Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Living out of a suitcase

Those who know me well will know that I have moved house a lot. When I say a lot, I mean an awful lot. I mean many, many times... You get the picture. Anyone who has moved recently will remember that when moving you are at your most feral, you spend days in a grotty tracksuit, hair goes unwashed, fingernails get chipped. It ain’t pretty.

Then when the moving truck drives off into the sunset with all your belongings in it, you feel a sense of freedom that for now, there is nothing more you can do.. And then you have the best shower of your life. Our removal truck left a few short hours ago and tonight, we’re off for dinner at the pub with some lovely friends who we may not see for a while. I’m wearing one of my favourite jackets (from Monsoon) to celebrate that this move, is at least, partially done.

jacket / Monsoon / jeans / Gap / grey t shirt / Zara

So we spend the next few days in temporary accommodation at our local pub (yes, the husband is in heaven), then on Friday we head to Italy for a week, a few nights in London, then USA here we come. Essentially for the next 10 days we live out of a bag, so here are my tips for packing;

  • If you are going away for 5 days, pack 5 complete outfits, including accessories. Do not throw random separates into a bag and run, you will arrive at your destination and find yourself wearing haphazard combinations for the first few days then resort to buying batik print sarongs and tops from tourist shops that say ‘My sister went to XXX and all I got was this lousy T-shirt’.

  • Colour coordinate obsessively, especially during winter. Pack one coat (either black or navy works well) and coordinate the rest of your outfit. It may seem boring but it will prevent you having to over pack.
  • Accessories are your friends; scarfs, earrings and statement necklaces are lightweight and easy to pack. Use these to make your outfits interesting.
  • Have fun, pack your shortest skirt and your loudest blouse. You are away from home and can be a little more daring!

We all hate moving don't we, please tell me your moving horror stories! 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Breaking the Rules – Double Denim!

So, in the course of writing this blog over the past few months I’ve come to the realisation that I’m going to have to get out of my comfort zone, no one wants to see me wearing jeans, stripes and a cardigan every single day. So with that in mind today I am breaking not only one of my own rules, but a ‘Quick call the fashion police’ kind of rule. Today, my friends, I’m wearing double denim!

I’ve been coveting a denim shirt for a while now, I think they look cool, easy to wear and provide a nice change from my striped staples. I found this one at Topshop (buy it here) and I love the soft, pale denim colour and the flattering fitted shape (and besides, I needed to make one more Topshop purchase before I leave!). I’m wearing it today with my hot pink Gap jeans. I’m going to give it a try in the next few weeks over a maxi dress and with a maxi skirt.

Double denim - Could you?

Some tips for wearing double denim;

  • Your denims should not be too similar, sticking to coloured jeans and a denim shirt or jacket makes this easy.
  • Avoid veering into cowboy territory, stay clear of boots, silver lapels and any kind of embroidery.

Always EXERCISE CAUTION when wearing double denim, I’ve put together an ensemble below to show you what not to do (and hopefully give you all a giggle).

Double denim - What NOT to do

So, can you do the double denim? 

Or are you reporting me to the fashion police as we speak?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Dressing for your shape

Trinny & Susannah have a rather complex system involving fruit and musical instruments to tell us our body shape, if you have big hips you’re a cello, a big tummy you’re an apple. If you can find yourself amongst their 12 silhouettes then great, follow their rules. I was never able to work it and found it a frustrating system at best. First and foremost my advice for dressing to your shape is to use common sense. Wear clothes that feel comfortable and you will look good, if something is tight and restrictive or tugging or pulling in the wrong direction, it doesn’t fit and it probably looks awful too.

Paisley print top by Zara. 

My course at the London College of Fashion used a system of four silhouettes, simply named body shape 1 to 4. The vast majority of western women, including myself are shape number 3, which is generally acknowledged as being a pear. Put simply, our hips and bottoms are wider than our shoulders. 

Here are some tips for my fellow pears;

  • The best trousers (jeans etc.) for pears are straight leg. Skinny jeans will accentuate a large bottom and chunky thighs. Beware that there are varying degrees of ‘skinny’ jeans, my favourite style of jeans from Gap are called ‘Skinny’ but are more or less straight (my theory is that marketers prefer to call them skinny jeans so people think they are being trendy). Tapered pants such as chino’s will make your bottom look gigantic and if you have large calves like me will simply not be comfortable.
  • Accentuate your waist; be it high or low, it’s your thinnest area. Higher skirts are fine now (you won’t hear sniggers and murmurs of ‘Harry high pants’). When I wear a maxi I let it sit on my waist. If you are taller, then it can sit lower but make sure your waist is not buried in fabric, stick to a fitted top and loose skirt to avoid being swamped. If you are wearing a baggy top add a skinny belt.
  • Balance your top half with your bottom half. Any kind of detail on your top half; be it a scarf, an interesting print or a statement necklace will draw the eye up and away from the hips. Details on your shoulders such as ruffles or sequins will work to balance your hips (exercise caution or you’ll look like a rugby player).

It's all about balance!
Top by Zara, Ankle zip jeans by Gap, tan flats by Next .

If you are struggling with dressing for your body shape, take your most stylish friend shopping. We all know someone who always looks great, for them it’s innate and they don’t need a degree in Style 1.1 to know what works and what doesn’t. Ask them to be kind and then let them guide you.

If you suspect you aren’t a pear and have other body concerns (big shoulders, small hips anyone?) please comment below or send me a personal message, I’m happy to work through other shapes in another blog. 

Till next time friends..

Friday, 27 July 2012

Not another sentimental blog post..

Last week I was in London for my final hurrah, today to celebrate the start of the Olympics here in the UK, I thought I’d share with you some of the lovely sights of our little village, Shrivenham. We’ve been living here for a year now and we love it. Here are some of the beautiful sights we see every day;

After an adventurous week where I gave both yellow, red and a short skirt a go it feels good to be back in my favourite navy blue and a maxi skirt as well!

Palm tree top from Portmans, Maxi skirt River Island

I hope these photos show what a magical little place (with some fantastic pubs) we've been living in why we are so sad to be leaving!

Happy Friday friends! 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Breaking the rules!

You may have noticed that I set quite a few rules for myself when it comes to clothes; always cool tones, leg covering, lots of navy blue, very little black, I could go on.. I do this because I’m fairly neurotic in general but also because I don’t like to buy clothes that I don’t wear. If I stick to my rules, I’m usually good to go. Since I began this blog and started following other blogs, I’ve decided it’s time to stop being so tough. I came across a new and amazing blog just this week Gabifresh (check it out here) and she in all her fabulousness has inspired me. So this week, we’ve had a yellow skirt and now.. wait for it friends… a short red dress! 

Dress by Oasis

Red is not one of my colours, while your standard fire engine red is considered neither warm nor cool, I’ve always felt it’s a colour that overpowers me. This dress however is a great shape for me, really comfortable, not overly floral or cutesy and I think a great addition to my wardrobe (although maybe just 2 inches longer would have been better..!). While today the sun is shining brightly, I can see it working just as well in winter with opaque tights and a black cardigan.

What rules do you have when it comes to fashion?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Sunshine and a yellow skirt

So, I feel like I’ve been a bit tough on you lately with all this talk of mumsy dressing, uniforms and too much black.. Finally the sun is shining here in the UK after a grim few months of grey skies and rain, so today I’m all sunshine and light in the happiest colour of them all, yellow.

Skirt & top by Monsoon

Yellow is a colour I don’t wear as a rule, mainly because it sits on the ‘warm’ side of the colour wheel and therefore doesn’t tone with my other wardrobe staples. I saw this skirt in the summer sales and something about it seemed fun. It definitely needs toning down to avoid looking like a crazy hippie, so today I decided to wear it with plain white top and tan belt.

Sometimes we all need to throw out the rule book and have some fun with fashion.

What do you think?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Wearing black

So my lovely sister pointed out to me recently that I don’t often wear black. It’s true, I don’t and there are a few reasons for this;

1. Here in the UK it is ‘supposed’ to be summer, so while jeans and cardigans are necessary most of the time, I’ve been trying to stick to summery colours to stop myself from falling into a Seasonal Affective Disorder slump. I do wear more black in winter, I think we all do.

2. I own a lot of Navy and therefore, a lot of what I wear needs to ‘go’ with Navy, so Navy is my black you could say.

3. I’m not a huge fan of black & colour combinations. I like black with white, black with caramel and at a push black with denim. Black and royal blue is growing on me (see my outfit at the Garden Party). Black and red, for example, makes me want to cry, same goes for black and pink. Claiming black ‘goes with everything’ is an excuse to be lazy with colour coordination.

4. My mum doesn’t own a single piece of black clothing and never has.. Maybe it’s genetic!

Wearing black

Having said all that, I think there is a place for black in every woman’s wardrobe. I like black for evening wear, it’s a dramatic colour and for formal occasions it looks amazing. Black jeans are the very best to slim your thighs and I absolutely love ‘monochrome’ combinations of black and white. What I don’t think we should do it shun colour in our everyday wardrobes in the hope that black will be more slimming, sophisticated or stylish as this isn’t always the case.

So, I suspect that many of you have wardrobes bursting to the seams with black buys?

Will you give colour a go?

Warehouse leather dress
$55 - warehouse.co.uk

Vionnet suede heels

Dorothy Perkins black clutch

Miso spike earrings
$7.84 - republic.co.uk

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Party time!

So yesterday was my little boy’s ‘Early’ 3rd birthday party. Early because on his real birthday in a few weeks, we will have moved on from our little English village. We wanted him to be able to celebrate with his friends.

I’d been saving this skirt for a special occasion; and a little sunshine was an added bonus and meant I swapped the ¾ sleeve top I’d planned on wearing it with for a sleeveless navy one instead. The skirt it slightly sheer fabric and has another skirt underneath which makes it up to date for this season and a change from my other maxi skirts. 

Maxi skirt & top from Warehouse.

LK Bennet silver flats

The birthday boy had a great day with his lovely friends.

Till next time..

Friday, 20 July 2012

Put that in your blog and post it..

Hmmmm… so it seems I’m back in my ‘uniform’ again today, boring right? I hope not. I have tried to practice what I preach my mixing it up with the latest addition to my Gap jean collection, my ankle zip jeans in Majorca Blue (sounds far more exotic than just ‘blue’ thank you very much), an Oasis London print scarf and turquoise earrings.

Gap 1969 ankle zip jeans in Majorca Blue, buy them here

Gap jeans as above, scarf Oasis buy it here, grey T shirt French Connection UK, Cardigan and shoes by Next

Today was a fairly standard mummy day which involved coffee with friends this morning and an afternoon of baking for my little boy’s 3rd birthday party tomorrow. It seemed like a sensible day to stick to the basics. I promise I’ll pull something out of the bag for tomorrow; it is party time after all! 

Cupcake anyone?

Oh and thank you to my hubby for his title inspiration. Love your work xo

Thursday, 19 July 2012

London: My day in pictures

In two short weeks our amazing UK adventure comes to an end, so today I headed up to London for a last minute love-in with my favourite city in the world. 

My love affair with London began back in 2001 when I arrived in the capital as a naive and nervous 23 year old. Eleven years later, nowhere else has captured my heart in quite the same way. 

Here are some photos of my day;

Sequinned Ugg boots. Australia has a lot to answer for.

Who says cities can't be beautiful?


Look closely, they are London print clothes.. 

What an amazing shop, they have a 'Hall of Scarf's'!

Some people go to church, some people go to to Topshop

I shopped, I 'people watched', I ate and I may have even had a sneaky glass of wine. The ladies of London are certainly a stylish lot, my favourite look; a flowing maxi skirt teamed with a blazer. Given my extensive collection of both of these items, it's a look I may have to  try. Stay tuned!

So, tell me, where is your favourite place in the world?