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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!

7.31.2014

A Final Purchase Before August Fasting

For me, August is a nothing month. I'm not ready to hang up the summer clothes completely and yet I can't bring myself to start the search for jumpers and coats. So a bold decision was made the other day, I'm not going to buy ANYTHING in August. That's right, not a single thing. Chatting to other bloggers, it would appear that some felt the same way, others decided to abstain from this stupid  challenge. Normally such badinage is saved for the footwear department - we tend to be in two camps Fuglies Vs Non-Fuglies but that's another story.

So, it's out there now and everyone knows. Eeek, I feel I'm setting myself up for one almighty fall. Oh well in for a penny, in for a pound.

Of course there are rules:

1. No clothes
2. No shoes (this really hurts)
3. No jewellery
4. No make-up - this should be ok as I've stocked up unless Clinique bring out a new chubby stick shade
5. No deliveries in August - I almost checked out on a Mango order earlier because technically we're still in July so this rule has been hastily inserted
6. No online shopping towards the end of August...because technically it doesn't count if I don't receive it until September. It does, so I won't be doing it
7. Gift and store vouchers may be spent
8. Gifts are ok, please feel free to send them this way (I'm talking to you husband, it's our wedding anniversary in August)
9. I can borrow stuff but it has to go back (love you daughter)

How difficult can it be, it's only 31 days, a mere 744 online shopping hours. Gulp. I'm going to sit back and watch this new season develops and make plans for my A/W wardrobe. So whose with me? Anyone?

My final summer purchase is this gorgeous Maison Scotch blazer from Atterley Road

Maison Scotch Fashion Blazer now £58 (plus there's a further 10% off today)


The colours are much richer in real life. Here are my close ups. It obviously lends itself more to autumn than summer and given that bright oranges and reds are set for a comeback, I think it will work well in my wardrobe. It comes up quite big, mine's a size 10 and is still roomy across the shoulders.



Atterley Road has had a great sale this time so much so that I ordered a whopping great big box full of goodies whilst sat on my sun lounger on holiday. I kept just this jacket and a necklace

Pau Pendant Necklace now £8 (plus there's a further 10% off today)


Sorry Atterley Road, the rest is winging it's way back. I loved it all, please don't hate me.

Here's what I'm wearing today but I may well have to change as it seems to be warming up.

All old, except the t-shirt which was from Mango. This particular one has sold out but there are still some bargain ones to be had here.



By the way, when I mentioned the challenge to the husband he replied "do you really buy something every month?".  Is he for real?


Donna x
7.30.2014

Revisiting An Old Brand, Esprit

I'm not going to deny that I spend far more time than is healthy surfing the web. This blog has been a godsend actually - when the husband looks over my shoulder and asks what I'm doing, I reply "research darling, research". What he doesn't see is the virtual bulging basket tucked away in the top right hand corner.

But you know, sometimes I get bored of looking at the same old brands. You most certainly have a problem when you can remember that the white oversized lace top is on page 3 of so-and-so brand. Get my drift?

So, in my desperate search for something new, I turned to Esprit and found this little beauty.


I first encountered Esprit about 20 years ago in Meadowhall in Sheffield. I bought a long line beige blazer which I adored and actually only got rid of last year which was pretty dopey on my part given the jacket lengths are dropping.  Anyway, back to this t-shirt. I think Esprit have underplayed the 'tee' word. In my eyes, it's more of a natty little top and a fabulous one at that. 

This is exactly what I look for in the top department. Draping, not clinging, a wide neck which is far more flattering and cute little sleeves. It's silky at the front and jersey at the back And all for £29. One in every colour please! Oh it only comes in one colour. Esprit if you're reading this, it's a fab little top, can you make some more colour ways please. 

It's a top that would start out in my wardrobe as a going out piece, black jeans and heels and then demoted to blue denim, a blazer and boots. 

Speaking of which, I spotted these boots too. Not dissimilar to the Rag & Bone Newburys that several of my blogging friend snagged last year. Of course at £55 they're not leather but if you're looking for a versatile ankle boot which I assume will be as good a quality as Esprit clothing then these could just be it. And I love the contrasting sole which lifts the whole boot.


I think the top would look great with distressed (but not messy and hole-y) jeans. Something like these. They're straight legged as oppose to skinny, much easier to do a deep turn-up.




For ladies that like a slightly higher rise, they are just that. I've never bought jeans from Esprit and would be interested to know how they fit. Let me know if you have any experience.

And this my friends would be a perfect outfit for today, temperatures have dropped in Cheshire so it's back in skinnies although I am trying to avoid a jacket. That will last 10 minutes I'm sure.




It was slightly warmer yesterday so I broke out the Breton dress again and teamed it with ankle boots - aren't these a great colour for elongating the leg.



Have a good week, I'm loving the lie-ins.


Donna x




7.28.2014

Holiday Part 3, The Caribbean & A Bikini Shot (or two)!

My final holiday post you will be pleased to hear. And first of all, I must apologise for the shocking outfit photos - I know, even worse than usual. You see, we were so lazy that by the time we got ready to go out in the evening, it was dark and the mood lighting, well it was...moody!

Anyway, let's get on with it.

We knew after a week of frantic sightseeing that some days laid on a sun lounger were needed. So our final destination was the Caribbean. Our preference would have been a return visit to the Atlantis in the Bahamas but budget constraints meant we had to look for a cheaper alternative so the Dominican Republic it was. We stayed at the Dreams Palm Beach in Punta Carna, a typical Caribbean all-inclusive hotel. Ideal for kids as there is so much to do. Me? I like to find a nice quiet corner and do nothing other than read and sip a cocktail or two. As does the daughter these days. 

Shockingly we didn't leave the complex all week, no sightseeing, no trips. Nothing but sheer bliss to rest our weary bodies. 

One of the very few photos I have of me in day time wear. I love this dress, it travels really well and although a maxi it still feels quite cool around the legs. It was from the Geri Halliwell range in Next some years ago. I teamed it with Ugg flip flops which wouldn't have been my first choice but if you recall I'd left one of my Havaianas back home and thought I might look a little odd shuffling around in one shoe. 


I thought I'd also share with you the face cream that I use which is amazing. It's half price at Boots at the moment, just £8 (buy here). It's from the Garnier Ambre Solaire range and is a BB cream, slightly tinted so helps even out the skin tone and is whopping factor 50. The beauty about this cream is that it's non-comedogenic so if you're prone to blemishes and spots in the hot weather, it doesn't block your pores. High factor, non pore-blocker AND a slight tint, it's perfect. 
And here are a selection of outfits that I wore in the evening. 

Similar shape dress here 
The top is current from Next here 

Similar dress here
Can't believe where I've found a similar swing top here
Similar dress here
The maxi dress was picked up way back in March from Primark. It was one of those items that I chastised myself for buying even though it was only a tenner as I didn't think I would wear it. Well, one skinny belt and a few accessories later and I was really pleased with it. If the weather holds out, I'll try to get a better shot.

What did I like about the resort? Well, I loved the fact that there was mountains of fresh fruit everywhere. Little pop up displays came and went throughout the day around the pool. The coffee shop was a blessing in disguise. After drinking the rank stuff that the Yanks call coffee (sorry people I really love you, just not your coffee), it was very much appreciated to get a decent cuppa. There were always exquisite cakes and muffins and croissants available too. I was sensible and chose the healthy option, banana cake!?!?! I also loved the international restaurants that needed no bookings but much to the husband's dismay required long trousers (I mean what the hell? It was suggested that ladies wear long skirts or dresses, yeah right). But, far better than those buffet style places. And I liked the fact that the entertainment staff were there but not in your face. So there was a lot to like. I also discovered that the unbeknown to us, the kids love room service, cheesecake at midnight nonetheless. 

A selection of delights in the coffee shop. 




The pool foam party for the little kids and big ones too




An Italian paella dish (I forget the name but it's basically cooked in a similar way to a Spanish paella but uses spaghetti). It was cooked on the beach and served with fish that had been caught 15 minutes before - sooooo good.


Had to be done, kids annual ride on a banana boat


It forecast rain everyday. It rained just once after an almighty thunderstorm during the night so the weather was kind to us. And the beach was beautiful, not the most stunning Caribbean beach I've seen but nevertheless still beautiful. And we survived as a family, two full weeks, cabin fever, bickering, moaning and groaning but the kids aren't divorcing us - yet.

As I sat on my sun lounger on the last day, I worked out that we had used many modes of transport during the 2 weeks:

6 planes
2 trains
4 undergrounds
1 limo
1 suv
6 cabs
2 fast speed ferries
2 ferry taxis
3 airport buses (including 2 bendy buses)
a plethora of hop-on, hop-off trolley buses
1 whirlpool jet boat
1 speed boat 
1 banana boat
1 canoe
more airport moving walkways than I can remember 
and a bike made for 4
I think that's quite sufficient for this year. 





Oh the bikini shots, sorry I nearly forgot, here are 3 of my current favourites...


You seriously didn't think I'd actually be in them did you? 

Thanks for allowing me to share my holiday with you. Normal service resumed next time. 

Donna x
7.23.2014

Holiday Part 2, Boston (which involved a little shopping)

The next leg of our tour saw us take a quick plane ride over to Boston. Bizarrely you actually go through US customs in Canada - work that one out!  

We stayed at a Hilton in the Boston Back Bay area. Definitely nothing special but clean and tidy. As we arrived mid-afternoon we took a stroll down Newbury Street, a long, long, long road of shopping and picked up on the Nike Huraches search for the son (mentioned here last time). Convinced the Nike store would have them we headed over there and of course they didn't. 

However I did find a fab shop called Marshalls, a similar set up to TK Maxx. A quick sweep of the clothes yielded nothing of interest but they had some great bargains in the shoes section. Ralph Lauren leather flip flops $30 (reduced from $90), Sam Edelman sandals ($39.99) to name but two. And if you factor in the excellent exchange rate they are excellent value. Men's Calvin Klein boxer shorts for instance worked out at £3.30 a pair - that's a bargain.




Was I tempted? Yes a little but given I had packed 8 pairs of shoes plus 1 flip flop (the other was still in my wardrobe at home), I decided against it. If truth be known, I don't need any more summer shoes. Mind you that other flip flop would have been handy. 


Our first full day in Boston and we became 'proper' tourists by purchasing tickets for the hop-on hop-off trolly bus. A great way to see the city and hear about it's history from the tour guides. It was sweltering hot though - a lightweight dress was needed. Very old but very appropriate.



I love the mix of old and new buildings. There's so much history in Boston and of course Bostonians are very proud of their city.





That evening we had tickets to watch the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The previous day we asked a barman to explain the rules of the game. I kind of 'got' it- I think.



Rounders it isn't folks! It's far more complicated and there's lots of secret messages being passed between pitcher and catcher plus cat and mouse shenanigans between the pitcher and batter (are they the right terms?). 





Not just pie and chips here. Mind you at $10 for a small beer, it ain't cheap. 




Love how the son insisted on wearing our local football team shirt to a baseball game. 



We booked our tickets in February and these were the best seats left. Worth it to see that sky though. 




And of course they won but only just, and on the last run - thrilling!





I tried and failed to look as if I belonged there in a mango t-shirt, denim cut offs and trainers (trainers what the bloody hell was I thinking of, I looked a total geek). 



The following day was spent down at the harbour where we ate at the infamous James Hook & Co, really it's a shack of a place but the best lobster roll I have ever eaten. 



 


We visited the USS Constitution which the navy are rightly proud of. 



I thought my Breton striped dress was very fitting for the occasion.





We managed to fit in a little more shopping in the afternoon and resume the search for the trainers which by now was becoming particularly irritating. But the husband will never be beaten and in the very last sports shop in the whole of Boston, we found them. 

Hallelujah 







A grand saving of £20 - that's 20 flippin pounds for all the stress. He should have gone to Foot Locker at The Trafford Centre before we left.



I managed to slip off for an hour to a shop called Loft, I've never heard of it before but they had some lovely pieces. And I bought! 






Nothing that will set the world on fire but good basic pieces in lovely light fabrics. I've worn the chambray denim playsuit today. It's probably not the most flattering on me as there's a heck of a lot of fabric around the waist but it felt cool on such a hot day. 


The sizing is all over the place though. This is a small and I'm long bodied. The tops are a mixture of small, mediums and large. It's definitely try on territory and has sadly put me off ordering as I see they are now shipping to the UK.

Another dress for shopping - I think I counted 7 in total, all worn so my plan was a good 'un.



Our last full day in Boston was spent over on Cape Cod at Provincetown. It's a 90 minute journey on the fast ferry and is located on the extreme tip of Cape Cod. I'll let the pictures do the talking, it is truly a magical place.







 


Although I'm not so sure about the shopping opportunities!! 


Though I did spot this gorgeous vintage shop.



That evening back in Boston, we ate at a sports bar called Whiskeys, well there really was no choice as Red Sox were playing and we wanted to watch the game!!! Great ribs and salads and a pitcher of beer. Go-me!! It was one of those lovely warm and windy nights, perfect for jeans, back in my comfort zone.



So back to the hotel to pack up again. Actually not strictly true as so far we hadn't unpacked. With cases zipped up ready for an early start, we climbed into our bed with dreams of sun, sand and cocktails. And that my friends is another story. 




 Donna x