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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!

8.28.2014

3 Things That Really Agitate Me!

I know I'm a fussy mare when it comes to wearing clothes. They have to fit properly, be comfortable and look ok-ish. Not too much to ask is it? If any of these criteria fail to meet the mark you can guarantee I'll be in a bad mood all day.

Take today for example. I wore this!


A navy over sized shirt from Wallis, white jeans, blue pointed shoes and a tan tote. A little on the boring side but not bad. But the shirt drives me potty. The sleeves fall down (there's a tiny little silver button to hold them up but it doesn't do its job) and it creases like crazy. Oh and let's not mention the itchy label in the back. So although it looks ok here, fast forward 2 hours and I look as if I've spent 6 nights in the jungle. The jeans are slightly too short in the rise so I'm constantly pulling them up as I prefer them to sit just below the waist, and they're slightly on the tight side so by the afternoon I have to undo the top button. And the shoes, well there's a minute piece of nylon stitching around the ankle strap that's too short to snip off but constantly prickles and pokes my ankle. Grrrrrr! I feel agitated.

I think it all stems from my childhood when my mum who you have met in previous posts (recently here) made me wear a scratchy wool jumper in an awful bottle green colour. She might look lovely but she was evil making me wear that jumper. She still thinks it's funny today! I must have been 5 years old and hated it. I still shudder now thinking back - scarred me for life it has. To make matters worse, she made me wear it with one of those kilts with the vest slip attached which meant I could never wear a blouse because you couldn't tuck it in so it was always the wretched green jumper.

I also fell out with my bag today. The shapeless thing holds nothing in place so my chocolate tea cake got squashed. It just doesn't taste the same.

Anyway, I needed to get that off my chest. Tomorrow I will choose comfort over style.

The good news is that there's only 3 days left of my no-spend August challenge and it's been a roaring success - no really, it has. I haven't spent one single penny on myself.

I've had a good hard think about where I go from here and I'll tell you a little more about my plan in September.

I have also found item number 5 to add to the  wish list and good old Next have come up trumps for me yet again. As we know, fur is going to be everywhere this season but I already have a number of fur jackets and gilets although not of the teddy bear variety that we seem to be seeing. They will still get an airing this year though.

I saw this little pink jacket in the Next Directory last week which looks cross between a jacket and cardigan. Perfect! It will be ideal to throw on when I'm in the house on chillier days as it's a much more relaxed fit. So it's made it onto the list. Don't you all go buying it before 1st September!!!!

Next Pink Faux Fur Jacket £48


So that's it really. I'm going to bob upstairs and change into something that will put me in a happier mood. Do clothes get to you too or am I just a complete loony-tune?


Donna x
8.25.2014

Turning A Boring Old Outfit Into Something A Little Smarter

Unless I'm still in my pyjamas this is how my husband sees me in the morning before he goes to work.



Boring isn't it! A pair of brown (not sludge) skinnies and a very old stone coloured Mint Velvet basic long sleeved top. Oh and a pair of stolen slippers from a holiday past. I may as well pose in my vest and pants for how under-dressed I feel.

So, I added a Wallis necklace and a few bracelets. Oh and pulled up the sleeves.


The necklace.


And bracelets, I love mixing them up.


I lost the slippers and rolled up the jeans. Feeling almost human now.




Put on a pair of ankle boots. It's amazing how your posture changes even with a small heel.


And last but not least, added a jacket.




Just a reminder!



I know which I prefer. Sadly hubby doesn't get to see the final result as normally I'm back in my 'jamas when he gets home. Ho hum.

Have a great rainy Bank Holiday. Guess where I'm off to - football again!!!!! Such a good wife.

Donna x

8.22.2014

She's Back, Mama's Back!

Bonmarche recently got in touch and asked if I would review one of their items. I knew just the (wo)man for the job, my mum! So, I asked her to look online and choose something up to the value of £30. Of course she takes her assignments very seriously and took it upon herself to visit a Bonmarche shop to check out what's currently in store. And by the way, she said the staff were delightful, very helpful and courteous.

She chose the Ponte Printed Panel Dress by David Emanuel (yes David himself, as in, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here - ha! you thought I was going to say, as in, he who designed Princess Diana's wedding dress didn't you).



A take on the illusion dress with a faux belt at the waist line. Now don't get all uppity with me when I tell you it's a viscose/polyester mix. I for one think it's a great fabric for durability. What I mean is you can put it on in the morning and it will keep it's shape all day without creasing. It's an easy wear, easy care dress. Predominantly black with a white pattern running down the centre. although it actually looks silver.

And here she is modelling it.


She's wearing a size 14 so it's a good generous size. Her comments, 'very comfortable indeed'. If I say it myself, I think the colours of the dress look stunning with her hair.



And a close up of the belt detail.



Teamed with a black, white and grey clutch and 'high' shoes. I asked her if she had any black heels. She got these out! They are about an inch high. My god, I run in heels higher than them. Love the pop of colour on her nails though.


The more I look at this dress, the more I think it could cross several generations. I had a look at Amy Childs, queen of optical illusion dresses and I have to say, they weren't dissimilar to this one. In fact I'll go as far as saying that this is more flattering than some that Amy has worn in the past. Go and have a look online, you'll see what I mean. Teamed with heels and a blazer, it would make great office attire. And it won't crease so you'll go home looking half decent as oppose to a crumpled mess.

Mum being mum didn't stop there. She also spotted this red cape blouse again by David Emanuel and bought that too.



Golly, she looks good for her age.


It actually photographs slightly orange. It isn't - the colour is truer on the Bon Marche model above. It's a much cooler red so probably not so great for red-heads and warm skin tones.


The necklace comes with the top too. Normally Mum, Queen of accessories would have gone off-piste and added her own jewellery but I made her wear this one for the photos.




Teamed with white trousers, silver sandals and bag for a summer look but she plans to swap the trousers for black ones come winter. The double layer makes it super flattering.


There's actually very few sizes left online but you may find them in store (Mum saw the same top in a pale grey colour way too).

Have you ever shopped in Bonmarche? Me neither. But after looking at the website I'd say it definitely delivers what it says on the tin,

'Bonmarche design fashion for real women with style that doesn't compromise on comfort and comes in sizes 10-24'. 

I couldn't have put it any better myself. Do go and have a look yourself.

So thanks Bonmarche for the dress, we had a lovely afternoon playing dress up. And thanks Dad for the loan of the garden and beloved summer house. Oh and Mum said, if any other brands would like to work with her, you can contact her via this blog! Delusions of grandeur if you ask me. Either that or a comedian!

Anyway, on a side note, I'd just like to point out that her daughter (aka me) is busy being a keyboard warrior on a Friday evening. And Mum? Well she's off out with her friends for a night on the tiles. Something not right there.


Donna x

The dress was gifted by the people of Bonmarche. Mum paid for the top in full herself.





8.21.2014

The Qbic Hotel, Quite Possibly The Wackiest Place In London

Nothing to do with fashion at all but I have to tell you about this little jewel.

Last Saturday we found ourselves in London after watching the husband's beloved football team play at Woking. We had already decided to stay over just because well, we could. It's very rare for the four of us to have a free Sunday. 

We booked into the Qbic Hotel, close to Brick Lane in Shoreditch as we wanted to spend some time exploring Tower Bridge. 

The group describes itself as 'deliciously different' 

Qbic is a hotel for you, the curious and the independent. A design hotel which offers a perfect night’s sleep in a perfect room as a matter of course. An affordable hotel packed with unexpected experiences.


And it certainly lived up to this statement. 


I'm normally a fluffy dressing gown and free slippers type of girl. The one that nicks the pens and freebies in the bathroom. The Qbic offers none of the frills but all of the style. Clever really!

We booked two fun rooms. I guess they're called fun, because they really are. I've borrowed some of the images from the hotel itself but given I only have good things to say about it, I'm sure they won't mind.


This is a cosy room (i.e. no windows), exactly the same as ours just smaller. It isn't a purpose built building, I'd go as far to say it looks like old offices as our windows were huge. Check out that lamp - it's a hose pipe!





Wacky isn't it. I had to wake up to an Ena Sharples lookalike! Mind you I slept on an organic superking bed whatever that means, but it was comfortable. There's a large flat screen t.v. at the foot of the bed and free wifi throughout the hotel.

And the wardrobe, well, it's a work of art. And I'm not exaggerating. The hotel group commissioned designers to come up with wacky and unusual alternatives. Can you imagine being given that brief? Kids in a candy shop springs to mind.  





The bathroom is a pod (although the kids chose the largest room and they had a fabulous New York style bathroom).





Clean, modern, fab shower, in fact everything you need in a bathroom.

The open plan reception, dining, kitchen area is a feast for the eyes. One-off designs are everywhere. 




The son trying to look super cool and just about pulling it off. 





Lol! Solo travellers would always have someone to keep them company.





At £7.50, breakfast is a bargain. Ok if you want a full English, you aren't going to get it here but as Continentals go, it was pretty darn good. Cereal, fruit, fresh yoghurts, croissants, hams, cheese etc. You can even buy a panini from the vending machine and pop it into the panini maker. 


My breakfast, muesli, natural yoghurt and fresh fruit. I'm not a morning person so this was quite enough.





A quick 2 minute walk to Aldgate East tube and no more than 5 minutes to the City so perfectly placed for Mr/Mrs Businessman. 


Oh and the best bit, there's parking in a huge, secure car park at the back. We're talking proper sized spaces as well, not those piggly little ones that you can't even park a Fiat 500 in. I noticed a few sponsored bikes in a bike rack too - for guests to borrow. Qbic links up with a charity, Bikeworks to raise money for disadvantaged people. You need to go and look at the website (link here), it's such a good idea.


Wow, I could go on. There's so much more to say such as the eco-friendly approach, I think the hotel sums it up nicely....a tiny little environmental footprint, not a great big stomp


I saw this in reception.






It's hard to believe that this place has not even had it's first anniversary yet. It was fully booked when we were there. Truly impressive Qbic, truly impressive. Large hotel chains should take a leaf out of your book.





I challenge anyone not to be happy staying here. I'd sacrifice the freebie bathroom bits any day for this wacky, crazy, wonderful hotel. 
This is not a sponsored post, I did not receive any financial gain for this review and we paid for our rooms in full. And just to prove that I actually stayed, here I am with Ena Sharples.





Donna x




8.20.2014

I Might Be A Teeny Weeny Bit In Love With An Oversized Shirt

Can't help myself can I? It's a form of self-torture, looking through magazines and online when I'm on a spending ban this month. Anyway, I saw this and I think I might be in love. The black stripe running down the sleeves is an absolute triumph and is more than a hint to the sport luxe trend in a very different way. It certainly takes a pretty-but-nothing-special top to a whole new level.

French Connection Anastasia Crepe Collared Top £75



Pair of long, long black skinny trousers (no crops for this look, the length of the shirt and crops will shorten the leg), heeled sandals, shoes, ankle boots indeed whatever tickles your fancy and bobs your uncle. A cracking little outfit.  And there's me moaning in the comments on my previous post that sleeves are always too short...I take that back.





That's it from me today. Have a good one.



Donna x
8.19.2014

Wish List #4

So how is everyone? Enjoying the weather? This autumnal chill has come a few weeks too early if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, I love autumn, it's probably my favourite season but I'm not sure I'm ready to let summer go just yet (says she in jeans and a big jumper today).

Anyway, I was flicking through Red magazine the other day and saw this.



It certainly made me sit up and take note. Another alternative to the skinny jean, yes it's the skinny jogger. I've toyed with harem pants and have worn them a little but they don't seem to look right with jackets on me. They're also VERY thin. The skinny jogger could well be an excellent addition to my winter wardrobe along with the cigarette trouser that I talked about here.

Sods bloody law, I can't find them online, there are variations of the theme but not these ones. I'm not even sure  H&M know where they are, they've only tagged the jacket. If anyone knows where they are lurking, please do send me the link.

So the rules, they must be black, brown (not sludge), charcoal or navy. Any or all will do, not too much bulk around the tummy and waist, slim leg with a cuff unless they are fairly tight at the bottom and must be overly long. Not asking for much then.

Over to Next first of all. Ok, these are a start. But immediately, my head starts screaming, freezing freezing. The fabric is a thin polyester. At least it will drape well.


Next Black Slinky Jogger £30


Buy Sweater With Embroidered Shoulder Detail from the Next UK online...







And these

Next Cuff Joggers £26

Buy Cuff Joggers from the Next UK online shop





They might work, not wild about the grey cuff and the extra detailing 'up top' but might be worth a punt.

Something slightly different from Warehouse (I found them on the ASOS site). Denim jogger - interesting!


Warehouse Denim Jogger At Asos £45

Warehouse | Warehouse Denim Jogger at ASOS





Staying with ASOS, these

New Look Slim Leg Jogger At ASOS £17.99

New Look Slim Leg Twill Jogger


Twill though! I'm not a lover of this fabric.

And I fear these from Zara will be too short!


Zara Printed Jogging Trousers £29.99


PRINTED JOGGING TROUSERS - Trousers - TRF | ZARA United Kingdom







Totally off plan now but these leather-look joggers from Top Shop would be fabulous for an evening look, teamed with a cream blouse and leopard print stilettos. As long as they don't look too plastic-fantastic.


Top Shop Leather Look Seam Detail Jogger £38


Leather-Look Seam Detail Joggers - Trousers - Clothing - Topshop






And finally, from Hush, a brown pair. I wish there was a picture of them minus the boots so I could examine the bottoms. I may have to order them.

Hush Slim-leg Joggers £39.50




Slim-Leg Joggers from hush









So, which pair made my wish list? Actually none for the time being. Don't get me wrong, I am most certainly in the market for a pair of skinny joggers but these things can't be rushed. Further research is required - I'll keep you posted. So number 4 is a blank space at the moment!




Churning out all the old faithfuls in view of the self imposed spending ban.

Yesterday, I pulled out a pair of nude coloured cigarette pants that I've had for years and wore it with one of the husband's shirts (yes it's that bad at the moment). I say go forth and rummage in husband's closet.



And a close up of the cigarette pants because they deserve it.





And today for a day of jobs, slouchy Breton and skinny jeans. I should probably photoshop the wrinkles.




So, if you can help me on my quest for skinny joggers, let me know. I will be eternally grateful.


Donna x
8.14.2014

Altuzarra For Target Coming to Net-A-Porter Soon (Please don't let it be in August)

So Joseph Altuzarra follows in the footsteps of Peter Pilotto as the next Target collaboration. Oh wait we don't have Target in the UK do we? Fear not, the lovelies at Net-A-Porter have managed to snag a few bits.

I found the full collection in The Huffington Post here, all 50 items. It remains to be seen how many we can get our grubby little mitts on. But here's a taster...oh and did I say the most expensive piece is $89.99, a mere £54 but don't go getting too excited, it's likely to be much more when it hits your door mat.

The Joseph Altuzarra For Target black collection



So, I spy the obligatory A/W 14 fur jacket albeit in a much more conservative tone than is to be expected on the High Street. The tux looks gorgeous - I so hope the material is good. And the boots look promising albeit not leather (I'm sure about that).


And a few random pieces that caught my eye, stylist I never will be lumping these bits together but I literally have 3 1/2 minutes to post this thing as I'm needed as a taxi driver.



The Joseph Altuzarra For Target, a few random pieces


I think the pale blue bits are slightly random in the collection as the rest is fairly moody but I do like them. The khaki trench looks delicious, what a fab colour (great for Deeps, Warms and Softs). And I have my beady eye on the claret/burgundy top.

I didn't partake in the Peter Pilotto collection - it was a little too loud and busy for me but my finger will be hovering over the confirm order button on this one (please let it be in September, please let it be in September). What do you think? Anything hitting the spot for you?

By the way I haven't bought anything yet!

Great day today, daughter came running into our bedroom at 6.31am to tell us she had got her University place so we'll be busy shopping for student stuff in the next couple of weeks before she goes off to Cambodia.

And my outfit, sorry, no time for tags. Rush, rush, rush.



I'm off, see you in a few days.

Donna (phew)




8.12.2014

Winter Blues :-(

Ha! Bet you thought this was going to be one of those posts where I pour my heart out, how depressing this weather is, how I need to get my S.A.D. light box out, how I'm taking comfort from chocolate tea cakes, milky coffee and fags. Well you'd be wrong. I'm talking about the colour blue silly-billies.

I would just like to point out at this stage that a) I'm not really depressed about the weather, we do keep getting glimmers of sunshine b) I don't own a light box and c) I have never smoked. It was all for effect to make this post more interesting. However I do have a slight major obsession with chocolate tea cakes. I'll give you that one.

Anyway, lets bob on. Blue. One of my favourites and it's going to be everywhere this season. Please don't leave a comment post-Xmas when I've been proved totally wrong. Marine blue said My-Wardrobe.com at a blogger's talk I attended way back this year. Pale blue said the Sunday Times this week. And even Next have a model wearing blue on one of their preview pages. So I think I'm pretty safe in saying we'll be seeing a lot of it.

Here are a few favourite pieces that I've clocked so far.




Top Row L-R H&M Glittery jumpsuit £24.99  M&S Autograph Duster Coat £99  Whistles Olivia Clutch £95 Next Bubble Hem Sweater £18
Middle Row L-R Atterley Road Century Blue Sweatshirt £28 Mary Portas Open Seam Dress £79
Zara Anchor Pattern Shirt £25.99 Top Shop Monument Tassle Loafers £32
Bottom Row L-R New Look Plain Crop T-shirt £7 Sargossa Navy Supreme Heels £220 Hush Muse Skirt £65 Gap Leather Satchel £74.95



I could talk about each and every piece here but my daughter passed comment the other night that my blog posts are 'long'. Wounded I was, wounded. So, a few highlights below, you can click on the links above for more information from the professionals!



We're not expecting a lot for the price of this are we but sometimes H&M come up with some real pearlers. My feeling is that the drape at the top might not be the most flattering and it will be too short but it's got to be worth a try for £25. A great piece to wear over the Christmas period - we're heading there at the rate of knots. 





Coat

I've already decided to buy a new winter coat this year. I'd originally thought an 'investment piece' but actually seeing this, I'm wavering slightly. Ok so it's not going to see me through the minus 10 degrees of January/February but I could see a lot of wear in the milder months. The 3/4 sleeves put me off a little but I'm still thinking it could be a possibility. Here it is styled in the sand to give you an idea how it looks. She doesn't seem to mind the shorter sleeves! At least the buttons won't fall off because it has special button technology. That is assuming there are buttons, I can't see any!




Shop this outfit | M&S





Mary Portas Open Seam Square Dress £79



Mary Portas Open seam square dress




Love, love, love this. An absolute classic. Mind you I hate how it's been styled on the House of Fraser website (red necklace and shoes). The colour doesn't need anymore colour if you know what I mean. Black leather bomber jacket and black cage shoes that I bagged from M&S and bobs your uncle, a great easy wear outfit. And something that will work all year round.


Sargossa Navy Supreme Leather Heels £220

Pumps




I saw these on Marianna Boutique Twitter last night and had a weak knee moment. Not only are they gorgeous, they have been designed with comfort in mind eg. the heel height has been calculated with the optimum platform to support the foot. So, ladies we can go shopping in them - yeay!


And finally, flats. I've consciously tried (and succeeded) to wear flat shoes this summer. Not for any health reasons but because the husband shouts at me when I'm tottering around downstairs as the heels scratch the floor. You so don't want to live in this house. It took a little getting use to at first and every few days I need a heel as the old back starts aching. I'm toying with either navy suede or black patents loafers. Brings back memories of when I was about 14 and both my friend, Gillian and I had burgundy ones from Ravel. We loved them to bits although I spent the first couple of weeks walking on the backs of them to soften the leather as they hurt so much.


Top Shop Monument Tassle Loafers £32

TOPSHOP MONUMENT Tassel Loafers




I could go on, there's so much out there. You'll be pleased to know that I still haven't bought anything. I think about shopping (or lack of it) at least 50 times a day but I haven't caved. How are you all doing if you're in on the challenge? Have you seen anything blue that I need to know about? Let me know, I love hearing from you.


Donna x