31 March 2013

Ritz & Glitz!!!

Okay so this weekend has not only seen us celebrate Easter but also (& more importantly in our household) my husband’s 40th birthday :)  And if you’re anything like me when you know you’ve got the excuse to dress up you’ll have been planning your outfits for ages and perhaps buying the odd new piece to wear too!

When we originally planned our weekend several months ago I rather fondly remembered back to this time last year & the lovely warm temperatures & hoped this year would be the same! How wrong could I be, in the week building up to hubby’s birthday we had HUGE amounts of snow & plummeting temperatures resulting in several sleepless nights wondering if the weekend would even take place! 

Luckily by Thursday the snow had melted enough to not cause any transport problems and we were even luckily enough to catch glimpses of the sun but that didn’t stop the extremely cold & biting wind from putting in an appearance & vetoing my carefully planned & thought out outfits. Resulting in my lovely spring/summer clothes I had planned on wearing (& purchased) remaining firmly behind closed doors in hibernation! 

Now although the weather had been causing some disruption in the lack of sleep department, if I’m honest the more serious issue that has been keeping me awake at night is ‘what am I going to wear?!!!’ Having had my vision of a mini heat wave well & truly squashed I was left with the dilemma of what to wear that both felt ‘special’ & stylish but was also comfortable to do some serious walking (by which I mean shopping) in & also keep me warm enough so as not to turn blue in the process!!!

Unfortunately I am not one of these people who seem to be able to strut along high streets elegantly decked out in sky scrapping heels. As I have mentioned in a previous blog I have problems keeping heels on at the best of times and traipsing round London would not have been the time to put the toupee tape to the test! So I was left with the dilemma of needing a comfy pair of shoes/boots (is it just me or am I sounding middle aged here – ‘comfy’!!) which looked smart, would go with what I wanted to wear, were warm & I could walk for miles in. 

I didn’t even have the excuse (reason) of purchasing a new pair of shoes/boots as knowing my luck I was would have developed blisters in the amount of time it took to walk from the car to the ticket office at the train station!

So after several fretful hours I finally decided the only pair of shoes/boots that I possessed that would fit all the above criteria were some M&S shoe boots which in black meant they would go with everything & with a small heel (just over an inch) meant that I would feel a little bit as if I’d made some kind of effort, whilst maintaining the essential ability to walk & keep upright!

Next came the problem of what I would wear with these shoe boots which was a slightly easier (if not more expensive) dilemma as of course new clothes don’t need wearing in – hurrah!
So as we had decided to stay somewhere far more special than we would normally choose (The Savoy) & have afternoon tea at The Ritz together with a trip to the theatre to see Singin’ in the Rain, not to mention shopping & plenty of eating I needed to look fairly smart. Also add to the mix the fact that the Ritz has a strict dress code for men (shirt & tie) & no jeans (everyone – don’t they know I generally only wear jeans with the odd dress/skirt mixed in) I of course need to acquire the ‘appropriate’ outfit!

Now as I’m sure you will have gathered by now I don’t need a reason to shop but having a genuine reason was like giving candy to a child!  Ideally I wanted to get something which I could mix and match, dress up or down & here comes the middle aged bit be warm in!  So after extensive internet trowelling – well I do like to be thorough!!! I decided on this skirt from ASOS. 

Now I don’t normally go for patterns but this skirt really stood out for a couple of reasons, firstly I thought the length was quite elegant so wouldn’t look too muttony at the Ritz (although was a bit concerned it could look frumpy) & secondly I have a couple of jackets I could team with this skirt not to mention that the different colours would mean I could make several different outfits from it & also dress it up or down depending on the tops/shoes.  Added of course to the practical side that I could wear an underskirt for layers as well as thermal tights then it was a no brainer. And here’s a picture of what I teamed it with.

Jacket - Massimo Dutti
Blouse - Zara
Necklace - Zara
Belt - H&M
Skirt - ASOS
Shoe Boots - M&S

For the daytime I decided to continue the pattern theme (perhaps a new side to my wardrobe is emerging!) & wore this shirt from Zara.

I teamed this with my wax effect trousers to make the outfit feel like I’d made a little more effort & with a thermal top underneath was totally toasty :) 

Shirt - Zara
Necklace - Zara
Bracelets - Massimo Dutti & J Crew
Studded Belt - Zara
Wax Effect Jeans - Zara
Shoe Boots - M&S

Fur Stole - H&M
Coat - Zara

Now I would be having a serious personality transplant if I’d gone to London & not brought anything & of course my hubby & son would have been getting seriously worried if I hadn’t ‘nipped’ into Zara in the interest of research!  And of course there were a couple of items which caught my eye.  Although I did get told by our teenage son that a skirt was ‘too short for me”!!!! Which being someone who doesn’t like getting told made me like the skirt even more but I did walk away from the item – well for now at least but that was mainly because it was highly see-through as opposed to the length, after all I haven’t promised to grow old gracefully :)

One of my new purchases is this lovely smart sweatshirt from Zara which has a gorgeous gold thread in.  

Now I know there are a lot of sweatshirts about at the moment many of which are plain casual numbers which I love but this one really caught my eye for being that little bit different & can be dressed up or down. Not to mention it’s a lovely thick top which considering that this cold weather doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast will be really useful.  In fact I teamed it with my wax effect jeans on the second day.

Jumper - Zara
Necklace - Zara
Bracelets - J Crew & Massimo Dutti
Wax Effect Jeans - Zara
Shoe Boots - M&S

So a fab time was had by all, lots of celebration, fun, shopping (a couple of new items to report back in next blog) & memories made.  We had been hoping to have a hot air balloon ride today to finish the weekend celebrations off but weather was too windy so has been postponed to another time & with it another nightmare of what to wear as I’m told skinny jeans & a blazer won’t be suitable attire – I think I may need to go shopping ;)

Finally a quick picture of my outfit for today which shows the Zara tops I mentioned in my last blog which I just love!

Necklace - Mango
Knitted Blazer - Banana Republic
Top - Zara
Bracelets - Handmade
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - Next

Happy Easter, I’m off to eat far too much chocolate but hope to return with a quick blog in the week showing my other couple of London purchases x

27 March 2013

Spring Additions

Okay so hands up all of you who when looking outside your window can see that white (possibly now dirty grey), cold and wet stuff that we have been seeing far too much of lately?  Yes the snow has come back with force and there is even the nasty rumour that we are due some more towards the end of the week, I mean SERIOUSLY!!!!!  Does the Weather God not know I have other (more important) things to wear than thermals, sensible grip boots and jumpers!!!!

Now if youre anything like me you will be beyond fed up with the cold dreary weather we have been having for what seems like FOREVER (why is it that global warming seems to be taking us down the cold & wet route as opposed to the hot & sunny one?).  I for one am longing to burn (I mean pack) the thermals away and crack open the brighter thinner fabrics hanging in my wardrobe.  Surely the laws of probability mean that at some stage we will see a rise in temperature and if it's anything like normal a blink & you miss it kind of rise then taking a leaf from my Girl Guide days I say I need to be prepared.  Otherwise (and feel free to use my reasoning) if I wait until the better weather arrives a) the items I want will be out of stock in my size and b) if by some miracle my size is available by the time Ive added it to my basket and checked out, our British Summer will have been and gone!

So firstly as I was perusing the Zara website (which I know is a rare act on my part *coughs*) I saw these fab tops which I just KNOW I am going to live in, if or should I say WHEN we get our spring/summer.

These tops are fab for two reasons, one you can dress them up or down and in the cooler (& lets be honest the majority of our summer) days will look great either under a jacket with a statement necklace, skinny jeans and some fabulous heels or dressed down with some boyfriend jeans, sandals and biker jacket and two they will conceal a multitude of sins around the tummy area for all us mums :) Plus they also look a lot better on than in these photos. Now the Zara Goblin as I like to call the creature that lives inside the mouse of my computer and seems to hit the buy me button without me even knowing it ;) ordered all four colours.  All are lovely but being sensible (& yes I use the term loosely) I have decided to stick with the black, white and green ones as these will go with most things in my wardrobe.

Moving onto jeans and the fact that boyfriend jeans seems to be the must have jean for the summer.  Whilst I love the look on others in the couple (& I do mean couple) of pairs Ive tried on Ive not liked the Ive just filled my nappy look from the rear so thought I would give them a miss and simply wear my straight legged jeans rolled up in the hotter months (Im being optimistic with the use of the word months I know!). However, the Zara Goblin also slipped these into my shopping basket and I have to admit I love them.  Theyre slightly loose on the waist, bum & hips but not in a nappy kind of way and I also love that theyre a little more fitted on the leg.  Plus of course I havent got to wait for the better weather before I can wear them & they are a lovely shade of denim!

Finally (well for today at least!) some new statement necklaces. As you will have no doubt have realised from some of my pictures I have recently discovered a new love affair with costume jewellery & love how a large colourful necklace can really lift an outfit and transform an otherwise plain outfit into something a little more eye catching.  Not to mention bring new life into my by now tired winter wardrobe.

So statement necklace number one was copied from Fiona Avenue57 & is from Wallis. I love the design and colours plus with 30% off what's not to love!

Now unfortunately this looks like it might be sold out as I cant find it listed on their website (although there may be some lurking in store) but there are a couple of other ones which have taken my fancy & are currently in the sale too!

I have also just ordered these from Next, although have yet to see them in the flesh so will report back on that at a later stage.

Finishing with what I have been wearing the last couple of days.

Outfit One

Quilted Jacket - Zara
Necklace - Wallis
Jumper  GAP
Belt - H&M
Jeans - Zara
Shoe Boots - M&S

Outfit Two

Lace & Crystal Scarf - Zara
Lace Jumper - Zara
Bangle - Mango
Jeans - GAP
Shoe Boots - M&S

So with that Im off to make final decisions on my outfits for the coming few days & hubbys birthday celebrations which include Afternoon Tea at the Ritz & (fingers crossed) a hot air balloon ride!  I think theres little chance in hoping that the temperature will soar but heres hoping for no more snow!

Dont forget I love to hear your comments & would love to hear all about your latest finds. x

24 March 2013

Bag A Bargain

Now you don't have to be the most observant of people to have noticed that we aren't having the best of springs (something of an understatement I know as we currently have  around 6" of snow) but what we are having a lot of at the moment is sales! And if you're anything like me (a retailer's dream) as soon as an email pings into my inbox with the magic words 'sale' then I feel the need (for research purposes obviously) to click on the link & check out what's on offer.

Of course you don't have to be a fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball to know that this inevitably means that I will see at least one item which I realise I just HAVE to have! Then of course to qualify for the free shipping I'll add a few more items to the shopping basket which will be justified on the basis of avoiding delivery charges but no doubt result in me falling in love with at least one of the extra items when they arrive thus spending more than if I had just paid the delivery charge in the first place (is this just me?!)

Add in that if the retailer is also on Quidco (a cashback site) I will then have further excuse (by which I mean reason!) to explain (of course I mean justify) to hubby that as well as saving X% I have also earnt X% cashback! Which of course will be spent ten times over before said cashback is paid, like I said a retailer's dream!

But if you are looking for a particular item or have a gap in your summer wardrobe that you need to fill, not to mention clothing for ever growing children then of course the sales & offers are the time to take advantage plus nab your size before it becomes sold out (another handy excuse I like to use from time to time, read week to week!).

Also there's nothing nicer than having your parcel arrive at your door (is it just me or has anyone else ever been tempted to write a 'gift message' to themselves??) Then of course the anticipation as you cut open said package & tear through the tissue paper to see the goodies you drooled over on online & then try them on in the comfort of your own home with all your accessories to hand. Not to mention not having to try & image the look while crammed into a changing room. Or having to pop out to show hubby while the other abandoned husbands/boyfriends try not to look as you endeavour to explain to your other half just how you'd wear this item, how it would go with everything & of course does this make my bum look big in this? Knowing that they too will shortly face this barrage of questions from their partner & praying that they give the right answer when required!

Now don't get me wrong, having said all this miracles do (on the very rare occasion) happen & much to hubby's relief whole orders can be returned after that must have top/dress/trousers turns out to not be as fabulous as you envisaged. And of course this is where my reasoning of trying to avoid delivery costs & increase my order value comes in because as long as I haven't had to pay delivery & can return the items free of charge then I've nothing to loose (apart from more cash of course) & everything to gain!

Of course what I should also point out at this stage is that I am now on first name terms with several of the delivery men who will even wave if they pass while I'm out & about around the village. Not to mention the local Post Office assistant who I think would pass out with shock if I didn't go in each week with at least one return for Zara! But now with writing this blog I am thinking there is less of a concern on the shopaholic front & more of a  'in the interests of research front', yes???

So after all my ramblings (justifications) I did choose to undertake some 'research' when the email from Banana Republic pinged into my inbox announcing their sale with items up to 50% off.

I first discovered Banana Republic, who are part of the same chain as GAP when visiting my sister who was over in America for several months & there were a few things which caught my eye. I haven't really shopped that much with them in the meantime but recently brought some great jewellery from there (as previously blogged about) & had seen a jacket plus some other jewellery I liked but decided to leave ordering as I felt the jacket in particular to be a lot of money for a knitted blazer.

That was of course until the sales email pinged into Outlook. As wait for it (here comes the justification), if the jacket did have 50% off I also knew that I could get an additional 15% off by signing up hubby as a new customer plus an additional 10% cashback from Quidco!!! So luckily for me (unluckily for bank balance) the knitted blazer was in the sale & instead of having to pay £65 I have paid just under £30 once I receive my cashback, so a result!

And here's a picture of me wearing said jacket, which they also do in a classic navy & cream stripe which I was also tempted by (no surprise there!) but decided to go for something a little different with the colours as I think there's quite a few navy & cream jacket combinations about plus I'd already got the perfect green blouse to wear with this & I felt the navy & green option could easily be worn in winter too, handy seeing as we're not having much of a spring!

I also brought this lovely pearl & coral necklace (which you can see me wearing in today's below - scroll down to see), which is very pretty & again will go with lots of colours & look lovely & fresh worn with jeans & a white shirt.

Now before I love & leave you all, here's a few pictures of what I've been wearing the last few days.

Outfit One

Quilted Jacket - Zara
Scarf - Zara
Bracelets - J Crew & Mango
Jumper - East
Belt - Massimo Dutti (not shown)
Jeans - GAP
Shoe Boots - M&S

Outfit Two

Jacket - Zara
Necklace - Zara
Linen top - Zara
Belt - Massimo Dutti (not shown)
Jeans - Zara
Boots - Zara

Outfit Three

Snakeprint Scarf - Massimo Dutti
Bracelet - Banana Republic
Jumper - GAP
Belt - Massimo Dutti (not shown)
Jeans - M&S
Boots - Zara

Outfit Four

Necklace - Mango
Light Grey Denim Shirt - Zara
Bracelets - Mango & Banana Republic
Belt - H&M
Leather Skirt - M&S
Shoe Boots - M&S

Outfit Five

Necklace - Banana Republic
Shirt - Massimo Dutti
Jumper - GAP
Bracelets - Handmade
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - Next

So has anyone else been tempted by the sales that are currently on offer or is the snow & the cold & the need for thermals putting you off? I'd love to hear about your new bargains & justifications!

Right I'm off to re-think my outfits for hubby's 40th celebrations the fact that we currently have soooo much snow & minus degrees temperatures was not factored in to the plans so some re-thinking of outfits may be necessary! By which of course I mean the purchasing of some vital items ;) At least when I hit the big one in December I'll know it will be cold plus of course we could have more snow by then!

Have a great Sunday x