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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!

9.22.2015

A Favourite Brand And A Lush Parka

Revisiting one of my favourite brands today, Atterley. Formerly Atterley Road (which actually I prefer), it's had quite a makeover. I've got to say that the website drives me doolally. This is a screen shot. Hang on, let me check that I'm not showing any dodgy Candy Crush icons at the bottom.


Nope, we're ok. Carry on...

The website isn't that easy to view. The unaligned pictures are really difficult to take in when you're scrolling through the website quickly. There's also random articles tucked in between items of clothing. Yes I want to view them but not when I'm on a mission to find a white fitted shirt. Save them for the front page or a blog. And the band running across the top really reduces the screen viewing size. Gosh, I'm a grump aren't I!!

But one thing that hasn't changed are the beautiful clothes at reasonable prices. I don't think I've ever had a bad apple from this company.

This is what's caught my eye.

Green Everyday Sweatshirt £42


This particular shade is everywhere right now and it's pretty wearable for most people. Arghhhhh I love it (and I've banned myself from buying any more sweaters for the time being). A perfect easy wear outfit if worn as above (or even with black cuffed joggers). switch the trainers for a pair of heels, add a leopard print clutch and you've got a dressed up look that would take you most places.

Black Turn Up Trouser £65


I bought a pair of trousers similar to these (without the turn ups) from Mango a few weeks ago and honestly I wear them so much. I actually prefer these to culottes, not just because I'm a *nesh bugger and they cover most of the leg but they're also easier to wear. But now I've seen these and I NEED a deep turn up in my life. I can make 10 outfits in my head with them and that's without thinking too hard. Not a lover of the slip on but this could turn me! Perfect with a pair of killer stilettos and cream pussy bow blouse - there's room for these trousers in my wardrobe for sure. Oh and they come in burgundy too although some sizes have sold out.

*nesh = a slang word used for freezing cold up in t'Yorkshire

Burgundy Turn Up Trouser £65



Selected Femme Knitted Dress in Navy £45


I picked up a couple of jumper dresses last year but this has got two things going for it that makes me want to trade mine in. Firstly it's navy, my favourite colour in the whole wide world and secondly it's below the knee. I'm fed up of showing my knees, it's about time they retired.

Green Silk Long Scarf £30


The skinny scarf, who'd have though it would be back with us. I mean, I binned all of mine from 10 years ago and now it would appear I have to replenish. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. I've not felt the love for the cotton scarves (of which I have many) for a while now. I still love an oversized knitted one that I can wind round and round resulting in me looking like Mrs Pin Head. Alright the skinny version isn't going to stave off a cold but it will add something to a plain outfit of jeans, top and blazer (I'm also out of love with most of my necklaces too).

Burgundy Curve Hem Dress £60


Another great colour for the season ahead. I love everything about this dress, the curved hem, the loose cut and elbow length sleeves. A perfect Christmas Day dress. No, no I didn't just say that, we're still in September for goodness sake. Throw on a leather biker jacket and shoe boots, now that's an outfit I'd wear over and over again. Also available in forest green and navy, possibly more colours but it hurts my eyes scrolling up and down as I've already said.

Classic White Cotton Shirt £38


Every woman, come to think of it every man and child also should have a simple white shirt in their wardrobe. Mine is courtesy of the husband and each time I wear it, he gives me a funny look but never says anything. The cuffs are resembling something out of Lord Rothschild's closet now, they've seen better days so I will need to replace before the season's out. So darn versatile and I love the simplicity of this one. No frills, no breast pockets. Great length. A pure white classic shirt.

So, just a few useful little bits from Atterley, nothing that won't stand the test of time (oh alright I'll give you the skinny scarf).

Anyway,  I've just won another online competition - how lucky am I at the moment. I'll tell you more about that soon. Let's just say, I'm not entirely sure what the prize is made up of but I'm assured there are lots of lovely goodies. You really should enter these competitions, they're ace xx

I've been a little lax taking photos recently. You know it's darn wet out there at the moment, plays havoc with the hair. I'll get back on track soon. But I did do a photo of this lush little parka that I tried on at my friend's boutique the other day. Oh Lordy, it is simply delicious. Soft faux leather arms, with a gorgeous fur trim at the front. I can't justify another parka can I? If anyone is interested in buying one, it's £75 and I'm sure I can sort out free p&p for you - he'll kill me! Drop me an email if you want more information. I'm wearing a size 10.






9.19.2015

Gray With A Funny A

You know when you follow someone on Instagram and you let out a little shriek of delight when they post a picture. That!

I can't remember how I found Southwood Stores but I'm an avid follower now, mainly due to the  printed t-shirts and sweatshirts. They look amazing.

Gray is the in-house label launched recently by owner, Hayley. Love the quirky A which is a triangle and Hayley has actually had this tattooed on her hand.

Gray Sweatshirt £45



Breathe Tee £30



Brave Tee £30



Mama Sweatshirt £45



Cute aren't they! And when you think about it, the possibilities are endless....well as long as there's an A somewhere in the word! They're just a little different to other slogan tops that are out there and great for layering underneath a blazer for simple but smart look.

I can't decide whether I like the grey Gray sweatshirt or the white Breathe tee the best. I'm waiting to see what other words Hayley has planned.

Have you come across Southwood Stores before? There's some lovely homewares on there too. Kicking myself for not finding this shop until recently as I adore the laundry bags (now sold out).  Just what I've been looking for, for the son's room.

A full day of football today (yawn). The son played against Man City U15s Select team at their amazing training ground. Blue 3G for goodness sake (that's pretend grass by the way). And then we watched our local team beat top of the league, Forest Green 4-1. Whoop whoop. Back home for a Chinese takeaway and yet more footie on tv. Now settling down to watch X Factor with a glass of wine in front of the fire in my pyjamas. Got to beat going out.

I wore a new poncho which is cut straight across rather than on the diagonal. Gives it a slightly smarter feel I think and was perfect for the weather today. Mind you it got so hot in the sun that I had to take it off (or was it the excitement of seeing 4 goals?).



Poncho - sold out (love this one)
Shirt Me&EM (similar)
Cropped trousers - Mango
Lace up shoes - Boden (similar)
Bag - Coach 
Tomorrow we have another footie match for the son and then I really will spit my dummy out if the hubby even thinks about putting Sky Sports on in the afternoon.

Expect fireworks.

Have a lovely evening.






nb. this isn't a sponsored post, I just love the products and thought I'd share with you xx




9.17.2015

Covering All Bases

So let's recap on current trends because there appears to be so many this year.

We have

The 70s (I'll include boho here - they're similar i.e. flouncy)
Victoriana and gothic (all that lace)
Military
Return of the checked shirt
Boyfriend this, girlfriend that
Monochrome 
Granny chic
Glitzy glamour 

......I could go on. I mean, we're all over the place aren't we. As I've got older, I've realised that I can't buy in to all the trends. Oh believe me, I've been there, done that, got several t-shirts. At the beginning of last season, I was so ready to jump head first in to the 70s. Flares, suede skirts, blousey blouses. Yep, Kelly Garrett that was going to be me (she's the pretty dark haired one in Charlie's Angels, so much more class than Jill Munroe). And then something happened. The trend was everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I couldn't even pop into my supermarket without seeing it. It all became somewhat gimmicky and to be perfectly honest, I was bored. So I never really got into the trend other than pulling out my old flares a couple of times and buying two boho style tops. 

With this in mind, I've put together a few tops, call them wardrobe refreshers that have a nod to current trends but you'll get a few more seasons out of them too. And ever mindful of budget, they're all under £50. 



Yes, this truly is a classic isn't it and red seems to be the colour of choice this year. This is a boyfriend fit which is slightly longer so will more than cover the bum. Wear under a navy sweater, relaxed jeans and ankle boots for a bit of a preppy look. 


Full on trend here, will you be wearing this next season? Probably not. Actually that's not true, the neck tie is removable and you're left with a very plain cream shirt so this has got to be worth a punt hasn't it? Wear with distressed jeans for a less formal look.


How much do I love military? Much, very much. And it keeps coming back every couple of years. I have jackets nearly 10 years old that keep on coming out of the wardrobe so it won't come as any surprise that I've included this one from Mango. You need to hop on over to take a closer look, the picture above does not do it justice. Now if only I could find a pair of khaki jeans to replace my old ones that seem to grow as I walk (even a belt doesn't hold them up), I think I'd have the makings of a great little outfit.


I couldn't not include a 70s inspired top could I? It's still every bloomin where. You could do full on 70s with this by wearing with flares and even a brown suede coat but it would also work well with a pair of skinnies and navy blazer. Will this stand the test of time. Absolutely. 


Do you know, sometimes I could really wring my own neck. I threw three, yes three pussy bow blouses out recently. That was stupid wasn't it? Anyway, I haven't chosen the standard pb top for this category as I think we'll be fed up to the back teeth with it next year. So, this little number from River Island makes the cut instead. It's also feeding our current obsession with the wrap bottom - a bit hit and miss if I'm honest. It very much depends on how flouncy it is and where the hem finishes. Get it right and the wrap looks ace, get it wrong and one can look shall we say portly in the belly area. 


Gosh I love this. I bet you thought it was from Zara, they're good at these aren't they. It's actually from Dorothy Perkins and only £30. And of course you'll be wearing it next year. It's timeless. Black cigarette pants and stiletto courts and you've got an outfit that will take you just about anywhere. There's free delivery too if you sign up for the newsletter (well it keeps flashing up on my laptop anyway).


A slightly more feminine cut than the classic boyfriend shirt. It's still long enough to cover the bum but not overly so. I've got the summer version from Boden and love it. It's my go-to shirt (I've also got their boyfriend shirt which is equally good (worn on Instagram here). These shirts are so darn versatile and the colour is amazing on just about anyone. Both of mine will be going on holiday with me next time to wear with shorts and as cover-ups (come on husband, pull your finger out and book something).


Mainly seen in white, cream and black but I love the idea of the grey worn with grey skinnies and ankle boots (I don't own grey ankle boots - makes mental note to resume the search). You know I'm always harping on about a column of colour being slimming and I do think this shape of blouse is very flattering. 

And that's it, my search for the best tops to refresh your wardrobe without buying in to one season wonders. 

I took the daughter back to Uni earlier today. I'm not actually sure she's coming back given 8 pairs of pyjamas went with her. We called off at Ikea to pick up a unit to put all those pjs in. Of course it was my job to put it up at the other end. These thinks really should come with a health warning. Two broken nails, a stubbed toe, sore fingers and  that was just me. Sweat was pouring down my face (it didn't help that every radiator was on in the house). The daughter 'titivated'. Her pens and pencils are displayed to perfection!! 



And if you don't think that looks much, bear in mind this was the second run (and it's a big car)!

Hope everyone is having a good week. I'd like to say I'm looking forward to the weekend but it would appear that it's rammed full of football courtesy of the son and husband. 




9.15.2015

Fill Your Drawers With Polo Necks - It's Going To Be A Very Long, Cold Winter

Well that's what the Daily Mail told me this morning. It's all to do with the El Nino phenomenon. Haven't a clue what that means but it sounds serious. Never one to miss a shopping opportunity, I've been looking at polo neck sweaters.

Now, I'm not going to get too hung up on names...polo, roll neck, turtle, funnel. Whatever. If they cover the neck, they've made this post. The thing is, I was a bit bleugh about the whole scarf thing last year. I love the chunky woolly ones that make my head look the size of a pin but the thinner ones that I've always worn under a jacket, I kind of really went off them. A high neck jumper seems a sensible option then.

Anyway, this one popped up on my Facebook and it was love at first sight. A slouchy fit, really unusual fabric (it's ribbed but 100% viscose so not at all a typical jumper). Oh and let's give special mention to the asymmetric neck which isn't so much asymmetric as baggy.

Paisie Navy Ribbed Asymmetric Turtleneck £75



I was lucky enough to see Paisie's A/W collection earlier in the year and can't actually remember this at all so can only think it wasn't there because I would have dived on it.

Also available in grey although I think it's possibly more suited to cooler skin tones (the model is cool skinned). And I concede, the neckline does look more angled in this shot.

Paisie Light Grey Ribbed Asymmetric Turtleneck £75



And staying with Paisie for a final offering. Slouchy but not asymmetric. Gorgeous colour for most (me included)! I'm guessing it's a soft white as opposed to a pure white which is very forgiving on the skin. Love the loose hem. I procrastinated earlier this year that corduroy must be due for a comeback and so it seems it's wormed its way back into our lives. Bit marmite corduroy isn't it. Anyway, I'm thinking a pair of needle cord winter white skinnies and beige ankle boots and you've got yourself a nice little outfit there.

Paisie White Slouchy Turtleneck Jumper £70



Moving on to Boden, their popular Off Duty Jumper is available in a variety of colours this year, my favourite being the navy. I've got a similar pair of trousers to these which are slightly more fitted - they're unlikely to see the light of day again after a friend stopped me and said that my legs were really brown. Mortified I was and when I got home and looked in the mirror, it did indeed look as if I wasn't wearing any trousers. Moving on, the Off Duty Jumper is also available in black, grey, beige and red.

Boden Merino Off Duty Jumper £89 (pre offer)



Uniqlo have their usual array of colours (14 in fact). This one is extra fine merino wool and as you'd expect a great price. I'm more an acrylic girl myself - I can't put anything 'real' next to my skin. Love the idea of creating a column of colour - black trousers, black polo and throwing on an over sized coat. I've picked up a gorgeous dogtooth checked one which I'm itching (lol) to wear.

Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Rib Polo Neck Sweater £24.90



Esprit have a batwing version. The neck looks less fitted which is ideal if you hate the feeling of being strangled! It's probably much more forgiving around the tummy than the Uniglo one above. 5 colours to choose from, this darker grey is my favourite.

Esprit Soft Jumper, Batwing Sleeves, Cowl Neck £39



A nice little offering from Zara, perfect with a pair of culottes and trainers.

Zara Knit Sweater £29.99






Adore the overly long sleeves on this one. It does look itchy but it's mainly cotton so I could probably manage this. I've got a black faux leather skirt that I haven't worn yet, I'm thinking it would work with the sweater.

Jigsaw Grey Soft Stretch Polo Neck Sweater £129



A throw on poncho with a funnel neck, an ideal car coat. For me, perfect for hiding the pyjamas on the 7.30am school run.

ASOS Poncho With Funnel Neck In Boucle Neck £45



Love the colour of this Zara one - it's a perfect neutral for absolutely anyone.

Zara Fringed Poncho £39.99



Oh my goodness, there are so so many to choose from this year. One thing to note though, if you're big busted, stick to a darker colour that doesn't emphasise the 'ledge'.

Well I'm sat on my own in the house tonight. The family are scattered around the country. The daughter is watching Man City (booooooo), the hubby is supporting his team in Cheltenham and the son is travelling back from a match he's played in against a school in Shrewsbury. Me? I shall be putting on my pyjamas shortly, pouring a huge glass of wine and watching trash on the tv. Bliss!

Might get my black polo neck out tomorrow for a test run.



9.14.2015

Victoria Beckham: Is she The 21st Designer of The Emperor's New Clothes??

Walking through Selfridges on Friday. Actually stop there. I wasn't just walking through Selfridges. No one just walks through that shop do they. Let's start again.

Browsing and making a mental birthday list in Selfridges on Friday, I happen to stumble upon Han Chong's relatively new label, Self-Portrait. Everyone that's anyone is raving about this label. I can't disagree with them. The dresses particularly are stunning and the prices really aren't that bad at all considering the amount of dress that you actually get. Many are priced around the £260 mark. Clever chap that Han Chong - expect prices to rise as popularity sores! The designer placed bang smack next to Self Portrait looked particularly bland, boring and uninspired, that brand was Victoria Beckham. At four times the price too.

I've long said that Ms Beckham's designs are nothing new and can easily be copied from the High Street offerings. Ok, we're not comparing fabrics and cuts and workmanship although if that cat dress from a few seasons ago is anything to go by, I'm not so sure. Look at the seam match...more akin to something you'd purchase for a fiver on the market.



What exactly are you buying for £1k+ a pop? Is the cut so good that it magically sucks you in 2 sizes. I doubt that very much. This is what I mean by the title of the post - is she designing something that people buy into because they absolutely believe it must be amazing because EVERYONE says it is?

Take these two dresses, one costs £1650 and the other £48. I honestly can't see where you're getting £1602 more benefit. They're just black dresses for goodness sake!








The first one is the Victoria Beckham, the second one is from Atterley. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you'll need to invest in super sucker-upper underwear for the Atterley dress whereas Vicky Bs will magically have this built in. But seriously how much do a pair of Spanks cost? Actually, I prefer the cut of Atterley's dress - the neckline makes it much more current. 

Now if the Self Portrait dresses were over a £1,000 each, I could understand it. The fabrics are just beautiful,  the detailing over the top in a good way and each and every one is most certainly a talking point. 

Panelled embroidered lace dress £320

In her defence, a good quality black dress will last for as long as you can fit in to it forever. So over time, £s per wear will be oooooh £87!!!

And not just confined to the black dress...

Left: Victoria Beckham £1450
Right: Whistles £110




Left Victoria Beckham £1550
Right: Baukjen £99

Left Victoria Beckham £2250
Right Next £55
Ok, I know a camel coat could be considered an investment purchase and you might want to pay more than £55 but humour me, I'm going for the shock factor. Mind you as camel coats go, you could do a lot worse than this Next one, it's really rather nice isn't it. 

See what I mean. Everything is pretty bland isn't it. I'm not excited. Which is a good thing because there's no way hubby would allow me to spend £1.5k on a dress (he'd probably come out in hives if I were to mention thousand and dress in the same sentence). My question then, is why are women spending this much money on fairly average dresses?

So that's that then. Safe to say I'm not a VB fan. Now this Beckham is a different matter altogether.



Oooooooh errrrrrrrrrr!!!!! I think I need a cup of tea. 

Am I missing the point of VB altogether then? Go on, hit me with it. 








9.12.2015

Violeta By Mango, The Low Down

Time to have a look at what's on offer at Violeta on the bottom front. Firstly, let's do jeans.

So what does a curvy lady need to look for:

1. If this is your problem area, you don't want to draw the eye to it so lose the detail. That means no contrast stitching, no patches, no extra pockets or zip details

2. Lycra is your best friend. Your jeans should always have a bit of stretch

3. Darker colours are always more slimming

4. If you're a pear shape, look for a lower rise waist band - it won't bag at the top. If you carry your weight around your tummy, look for high waisted to suck it all in

5. Shading on jeans can actually give the illusion of a slimmer leg

6. Cuffed hems can shorten the leg - wear with caution!

I had a quick scroll through the different styles in the current collection of Violeta and these stood out....for the wrong reasons.

Super Slim Fit Dylan Jeans £59.99


Why on earth has the designer added pockets (and not very flattering ones at that) on what is the widest part of the leg. My eyes are instantly drawn to that area. Wrong! Move on.

Boyfriend Claudia Jeans £44.99


Are we looking through one of those funny mirrors that distorts the body proportions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach? Oh dear. The length of the rise, slouch and cuffs just serve to reduce her legs to stumps. It's all wrong isn't it.

Chino-fit Minerva Jeans £44.99


More pockets...and cuffs although I don't actually mind the latter. The difference in shading between the actual jeans and the turn up is minimal so doesn't really stunt the leg (look at the previous picture - the contrast is so much more). But those pockets. Seriously??  I don't have hips and wouldn't wear them!!

Not looking good is it? But don't despair, there are some good 'uns.

Super Slim-fit Roma Jeans £44.99


Lots to talk about here. Firstly they're a dark shade which is of course slimming. And they're devoid of any detail other than that daft Violeta label. Look, no contrast stitching (the pockets are virtually undetectable)......


Wearing a longer length open jacket is a great way to hide the lumps and bumps and provide a streamline look. You don't need to tuck in obviously. My only reservation about these is the lack of length. Taller ladies might find that they're slightly too short.

Moving on.

Super Slim-fit Silvia Jeans £44.99



Ok, these have the length and the turn ups are the same colour so give you options.

Straight-fit Ely Jeans £34.99


If you really can't do a skinny (and some ladies can't), a straight leg might be an option. You'll probably need to show off the waist to give some shape (a nipped in jacket for example). These are experimental jeans - order them, try them, play with the styling.

Slim Fit Jeans Susan £34.99



Shading next. A central shading can really slim down the leg - remember the illusion dress?

And finally, the boot cut.

Oh they don't actually do a boot cut. That's a shame. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but this shape really does balance out a curvy figure. Sometimes a skinny or straight leg just doesn't work if you're top heavy curvy. A boot cut will.

You can apply the same principles to trousers. The only other thing to bear in mind is pattern. Checks, pin stripes and geometrics can be difficult - how shall I say this, your curves could distort the lines??

Buckle Suit Trousers £44.99


They're called suit trousers but hey don't knock them - it's just a name. Fabulous styled with trainers though I'm not loving the white tucked in shirt.

Belt Suit Trousers £29.99


The more I look at their selection of suit trousers, the more I think this it's a good way to go. There's quite a lot of baggy trousers on the site - baggy around the hips and bum. These are so much more flattering.


Moving on to skirts:

1. Lycra (again) is good

2. Fabric is key! Soft fluid material that's cut on the bias. Stiff fabric will stand off your curves making you look bigger than you are

3. Make sure the hem line finishes at the most flattering part of your leg

4. A slightly flared skirt will work well (as opposed to a pencil skirt) because it balances your figure

5. Soft, elasticated waist bands will sit better than a traditional one (especially if you're pear shaped as they often bag at the top).

6. Lining is good for sucking you in


I'd like to be able to show you a plethora of skirts now. Sadly I can't although I did get excited about this one. It's perfect.

Skirt Nasser £39.99


Until I realised it was from Mango's main site and goes up to a large (30 3/4 inch waist). Whoops. What a shame, it's one of those items you could have fun playing around with. Trainers and denim jacket, heels and a pussy bow blouse, denim shirt.....

Honestly, this is about the best one.

Contrast Pencil Skirt £44.99


The elasticated waist gets a tick and it's lined. The faux leather panel is only at the front, I'm assuming the rest of the fabric has some give in it. The length is a little iffy - it's neither one thing or another. I think it would look more contemporary if it were slightly longer.

To be honest, I think you can do better elsewhere by following the rules above. Although you'll probably already know that skirts can be difficult to wear. Well I think so!

So my thoughts on Violeta bottoms. There's a great selection of jeans actually. More than I had anticipated. I'm impressed. But it's a shame they haven't included a boot cut. Forget skirts though, there's nothing stand out at all.

Any thoughts about the collection?

A rare night in for all four of us tonight. Chicken and ham pie (cooked by moi from scratch) and now I'm searching the cupboards for chocolate. It's all healthy eating in this gaff.

We spent a lovely day shopping in Manchester yesterday. The husband came along too, he managed to disappear for the first hour and a half, joined us for lunch and then plonked himself in a coffee shop for a couple of hours.

Lunch at San Carlos (the daughter's choice, well it was her birthday), followed by cocktails at Cloud 23. Praying and praying all day that we didn't receive a phone call from school. The little one said he wasn't feeling so good. I felt sorry for him so drove him to school rather than chucking him on the train. Thankfully the phone call never came and he seemed to make a miraculous recovery last night. Hmmmmmm.


The manager at Cloud 23 was adorable, presenting the daughter with a glittery fruit cocktail, most of which ended up on hubby's face (kindly pointed out by a woman in the coffee shop 2 hours later).



Soz, nothing spectacular worn, I went for comfort - the bargain J Crew jacket from Orlando, navy Zara linen tee-shirt, white River Island Molly jeggings (here), Boden navy lace ups and navy Coach bag. Those two nutters are doing a 10K race tomorrow. Let's say preparation has been sparse. To be fair, hubs has done it a few times in the gym. I'm spectating of course.

Enjoy your Sunday x