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!


A Blogger's Fest At Gemini

Dear Donna

Please come to our shop and play dress up for the day. We will make you look pretty.

Love from 

Gemini xx

Obviously much more professionally worded than that but oh yes, I'm good at reading people's minds  and I knew exactly what those people at Gemini wanted.......basically for me to run havoc through the shop, stroking and touching, cooing and caressing and trying on anything that took my fancy.  Errmmmm yes please!

For those of you who don't know, Gemini is a ladies clothing retailer based in Stratford-upon-Avon stocking brands such as Sandwich, French Connection and Great Plains. But fear not (for I think you may after seeing some of the items below, want to check them out for yourselves), if you aren't in travelling distance, Gemini has an excellent online presence here.

So, off I trotted to Gemini along with my blogging pal, Fiona over at Avenue 57 for a day of pure indulgence. I told the husband it was work, very hard work. Mwahahahahaha.

We were greeted by Elizabeth and Holly who whisked us off to Space NK and Matthew Curtis  for hair and make-up to humanise us after an early start.

And then it was back to the shop. Now imagine a wine connoisseur being given the run of St Emilion vineyards wine cellar or a teccy allowed to run the corridors of Apple Inc headquarters....do you get my drift? Well that was us yesterday. The girls had pulled out a selection of party clothes for us to try along with the most amazing footwear. I loved everything!

Check out those burgundy boots.

So more to follow about the actual outfits that we chose and professional shots next time. Here is a selection of behind the scenes shots.

And a taster of what I tried on

Great Plains Mariinsky Embellished Dress

Unisa Shoe Black Suede Ankle Boot

Great Plains Treasure Hunt Sequinned Top

Great Plains Sequin Drop Knit Top

French Connection Imperial Wool Coat

I'll do a proper show and tell next time suffice to say that I loved everything. There were even one or two surprises - ankle boots, bare legs and a mini(ish) faux leather skirt combo and a discovery of a brand that is my new obsession - INWEAR.

By the end of the day, we had tried on and photographed more outfits than I can remember and even had chance to chat to the owner, Claire who is absolutely delightful. Her passion for the business is as strong now as it was almost 30 years ago.

We finished off with a gorgeous champagne cream tea at a local eatery and a fabulous Gemini goodie bag.  Cheers Fiona and thank you everyone at Gemini for an incredible day.

Gemini by day and night and a Christmas scene on my way back to the railway station

If you're not too far away from Stratford-upon-Avon, the shop is well worth visiting, it's an absolute treasure trove of beautiful clothes and I witnessed several very happy customers being given the full-on shopping experience. It appears that VIP treatment isn't just reserved for us bloggers, it's the norm at Gemini!

The website is also well worth a browse as Claire and her team work really hard to ensure that the brands they stock appeal to the clothes conscious 40 something woman - me actually!

I'll be back soon with some much better photographs of the outfits.

Have a great weekend.

Donna x


How Do You Wear Your Oversized Scarves?

It was a scarf kind of day today which came as a bit of a shock. Well given that I didn't venture out of the house yesterday at all and, Saturday was mild to say the least, I was ill prepared which sent me dashing back into the house for a scarf. The biggest scarf I could find. I guess you would class it as an oversized little number wouldn't you.

It was from Numph (there's an umlaut over the u but I don't know how to do it on the keyboard) about 12 months ago. Sadly no longer available because it really is a wonderful thing. The colours lend themselves to many different neutrals; black, charcoal, brown to name but a few.

Here I am having a rare dressed down day, flat boots and everything, wearing my Numph (with an umlaut over the u). I think oversized scarves works best if you hook at the front of your neck and do the twist at the back - it kind of helps me look a little less of a pinhead.

Jeans Here Denim Shirt Similar Jumper Similar (bargain) Boots Similar 

So what else is out there at the moment in the oversized department? I'm not going to touch the plaid scarves as they've been done to death and quite frankly I'm a bit bored of them. I bought one way back in September, wore it once, saw 2 girls in the same design and promptly gave it to the daughter who loves it. She is so less fickle than I.

ASOS Oversized Leopard Scarf £20

For ladies who love black and leopard print, this is the scarf for you. It's actually black on pale grey and the fabric is described as a light knit. Looks more like a linen blend to me. Can't say I'm wild about the coat that it's layered over but I really do love this.

ASOS Oversized Grid Check Open Weave Square Scarf £18

Wow, this is huge! It's grey with a white GRID CHECK not plaid so I can slip this one in. I'm wondering if the grey has a slight green hue to it looking at this picture which would make it even more lovely. Now this one is a square so a little bit more difficult to wear as there's more fabric around the back of the neck.

ASOS Oversized Open Weave Square Scarf in Tobacco £16

Warm skin ladies and red head alert! This would look sensational against your skin tone and how fab with the leopard print jacket too. I'm really drawn to texture and this is just the most gorgeous weave.

Zara Double Layered Scarf in Mid-Camel £19.99

One for our fairer skins so ladies with blonde or mousey hair would look fabulous in this camel one from Zara. Love the tasselled ends. If you have a more dramatic look i.e. dark hair you can still do this but layer with a dark colour underneath as in the photo. Grey haired ladies and those with a cool skin tone, I'd probably say go for the blue version of this.

Zara Wraparound Striped Scarf in beige £19.99

Ditto above but fear not as it also comes in khaki if you need that extra depth.

Urban Outfitters Chunk Fair Isle Scarf in Ivory £40

Seriously good and when you're bored with wearing it as a scarf, make a dress!!

Urban Outfitters Blanket Scarf in Blue £28

Something a little more colourful is this blue one again from Urban Outfitters. I'd quite happily receive this from Santa on Christmas Day.

Monsoon Inca Blanket Scarf £19

As if we wear our scarves like this? Because we don't move our shoulders at all so the flick over the arm will stay in place. Right? I know really they're only trying to show us the pattern which is really rather nice and would make any boring outfit a little bit special.

Gap Wide Rugby Stripe Scarf £29.95

And don't forget to look in the men's section. This is a wide one, probably not as long but would still work.

Gap Chunky Fair Isle Scarf £29.95

Fish out an old cream jumper, add this scarf to give it a whole new lease of life. I like the fresh, crisp pattern on this one - it feels very festive!

Gap Holiday Wide Stripe Scarf £29.95

Hedging your bets with this one, there's probably every colour you could think of.

I do think there's something about a chunky scarf tied around the neck as oppose to left dangling. It looks slightly....trendier....is that a word I can still use? Mind you, there is a lot to be said about leaving a scarf long, it really helps elongate the body resulting in a taller and slimmer silhouette. So how do you wear yours? Do you have any tricks or tips you can share with us. Do tell...

And with Christmas galloping towards us at break-neck speed, I'm thinking what a nice little stocking filler for meeeee.

Speaking of Christmas, has anyone put their tree up yet? The husband mentioned it on Saturday and was met with a filthy look. He didn't suggest it again.

Donna x


Warehouse Woolies

Radio silence from me - I'm sorry. Life gets in the way sometimes. We're having work done to the house and I'm juggling builders and flooring people and decorators. How difficult is it to find a plasterer these days? Oh and don't get me started on light fittings. Evil things they are. Too dangly and I fear the husband will smack his head, recessed means pulling up the bathroom floor and those chrome twirly whirly spotlight things that resemble Sputnik. I cannot/ do not want to look at another light fitting EVER.

Anyway, all being well we will have both of our living rooms just about ready for Christmas although soft furnishings will have to wait until the New Year because I'm exhausted when it comes to housey things.

I was suppose to be shopping for rugs today when I found myself in Warehouse (as you do!). I only had a few minutes to browse but it was enough to notice a few nice pieces of knitwear.

This is a real contender for an alternative Christmas jumper and of course can be worn afterwards too. It's described as red online. Hmmmm looks more burgundy to me.

Red Jewel Trim Woven Front Jumper £38

It also comes in green, cream and pink. I'm preferring this one actually. Great with pleather leggings and heels on Christmas Eve for a dressed up look and then on boxing day with jeans and skater shoes (if that's your thing). I like the fact that the neck is quite wide which gives it a more feminine touch than one that is high cut. It also helps ladies with fair or mousey hair as it sits further away from the face so isn't so harsh on the skin. A dipped hem at the back (you can't see it on this picture) covers the bum - tick. And it's not clingy so more Christmas pudding for me - tick. Very tempted indeed.

Generally I'm more of a deeper grey kind of girl, more charcoal than marl but I'd make an exception for this one which is definitely middle-of-the-road grey. A slightly more masculine shape than the one above but given a pretty edge with the addition of lace.

Grey Layered V-Neck Jumper £42

Nothing says Christmas at all to me with this one which isn't a bad thing. I love the over-sized sleeves  and wide v-neck. Now if I were a skirt kind of girl, I'd be teaming this with the gorgeous burgundy leather skirt that I saw in M&S recently. Most colour palettes could wear this although I think a Warm (red heads and golden skin tones) might struggle as the colour may possibly look very flat against your skin.

Full on Christmas jumper this next one. It's called the grey kissing reindeer jumper - how cute is that! I'd buy it just because of the name. I wouldn't really, I mean I'm not that gullible....am I?

Grey Kissing Reindeer Jumper £38

To be honest, it doesn't scream Christmas jumper does it. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that you could safely wear it over the winter months without looking too much like a divvy.

I'm including the next one, not because I like it (although I don't dislike it either) but it reminded me of the Markus Lupfer Reindeer sequin jumper which is gulp £295

Grey Sequin Robin Jumper £42

And the Markus Lupfer Reindeer Sequin Jumper £295

Ok, so different animals, different colours but you know what I mean. So which came first the robin or the reindeer?

Oooh I love this...

Black 60s Bead Neck Jumper £40

The length seems to be spot on, the neck just at the right cut off and the added embellishment makes it that little bit more special (I bet my last dollar it's itchy though). I think I need to try it on. I'm not great with high necks at all BUT for some reason, black polo necks work, that is as long as I tie my hair back. So, I'm going against my style rules i.e. no high necks and my colour rules i.e. black isn't the best colour for me. Sod it, I'm going to try it. You might want to do the same!! Black skirt and heels, cigarette pants and loafers. I've come over all Audrey Hepburn.

Something a little more uplifting in yellow.

Yellow Textured Sleeve Jumper £36

The textured sleeves give it that little bit more interest. Sadly the smaller sizes are sold out online in this colour but still available in a marl grey here. Personally, I prefer the yellow. Most palettes can wear this unless you are very cool or sallow skinned. It won't do you any favours at all. Similarly ladies with grey hair.

I can't actually decide whether I like this one or not. I think the fact that it's described as a hairy pom pom puts me off.

Pink Hairy Pom Pom Jumper £38

I do like the colour, it's such a soft pattern (perfect for Light & Soft palettes) and I think if I were to try it on in a large size to fit slouchy it would be a perfect snuggle jumper for when it snows. Because it is going to snow this year you know.

So, just a few jumpers from Warehouse. I was a tad disappointed that I didn't find a chunky knit that took my fancy though. But there was so much more that I would have liked to have had a look at. It's one of those shops that I don't go in very often but am always pleasantly surprised.

I've been very neglectful with my photos - it's really embarrasing when there are workmen around! Here's a picture from the other day san-workmen.

The grey jeans from Tesco are still wonderful. Worn with an old Mint Velvet layering tee (I think that's what they used to call them). MV still has something quite similar here and I'd highly recommend. Gap oversized scarf (love, love, love this similar one from ASOS here), vintage fur gilet which you can just about see, Next ankle boots (similar here) and Fiorelli bag (not sure about the free scarf but this bag is nice here).

Are there any shops that aren't necessarily on your radar but you enjoy visiting now and again? Monsoon is another one for me as is Ted Baker.

I may have bought new boots today. When it stops raining I'll nip out to my car to get them. So exciting.

Have a good weekend.

Donna x


Versatile Dresses AKA Getting Your Money's Worth

Continuing on the dress theme from yesterday, I'm always on the hunt for clothes that work hard in my wardrobe. Sometimes I slip up and buy something that needs other purchases, a bag, shoes, jacket but on the whole I really do try hard to create a couple of outfits in my mind from stuff that I already have before going to the cash till.

So here are two dresses that have caught my attention.

The first is from Marks & Spencer, called the Torn Paper Print Tunic Dress and for £39.50 is a bit of a bargain.

Dressed Up

M&S Torn Paper Print Dress - dressed up

Earrings: New Look
Bag: John Lewis
Shoes: Next
Watch: Goldsmiths
Nb. There's a buy one get one free offer on selected jewellery at New Look at the moment here

For me this dress looks far more expensive than it really is and the colours and pattern will distract from any midriff issues. A big tick for Christmas Day then. It's one of those dresses that you could have in your wardrobe (and more importantly wear) year after year after year.

Dressed Down

M&S Torn Paper Print Dress - dressed up

And it works equally well with a more casual boot and biker jacket. Note the point on the boots bring the look bang up to date.  I love mixing black, brown and tan together, something I wouldn't have done a few years ago. If you're anything like me then you'll probably have most of these elements in your wardrobe. I really do need this dress in my life.

The second dress that I'm really liking at the moment is the Wallis Floral Print Shift Dress reduced from £65 to £32.50

Dressed Up

Wallis Floral Print Shift Dress - dressed up

Cuff: Harrods (Sorry! Put it on your Christmas list)
Clutch: John Lewis
Boots: H&M
Necklace: New Look (another buy one get one free offer)

Again, a really comfortable dress (loose waists are always a winner). And yet another dress that looks much more expensive than the sale price of £32.50. In fact both dresses are very much DVF inspired if you ask me. Of course this is an all year round dress, swap the boots for a pair of heeled sandals and that's one evening sorted for your holiday.

Dressed Down

Wallis Floral Print Shirt Dress - dressed down

Scarf: Marks & Spencer
Denim Jacket: Top Shop
Boots: Cloggs
Bag: Debenhams (same bag styled with M&S dress - recycling!!)

So, it's going to be all about layering in winter, I'm not going to fool anyone - this is a flimsy dress. Thermals, thick tights or leggings, scarf...the lot. You could swap the denim jacket for a navy over sized reefer coat (or both) or even wear a fur gilet over the top of the jacket. Another dress I need in my life!

The shops are awash with Christmas dresses. I very rarely partake in the sparkle numbers, preferring to find something that can be worn a little more often. I really do wish that I could write a blog post without falling in love with EVERYTHING. I need both of these dresses but sadly I've spent more than I should this month already (it doesn't help spending a fortune on an anorak - I'll save that for another day).

Do you dress up and dress down your outfits to make them more versatile. Any tips for me? As always, I love hearing from you.

Donna x


Layering Up, Winter Is Coming

I've been on the hunt for a couple of winter dresses to replace my old ones. Mind you, I dragged one out of the wardrobe this morning and it didn't seem half bad. I'm sure the debobbling fairy has been (or my eyesight is getting worse).

I'm a bit of a wuss where the weather is concerned and hate being cold so I layer all my dresses with a long sleeve thermal and tights. No one knows, no one cares. It does mean that the actual dress needs to be on the loose side though as I end up looking like an over stuffed sausage.

I've been stalking the Iris dress from Hush for a while now after seeing this image.

Irish Shirt Dress £79

Not strictly a winter dress but hey, the model is even showing her layering under-garment. Worn like this with a jacket and I'd be as happy as Larry. Except that I wasn't banking on this...

As soon as I opened it, I realised it's the same dress that I ordered last Christmas in a shell pink. Oh the creases, they would drive me nuts. Look, I'm sure a good iron would sort it out but for me, it's in the standing up category of dresses. No driving, no sitting for fear of creasing it. I can think of 3 occasions a year that I would wear it where driving and sitting are not involved. Don't let me put you off though, it really is a lovely dress and it broke my heart to return it. It also comes in a chocolate brown not dissimilar to my Zara one which I love to bits.

I faired better with the Rosie dress which is a perfect combination of damson and navy.

Rosie Dress £65

As you would expect, it's lovely quality. My problem area is around my tummy so anything with pleating in this area is a no-no. However, the fact that it's a mock skirt means there's no waistband so it actually starts a little further down - there's no extra bulky fabric around the middle. Genius!

Here I've teamed it with my Gerry Weber jacket from Gray & Osborn, Midnight Ash Jalouse boots and an old ox-blood Karen Millen bag.

This one's a keeper!

I also spotted a knitted dress in Mango which seemed to be the perfect shape.

Ribbed Sleeve Dress (now a bargainous £12.99)

I love the length, the open neckline and the ribbing on the arms which gives it a slightly more luxurious feel.

Worn with a Per Una faux fur gilet, Next ankle boots, brown Falke tights (here)  and tan shopper. I think the beige will work equally well with navy, grey, black, green...the options are endless. Alas for this price, I'm not sure that the durability will be endless as well.

I also ordered it in the dark grey

Which is a keeper. Charcoal (or dark grey) is a great alternative to black and is a little kinder on the skin. I haven't decided how to style this one yet but I'm sure I can think of some many combinations.

And finally, the forest green which is such a fantastic colour. I love it so much. It's actually in the Soft palette and I don't have anything in this shade at all.

Now tell me, does the green look shorter than the other two? No? Well why is it 2.5 inches shorter on me. A quality control issue me thinks. It was more of a long jumper so sadly it's gone back. I'm not in the market for jumpers this month. If green isn't your thing then the dress is also available in black and vigore red assuming that is they're as long as the first two.

I ordered the Varsity sweatshirt at the same time as the dresses but didn't bother trying it on when I saw what was printed on the back.

Why do Mango do this? It kind of ruined it for me. Anyway, if you don't mind advertising the company, here is the sweatshirt.

And if you look closely, you can see the logo on the back. Obviously I didn't look closely enough.

So, I'm quite happy with my Rosie Dress and the two from Mango. They will give me lots of options in my wardrobe as oppose to wearing skinny jeans everyday.

Are you a dress girl in winter or do you keep them strictly for the summer months?

Donna x

Faux Fur Pom Pom Steal (Try Saying That Quickly)

You may have noticed the Jigsaw faux fur pom pom that some of my fellow bloggers have mentioned over the last few weeks. Susie So So and Eve from All Worn Out to name but two but I'm sure there are more. Sadly the three colour ways are all now out of stock.

However, browsing t'internet over the weekend, I spotted these in grey, black, blue and pink.

River Island Faux Fur Pom Pom £6

Ha ha I thought, a perfect stocking filler for the daughter (and a sneaky one for me). And then blow me down, she said yesterday, 'oooh look at these Mum, I think I'll pop into River Island to get one'. Bang goes that idea then!

They might be a little small for your handbag (I haven't seen them in person) but total fun for your keyring. I wouldn't hang around though for that price. The link is here if you want to order online.
So darling, if you pop into River Island this week, I like the grey one!

Love Mum xx