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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!

2.26.2014

Stars And Stripes

Yet again I found myself with a couple of hours to spare last night after dropping the 12 year old off at his football practice (I am a bad mommy as I don't stay to watch the practice sessions, most do) so I popped into M&S to do a little grocery shopping and pass some time.

There really are some wonderful items of clothing in there at the moment. Take this jacket for instance from the Collection range. It looks even better in real life than in the picture. A great length, brilliant colourways that would fit perfectly in my wardrobe and can be styled up or down. It's a good price too, £59. I think red is an obvious option to put with the jacket, not my favourite so I'd like to play around with it a little. I think a yellow top would most certainly work with distressed skinnies and trainers.

Nautical Striped Jacket


Not sure I like it zipped up (there's a photo on the website that I haven't included), it looks much better left unfastened.

And another stripy item, this Boden-esque thin knit. This most definitely looks better in real life, I probably wouldn't have looked at it twice on the web. It's 81% cotton and is so soft, even I could wear it without moaning. And, da da da dah....you can tumble dry it. My kind of a jumper. M&S have 20% off their knitwear at the moment making this just £18. I cannot believe I walked away, sensible head and all. I may have to go back tomorrow.

Cotton Rich Stripe Jumper


So those are my stripes. Now let you introduce you to my two little stars. I ordered these necklaces from Alice's Wonders after seeing Beth's review at StyleGuile.

The first one appears to have sold out so this is my own photograph, I think it was approx £9 (bargain!). It's a little different to my usual necklaces, a tad bolder and brighter but I love it. It will get lots of wear in the summer.



The second one is still available and a fantastic £7.50 price. The quality of both pieces is excellent, it really is.

Bright Blue Multilayer Bib Necklace


I'm also in the market for a yellow necklace (I am loving all things yellow at the moment) and I could kick myself for not ordering this one, it too is now out of stock.

Statement Yellow Floral Necklace


Take a look, there is only a small range but the pieces really are beautiful and I still can't believe the prices.

So, that's it my stars and stripes round up, short but very sweet.

I need to tell you about my little jeans experiment which I will endeavour to post on the blog in the next few days.

Take care


Donna x







2.21.2014

Confessions Of A Blogger, I Blame The Floral Top

I thought I would show you this as it's a 'right little beauty' and is still in stock.


I found myself in a non-local Sainsburys earlier this week in search of bread, milk, wine, the usual, when I happen to chance upon this cute little top.

I decided not to partake in the recent Peter Pilotto for Target collaboration hosted by Net-A-Porter a) because I'm suppose to be doing Frugal February, more on that later and b) the pattern is a tad too bold for me to carry off. If you've been following the blog for a while you may well be familiar with the 6 different colour palettes. Well I'm a Soft which means no busy, bold patterns or bright colours. I'm a more of a muted type of girl. Anyway I thought I could get this pattern to work as it's quite smudgy and with a sun tan, hey we can get away with most things can't we.

So in the basket it went with the other life's little essentials. And I'm actually rather pleased with it. It's a mixture of light blues, white and red on a navy background, 100% polyester and faired well given I'd forgotten that I'd bought it and left it crumbled up in a carrier in my handbag overnight. It's a great length and will be brilliant to wear with jeans, white skinnies, white linen trousers and even shorts in the summer. I styled it with a pair of skinnies and cobalt ankle strap flats. I think it would look great with distressed boyfriend jeans but I'm having a hate-hate relationship with BFs at the moment, I just can't get them to fit properly. I will not be beaten on this front, expect to see boyfriends in the near future.

The back has tiny little pearl buttons running right the way down from top to bottom, a sod to fasten yourself but very pretty (you may be able to pick them out in the bottom left photo above).

The top is £16 and Sainsburys have a 25% offer on all their clothing until 24th February so you can pick it up for £12. To be honest I would have paid Whistles/Hobbs prices, I love it that much. Can't believe there isn't a picture on the website and that you still can't buy online. Oh well. If you like it get yourself into Sainsburys pronto, I predict it won't be there very long.

Now we have the small matter of Frugal February to address. I have to say I'm a broken woman, it's finally beaten me. To be fair I didn't buy anything until earlier this week but then my resolve broke. As I sit typing this, I have to admit to purchasing a scarf (just to clarify,this has been on order for ages), 2 necklaces (they are gorgeous, I'll blog about them next week when I get them) and several pairs of jeans (it was suppose to be an experiment that went wrong ie. I didn't return them). So, I've fallen off the wagon spectacularly. I apologise.

And now, I have to go and lick my wounds and ponder why I have the willpower of a slug in a bag of lettuce.

Enjoy your weekend


Donna x






2.16.2014

Accessories CAN Make You Look Slimmer

Oh yes they can! It's just a matter of learning a few new tricks.

First of all, apologies for radio silence this week. I have been like the crooked old lady who lives in a shoe. Back problems and all that! I don't live in a shoe. So in between doing the necessary school runs, dodging falling trees on Wednesday night (it was horrid) and moaning (oh yes I'm an expert at moaning), I have been laid flat out most days. But I'm back with a few slimming tips.

I'm a massive fan of accessories and often use them to help draw attention away from my bad bits! Yes I have many. But that's the beauty of scarves, necklaces and so on, they can work their magic and help us feel slimmer and more confident. I know not to judge how I look first thing in a morning when I've dragged on a pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt. These are just the foundations. It's the bits I put on afterwards that actually make the outfit complete.


Jewellery

Probably the most important piece of jewellery to help you feel slimmer is the necklace. If you remember what I have said in previous posts, something of interest automatically draws the eye to it. Therefore it follows that a statement necklace will automatically draw the eye upwards ie. away from tummies, upper arms etc. One thing to possibly avoid is wearing an overly long, dangly necklace if you are big busted - remember, it's a piece of jewellery not a boob catcher. Yes you know what I mean when you look down and find that somehow one of those beasties seems to have been lassoed. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

I know that Zara came in for a bit of a bashing on the blog recently but I won't criticise the jewellery. I've had many pieces, all brilliantly priced and never had a problem with any of them.

I absolutely adore this one. The soft tones are ideal to wear with this years pastels. Even wearing something pretty plain such as a pale blue jumper, the eye is immediately drawn to the necklace and away from muffin tums. Result.

Multi-Stone Necklace £29.99


The fact that it drops down in the middle too helps lengthen the upper body as it is kind of working the verticals. Ok I'm stretching a point a little but it is far better than wearing a totally round necklace which will emphasise one's roundness!?!?

And this one too will do the same.

Multi-shape necklace £29.99


How gorgeous??? Shame about the uninspirational name that Zara has chosen for such a thing of beauty.

New Look never fails on the jewellery front. I love the colours in this and again would work really well with current trends.

Limited Edition Pink Stone Rope Necklace £19.99


Moving on to River Island, this would be perfect for summer. Boyfriend jeans, white linen t-shirt, sandals and this delicious necklace

Multicoloured Statement Gem Stone Necklace £35.00


It's a little pricier than the others but think of all the colours you could wear it with!



Scarves

Ohhhh one of my favourite subjects. I am that sad. I love scarves, not because they keep me warm in this atrocious weather but the fact that they can make a drab outfit suddenly look special. You may recall my post about choosing the right fabrics for your body shapes here. This also applies to scarves too. So a curvy shape will really struggle with a stiff taffeta scarf. It will end up making her look much bigger than she really is as the fabric will not follow her curves, rather it will stand off them. No-no!

The best use of a scarf for a slimming effect is to drape it around the neck and allow it to fall down the front, again working the verticals. I'm a little disappointed with the variety on the High Street at the moment so here is the best I can find.

New Look Blue Camouflage Long Line Scarf £7.99



What a great price, a perfect pick me up. I bet if I looked in the bottom of my handbag now, I'd find £7.99 in change so that makes it free yes?

Next Mono Floral Sequin Scarf £15


It appears embellished scarves are making an appearance this season, edged in lace, sequins etc.

This is a great price for a Becksondergaard scarf from John Lewis

Becksöndergaard Fine Cotton Petit Amour Print Scarf £33


It also comes in blue.

I'm not normally a fan of Lola Rose but I really like the busy but subtle print on this,


Rose Leopard Print Wool Scarf £55



Ok so this next one isn't a favourite of mine but I wanted to show you what I mean by working the verticals to achieve a slimming look (yeah because this girl really needs to look slimmer - right). It's actually a Cath Kidston scarf, bang on trend as heavy florals are still coming through this season. I think it's the way it's been styled that I'm not really taken with if I'm honest.

Cath Kidston Aubrey Rose Scarf £35 from ASOS


As oppose to wearing a scarf that rests on the bust

Maison Scotch Cotton Silk Scarf with Checks £70 from ASOS


If you lucky enough to be well endowed 'up top' or carry your weight around your tummy, wearing a scarf like this can result in you looking top heavy. Fabulous scarf though. I am in love.


Belts

Anyone with a waist should be flaunting this EVERY day you lucky ladies. Wearing baggy clothes will trick the eye into thinking that there's no waist and could add pounds to your frame. So it figures that a belt is your best friend. Softer materials are better than stiff leather. Soft body shapes = soft materials.

Something like this from ASOS would work really well as the suede-esque material is much more accommodating over curves

Wide 2 Prong Waist Belt £14


This would work well with jeans and seems to sit very flat - perfect.

Or this one from Once Upon A Belt

American Tan Brown Obi Belt £39.99


Baujken have a similar one, the blue is gorgeous

The Wrap Leather Belt £69


The sand one styled with their Rosamund Dress (I have this in navy still unworn and it's now in the sale, sob).


If like me you were born without a waist, wearing a belt around your middle can accentuate this fact. Basically you're drawing the eye down to your worse area. Now if I were to write this 10 years ago, I would be saying, try wearing it on your hips but ewweee that's pants. We're really not embracing the whole gypsy skirt look at the moment are we. There is an exception to this though. I have a couple of summer maxi-dresses that are slightly too long so I hoik them up with a belt that I wear on my hips. This really does work. And the best image I can find on Pinterest..


Blousing over the top of the dress hides a multitude of sins. I wear a narrow tan one with mine. And if you were wondering, my dresses aren't see-through!

Another trick if you are waistless is to wear a belt underneath a jacket. I think I've mentioned this before. It tricks the eye into believing you have a waist...eye sees belt, eye thinks waist. Brain thinks slim!

A great example of breaking all the rules here but boy does it work. Look how the belt is worn, no one knows that you don't go in at the waist. This jacket is brill too. An illustration of how horizontal stripes can be worn successfully. The dipped front helps to elongate the frame.

Next Stripe Blazer £34 (bargain)


There's so much more to show and tell but I think I'll leave it there for now.

And a quick update on my 2 challenges. Firstly Frugal February, I'm becoming very creative in using vouchers and robbing Peter to pay Paul. Let's just say for now, I'm fairing ok. I'm still picking out an item of clothing from my wardrobe at random. It's amazing how this challenge has made me wear more of my clothes although I quickly exchanged a dress for something more practical the other day. On Friday when I was feeling a tad better, I randomly picked my leopard print scarf (I decided to go for the scarf pile). It was a bargain from Ebay last year. Teamed with black cashmere polo neck from John Lewis, black short Mango blazer (similar here) and Noisy May jeans (similar here, if you sign up to receive emails, you will get 15% off). Hair courtesy of rain and wind.


And for a night out with hubby, the pink Primark had yet another outing. Worn with black leather panel jeans (sorry I can't find any similar) and black wraparound top from H&M here, pastel pink necklace from a local boutique (similar above) and black courts from Kurt Geiger here.




Have a good week


Donna x





























2.07.2014

Yep, Just Keep On Flinging Those Little Tops At Me

Help, I'm caving in! Frugal February is proving very difficult particularly when French Connection is putting out these little lovelies.

Penny Plains Collared T-Shirt £27



Isn't it just cuteness personified? Normally a high neck would have me overtaking Forest Gump on his run for life but the little pleat over the bust will sort out any boob-shelves. A great price too.

Another top that has caught my eye from French Connection,

Classic Polly Plains Top £27



It comes in eight colours, this one is my favourite. It's called plum pink. Love it styled with ankle skimmers but it would work equally well with skinnies and a navy blazer.

And then as if I haven't already been punished enough, Sue at Susie So So decided to post these little beauties on her blog.

F&F Textured Shell Tops





They are from Tesco, yes Tesco and at just £12 each are an absolute steal. I love shell tops, I have several that I wear in the warmer weather. Doesn't Sue look divine in hers!

So thanks Sue, I'm almost caving in over here and breaking the challenge, well kind of. I think it may still be ok. You see I have vouchers albeit Sainsbury's vouchers but I figure if I use these this week for my food shop (at Sainsburys of course), the money I save can be put towards a couple of tops. Yes? Is that ok or am I pushing it a little?? I mean, technically yes I will have bought something but £ for £ I'm no worse off. And that's the point isn't it - not spend anything?

I need to mull this over a cup of tea.


My other challenge is holding up slightly better today. Yesterday I managed most of the day in the stiff shirt and jeans that don't play ball. Today I was delighted to land upon the Zara jumpsuit. It wasn't quite a random-random choice. I mean, I closed my eyes and everything but I spent more time feeling the fabrics. I needed knitwear. I thought I'd chosen a navy thin knit sweater. I got the jumpsuit. That's ok. It's comfy. I've been wearing it in the day as a) it will be out of fashion soon so no point in saving for best and b) it's starting to bobble so wear and get rid.

Here I am dodging the rain (I got drench wet through this morning hence flat hair), worn with a blue tweed coat from Kaleidoscope, navy suede (yes I know in the rain) ankle boots and Zara necklace. God I look old! Oh, I am old.



I thought it might be fun to look at accessories and how these can help you look slimmer next time. Leave it with me, I'll do some work on it.

Have a good weekend.

Donna x







2.06.2014

6 Days In...

Yes 6 days in to the Frugal February(ish) challenge and I have yet to make a purchase. Oh yes I've been tempted, several times. I'm talking to you, The White Company offering me a 20% discount code. I would have ordered these...

White Skinny Jeans £85



And definitely thought about these deliciously gorgeous silk joggers

Silk Joggers in Limestone £120



And then H&M decide to post a catalogue through my letter box and I swear it was put together with me in mind. They are messing with my head!

I adore this jacket for wearing right now, great for layering and it's a good way for a Soft palette to wear black as it's more gentle on the skin.

Jacket in wool blend £34.99



Because of course I will not look like the model in this blouse, I need it!

Satin Blouse in Dusty Pink £14.99



But resist I did, no orders placed! I do believe I will make it to Week 2.

And so I come to the second part of my challenge. Picking a random item from my wardrobe and working an outfit around it. Today it was the white shirt. That's usually easy enough to style but I'm at home all day and it wouldn't have been my normal choice, stiff material, double cuff blah blah blah. In the spirit of the challenge I've put it on. Worn with a pair of M&S Limited Edition jeans from last year. I reckon 75% of my jeans are from M&S, they just work for me. That said, these are particularly rubbish and come lunchtime, I'll have to put a belt on. They go really baggy so I don't tend to wear them that much. I'm really not loving this outfit at all. I can't cuff the jeans because they have an embroidered strip running down the outside edges which makes the material too bulky to turn over. I can't roll the sleeves as they look bulky too so I feel really stiff and formal. Not promising this outfit will last all day. On the upside I'm wearing leopard print ballet pumps for the first time in ages yippee!



I will do better tomorrow.

Have you bought anything, please do tantalise me.

Donna x




2.04.2014

Frugal(ish) February



Avril over at SchoolGateStyle has set herself a challenge; no new clothes this month aka Frugal February. A whole month, wow that is sheer torture! Let me spell it out to you, it means no new shoes, no little tops, not even a pair of earrings or a flippin supermarket scarf for goodness sake.

So I sat down last night and gave myself a good talking to - could I actually do this? It was an interesting debate, some good points made by both sides. I mean what would happen if I saw something that was an absolute bargain, 75% off plus another 10% for one day only. That would be a massive bargain, yes? But I wouldn't be able to buy it would I?

And so the conclusion was........naaaaah it just won't happen here! That's bad isn't it. You see the thing is I don't want to set myself up for a fall. I'm chomping at the bit to buy the blue Scuba coat that I blogged about here and a navy blazer still to be sourced so I'm compromising and doing a week by week challenge.

There are some caveats to my challenge

1. Gifts are acceptable and don't count as a fail
2. If I happen to come across an absolute bargain of the century, I mean a genuine once in a lifetime, can't be missed opportunity, I can buy it.
3. I can 'guide' husband to a suitable Valentines pressie

With regards to point 1 and point 3, here is an exchange of emails between me and the hubby:

Dear M

Now I know we don't buy for Valentine's Day and you're not remotely into things like diamonds but I'm on Frugal February and trying not to buy anything at all so you may have to buy for me instead. I like this in medium (image of Warehouse Scuba coat).

Love from your wife x


And in response

Donna

I love you too

Mx


I think I need to work on this!


In return for attempting Frugal Friday I promise

1. Not to fall out with the husband and make him feel guilty so he buys me a 'sorry' present (it use to work in the olden days)
2. That I won't check-out any purchases in my virtual shopping baskets. I have several tabs open on the web browser at the moment
3. To tell you if I slip up

This could get boring!

And if that isn't hard enough, I've also set myself another challenge, to pick out something from my wardrobe at random every day and create an outfit with it. This should be fairly easy as most of my wardrobe actually goes together. Problem is, I have lots of my summer clothes in there too. I may be very cold!!

So what did the wardrobe rummage come up with today? A flippin short sleeved breton t-shirt. Just great! I do some volunteer work on Mondays and Tuesdays and the office is soooooo cold. I had to wear a thermal underneath plus a cardi plus a jacket.



The navy-on-white breton stripe is from Zara (this hasn't fallen to pieces yet) and is old-old. The jacket is from H&M and I make no apology that it is corduroy (cord will come back one day for sure). I've been so impressed with the jackets I've bought from H&M over the last year. If you haven't been in recently, I really would urge you to do so. It's not all tat! Teamed with a navy and coral animal print scarf, jeans and my beloved tan boots which obviously match the door mat. The fingerless mits were needed today.



So, are you with me on this? Please don't leave me to do it on my own. Frugal February Week 1 started Saturday and I haven't bought anything yet.....go me!!!

Donna x

2.02.2014

1 Warehouse Scuba Coat, 3 Different Ways

Hope you've all had a good weekend, boy it's flown. Actually it has flown other than the 90 minutes I was stood outside yesterday morning watching junior football. I have NEVER been so cold in my life. Thanks the lord it was called off today!

I've had my eye on this Warehouse coat for a week or two now. I have yet to see it in the flesh but the fabric intrigues me, yes it does remind me of something you would wear in the water which is a good job as it's called the Scuba Coat. It's made out of neoprene fabric, I certainly haven't got any of that in my wardrobe. Warehouse describe it as a cocoon coat but it doesn't seem very 'cocoony' to me from the available images. It seems too straight cut and doesn't narrow enough at the bottom. Still, it's a lovely coat whatever it's called.

Blue Warehouse Scuba Coat £100



I also can't decide whether it's a coat or a longer length jacket. Officially it's a coat so let's stick with that. The colour appears to be a light navy, perfect for any colour palette that we have discussed before.

As there's nothing on the t.v. tonight, I've played around with Polyvore to see just how versatile this coat-jacket can be. And yes, it's definitely versatile.


1. A Shopping Trip

First up is an outfit I think would be perfect for my favourite passtime....watching my son play football shopping


A good pair of boots, the Ash Joulouse in Navy are essential for a full day out, well they are for me anyway. I always admire those crazy divas who can march around Top Shop in their stilettos. I've gone for layering as it's still mighty cold out there and an easy grip Modalu bag. It's not a shopping mall trip as you've probably gathered with the sunglasses!


2. A Formal Event

So, I'm thinking a Spring wedding or christening here.


One of my favourite colour combinations, blue and nude. I adore these shoes from Whistles Limited Collection. A bit pricey at £185 but they are would be so versatile in anyone's wardrobe. I don't often do matchy-matchy with bag and shoes but I'm kind of liking this. The bag is Kurt Geiger and is £80. I'm sure the dress which is from Next and I've featured before would be longer than the coat which adds to the overall look.


3. The School Run

Oh the joy of the daily journey. The key for me at the moment is warmth and comfort as I can be in the car for up to 2 1/2 hours a day doing the wretched school run. And, don't get me started on after school activities. Thank goodness the eldest drives now.




I love the idea of really dressing the coat down and so I've chosen the coke sweatshirt in burgundy from Top Shop teamed with some River Island cigarette jeans in a light wash. Hat and mits obligatory at the moment regardless of whether you get out of the car or not! And of course the school run wouldn't be complete without a pair of New Balance trainers.

So, three different looks, I calculate that to be £33.33 per wear already. I'm sure I would wear the coat time after time which would mean excellent value in the long run. I'm suppose to be cutting down this month but so very tempted to order it.

And finally, I forgot to let you know where this gorgeous green little number is...



It's Marks and Spencer! Did you guess?????

I'm not sure what to write about next time, think I need to sleep on it.

Toodle Pip for now


Donna x