Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Shopping List versus My Bargain Hunter Instinct

I had a few meal/night's out on recently.  Now given clothes are 'my thing' you'd think putting an outfit together would be easy peasy.  Not the case.  I've learnt a very important lesson, I am a bargain hunter by trade, I LOVE a good deal.  So much so, I am lead by price and not by need.  I realised I had no black skinny jeans, nor smart dark blue ones come to that.  My original blue and black ones are so old they are grey and pale blue.  This is fine for every day wear as they still look acceptable.  But not for a night out.  I ended up in black tights, shoe boots and black dress but I felt so over dressed that it's made me re-think my staples.  So in a bid to be more clothes ready, here is my shopping list.  This is saved on my mobile so when I do hit the shops, I know what I need.

  • black and dark blue skinny jeans
  • black ankle boots (smart/casual, like the Acne Pistol but cheaper!)
  • smart tee-shirts
  • black court shoes (ones I can walk in)
  • black blazer (I have navy)
  • comfortable ballet pumps (others have died a death)

In a bid to keep my wardrobe colourful, I seem to have neglected the black items and now have a gaping whole (drama Queen) where they need to be.  No one is perfect, even when we profess to making a living out of it!

So on a quest to start searching for my missing items, I made the obvious, easy choice for myself and looked for ballet pumps.  So far I still prefer this classic style over the slipper style pump that appeared last year.  I started, but now I'm stopping - I very nearly put the below in the basket and checked out.  All leather pairs and free delivery over £50.  Not intending to keep them all, I like choice so would have returned 2 pairs.  However I am on a self imposed ban after a very busy Christmas followed by too many birthdays.  My first shop, and I could have easily broken the ban but I would have then spent too long beating myself up over it.  They will be there when I can afford them if they are meant to be!

What are you missing ing your wardrobe?

£22.99 Zara

£39.99 Zara

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Citrus Brights

Last year's Louis Vuitton campaign, more pastel than citrus!

With the snow starting to melt and Easter Eggs already out, I thought I would bring you a post on some much needed Spring talk!  I am loving all the citrus colours that I am seeing in magazines right now.  It is a sigh of relief to see and know spring is next after the dark nights and cold days.

Take inspiration from Miranda, but the version on the left is £25 from Matalan!
TK Maxx online £14.99

'Dune/Guava' jumper from Boden £59 (I even love the name combo of this colourway!)
Topshop £40

Gap £35.95

The whole look from Boden, Jumper £69, Jeans £49
And for the really brave - Acne's Alma boot £370

Not Citrus I know, but a forever lover of the breton stripe, I loved this look when I received an email from Warehouse.  I can't wait to start wearing lighter jacket's and pairing my stripes with my trench!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Some More Sheepskin In My Life and Lush Smelling Nail Oil

I haven't purchased the Ugg earmuffs, they are definitely on hold waiting for a better price.  I have however used my birthday vouchers to invest in some new Just Sheepskin slippers.  My sister introduced me to this brand over a year ago now, and I have lived in my boot version ever since.  Holed and stained, it was time to replace them.  Their prices seem to have gone up lot since my first pair and not one to pay full price for much, I refused the £75 price tag (currently £60 on offer at House of Fraser) for the exact same pair.  Instead I opted for the mules.  I have had the Ugg version before but they were returned due to the sheepskin wearing away in a matter of months.  As we are half way through Winter, I thought these were a compromise mainly due to the £31.50 price tag, reduced from £45.  I love the soles as they are proper non slip ones which is needed when running around after children.  When and if I see the boots on offer later on in the year, I will be buying them again!  These are from House of Fraser, free delivery to store also.

Out with the old, in with the new!

Cozy feet!

My nails are in a terrible state at the moment mainly due to the weather.  This product was recommended to me by my lovely beautician Steph at Urban Bliss Beauty.  I loved it instantly because of the almond smell but to add to this, it has done wonders for my nails.  Apparently oil is the best product to use for dry flakey nails due to it heavily moisturising powers (check me out sounding all knowledgable!).  I have been applying it at night and rubbing it all over my nail and half way down my fingers as suggested and it's made a huge difference.  I bought this on Amazon and it was just under £10 with delivery.  I say bought but I didn't actually pay for it as I used my Nectar points which I converted to Amazon vouchers (no more Amazon points with Nectar as of the end of this month sadly).  SolarOil by CND.

Cashmere joggers update (from previous blog post here) - I returned them at £69 as I just couldn't justify the price tag.  Luckily I did as they went down to £45 so I've snapped them up again, yippee!  So warm and comfortable, I hope these stand the test of time like they were intended too.  Having just read an article on cashmere though, about the best being made in Scotland, I am a little concerned with my made in Cambodia pair......

Back up to £99 now I'm afraid

They don't look like anything special, but they so feel it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

New Years Resolutions Update

I am going to keep on at myself as no one else will, they are my resolutions to fulfill so if I write about them more frequently, hopefully I will succeed more!

1.  Getting measured, well I did.  And to my amazement I wasn't wearing the wrong size just it was far to loose!  After being strapped in properly, my current bra's didn't feel so bad but they are old and pretty much at the end of their life.  I was given a different style to try which fitted so well, but didn't give me the cleavage I was after.  A week later and they went down to £6, so I have purchased but they are currently still sat on the hangers.  I know at 32 I really do need to realise my petite frame up top isn't going to magically grow over night but no one is happy with what they've got, so a push up bra has always been a must for me.  I will let you know if the 'good fit' style ever leave their hangers!

2. Reading my magazines on time.  Well I have a huge back log.  Who throws out old magazines without reading them?  I just can't!  Even a year old big fat glossy mag deserves a quick scan through, you never know what you might find.  I am trawling quite quickly through my 'Style' magazines so I'm hoping in the next month.......

3. Manicures.  I have semi booked one!  Provisionally booked 2 dates whilst I get my head around the child care.  Over a month in advance, how organised!  Next is a free facial voucher I received after buying my Clarins hand cream months ago.  I need to book that one in pronto, my skin needs seeing to.

4. Water (pinched from fellow blogger Avril).  I think this one needs post-it's stuck around the house to remind me.  Is it only me or does anyone else just forget to drink?  Food I never seem to forget, drink, I could go hours upon hours.

5. No experiments with make-up to report on, it's been a busy month so far!

Not make-up but this last week I have been trying Sudocrem on my breakout of blemishes (I would like to say hormonal but in reality, it's down to the chocolate, end of).  I have read about it several times but as I had a pot open for the baby's bum (!) I thought I would give it a go.  I wouldn't say it made them disappear over night like some reviews have suggested but it definitely dried them up quicker so I will be using this little trick again.  It doesn't rub in so well, so you only need a pin head amount but it sits there doing it's job overnight.  I love reading beauty tips like this that I can try without spending any extra pennies.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Cheaper Alternative To Try

As I'm sure you may have guessed by now, I do have a slight obsession with garment compositions (disliking acrylic and loving silk and cashmere).  Sheepskin is another love of mine.  Rugs, Flatout bears, boots, slippers, you get where I'm coming from.  So when Ugg launched their range of earmuffs, I was instantly in love with them.  However, since their launch I have been in debate over 1. the over all look and 2. whether they were a fad.  With an RRP of £75, they weren't cheap so I declined.  However not one to let things lie, when I saw these in Primark much to the amusement of my friends, I thought I would give them a whirl.  Now they were around the £3 mark and my logic was this.  At that price, it was worth a shot to see how much I would wear them, if I didn't, my 6 year old surely would so nothing had been wasted.  If I did wear them, then I would know once and for all if they were worth the investment.

My Primark Earmuffs

So far so good.  Unlike a hat, they don't fluff up my hair and I can wear them when I have my hair in a high ponytail or bun.  They have been really warm, although I haven't worn them for more than 10 minutes at a time, and I can still hear people talking.  I haven't had many compliments (mmmmm?) however I'm not that embarrassed wearing them and fit in well with my 6 year old and her friends, oh dear.  At the moment I feel I would continue to wear them (even after what I've just written!) but it's not been long enough to judge just yet.
Ugg's version, 'the real McCoy' in my opinion!

It would be wrong to compare the quality as there really is no contest, but this wasn't about quality more about whether I would actually wear them.  I am not saying that I will always do this sort of experimental buying, when I know things work for me there is no need to waste time or money seeking cheaper alternatives.  However I think this has been really worth while.  I have now seen some Ugg one's for £30 in the sale, and while I think that at that price they are great value, my Primark one's still have some life in them yet.  So there's always the Summer time to buy them at an even better price.  Until then, I would highly recommend the Primark version as an alternative.

My girls Sheepskin Flatout bears - how gorgeous are these?  

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Some More Of My Sale Finds And Recommendations For You

For those of you who follow my blog, you may remember me saying I had missed out on a French Connection dress I saw in Bicester Village as thought at £50 it was still pricey.  I then tried to order it in December for £30 but the wrong size was sent and they didn't have my size to send.   Finally I get my dress!  And all for the amazing price of £6.66!  Ok I cheated a little, I had £25 of vouchers from BrandAlley due to several errors on their part which I now thank them for!  Don't forget to check out their Outlet section, this is where I found this, some great items at a fraction of their original value.  I thought I'd share an image of Pippa Middleton in the dress as I haven't worn mine yet.  (And no, I didn't realise she had it until after I became obsessed with tracking it down when the wrong size was sent to me!)

Looking a little nondescript on the hanger

But pretty fab on Pippa!

A few more TK Maxx clearance items.  This Tommy Hilfiger top/sweater was £8 and I found it in store.  I love this fresh blush pink colour for Spring.  I can see this with turned up pale denim jeans and some ballet pumps.  I love great finds like this, quality brand at a silly price!

I found this Twent8Twelve (formally Sienna Miller's label) 100% silk tunic for £25 on line.  It was originally £250 and the silk is outstanding.  Even better than the Whistles dress I blogged about here - so that's saying something!  Another Spring season find but I'm done with my cashmere jumper purchases - for now!

I love this mini floral print

Now for my recommendations;

The next three are from Tesco believe it or not.  The cardigan I thought was exceptional value for £18 and is 100% cotton (no acrylic - yay!).  All current season stock.

Some more amazing clearnace deals from TK Maxx, selling fast so hurry if there's any you fancy.

RRP£199 now £27, I'm tempted!

(next two images can't enlarge any more as the quality gets worse, but you get the gist!)
John Galliano 100% silk scarf RRP £109, now £21

£49.99 down to £22, only size 3 left - damn

ToyWatch for £20, another pop of colour for Spring (yes I'm blogging about Spring whilst it's snowing...)

I previously blogged about this dress last year (see this post) and it's now on sale for £59.  The Mathilde  dress from Coast, originally £160.  This classic black dress has a twist at the back, giving it that something different.  An effortlessly chic dress, a great addition to any wardrobe.

And finally - I'm sharing my 'Pot of Dreams' ! With Birthday and Christmas money all finally spent (phew, that was burning a hole in my pocket), I am now on a self imposed ban and saving.  Well, I am trying anyway!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

My Weekly Tesco Shop = Cashmere Yay!

I dread the Tesco shop, I always underestimate how long I will be in there and this time was no exception.  Alice and I started off with our list at the ready, eager to make it a quick shop.  Baby aisle done, half price clothing sale opposite, damn, it was going so well.  I spy the special protective covers over the cashmere section hanging up high (why don't stores think of short people when they hang things up high?) and excitedly threw 3 items in my trolley.  Yes, I admit, I am one of those annoying people who hog my sizes until I've made a decision.  I felt a little too excited at the prospect of half price cashmere to make a rational decision straight away.  So after an hour and a half and a very patient Alice, I headed back to the mirror to try on and decide.  I put back both the grey and black cardi's, they fitted well however I didn't really need them - I have black and grey cardi's.  For £25 I did grab the green jumper.  I love the high neck on me, I thought it was superb value and the colour would look great with black trousers.  There are still some left on line, but be quick, great quality and great value sell fast.

The cardi that didn't make the cut!
I thought this simple animal print tunic was a great addition to a wardrobe for £10 if pennies are tighter and you need (!) a pick me up piece.  Easy to wear with leggings or jeans (or as a dress!) it will take you anywhere.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

For My Fellow Bloggers!

I love to read other peoples blogs, it's an instant connection to 'real people' and it's great to see how other people work their wardrobes.  Whilst reading through some of my regular's I felt I wanted to share not only them but respond to some of their posts with one of my own.   So here goes.

Beth (Style Guile) had just invested in some products after being advised so at a beauty counter.  After being left with a rash (and returning the said products) she is left sceptical about the beauty business.  So I thought I would photograph some of my trusted favourites. I mostly go on recommendations and magazines reviews as I believe them to be un-bias.  'Look' magazine always do a review on products and use readers to test them.  Failing that some larger boots have sample sizes next to products or I just ask for the samples!  Here are some of my favourite facial products.

1. Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Face Wash - I always use in the morning,  not only is the scent amazing but it's under £5 and usually on offer.
2. Decleor cleanser and toner - I stumbled across this as it was reduced to £18 for the two on Amazon Black Friday deals last year.  I use at night and I would definitely buy again (but not full price of course!)
3. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream - I use on my lips daily but pretty much on any other part of my body that needs hydrating or repairing.  That includes the kids and husband!
4. Clarins Eye Contour Gel - I use this in the mornings, it makes my eyes feel so fresh and wakes them up.  I initially had a tiny sample (which lasted ages) given to me by the sales assistant from their counter.
5. The Body Shop Camomile Eye Make-Up Remover - I spent years trying to find one that didn't smear across my eyes so my vision was hazy or so weak that it didn't do what it said on the tin.  This I am pleased to report works perfectly for me!
6. Garnier Wipes (dry skin) - I recently bought another brand due to price (why when these are such good value anyway is beside me) but I've gone back to these now.  I find that even though my skin isn't sensitive normally I tend to be a bit rougher when I use wipes so perhaps that's why these work well for me.  I alternate at night between these and cleansing and toning.
7. (Not pictured - sad face) my beloved Lancome Hydra Zen day and night creams - currently sat with a friend who sourced them half price in the sales for me!  I have broken out in those horrible lumpy under the skin spots and I know exactly why - I've been using a (much) cheaper night cream and samples of day creams.  Yes these are pricey (£40 ish each but I managed 2 for 1!) but I think if you find a product that suits your skin, then so be it.  I am not impartial to try different products - like I currently am, however after nearly 2 months of doing so, my skin has had enough! 

Sue (Susie So So) recently shared her day outfit, being jeans, jumper and scarf combo, she likes to keep it real!  So in a bid to be real back, here is my school run look from Friday.  My age old skinnies from Gap, I don't feel like they make them the same these days.  A Banana Republic jumper I found at a sample sale for £5.   As it is a v neck I put my Temperly Panther scarf around to keep out the cold.  Finished with my my old faithfuls, Timberland boots.  These have worn so well, they look better with age.  Had they been reduced sufficient enough in the black pair, I would have bought them again.  Looking back I think I definitely should have worn my darker jeans but needs must (as in 'clothes') when your rushing yourself and two kiddies out the house for school in the morning!

Avril (School Gate Style) has made a New Years Resolution to remember to put her eye cream on before bed.  I have my night creams right next to my bed ready to apply before I sleep.  I am religious with doing them, I like my skin to really hydrate at night as it's a great make-up free time for it to renew and replenish (I sound like a beauty ad!).  Here is my little display, yes it means more to dust around but it's a small sacrifice to pay to keep my skin in good condition!

1. Clarins Hand Cream
2. Boot rose cuticle oil (not every night!)
3. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
4. Cyclax Eye Cream
5.Olay Night Cream
6. Bath and Body Works Pillow Mist

And just for you Avril - my 'pajama pants' as my husband called them!   M&S for anyone interested, they looked loads better on the model, but are now only £8 in their sale if your after an alternative to black to go out in.  Back to store tomorrow to return, but they were worth a go!

And finally a little shout out to my lovely friend who launched her fabulaous on line Homewares shop.  She has a wealth of background knowledge in interiors and I'm sure when you take a look, you will all agree the products she is selling are just beautiful.  Introducing The White House Interiors.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sale (well mainly TK Maxx!) Finds

I'm not sure what made me trail through the TK Maxx clearance sale on line, however I'm glad I did.  With free delivery for an over £50 spend (easy!) and free returns to store, I doubled up on shoe sizes so as not to miss out!  

Dune (TK Maxx) £96, down to £44.99, price to me £18!

Real suede, I love the nude colour for Summer

After seeing this close up and my little toe cleavage I am now slightly unsure - or am I being to picky?

French Connection (TK Maxx) £140, down to £39.99 price to me £18!

Such a classic cut LBD, I've been looking to update my faded one for a while now

Love the detail on it, just add's something else to it instead of it being a 'plain Jane'

Love love love!  Worn the day after arrival, real suede £18!  Honestly! (no idea of brand,  it didn't matter in this instance!)

Oh dear.....Bertie, can't remember the original prices but I paid £26

They just didn't work for me, but it's all about trying!

Whilst returning the brogues (Victoria Beckham inspired me!) I walked away from the till and straight into this Whistles number - honestly, it was right in front of me!  £150 down to £29.99, 100% silk (lover of all good materials, silk and cashmere being my favourites) I headed straight to the changing room.  It had a slight fault on the back with a faint line across the print, however this is hardly noticeable and as I wouldn't pay the full £150 I am in love!  Having a design on my upper body is perfect for me as I have little in the breast department so can get away with a print and high neckline.  Similarly, the bottom half is a dark colour (more flattering on me as my widest part is my hip area) and plain, therefore overall balancing my petite frame out.   I threw in my trusty All Saints heels to give lots of height, but I feel this dress would work just as well with a court.  I can not wait to wear it.

Whistles (TK Maxx) £150, TK Price £29.99 (not in Clearance)

Trying to strike a pose (just don't zoom in on the un-shaven legs...)

Original label still in tact and a close up of the amazing colours

And finally my M&S vests......boring I know, but an essential for me and my wardrobe.  I always stock up in the sale, they work out at £2.50-£3 each so at that price they are worth buying in bulk.

I'll be back with more bargains soon (nearly finished spending my birthday and Christmas money, then I'm on a self inflicted ban......)

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