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!


My Christmas In Pictures

The days, nay weeks have fuzzed into one and I can't quite believe we're already knocking on the door of 2015. And so, as I begin my annual campaign of badgering the family to take the trees down before the 6th January, I've taken time out to look back over the last few weeks. And as usual, I realise that the camera didn't come out once and my offerings on the iPhone are limited!

I got to wear my new coat on a Christmas trip to London and Oxford. Oh boy was it cold on that open top bus tour (who actually does an open top bus tour in December?).

The dog wanted to be in on ALL the action, including my new sparkle jumper shot taken 20 seconds before we went out to meet friends.

The final workmen departed and we lit our first fire in the new super sized wood burner.

One of the trees went up. My Nordic one - nothing remotely shiny allowed!

We met family at The Belfry in Warwickshire (half way meeting point) for our annual Christmas lunch where we actually realised that for the first time, the 19 year old and 13 year old are the same height.

I wore my Joe Browns dress for the first time for a party at Tatton Park in Cheshire.

The dog practiced being a turkey.

More family times with our Christmas jumper party (except I didn't wear one - I was punished on Christmas day and made to wear a vile Primark creation - no photos please)

Which ended in chaos as usual.

As chairman of our town's football club, the husband recorded a festive message (there were several many outtakes). And you really don't want to see what he's wearing on his legs - lets just say he came straight from the gym and leave it there. (Link here if you're interested)

Santa hides the presents well in our house, my bathroom! 

Off to bed we went leaving small offerings for the big man. Sadly we didn't think Rudolph would appreciate prepared carrot batons (whoops, I forgot).

And so came Christmas morning. This was necessary to stop the daughter from sneaking in when she arrived home in the early hours.

Even Mr Bojangles got some presses

Not that he's an attention seeker or anything. He sat right on top of Frustration.

The daughter set the table but apparently my napkins are too floppy.

And my mum wearing festive red selected our lunchtime champagne (with gold bits).

Too much Harry Potter me thinks!

And so on Boxing Day we went to the football. I'm suppose to look at least half respectable. Sod that, warmth was the order of the day.

And then the fun really started. At the end of the match, the rain had turned to sleet and knowing how bad it is going over the tops of the Peak District, we knew if we were to get to my mum-in-laws, we needed to set off NOW. So quick dash home for the dog and off we went. As we drove higher into the hills on the road fondly known as The Cat And Fiddle (also known as the most dangerous road in England, I kid you not. Google it if you don't believe me), it got worse and worse.

Not too bad here

Fallen trees in the middle of the road don't help.

It was going so well, our car performed very impressively slaloming around abandoned vehicles until we hit gridlock about 20 minutes from our destination. Forty cars scattered on a hill. We weren't going anywhere so the engine was turned off. And after 5 minutes the windscreen was covered in thick snow.

It's ok piped up the daughter, I've got an emergency kit...a spade? Nope. A blanket? Nope.

Erm thanks Ash.

Lucky for some, we had all come to a halt right outside a Travelodge. I was determined not to use their overnight facilities. Well, I had a wee but that was it.

Angels appeared in the guise of Land Rovers who I can only assume are local people and started towing cars up the hill. And so we were off once again, it took us about 8 attempts to get up the hill but we did it!!!! And then it was a pleasant ride to our ultimate destination which looked so pretty. Mind you it took us over 4 hours (normally it's a 75 minute ride).

And then the photos dried up (phew I hear you say) but we went on to Bristol to watch the football, stayed in Wiltshire with family and came home. The purple tree has decided to shed all it's needles and I've surreptitiously started moving all the table decorations upstairs. Roll on the New Year. I'm exhausted!

Mind you, I will admit to missing these little fellows on the gates. They've been with us ever since we moved into this house so that's 8 years now but I doubt they'll last another Christmas.

So we're off to Grimsby tomorrow (yep footie again). I'm expecting exceedingly exceptional fish and chips. Let's not talk about the low-carb diet we're all starting. That's going to have to wait until the 2nd.

I hope you've all have a fabulous Christmas. Thank you so, so much for taking an interest in I Won't Wear Sludge Brown. Enjoy this evening and a Happy New Year to EVERYONE.

I'm having a bit of a shake up on the blog in 2015. Now, now don't get too excited.

See you on the other side.

Donna x


A Sludge Brown Kinda Christmas Message

So I had grand plans for an all singing, all dancing final blog post for 2014. Well, when your daughter's boyfriend is a graphic designer, why not use his talents. I mean, I feed him well, he's got a nice present. But somehow he kind of 'forgot' to design me something that would make you go 'wow that's amazing, she must be really clever'. 

You're going to have to make do with a toilet shot of the surprise gifts for the children (nb. this doesn't include double the amount of presents currently residing under the tree). Yep that's my bathroom and I can't wait to get it back. 

Look the sentiment is there, just not how I envisaged conveying a Merry Christmas to everyone. 

Thank you so much for taking an interest in my, dare I say it 'style' but you know what I mean. I've loved reading your blog comments, Twitter banter and emails (hope I've helped with some of your dilemmas). I'd also like to say thank you to the support of the brands that I've worked with. There's some really nice people at the end of emails (you know who you are). And a big wave to my blogging pals, belly laughs and all that.

I raise my glass to everyone and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

And so, I'll leave you with one of my favourite quotes...

Guess I'll need to start thinking about being irresistible (she so can't spell).

See you in 2015

Donna x

Celebrating Christmas With Gemini

Remember this post here. Seems ages ago but it's actually only 2 weeks. Yeah yeah, excuses, excuses. It's been pretty horrendously busy in this household, what with the central heating giving up the ghost, ill youngest child, return of the eldest from Uni along with NINE loads of dirty washing, tripping over decorators and builders, the usual Christmas shenanigans including the most horrendous tree that the husband deemed suitable (think monkey tree) and is yet to be trimmed. Anyway, I feel as if I'm getting my life back....ever so slowly.

So, here is part 2 of my Gemini visit ie. the professional photos. 

If you recall, the theme was party wear and Elizabeth and Holly did a fantastic job selecting lots of delicious clothes for Fiona and I to try on of which a selection is below.

A New Years Eve Party Outfit

OMG I love this outfit. I really should have bought it. The sequins are quite muted which gives the top an expensive feel and the little shoe boots remind me of spats - I've always had a thing for spats. Probably watched too many old films when I was growing up. The leggings are divine - fitted like a dream and were so comfortable. In fact the whole outfit was comfy. A great choice for a New Years Eve party maybe??

A Christmas Date With The Other Half Outfit

Bit of a cheesy grin there Donna! So let's ignore that and concentrate on the outfit. This is one of those wise purchases where everything can be worn with other things. The blazer would work equally well with jeans for example. Both Fiona and I crooned over the boots - they are lush! I fell out with Teal a couple of years ago. The High Street was awash with it and I simply got fed up. Teal is one of those magic colours that every colour palette can wear - it's a safe choice. I think there's something really fresh about it teamed with leopard print so now teal will be welcomed back into my life. By the way, we must have done something right as a customer bought this suit and a matching dress that Fiona had on - I'll bet she'll have them in her wardrobe for years to come. Timeless pieces. 

A Smart Christmas Dinner In Town Outfit

You know when a dress fits as if it has been made for you? That. I'm not a huge lover of black (says she sat here in a black polo neck jumper and trousers today) but the lower neckline and added sparkle really helped a mousey girl pull this off. The dress is a shift style which skimmed my silhouette - so much more flattering these days. Now, let's talk about the jacket. The softest buttery leather you could imagine. Ok, it's an investment piece but you really can tell. River Island has had a similar cut jacket for the last couple of years but it kind of hangs off my frame. A rectangle needs a little bit more structure. This one has structure and yet looks fluid and soft. That's what you're paying for. The bag shoes and bracelet are only available in the shop so you must visit!

A Christmas Ball

Bit of a different one this for me, it's a proper grown up dress. I think it's one of those dresses that looks better in real life. Very flattering, great structure for holding in those wobbly bits but without being uncomfortable. Sadly, I can't link anything as the Bernshaw Hepburn dress and Hogl black heels are only available in store.

A Girlie Shopping Trip That Turns Into A Party Kind Of Outfit (yeah, you know the one)

Bit of a fun one this. I'm not adverse to wearing a shorter hem line but I'd normally do boots and tights in the winter so a bit of a departure from my normal style. And I tucked in too! Glad I tried it. The coat is really gorgeous, the colour is more rust than it looks on the photo and would look amazing on anyone with a warm skin tone. Another win-win from Great Plains for me is the Snow Queen (fab name) blouse. So pretty and would look lovely under a blazer with jeans when the weather warms up.

A Boxing Day Family Party (Or for me....An Annual Christmas Curry Night With Friends Party)

Look, I didn't choose these photos and I haven't got a clue what I'm laughing at but it must have been kinda funny right? I actually ordered this so-easy-to-wear jumper after I returned from my Gemini visit as I knew I'd wear it lots. It's a nude pink colour with silver sparkly bits - perfect for the party season without going overboard. So, I wore it last weekend in London and on Saturday night for a visit to the curry house in the village with friends. No worrying about muffin tops so there was extra bhajis for me then. Thank you very much. Ok so I've just sold this to you haven't I.....it's now out of stock (sorry). Moving swiftly on to the Lola Denim Jeans which thankfully are still in stock. Slightly coated so ideal for dressing up (and very comfy - the rise is higher than it looks in the picture). The boots are less dressy than the others featured with a block heel and feature zip - I liked them very much!

And that's it. What a lovely way to end this year with a fab visit to Gemini. Thank you so very very much to Claire and her wonderful staff. If you haven't already sorted out your Christmas outfits, I hope this post has given you a few ideas. I was thrilled to be let loose on Great Plains which I've admired for sometime - it's the sister brand to French Connection which I didn't know. And, I also discovered InWear which I'm eagerly awaiting their spring collection.

Off to a ball on Thursday evening, the dress is sorted (phew) and I won't be buying anything new (phew from the husband too).

Have a good week

Donna x


If I Had A Christmas List....

Or should that be, if anyone (that's aimed at the husband by the way) bothered to ask me before the 24th December if I had a Christmas list, this is what it would look like....

Modalu Austen Crossbody Bag

I do love Modalu. Very understated, very well made and at £99 this one doesn't break the bank. I have high hopes family! (Actually, I ordered it myself but I promise there's been no peeping).

Daniel Wellington Classic St Andrews Watch

I'm in need of a brown watch and I love everything about this. The oversized face, the antique brown leather and the simplicity of the whole thing. Oh and the price, it won't break the bank at £159. But it doesn't stop there. The watch has been designed to incorporate interchangeable straps so come summer, I shall (she says confidently) be sporting this one.

Daniel Wellington Classic Oxford Strap

There are many to choose from but I'm not sure how easy they are to change....that's what husbands are for right? They come in at about £45 each.

Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne 

So you spray this on in the morning and are still sniffing it way beyond lunch. It's a laster! This is obviously the better value at £82 for 100mls but you can purchase 30mls for £40

The White Company Winter Signature Candle

I do love a candle in winter and this one is delicious. Mind you I'm also partial to the cheap Glade ones from the supermarket that come in a variety of winter scents: berries and spices and snow(!) and winter fruits. Glade in the week, posh ones at the weekend. Full of class I am.

Alice Hannah at Next Tuck Stitch Pom Pom Hat 

I thought I wanted cream but I've got a cream one. Trouble is, it's got a cream pom pom and I wanted a contrast. Detail schmetail. And then I saw this one which is actually a really good colour for me. A £20 stocking filler maybe??

Tangle Teezer The Original

Ok so I'm not wild about the purple but any is better than black. You see, the son has a black one and he insists on keeping it in MY dressing table where MY black one resides. I use a smidgen of volume lift on my hair, he uses great big hunks of whipped wax which apparently is great for defining and creating all manner of weird and wacky styles. I'm fed up of picking his up and looking like Toyah Wilcox on acid so out with the black tangle teezer and in with a bright blue or green or purple or even a foil coloured one (Roe11 in Macclesfield have them if you're looking daughter). And no compact ones for me either, I like a nice big surface area.

Leuchtturm1917 Weekly Planner & Notebook Diary (A6)

This has got to be the best diary ever and for less than £15. It comes in a variety of colours although I'm fancying taupe next year as it matches my kitchen (sad, yes but it does live in there most of the time). Each double page has a weekly planner on the left and a notes page on the right - perfect for my to do lists. I've tried electronic diaries but always, always revert back to paper. There's a removable address section in the back which is clever as it means you don't have to rewrite every year.

Of all the fabulous colours and I choose taupe!

Next Long Cardigan in Camel

I think I'd really rather have a merino wool one but can't find camel in a long knit so this one will have to do. I shall do more research tonight and may replace this later.

Nothing ground breaking on my list this year but having a birthday in November makes it a struggle to think of things.

Anyway, I'm off to hunt out fingerless gloves, scarves, onesies and the likes. Our central heating boiler decided to die a death tonight. It took us 35 minutes to get through to the emergency line and they said someone would come out tomorrow morning. Probably to tell us that it isn't working. And then a part will have to be ordered which will be out of stock so I'm anticipating a stressful few days.

Here I am at the weekend in London with my mum and auntie. It was cold there too! I did mean to do lots of outfit shots but keeping these two in check was a full time job and I forgot. We saw lots, ate lots, drank and laughed lots too.

My first photo-bomb...

Next time, I'll tell you about part 2 of my day at Gemini 

Donna x


What Does Party Season Mean To You?

For me, there isn't a glitzy, glamorous party-party this year. Lots going on but more of an informal variety. I'm not sure whether to feel envious of all you people going to fancy balls or slightly relieved that I don't actually have to spend hours searching for the perfect outfit. But whether it's a full on glamour thing or a more dressed down event, we still need something new to wear don't we!

Whilst doing my research over at Wallis for my previous post, I had a sneaky look at their party wear as they set me a little challenge and I think they've probably got most events covered.

The Glitzy Glamorous Party
All Wallis
Dress £41.25 Shoes £60  Choker £8.75 Purse £10.50

Ok, so now I want to go to a ball. Navy, probably my most favourite colour in the entire world. As a Soft palette, navy is my black. It's my comfort zone but I'll let you in to a secret, in a colour consultant's world, navy suits everyone. That's you and you and you. This dress is a conversation stopper. It covers top to toe even the arms too but oh boy it oozes sex appeal. I'm thinking control pants, waist sucker-inner, bottom lifter and thigh tucker may be needed. I'd do them all for this dress. By the way, it's currently reduced to £41.25! Why pay mega bucks for something that is only going to be worn on a handful of occasions.

The Cocktail Party
All Wallis
Dress £31.50 Shoes £26.25 Bag £21 Necklace £7

The cocktail dress is one occasion I would pay a little bit more for as there are so many more opportunities to wear it - weddings, christenings, dinner date.... I'm always drawn to ruching across the tummy - it's unbelievably flattering. The lace necklace is too cute and would bring a little texture without taking away from the simplicity of the dress which is on offer at the moment - £31.50. Bargain! In fact this whole outfit costs just £85.75.

The Dinner Party
All Wallis
Top £19 Skirt £22.50 Shoes £60 Purse £10.50

So chances are, you'll be sat down all night. Comfort is key and as people mainly see your top half, a little detail is nice. Mind you I think I'd keep popping to the loo so that fellow diners could see the shoes!

The Girls Night Out Party
All Wallis
Jeans £23.10 Jacket £45 Top £26.25 Shoes £26.25 Bracelets £7 each

If you're like me, this type of evening consists of copious amounts to drink in a trendy bar full of 'young' beautiful people. HELP! On such occasions, I do try to appear as if I know what's currently in fashion!! So, berry and gold is the order of the day with lots of stacked bracelets. I reckon it would just about pass a trend test.

The House Party
All Wallis
Jeans £26.25 Top £22.50 Boots £29.62 Bag £31.50

Ok, so this is an anything goes type of an evening. I've been to house parties where jeans and formal dresses mix very well - no one judges, it's whatever tickles your fancy really. So, here we have a pair of snakeskin jeans teamed with a fairly smart top. I'm a middle of the road type of girl.

That's my take on party wear. Have I missed any events? I now feel as if I know the Wallis collection better than they do - thanks Wallis for the challenge. It's made me really think about the party season.


Since writing this yesterday, the husband has put a 'formal' occasion in the diary - aaarrrgh! I have a dress which I shared over on Avenue 57. It took me 10 minutes to get in to it. Let's just say I have put a few pounds on recently and leave it there. I'm quite fancying the cocktail number above. Decisions decisions. If you want to have a laugh at the rather tight dress, go on over and have a look. It's a closed group where women share their outfits - great fun if you love clothes (me).

By the way, if you fancy anything above, you'd better get a move on as things are selling fast. As I was writing this post, stuff kept disappearing from the website. Not surprising really with 25%, free p&p and if you're buying as a gift, up to 31 January to return it.

No outfit photo today. Joggers and gilet (I know, I know). We still have a house full of builders. The door is wide open, it's freezing and my mood isn't the best.

Donna x


An Easy Wear Top From Wallis

Just wanted to give you the heads up on a really easy-wear blouse from Wallis.  You know when you want to look as if you've made the effort but in reality you've actually done very little. This is the top.

Sheer Sleeve Shirt in Pale Pink

It's long enough to cover both muffin top and bum and loose enough to skim over those imperfections (I have many). I bought this in navy polka dot from the summer collection (see the blog post here) but much prefer the fabric of this new one as it doesn't crease. The collar is great under blazers - no flappy bits to get in the way. It's double layered down to waist level and then slightly sheerer so gives a more elegant look.

I'm wearing it with the Tesco jeans that are akin to wearing pyjama bottoms, they're so comfy, black Zara plether jacket (really loving this one) and Ash Jalouse in Midnight (currently 20% off here).

Apologies for the indoor photos, it's becoming really tiresome having nosy builders around!

Fear not for ladies with stronger colour palettes and really don't 'do' wishy washy colours, the top also comes in red (very festive)

A similar design (with a dipped hem) in black, always a winner. Fab with faux leather leggings and strappy sandals. Eat as much Christmas pudding as you can manage in this!

And my personal favourite, navy. Had I not already got the summer version, I would have ordered this too. Love it teamed with black (I'd personally swap the shoes for a pair of black heeled ankle boots).

There are lots more colours and slightly differing designs to choose from online and with 20% off, it's good value at £22.50. There's also FREE standard delivery on everything (no minimum value). Ok, that's Boxing Day sorted.

By the way, if you're in-between sizes, consider sizing down. Mine is a 10 and fits really well.

So, how is everyone getting on with Christmas outfit planning? I think I'm nearly there and don't intend buying much more although I may have a Christmas jumper on it's way to me.

Hopefully, I'll be able to bring you part 2 of my Gemini visit next time.

Donna x