles Philip Shanghai
Watch – Michael Kors