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I WON'T WEAR SLUDGE BROWN

A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!

12.06.2017

Christmas Jumpers That Aren't Christmas Jumpers That You Can Wear At Christmas AKA Tasteful Festive Wear!

I hate Christmas jumpers. There, I said it. My kids made me wear one a couple of years ago, it was a Primark special with a picture of Father Christmas on the front. Vile it was. Never again. But give me a jumper with a nod towards the festive season and I'm all over it.

Here are my picks.

I have this first one from M&Co and love it. Let's just say as I type, it's hung over the bannister rail drying after it's third wash. Although not natural fibres, the knit is very tight so it's really warm. And there's a lot going on for the money. The chevron detail and pointed finish on the sleeve and the silver beadwork all make for a really classy sweater. They say it's cream, I'd describe it more as a winter white which is a very flattering colour for everyone.

Ribbed Stud Jumper was £35 now £28



12.04.2017

Blogmas Day 7: Techy and Teenage Gifts

I've bungled these two together because well, they go hand in hand really don't they? Like nuts and bolts, strawberries and cream, socks and shoes, or green eggs and ham. We rarely see one without the other.

This first item is something that I've featured before on Instagram, a laptop skin which is a great little gift for any newbie laptop owner this Christmas. Basically, it's a thick piece of vinyl that you simply stick on. A brilliant protective layer to the top of your computer. 

Mine was gifted back in August and it took me a good three weeks to pluck up the courage to stick it on. The last thing I wanted was for it to start peeling and leaving a sticky, gunky mess but the brand assured me neither would happen. So mine is the lighter marble design, three months down the line and it's stood the test of time. It's as good as the first day that I applied it. And speaking of which, it's dead easy to apply.

MacBook Skin by CaseApp




You can choose from one of the many designs that are online, customise your own or customise one of their designs. And their Instagram account is a huge source of inspiration, one of my favourites actually. Check out the mobile phone covers too. Now if you would like to buy one of these as a gift, I would suggest that you order a gift voucher so that the lucky recipient can design their own. They cost £21 including p&p and that will buy either a customised skin for many types of laptop and tablet or phone cover. 
12.03.2017

My 'Affordable' Winter Bag Collection (Christmas Gift To Yourself Ideas)

I hesitate to use the word 'affordable' because what is affordable to one person could be pin money to another and totally aspirational to someone else. What I really mean is that we're not talking stupid money. I am 51 and have yet to own a Chanel bag (I'm sure most women fall in to this category). Not for want of opportunity. Hubby took me in to Chanel last year and I couldn't bring myself to part with £4k for a piece of sodding leather. No matter how much I want one, I just can't get over the fact that it's....leather. There's no precious metal, no diamonds. It's 100% pure cow. Gosh I'm sure it's a good cow but still!!

Never say never though. I may well indulge one day but for now, I'm much happier to spend £200-£500. Anything over that constitutes birthday and Christmas presents. Thing is, fashion moves at such a quick pace these days and whereas just 10 years ago, you could buy a Mulberry Messenger and use it every day for years, now we're enticed in to upgrading to the next new thing every season.

So with that said, let's just retitle this post 'reasonably priced bags'. These are my five go-to winter bags with a bit of colour thrown in here and there mainly red, mustard and leopard print which are mainly high street purchases.


11.29.2017

Blogmas Day 6: Stocking Fillers & Secret Santa Gifts

We're half way there (happy dance, happy dance). I'm not going to lie, these blog posts are killing me. I'm waking up in the earlier hours with ideas, two nights ago it was posh drinking chocolate for the Cosy Things post. I mean seriously woman, GET A LIFE. My own Christmas shopping has come to a grinding halt because I can't feature anything on here that I'm thinking about getting for the kids as they'll see right through it. Anyway, keep the comments and messages coming through, they're spurring me on and you are a funny lot. I was in trouble this morning for laughing at an Insta message that someone had sent. Well it was 6.30am and the husband had been working late.

Today we're looking at stocking fillers and secret santa gifts. I refuse to partake in anything secret related ever again after two family members (yes, you husband and daughter) recycled a bicycle bell and rewrapped a half eaten box of chocolates one year.

So let's start with a baby gift. I want one. I want one. Not a baby you fool, a cute sippy cup! It will keep them entertained for hours.


Sophie La Girafe Sippy Cup (currently £8)





11.28.2017

Blogmas Day 5: Cosy Things

I was stood in Mint Velvet earlier admiring their lovely table at the front of the shop full of winter warmers and it really did feel like Christmas. Fluffy socks and winter jumpers, wild fig candles and hot water bottles. I didn't dare cross over to The White Company because we would have had a dangerous credit card situation on our hands. These shops are bloody good at making sure we part with our money aren't they?

Anyway, we all like a bit of cosiness in our lives at this time of year don't we? So here are my winter warmer picks. 

First up, pyjamas. Initially I was really disappointed when I looked at women's nightwear in Marks & Spencer yesterday. It all seemed LOUD and BRASH and very BUSY. Everything I hate about pyjamas but I did spot a couple of lovelies. 

You're going to need to be quick to bag these as there aren't many left online (although there were a few in my local store). I have pyjama-pyjamas and pretend pyjamas. So the first ones are ones that if you answer the door, the delivery man will say, yep she was in her 'jamas. And then there's the second kind which look more like loungewear that you sleep in. Are you still with me? These fall in to the second category.

Personally I'd size up for a slouchy fit. Fitted pjs don't really do it for me! 

Cotton Rich Long Sleeve Pyjamas £30




11.27.2017

Random Stuff In Marks & Spencer: Practical Bits, Brights & Wrinkly Boots

And once again I'm distracted from the Blogmas posts and we're only on Day 5. That will have to wait until tomorrow because I couldn't resist a scoot around M&S earlier. After all, it felt very Christmassy as I drove past, snowing and everything, it was. Well ok, it was more of the hail variety (as evidenced on my InstaStories) but you know what I mean. So with half an hour to spare, I zipped in, just for a look mind you.

(Click on the small images that display the price for links - sorry, it saves me so much time doing it this way but if you really hate it, let me know and I'll go back to written links).

First up is this quilted jacket. Sometimes needs must and practicality wins over style. I saw this online and honestly thought it was more pewter than khaki (they say sage so I should have believed the description). Anyway, it's a fab little jacket in real life and is also available in safe navy and a more outrageous raspberry. There are few sizes of the navy left online and I think they were a little lean in number in the shop as well but plenty of the other two colours.

Sometimes I need a practical jacket to throw on when I'm running errands or doing the school run (7 more months and I'm a free woman 😁 ). And when it's warmer, for walking the dog because my Barbour is falling to pieces. This one is water repellent although I'd read that as shower proof rather than rain proof. It isn't overly quilted which is a good thing. Padding is horrendously weight gaining isn't it? And I love the tan detailing.



11.26.2017

Blogmas Day 4: Useful Gifts

There's definitely a fine line between useful gifts and embarrassingly practical ones. I'm looking at you, brother and sister-in-law when you asked for towels the other Christmas. Not special ones, just towels. Lots of them. We won't be doing that again will we?

So here's a run down of gifts that I hope fall in to the useful and well received category.

Starting with a beautiful gifted item from Mimi & Thomas. Owner Janet told me about a new range of travel accessories that she was developing at the beginning of the year and I was delighted to receive a set a few weeks ago. Christmas has come early to the Sludge household 👍

Leather Travel Set £94 


Travel Set - Mimi & Thomas
Hat - Somerville Scarves
Ski Goggles - Trespass (old)

11.24.2017

Outfit Ideas For Those Christmas Family Days At Home

I've been asked more than once to pull a few outfits together to wear at home over the festive period. You know, when you have friends or family over and you want to look as if you've made an effort but need to be practical too. Actually that sums up my dress style 365 days of the year!

I guess the considerations that we need to keep in mind are:

1) Smartish
2) No dangly ties on the arms if you're cooking
3) Comfortable (of course): elasticated waists are good
4) Print is good as any spillages tend to be camouflaged
5) Easy to wear
6) Tunic styles and baggy tops are fab for hiding belly flab
7) Avoid heavy jumpers if it's a day at home - you'll melt!
8) Flattish shoes are great! I'm the silly bugger that wears heels and kicks them off after an hour

With this in mind, here are a few suggestions. Rather than link each item, you can access the links by clicking on the little icons. Sorry, I'm being a tardy blogger aren't I but it will save me heaps of time.


Outfit Number 1


A casual sweatshirt is taken to a whole new level when it's made out of velvet, team with your favourite black trousers or jeans (of course mine are the coated skinnies but I'm stuck in a time warp).  I'd size up in the top for a bit more slouch and bum coverage. And add a pop of colour with a pair of pink flatties.
11.23.2017

Blogmas Day 3: Twinkly Things

I'm a bit of a sucker for a new necklace or bracelet, are you? It doesn't have to be expensive, I'm not talking carats here so the kids know exactly how to win me over at Christmas. Three or four years ago I was happy to run in to Wallis and pick up a necklace to wear that evening, even Primark, but OMG is it just me or have they seriously not moved on at all? I had a look in Wallis the other day and the jewellery carousel was lacking in the inspiration department. Lack lustre indeed. And they used to be so good too.

Anyway, that doesn't matter because there are some lovely brands out there these days. One I discovered recently is Lily King, when Lily the owner sent me the beautiful Initial Disc Necklace (here's the original post). It's so delicate and feminine and I wear it at least half of the week. And very kindly, I've also been sent the Tiny Star Necklace which got me thinking that it would make a lovely gift for any age of female. My 13 year old self would have been delighted to have received such a special gift and I know that my mum would have been equally thrilled.


Tiny Star Necklace £20




11.21.2017

Come & Try On Some Festive Outfits With Me

Festive wear. Hmmmm not my favourite kind of clothes. Give me a blazer and a pair of trousers any day. But I've promised my children that I will enter in to the spirit of Christmas this year so of course new outfits are required. I did a bit of a smash and grab in Marks & Spencer last week so I thought I'd put a quick post together in case you're in the market for a bit of festive cheer too.

I took these photos at home but they're not overly styled, hair and make-up is 'as was', no spanks or fake tan blah blah blah. Just a  proper trying on session.

1. The Budget Option Outfit


Red Top - Marks & Spencer
Black Coated Leggings - Next
Leopard Print Heels - River Island (similar)
Small Lottie Bag - Aspinal of London
Double Halo Necklace - Claudia Bradby

11.20.2017

Blogmas Day 2: Christmas Gift Ideas - Joint & Family Gifts

Sometimes a joint or family gift is more appropriate. A small budget goes much further if you buy one present for several people and it also gets over the hurdle of what to buy for the more difficult people. I love receiving joint presents, and these days, it doesn't have to be a toaster or trio of tea towels although I (sorry, we) could do with both of these.

Last year our daughter bought my husband and I a super cute picture from one of the Christmas markets that she visited, something similar to this:

Personalised Family Print £19.99



personalised photo print


11.19.2017

Blogmas Day 1: Christmas Gift Ideas - Monogramming & Personalisation


So something a little bit different from me this year. I thought I'd do 12 days of Blogmas. Is that even a thing? I mean, I've heard of Vlogmas but Blogmas??? Anyway, over the next 12 days or so I'm going to bring you lots of alternative inspiration (well I hope you'll think so). I don't want to list gift ideas for the sake of it, we're inundated with these from bloomin October. No, this Blogmas will be stuffed with alternative ideas.

And we're kicking off with personalisation. Who doesn't love a bit of themselves on themselves. You know, a cuff embroidered with your initials, that sort of thing. Errrrrr that'll be the husband. He hates stuff like this. Me? I love it.




Cosy Wear Poncho


First up is this 100% cashmere wrap Poncho from lovely friends of the blog, Mimi & Thomas. I have a navy and white stripe poncho from last year which I love and use it in the middle of winter as an extra layer over my coat or even as a scarf. That's the beauty of cashmere, it's thin enough to layer without adding pounds to your frame but is toasty warm. Anyway, check out this gorgeous red Poncho that can now be personalised with up to 3 initials. How cool is that?





11.16.2017

How To Introduce Pink Into The Bedroom Decor Without Your Husband Noticing

Yep, that was a true Google search that I threw into the laptop the other day. It wasn't particularly helpful if I'm honest. There are over 5 million results but 4,999,999 had homed in on pink and bedroom so lots of fluffy stuff and little girls' rooms which isn't going to cut it with the husband. At all.

Anyway, as I was pondering the problem, up popped an email asking if I would like to review a pair of Morland slippers. "If they have pink ones, I'll do it" I thought. I mean that's genius isn't it, a pair of pink slippers at the bottom of the bed, he can't moan about that! And well, it was meant to be because they do have pink slippers. A match made in bedroom heaven.

It all started a few weeks before when I decided to change the colour of the room. Previously it was all dark and moody, a bit Dawn Ward style (Google her, you'll know what I mean) and it was driving me bonkers. Luckily, I'd got the decorator booked in to do some work so told him to banish the brown. The feature wallpaper came off, it had bugged me from Day 1 because the seam edges were visible. And over the years, I've seen this wallpaper in a posh loo in London (nice), Ms Ward's house on the telly and even Katie Price's hallway (oh the shame of having the same wallpaper). And you can see the seams in every one of these rooms. So I guess that must be the style. I still hated it!

We painted the whole room in Farrow & Ball's Ammonite which looks nothing like the colour swatch online. The description is bizarrely far more accurate, 'neither too warm or too cold, it's subtle grey tones...'. It looks quite yellowy online. It's not. Our headboard is a hessian colour so I didn't want a really cool grey as it would have looked odd. I guess this photo is the most true to colour.

pink and grey bedroom


11.12.2017

Reconnecting With An Old Colleague & An Introduction To ColourMeBeautiful@Home

Did you know that I trained as a colour and style consultant with Colour Me Beautiful? We're talking many moons ago, must be getting on for 10 years now. And even though I have no affiliation with the company anymore, I still truly believe that their analysis system is the best. For one, they ditched the seasons a long time ago and replaced them with tonal analysis which offers a far more flexible and personal palette for each and every client.

having your colours done


11.06.2017

Shearling Biker Jackets To Suit Every Pocket

Let's face it, these days, you don't need to be a football manager to wear shearling. Those awful brown overcoats they wore back in the day of Brian Clough & Co. Grubby, nicotine stained sacks...and that's a generous description. Thank the Lord we've moved on and shearling is now regarded as perfectly acceptable attire.

I've had my shearling aviator jacket for over twenty years now. It comes out every winter season and is always gratefully received. Ok, yes it was an investment and I gulped a few times as I handed over my credit card. Did we even have credit cards back then? May be it was a cheque but then the guarantee card wouldn't have been enough to cover it. Must have been a credit card. Have I regretted spending that much money on one item? Have I heckers. It's been a great investment and still has another twenty years in it.

11.01.2017

Navy Alert - It's That Teddy Coat Again And It's Now Available in Blue

That sinking feeling when you've bought something and it's then introduced in a different colour 😭

Do you remember this gorgeous teddy coat that I picked up a few weeks ago? I'm sure many of you do because lots of us bought it.


faux fur cream coat black coated leggings
Faux Fur Borg Coat - Next
Bag - Fiorelli
Coated Leggings - Next
Toga Pulla Boots - Toga

10.30.2017

Twelve Bags Under £50 To Update Your Autumn/Winter 17 Look

I love a bag to charge up an outfit. A simple pair of black trousers and white shirt suddenly becomes very interesting when you add an electric blue velvet handbag. It's one of my tried and tested methods to at least stay a little bit current as I explore a more classic wardrobe.

And you know what, they don't have to cost the earth. In fact, I would say to anyone to stop and think before shelling out in excess of £1k for the Pink Velvet Gucci GG Marmont and yes I have some one in mind as I write this. OK, I admit, it's a head turner and yes I'm sure it will work with so many outfits this season but PINK VELVET does not have longevity @ashleighjadeex - you'll be dumping it in the back of the cupboard come Spring! Far better to spend your money on something a little less errrrr in-your-face handbag surely? There are so many options on the high street so let's go explore...

Starting with leather and top end of our £50 budget. I'm already in love and we haven't even got past first base. Winter white and tan - oh my! An updated satchel but very chic and very wearable for a day time option. It kind of worries me that Mango describe it as khaki. Either they have gone completely bonkers colour blind or, there's a weird filter on the camera! An outfit as simple as a pair of jeans, black ankle boots and white shirt suddenly looks a little bit more put together and special with the addition of this bag. It's going to work for a long time in your wardrobe too.


tan bag with winter whitte
Flap Leather Bag £49.99 - Mango


If you're a colour phobe and prefer neutrals, a good way to add interest to your wardrobe is through the use of animal print. It's also a great way of disguising the fact that your bag isn't leather. Don't worry about mixing it with black either, in fact, it will look just grand against a black jacket.

snakeskin bag
Textured Bag £17.99 - Mango

And who the bloomin hell would care that you're wearing last years little black dress if you turned up with this little number. Snakeskin and beads!!!!

snakeskin bag with beads
Snakeskin Effect Bag £35.99 - Mango


snakeskin bag with beads


For goodness sake, I didn't need a light blue velvet quilted bag in my life. Now I do! For £19.99, this is simply stunning. It shows a woman who is very comfortable in her own skin when she wears a whole black outfit and adds something as simple as this bag. Love the silver hardware and I couldn't resist adding a photo of the inside which looks so much more than it's price tag.

pale blue velvet bag with chain
Blue Velvet Quilted Bag £19.99 - Mango
pale blue velvet bag with chain


Here you are, here's a pink velvet quilted bag that's £1044.01 cheaper than the GG Marmont. Wear it, enjoy it and don't feel guilty about ditching it at the end of the season.

pink velvet quilted bag
Velvet Bag £35.99 - Mango

I give up with this colour malarky. This next one is supposed to be rust. I was trying to work out whether it was pink or red before looking at the description. RUST??? Whatever. It's a lovely bag and very much on trend and again would work so well with lots of neutrals; black, navy, charcoal, winter white...

half moon shape cross body bag
Half Moon Cross Body Bag £28 - Top Shop

I think you either love little bags or you hate them. Depends how much you carry in them I guess? Me? I choose the bag first and worry about the contents afterwards. So I'd probably forsake my purse and just throw in a lipstick, credit card, a bit of money and my phone. Practicality really doesn't mean much to me when we're talking bags. Especially this one, soooooo cute.

miniature red bag cross body
Rom Hex Hardware Cross Body Bag £18 - Top Shop


miniature red bag cross body


Of course you don't need to go full on colour for impact. Detail is just as important. This next one reminds me a little of Balmain. And it's leather too!


black leather cross body bag similar to Balmain
Lexi Leather Cross Body Bag £36 - Top Shop

Or this one which is a lovely shape and very practical.

black studded cross body bag
Black Studded Bag Now £22.40 - Accessorize

But if you need to go large, go bold. Mustard is a brilliant colour for livening up any old outfit and it's surprisingly versatile too. Wear it with all of your browns (not sludge), navy, grey, and even burgundy. This one is bigger than it looks!


mustard handbag
Faux Leather Shoulder Bag £39.50 - Marks & Spencer

Navy is always a great colour. I have a Coach bag that I probably use more than any other in my wardrobe. This is a great price for a Modalu (30% saving). It's unusual to see silver hardware with navy too.

navy blue pippa grab bag
Pippa Chain Cross Body £48.30 - Modalu



Don't forget the Mango Outlet site as well. Sometimes they have some great stuff on there. This unusual tan bag is now less than £50.

tan suede bag
Tan Leather Bag £45.99 - Mango Outlet

Gosh, is that our twelve bags? We got down here quickly! A few photos of how I use my own bags to finish off outfits.

updating your autumn winter look with bags


So have you seen any nice high street bags this season? And do you stick to the same one or change every day? I'm in the latter camp!




10.27.2017

Under Armour a.k.a. Keeping Out The Chill

We're a mere stones throw away from November and normally by now, I'm layering as if there's a full on expedition to the North Pole. These last few weeks in Cheshire have been unseasonally warm, even today my car showed a temperature of 11.5 degrees but that sunshine meant hubby and I could sit outside our favourite little cafe in Alderley Edge drinking tea and quaffing eggs Benedict. I am however, under no illusions that this weather is here to stay and am preparing base, mid and outer layers as I type. Nesh moi? 

For me the most important piece of kit is the vest. I know, I know, that's a total revelation. I wear these in black, pink and white (sadly nude has been discontinued but pink works quite well against my skin tone).  Nice to see that the range has increased and the vests are available in light blue, cranberry and forest green too. They're cheap and look pretty.


Vest - Marks & Spencer

I probably wear a vest (oh the shame when you say it like that) nine months of the year, not just for warmth but because they look better under sheer tops.  The v-neck is sufficiently low enough so it doesn't show. M&S have their usual offer on these, buy one, get one half price so stock up now while they have most sizes. It works out at £9 for two. On point with my maths tonight. 

If you prefer a vest without lace, these are also good although you lose the v-neck but gain a nude (they call it almond, it's nude). 



Vest - Marks & Spencer

Again buy one, get one half price (£7.50 for 2).

Now I might be wrong here but I think this one is a new addition. I can't remember seeing it last year. Don't go getting too excited though as it's only 8% cashmere but the fact that it's mainly modal makes me want to try it. Also available in pale rose.






I haven't tried this next one at all but it has a low front and back which could be useful under certain tops. Also available in random colours; sea green and charcoal grey. 



Vest - La Redoute

Cotton vests can sometimes cling to the outer layer in an unflattering way so I always have a stash of silky vests. Well I say silky, they're not the real deal because hand washing vests  would be far to labour intensive.. As if!!! No, I mean the polyester versions. **Tip** When you're throwing away old sheer tops that come with silky layering vests, keep the vests as they'll still be as good as new. Have a rummage in your wardrobe before you buy! 


And then we move on to REALLY cold weather so it's long sleeve under layers all the way. Honestly, I wouldn't pay lots of money for these (Primark do a good line for a few pounds each). Let's face it, they're going under jumpers so the only person that will see them is you first thing in the morning. 

I bought this (or very similar) last year. The scoop neck works really well and never shows. It doesn't cling (god, I hate cling) but isn't bulky under knits. 


Top - ASOS

Or this one in navy. The higher neck line would work well under chunky polo necks. 



T-Shirt - New Look via ASOS

Or pink


(why do these girls never stand in the middle of the picture?)

T-Shirt - New Look via ASOS

Or a pack of two scoop neck.



Two Pack Long Sleeve Top - ASOS

And then we get to the proper bad boys, thermals. These are the best ones I've found, purely because they aren't too thick (and they're pretty!). Mine are more of a rounded neck but I love the v-neck this year. Thing is, we spend so much time bungled up that a lot of clothes are neglected. I can just about get away with a thermal top underneath a shirt and then throw on a coat. Which means that I get a lot more wear out of lighter tops. Also available in black.



Thermal Top - Marks & Spencer

Three quarter sleeves are also a great option as it means that you can still cuff your cuffs without flashing your thermals.


Thermal Top - Marks & Spencer

Or thermals as outerwear. I mean, no one need ever know.


Thermal Roll Neck - Marks & Spencer

And a body version is now available. Great for wearing under dresses or skirts. 





I can't work out whether this is genius or completely barking mad. There's not much thermal 'coverage' but actually under a little blazer, it would work a treat and at least your belly would be warm on nights out.


Thermal Top - Marks & Spencer

Short sleeve version available too. It's actually really sweet.

Thermal Top - Marks & Spencer

I'm a bit out of love with thermal bottoms because they add too much bulk and oh boy, have you tried wearing skinnies with a thick layer underneath 😕  but I have to admit, this set looks fab. Of course in my head, I'll look like this....


Thermal Top & Leggings - Marks & Spencer

I'm going to try my Scholl Light Leg tights because they're so comfortable. You may recall that I did some work for Scholl recently and I was so impressed with the tights that I've been chucking a pair in to my basket every time I pop to the supermarket. I've only tried the 60 denier but they are so comfortable, no digging at the waistband, the gusset stays up and they keep their shape. I think they'll work really well under the coated leggings from Next because I'm not going to lie, they're not the warmest things in the world. 



Light Leg Tights - Scholl via Tesco

Of course you could forget all about layering and go au natural....



I'll leave that thought with you. Have a good weekend.