Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Out of the office

There's 20% off at Office until Thursday night, with the code EMNTWE, and you'll also get free delivery. The weather has turned, so new boots are on the agenda. And I've been eyeing up the UGG shearling lined slippers for my Christmas list. My usual canvas Converse aren't cutting it in this cold wet weather, and I think the solution could be the leather, shearling lined Converse - warm and waterproof.

The slip-ons, for pairing with a knee length a-line skirt for work, or skinny jeans, plus the fabulous heels for the forthcoming party season complete the picture. What you going to go for?

Top row, left to right
Kick Ass snake leather courts, £65; Kandi nude and silver courts, £65; Baroness fuschia suede spike heels, £60; Mayter court shoe, £100. 

Middle row, left to right
Educated tan leather loafer, £58; Converse All Star leather high brown shearling boots, £64.99; UGG Alloway blue suede slippers, £70.

Bottom row, left to right
Grand National black tan leather boots, £110; Kandi mustard suede courts, £65; Grand Canyon suede boots, £95; Mammal black suede slip-ons, £48; Gianni leather croc boots, £100.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Work wear - a simple formula

I need some new day wear to add to my wardrobe. I never wear jeans to work - in one of my first jobs I was privileged to work with a lady who was maybe the most stylish woman I've ever met. She'd been a model in the 60's and good grooming was her area of expertise. She would put her hair in rollers every morning before work without fail, and was never seen without a slick of lipstick. She took me under her wing and her exacting standards have meant that now I'm never too casual with my office dressing, although I'll always put my own slant on things so that I don't look too corporate.

My formula for work tends to be a skirt with a long-sleeved t-shirt (often stripey) or a fine knit jumper, with a jacket on top - nothing too suit like, but something quite informal, whilst still looking smart. I'll then wear a pair of slipper shoes or calf-length boots. It's a pattern which is simple to stick to and easy to layer, depending on temperature. And if it's raining, the boots make sure my feet stay dry.

I like the selection above, particularly the skirts, after my light grey skirt came to an inky end recently, after an incident with an explosive biro. Cos also has a good selection of navy skirts in at the moment, if  you're after one. And I love the Marisa sweater from Hobbs, which will go with all of my pencil skirts to make them look instantly smarter than if I paired them with just a crew neck.

Top row, left to right
Button sweater, £69.90 Uterque; Black collarless jacket, £29.99 H&M; Colourblock crew neck jumper, £38 Warehouse; Marisa Sweater, £79 Hobbs.

Bottom row, left to right
Mae grey flannel skirt, £69 Great Plains; Lucy Contrast Jumper, £89 Reiss; Pleated wool skirt, £69 Cos; Midi dress with long sleeves, ASOS

Friday, 26 October 2012

This is it

The perfect coat. I've been looking for it for ages, and now I've found it. Dark grey, single breasted, wool fabric, with lapels which don't go down too far.

Classic wool coat
{classic wool coat, £150 Cos}

I think that's enough of an achievement for one day. I'm off. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Weekends gone by

An amalgamation of a couple of weekends, a couple of weekends ago - time has been running away with me lately, so in an effort to catch up with myself I'll bundle all this into one post.

A trip to London to see Little Legs meant only one thing - that we had to try the new Bubbledogs restaurant on Charlotte Street. Hot dogs? Goooood. Champagne? Gooood. It's fair to say that we were excited about this new venture. Their no-booking policy and reports of long queues to get in meant that Little Legs did some serious research and prep to make sure we got in. Despite this, we were eating our hot dogs after 10.30pm. So were they worth the wait? To be honest, we'd have eaten anything by that point, but the experience and celebrity(ish) spotting was fun - Lisa Faulkner and John Torode. If you imagine an IKEA hot dog with a very tasty topping, washed down with some champagne, then you won't be disappointed. But if you arrive there and there's a huge queue, I'd come back another time. It's good to know that they're launching a new part of the restaurant, "The Kitchen Table" soon, which you can book for - they do two sittings every night.

{brunch at Bill's}
{Aesop in Islington}
After brunch at Bill's the next day, we found ourselves wandering through Islington, and came across Aesops's new shop. The help-yourself-to-hand-cream station outside the shop had us interested, and before we knew we were inside the calm, utility-chic interior, which was perfect for soothing our hangovers. I bought the Rosehip Seed Lip Cream (mainly because I caught sight of the huge load of samples and lovely drawstring bags that Little Legs was getting when she bought a shampoo, and I wanted in on the action) which is a great new find, as I much prefer a lip cream to a balm, as I'm not a fan of hugely shiny lips. Top tip: head for the lovely and friendly male sales assistant, who is generous with advice and samples.

{grey merino wool jumper, £39.99 H&M}
{jewelled cuff}
{neon stud earrings, £1.99 for the set}
A late afternoon dash to H&M saw me coming out triumphant with this grey merino wool jumper with jewelled cuffs, which I've been wearing non-stop since. I've been pairing it with my back skinny jodhpur-style trousers from GAP (similar here or here) and tapestry slipper shoes from Topshop (similar here). The neon studs were in a set for £1.99 and I had completely ignored the little black studs that came with them, until I tried them on the other and was rather taken with their chic simplicity. Both items aren't on the website but are currently available in store.

{Saturday night fun}
A strategic Saturday night trip to IKEA had us hoping that it would be people-free, assuming that everyone would be tucked up at home in front of Strictly and X-factor, but it seems that the Wembley IKEA holds more appeal than Saturday night TV. It also gave me the chance to make some hot dog comparisons, and the queue and price at IKEA cannot be beaten - no champagne though which was a shame, as I could have done with a glass by that point. We bought some home storage solutions, troughed some meatballs and headed home. 

{fungal foray}
A last minute decision by Popeye to book us onto a Fungal Foray saw us strolling through the slanted  sunshine in our local woods on a Sunday afternoon. Our hopes of taking enough fungus home to make a mushroom risotto were dashed when we realised that the Buckinghamshire Fungus Group are more the academic type, who like to analyse and dissect their mushrooms. Still it was a nice autumnal walk and they knew all the best nooks and crannies for a mushroom rummage. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Last weekend

Oh my, I've got so behind with my weekend posting. This is actually the weekend before last...

{Popeye came back from the village shop with a surprise}

A successful trip to a flea market was followed by lunch at The Rising Sun and then a trip to Henley-on-Thames to see friends.

{flea market scrum - elbows out}

{silver plated dish/tray}

My new silver dish has been a triumph. With many uses, from pocket change and car keys, to jewellery and make-up (or even Brussels sprouts, as the lady on the stall suggested) it's a smart and stylish instant organiser.

{50p jacket}

{love the coloured flecks in the fabric}

Eeek, yet another jacket... but this one was only 50p, so I couldn't leave it there. I put it in the machine on a wool wash with my trusty Woolite, and it's come up smelling of roses.

And even though it's October, I've developed a habit of buying summer dresses. I blame it on Liverpool Lou, who's moved to Marrakech, and I'm planning to visit as much as possible, so obviously I'll need a lorra lorra frocks. I love the pin-tucks on this dress, and the print, and I'll be wearing it back-to-front with the buttons down the back. So, just got to chop a few inches off the hem and it'll be ready for a trip to the souk.

{50p summer dress}

{pintuck details}
We're just harvesting the last of our crops from the allotment, and the Jerusalem artichokes are the last crop to dig up. You cook them a lot like a potato, but mmmmm, they're tastier, and nice on a pizza, or in a risotto.

{allotment graft}

{artichoke harvest}

{artichoke pizza}

Monday, 22 October 2012

Wedding threads

After much shopping and internet browsing, I've got two options for our last wedding of the season. Now I'm deliberating over the two outfits.

{floral lace pencil dress, £65 Next}

I'm really pleased with this dress (FYI - they do it in a tall, and at 5ft 8, I was surprised to find that the tall was actually way to long) but my only peeve is that the hem on the skirt is straight. I wish it had a scalloped lace edge. So I've bought some lace from Ebay and will sew that on by hand.

{accessories to go with Next dress}

The accessories to go with the lace dress are my vintage Liberty shawl, blue Carvela shoes and the Pansy clutch bag from Accessorize. My blue ring and earrings are from Dorothy Perkins last year. The lipstick is Saint Rose by Lipstick Queen and the nail polish is Lollipop by Essie.

{Aderyn deep V cocoon dress, £169 Reiss}

{accessories to go with Reiss dress}

My accessories to go with the Reiss dress include a vintage cream tuxedo style jacket, cream and snakeskin vintage Gina shoes and a brown snakeskin clutch, also vintage. I found the gold cluster earrings in a charity shop. The lipstick is Elizabeth Arden's Exceptional Lipstick in Marigold and my nail polish of choice would be Essie's Clambake.

I think my preference is for the Reiss dress - it feels a little more glamourous. But the advantage of the Next dress is that it has sleeves, as this October weather is miles away from the Indian Summer I had been holding out for. Which one do you think I should go for?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

New love

Christmas is coming, so it's time to stock up on your bags and baubles - New Look are consistently producing the goods in the accessory department at the moment. Here are my top picks.

All items above currently available online at New Look.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Some additional hardware

My red leather satchel from The Leather Satchel Company has been much loved and well used. I had recently though, taken to wearing it over my shoulder rather than across the body, but the strap was just a little too long to be shortened to the right length. And then I came up with the idea of blinging up the bag with a chain handle. I thought I'd have to go to a hardware shop to buy some metal chain, but I was in a charity shop when I came across a metal chain belt which I though looked like it would do the job.

I raided the key drawer to get two metal circles off a couple of old key rings, and threaded a circle through each end of the belt.

Then I threaded each circle through the existing strap on the bag. I haven't taken the original strap off, as I still want the option of going back to using it, so I've just tucked that inside the bag. I noticed that Popeye's satchel, which is this one from The Cambridge Satchel Company already has D-shaped rings at the end of the strap, making it even easier to hook on a new handle.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Slip into something more comfortable

I am still very much into the current slipper trend - I'm hardly ever out of mine, wearing them for work with a smart pair of trousers or skirt, or for play with a pair of jeans. They're comfortable and versatile, but they're often made from man-made fabrics. However, I've found the best of the leather options on the high street and rounded them all up here. Which ones get your vote?

Top row, left to right
Studded slipper, £79.95 Massimo Dutti; Calf hair loafer, £44.95 Gap; Animal print slipper, £69.95 Massimo Dutti.

Middle row left to right
Aintree Hurdle in black suede, £39.99 Clarks; Gold studded slippers, £68 Office*; Tan leather slippers, £40 Dorothy Perkins; Camouflage slipper, £59.99 Zara.

Bottom row, left to right
Louisa elasticated leather slipper, £35 Dune; Grainger snakeskin slipper, £59 Jones the Bootmaker; Laramie loafer slipper, £35 Dune.

*25% off Office with the current copy of Grazia - ends today.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

As good as new

I picked up these dining chairs for £30 for four  of them on eBay. Apparently they're Danish (the Danes being the the top dogs in the dining furniture world) but there are no labels or stamps to corroborate this suggestion. Still, I'm telling myself it's a fact, as I like the idea of a little bit of Danish-style dining.

The upholstery was old and stained, but the foam was still in good condition and hadn't gone powdery, so I didn't need to change it. I'd been looking around for a while for some fabric to cover the chairs with and didn't want anything chintzy or too retro. I was in Devon for the weekend when I found four metres of fabric for £20 in The Snug*, my favourite shop in Ashburton. You never know what you'll find there - they have everything from clothes, to jewellery to accessories to furniture - but you will always find something you love. My fabric is made by Globaltex, and I think it's got a Scandi feel about it which suits the chairs. It's also not a girly print, so Popeye is happy with it too.

If you are thinking of having a go at re-covering a chair, then invest in a good staple gun - a cheap one will have you swearing and cursing before you know it, and if you're like me, you'll abandon the project half-way through. This staple gun by Homebase is on offer at the mo.

{original covering has seen better days}

{the original foam seat}

{trim off any excess fabric}

{I covered mine in calico first}

*There's no website for The Snug (how very vintage) so here are the deets - call before you make  a special trip to check it'll be open (how very Devon):
The Snug
Mon, Tues, Thurs - Sat 10.00 - 16.30, Wed 10.00 - 12.30 
15 North Street
TQ13 7QD
tel: 01364 653096

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Going grey

Another season, another grey sweatshirt. My enthusiasm for my much worn Sonny sweatshirt shows no signs of waning, so I thought I'd better start looking for a new version. I was re-watching Breakfast At Tiffany's the other day, when I noticed the sweatshirt that Audrey Hepburn was wearing in the photo above - just shows, this top's a classic, so invest wisely.

Top row, right to left:
£14.99 H&M; £45 Cos; £19.99 Zara (boys' dept); £55 Whistles.

Bottom row, right to left:
£59 Toast; £55 Cos; £42.50 Asos; £45 Cos.

Here are some ideas of how you can put yours to good use. It's pretty much a case of anything goes.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Old-school pyjamas

I was sent on a last-minute mission the other day, to find a pair of pyjamas for a bride who was getting married the next day, and needed a lovely pair of pyjamas to wear in the morning whilst getting ready. No probs, I thought, this won't take me long. Well, high street, you really let me down. What I was envisaging was a cotton pair of pyjamas, with a shirt style top which buttoned-up, maybe in a polka dot or stripe. What I was confronted with was a mass of polyester "novelty" sleepwear garments, none of which could anywhere near fit the bill.

I've now got it into my head that I need pair of these elusive pyjamas myself - probably something to do with the autumnal feeling in the air - so am now considering the selection below (including a couple of nightshirts). They have to be the old-school button up style. I particularly love the selection they have at Hush - they have an extensive choice so it's worth visiting their website. I think a PJ set would be the perfect inhabitant of my Christmas stocking (first Christmas hint of the year!). Which pair would you go for?

Top row, left to right:
Stripe flannel pyjamas, £69 Toast; Pretty pansie nightshirt, £25 Topshop; Dandelion pyjamas, £49.50 Hush; Hannah spot pyjamas, £35 John Lewis.

Bottom row, left to right:
Vintage bird print night shirt by Dickins & Jones, £45 House of Fraser; Spot PJ set with bag by Dickins & Jones, £60 House of Fraser; Lola Rose bunny print pyjamas, £55 John Lewis; (also available in a pink horse print); Small starts pyjamas, £49.50 Hush.

And these two pairs from Topshop really caught my eye - at £28 a set, 100% cotton and in gorgeous prints, these PJs will be hard to beat. TK Maxx is another port of call for a nice pair of pyjamas too - keep popping in because you never know when you'll strike lucky.

{Paisley print PJs and coral rose print PJs, both £28 Topshop} 

But my all time favourite pair is this set below from J.Crew. At nearly £70 it's a lot to spend on a pair of PJ's but I'd say that these are pretty near perfect. They also come in pale blue, and J.Crew is offering free shipping on world-wide delivery until 30th December. Worth the splurge?

Vintage pajama set
{vintage pajama set, £69.92 J.Crew}