Sunday, 25 November 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas! Yep, there is no escaping the 'C' word now, everywhere you venture you are bound to be hit in the face with Christmas merriment and cheer. And I for one am loving it! Unsurprisingly, I have always been a fan of this time of year, birthday and Christmas all rolled into one, yippee.

Not to make you all jealous (she says smugly), but I have finished my Christmas shopping, it's all wrapped and ready to go. Yes I am one of those annoyingly organised people who sits smugly sipping hot chocolate while so many others run around trying to get their last minute shopping. Ho ho ho. I am certainly a Christmas elf, a smug, well organised Christmas elf! <polishes halo>

Enough of the smugness, I will, of course, continue to shop well into December.  I plan however to restrict my weekend hours in favour of evening due to the frankly mental conditions that greet us all at the weekend when we are insane enough to shop! That said, the husband and I did venture to Bluewater today, but it was bearable shopping, with a clear mission in mind. Hubby had some delicious leather converse to pick up and I had my new iPhone 5 to collect. Yum on both accounts. I also had to try on some watches as I am still trying to narrow it down and decide which one I would like the husband to purchase for me. Still undecided, bugger. Birthday is getting dangerously close. It may well end up as a Christmas present so I can buy myself more time to decide. Indecisiveness rules again. Grrrr.

And now for a round up of some outfits from this week. Nothing from yesterday due to a very lazy day relaxing at home (not sure joggers and hoodie constitute good style!):

Long line black vest: Primark
Oversized black knitted top: New Cos purchase
Red skirt: Mango
Tights: Marks and Spencer
Biker boots: Dune
Zebra print scarf: Zara
Bracelet: Pandora

Long sleeve thin top: Cos
Black and white spotted skirt: Forever 21
Long grey cardigan: H & M
Tights: Marks and Spencer
Biker boots: Dune
Brown jersey scarf: Cos

 Pin-stripe ruffle front shirt: H & M
Black peg leg trouser: Be Beau at Matalan
Long grey cardigan: H & M
Tan tassell pumps: Topshop

Long sleeve thin top: Cos
Grey boxy knit: Topshop
Floral print skirt: Mango
Tights: Marks and Spencer
Biker boots: Dune
Brown jersey scarf: Cos

Long line beige vest: Primark
Oversized black knitted top: new Cos purchase
Green skinny jeans: Zara
Sneakers: Converse
Leather bracelet: Mulberry
Grey jacket: Antoni and Alison
Burgundy arm warmers: H & M
Checked scarf: H & M
Bag: Mulberry postman's lock hobo

And an outfit from last weekend:
Beige long line vest: Primark
Cream linen top: H & M
Striped jacket/cardigan: Zara
Scarf: Newly purchased Warehouse 
Dark denim jeans: H & M
Slipper shoes: Primark
Bag: Mulberry postman's lock hobo

Well, now my Christmas shopping is all 'wrapped up' (boom boom) I have no choice but to finalise my Christmas/birthday lists for distribution to the husband and my parents...a hard job if ever I heard of one...

More soon, I'm putting together a Christmas wish list blog for perusal and perhaps inspiration...

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The most obvious choice of shopping venue on a Saturday

Is of course Westfield Stratford City. Under normal circumstances, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than venture to such a shopping centre on a Saturday, in the lead up to Christmas. Bluewater I can cope with, just. Westfield? A whole different ball game. But. The husband had a late hockey game and I really wanted to go. Justification indeed. I was also desperate for a perusal in Cos, and to further my already bulging birthday/Christmas list. And there is no Cos at Bluewater so the deal was done.

And actually, it wasn't too bad. As in, there were more people there than I think I have seen in one space at one time, but, by myself, I could whizz in an out, pushing people out the way as necessary. Serial shopping should be an Olympic sport if you ask me.

Anyway. I mentally added presents to my own wish list, and the list for family and friends. And I purchased a whole load of new winter clothes for the husband (if I did not do this he would literally have nothing to wear, we are complete opposites when it comes to clothes shopping funnily enough). I was also able to purchase some items from the new 'Grey Concept' collection at H & M. Having spotted said collection online and checking the Bluewater store after work on Friday, I was distraught disappointed to see that they did not have it in stock. Harumphh. According to one shop assistant, it is only going into a few stores. (Another good reason for me to visit Westfield on Saturday, did I mention my justification skills are legendary?!).

So, success all round, topped off today with another trip back to Bluewater for the husband to pick his new laptop, and me to pick up a new hallway rug that I had spotted in Zara home. I had a quick gander at the cameras in John Lewis but they all looked the same to me. A shop assistant was kind enough to aid me and I had the grace to nod intelligently in the right places, but honestly, he could have been speaking Japanese. I am so not techno. Never mind though, I am sure this is another reason for having a husband. Just kidding S ; P

Lastly, a round up of some of this week's outfits, work and weekend:

Wednesday (work)
Black jersey dress: Zara
Grey cardigan: H & M
Monochrome snake print scarf: Marks and Spencer (newly purchased on Tuesday, beyond chuffed with this, a perfect picnic-blanket size scarf).
Black tights: Marks and Spencer
Biker boots: Dune
Friday (work)
Blue and white print dress: Vero Moda
Grey cardigan: H & M
Black tights: Marks and Spencer
Biker boots: Dune
Saturday (Westfield scrummage)
Long line nude vest: Primark
Linen cream top: H & M
Jersey scarf: Cos
Printed jeans: Primark
Leather cuff: Mulberry
Biker boots: Dune
Black leather jacket: Zara
Grey wrist warmers: H & M
Bag: Mulberry postman's lock hobo
Sunday (Bluewater)
Beige long line vest: Primark
Cream long sleeve thin top: Cos
Grey thin knit cardigan: Grey concept at H & M
Dark denim jeans: Grey concept at H & M
Monochrome snake print scarf: Marks and Spencer
Biker boots: Dune
Bag: Mulberry postman's lock hobo

I may have also ordered the black coat from the Grey Concept collection (one of the few pieces left in stock online)... will reveal all when it arrives (which will be probably be in 2013, H & M online are not particularly speedy with their delivery).

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, I am having to replace Downton with I'm a Celebrity tonight.. booo, I am sad already!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The day I was shocked in Primark

I promise I don't only shop in Primark. Far from it. I have returned again today after my visit on Sunday only to return the shoddy dress I purchased. I had a leadership course day and finished at 3 so took advantage of the spare time and dropped into town. Well. I managed to pick up a black and white vest in my size (miracles do exist) and in the process, spotted a dark purple dress that I thought would be good for work. Much of a muchness, simple dress, easy to change the look with cardigans, scarves, different footwear etc. I tried it on and just glimpsed the label as I was taking it off, and was shocked to see it cost £17.

£17. A small sum of money indeed, but for Primark? For a very simple, not-much-to-it dress? No siree. I will happily pay large sums of money for good quality, higher end items but £17 for a Primark dress? I must be getting tight in my advancing years, or else the effect of the husband is finally rubbing off after 9 years of togetherness. (Thank you S, I really do appreciate your financial management lessons...)

I might have also purchased a new scarf from Marks and Spencer as well as an advent calendar for me and the husband and some praline chocolate stars. I did manage to avoid the Christmas decorations that looked so inviting though <polishes halo>. Restraint is my middle name...

Finishing with outfits for the last couple of days, both work days, Monday normal work day, today more casual due to the course:

White long line vest top : Primark
Cream angora mix boxy knit: H & M
Plain jersey scarf: Cos
Dark leopard print skirt: F and F @ Tesco
Black tights: Marks and Spencers
Flat riding boots: Primark
Beige long line vest top: Primark
Cream thin long sleeve top: Cos
Silver open back thin knit: Zara
Tassel Piaf Scarf: By Malene Birger
Dark denim jeans: River Island
Biker boots: Dune
Black leather jacket: Zara
Grey wrist warmers: H & M
Bag: Mulberry postman's lock hobo
As seen above, my Dune boots arrived! And they fit, miracle of miracles! I swear I saw the husband visibly exhale when I excitedly relayed to him that they fit and I like them... I think he was having visions/nightmares of a trip to Westfield this coming weekend so that I could continue my search. Although I'm pretty sure I still need to do some Christmas shopping, and haven't we got some birthdays (including mine) coming up...

Only kidding S ; )

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The best use of time on a Sunday

..Is to spend it queuing through the Dartford tolls, just to reach Lakeside, so some new vest tops can be purchased from Primark.

Poor husband. In fairness to myself, he wanted to use the opportunity to peruse the latest laptops on offer for his pre-Christmas splurge. (Let's skate over the fact that we could have done that much closer to home, ahem). Upon witnessing the horrendous queue resulting from the closure of the second tunnel, the husband suggested we head to Bluewater instead. Unfortunately for him, I was behind the wheel and too stubborn to give in. One hour of colourful language later and we were through. Bloody Lakeside, bloody shopaholic tendencies of mine and stubborn old goat personality.

I intended to purchase a good handful of the longer length vest tops that I love so much for layering beneath jumpers and sheer tops. Of course, after the 'trying' journey we had endured, the colours I wanted (black and white) were nowhere to be seen in my size. Why would they be? This is Primark after all. Grrrr. I did manage to purchase a navy and nude shade that fit seamlessly into the winter wardrobe so all was not lost. As this only brought me to the grand total of £4 I decided to add to my wares and snapped up some thermal socks and a blue and white print dress for work. Beyond chuffed until I arrived home, hung it up and noticed a hole underneath one of the armpits. Not. My. Day.

But, oh well, I have an excuse to return and rummage in more depth now (always difficult when the husband is tagging along, bless him, he is really very good and quite easily appeased with sweets and his kindle, but still).

Now for weekend outfits, last night I had a catch -up with friends over dinner. First opportunity to wear my TK Maxx Antoni and Alison bargain:

Nude long line vest: Primark
Cream linen mix top: H & M
Grey jacket: Antoni and Alison
Zebra scarf: Zara
Oxblood coated skinnies: H & M
Black wedge heels: Faith
Bag: Mulberry East West Bayswater
Leather cuff: Mulberry
And again today:

Beige long line vest: Primark
Burgundy boxy jumper: H & M
Horse print scarf: Dorothy Perkins
Leather cuff: Mulberry
Light blue jeans: River Island
Shearling cuff boot: Red or Dead at Schuh

Grey jacket: Antoni and Alison
Grey wrist warmers: H & M
Bag: Mulberry postman's lock hobo
Now obviously I am a completely pap photographer, although in my defence, taking pictures on an iPhone in a dimly lit room at night is quite a challenge. The day pictures are slightly better but still leave a lot to be desired. May have to purchase the new camera before Christmas, have mentioned to the husband but he is knee deep in laptop research right now so it may be a few more weeks... could just purchase one myself but ultimately that is a recipe for disaster, I will probably end up picking on on how shiny it is. Hmmm, will have a think.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Downton soon. I am not moving from the sofa!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Two blogs in two days...

Hell has not frozen over. I have indeed managed to blog two days in a row after an absence of, hmmm, what was it now?  3 months?! Hurrah!

Today was nothing too exciting, just a quick runaround and chores. I schlepped to TK Maxx fully intending to purchase a few Christmas gifts (they have some very nice OPI and Leighton Denny gift sets in at the moment), and instead got distracted by items for myself. Fail.

I think I may have mentioned before that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with TK Maxx. I have found some amazing bargains in there in the past, but on other occasions, it resembles the private dressing room of Lilly Savage. I had time today so had a good rummage and found a few items that set my heart a flutter. I tried on two jackets and purchased the one that fit me well (the other I loved but was a large size small so had to be left behind). I'm not sure how I'll pass off said jacket as 'Christmas shopping', I'm hoping hubby won't ask to see what I purchased when he gets home.. It's not even like I managed to buy any other gifts that I can show him.. double fail.

Antoni and Alison jacket, £37 reduced from £150.

And now for today's outfit, nothing too exciting, practicality a must for shopping and chores:

Thick stripy jersey top: H & M
Long line white vest: Primark
Blue jeans: River Island
Hi tops: Converse (These are permanently attached to my feet at the moment, they are perfect for running around in).
Checked scarf: New H & M purchase from yesterday. Annoyingly not on their website.
Leather double rivet cuff: Mulberry
Sunglasses: Missoni (not because I am a poser but because of the blasted winter sun, I nearly crashed my car when driving without them the other day).
Cream coat: H & M
Grey wrist warmers: H & M
Bag: Mulberry
I will try not to leave it so long between blogging in future, I ordered the boots from yesterday's epic boot saga so will hopefully have some pics and a success story soon!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

If you kiss enough boot frogs you will eventually find your boot prince...

Or you will instead end up consuming copious amounts of wine/gin/vodka (pick your poison) when it becomes ever apparent that the black boot you are searching for does not exist, and the hours you have dedicated in this search have been for nothing.

Bugger. Let me backtrack. I need  would very much like a new pair of everyday black boots. Leather of course, flat to very low heel, mid calf biker style with perhaps a buckle or two for extra je ne sais quoi. No studs, stars, laces, strange colours mixed in, just an everyday biker boot, perfect for wearing with skinny jeans and dresses alike. Am I asking too much here?? It certainly seems so. Double bugger.

But I digress. Having spent the day searching in my usual shopping mecca (Bluewater), I have found nothing that a)fits b)looks half decent c)doesn't hurt/pinch toes. The few pairs that I had narrowed the search down to on the iPad this morning were all in stock (a miracle in itself), but were just not quite right for a plethora of reasons:

Pair 1: Dune Riff calf boot £120. This pair was item number one on my agenda, the leather looks divine in the pics and the buckles a nice touch. In reality, the size 5 were too big, my heel would not stay flat inside the boot when I walked. The 4 were of course too small. Sob.
Pair 2: Label lab biker calf boot £111 House of Fraser. This time, the boots were too big around my calves, think a small child in a much too large pair of wellington boots. Damn my slim calves.
Pair 3: Lauren by Ralph Lauren Saphira boots, £161 House of Fraser. I had high hopes for these but once again they were too big around the calves. An old lady sitting nearby tried to convince me that they looked good but I was having none of it. 

Pair 4: H by Hudson Kepler £180. I also tried on the H by Hudson Horrigan £145. Both were too big, same problem as with the Dune boots, my heel would not stay put. I even had thick socks with me to see if that made any difference, It didn't.

In desperation, I headed to Clarks to see if they had anything similar. Fail. They all looked a bit, dare I say it, mumsy. Which is a shame, as the summer season at Clarks was pretty good this year. Having already persused M and S online, I knew there was nothing there either.

So. All in all today I have concluded that my feet have shrunk a bit, and must be a pretty odd shape as nothing anywhere seems to fit me properly. Short of taking a shoe making (cobbling?) course and stitching my own, I'm going to have to keep trying until I reach the holy grail, the boot prince. I am set to order the following two pairs tonight, and hopefully, something there will fit. (She says as she begins researching shoe making courses in the south east area).

Dune Rallie boot £95. This seem worth a shot, definitely the style I am looking for and with cosy shearling inners. Couldn't find these in store today but they have size 5's online so I'm ordering away.

Radley leather buckle biker boots, £127, John Lewis. These could be another contender. Not quite as high up on the leg but long enough not to leave cold ankles. 

So that's pretty much the whole boot adventure from today. When I relayed this mini-saga to hubby over the phone he was extremely confused and pointed out that I only bought two new pairs of black boots last winter. 'Well yes, but they are heeled boots dearest. And don't you want me to have nice sensible walking boots, you always moan when I have to walk slowly in heels'... he's still unconvinced. Men never understand sensible shopping logic anyway, I may as well be explaining myself to the rabbit. (Love you really S x)

Finally what I wore today to go on my long and arduous adventure:

Leather jacket - Zara
Beige long line vest - Primark
Stripy long sleeve tee - Cos
Horse print scarf - Dorothy Perkins
Black leather double rivet cuff - Mulberry (a little purchase I made at Cheshire Oaks designer outlet on Tuesday)
Khaki skinny jeans: Zara
Sneakers: Converse
Bag: Mulberry

Apologies for the lower quality photos, our camera gave up the ghost on our recent trip to Yorkshire (more on that shortly) so I have been using my iPhone. A new camera has been added to our joint Christmas list (which is growing longer by the day), so I will have good quality images fairly soon, hurrah.

Wish me luck with the boots... gulp.