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!


Pearls Are For Every Day, Not Just For Christmas

I had a thought the other day (whoa careful there), we've never talked about applying our style personality knowledge to jewellery have we? Have a look in your jewellery box / drawer / cupboard / carrier bag. Do you wear some jewellery more than others? Take a closer look. Is there a theme coming through? Maybe, maybe not. It depends how strong your style personality is. Remember last time, I said that some of us will sit very comfortably (and confidently for that matter) within a category. Others may straddle a couple. And the rest of us, well, possibly all over the show?!?! Click here if you want to discover your personality and here for a refresher.

What a lucky girl I am, Claudia Bradby chose a piece of jewellery from one of their collections especially for me. They'd obviously gone to a lot of time and trouble to 'get to know' me and my style because they got it bob on. I'll show you later what they sent.

I spent a very pleasurable half hour the other day browsing the different designs and it struck me that Claudia Bradby really do have something for everyone. It's a great way to illustrate the different style personalities.

Shall we crack on?

Celebrity Style Icon: Helena Bonham Carter

Recap: quirky dress sense | doesn't follow rules | not afraid to mix styles

I've chosen a mixture of different bracelets for you. You're brave and will happily try different things together. You like to make everything you wear your own. So a traditional pearl bracelet mixed with a more contemporary one for starters. And for the really brave, you'll feel right at home mixing a tribal vibe in there too.

Valentina Rose Gold and Pearl Bracelet

Bedruthan Silver Coin Pearl Bracelet

Tribal Pearl Bracelet

And you won't even mind about the clashing metals! Now that would totally freak me out. I'd happily wear any of the above but not together, it's just not me. I'm so far removed from the creative personality, it's laughable.

Celebrity Style Icon: Naomi Campbell

Recap: loves to shop | a definite fashionista | scoures magazines for inspiration : wears bold, dramatic pieces

I had to choose the Tribal Pearl necklace for you. And you'll probably buy the matching statement bracelet above as well. Bold and striking pieces will work well with your statement wardrobe.

Tribal Pearl Necklace

Celebrity Style Icon: Charlize Theron

Recap: feminine and ladylike | loves pretty things

Gosh this next piece is so so pretty. Perfect for the Romantic. It's delicacy, it's colour, even it's name. You'll absolutely adore wearing and touching it.

Mother and Child Pink Acorn Necklace 

And I know you're going to love this piece too.

Celebrity Style Icon: Condolezza Rice

Recap: classic by name classic by nature | loves timeless and elegant pieces | smart and understated

A true classic will no doubt already have something pearl in their jewellery box (which will by the way be well ordered, clean and tidy). So, I've chosen you a pair of stunning pearl earrings. I could have gone for traditional studs but you may well have these already. So, I've picked out a small drop pearl in a beautiful understated colour.

Margarita Pearl Drop Earrings 

They're not too long a drop, don't worry. I'm all about modernising the classic. We're not talking Margaret Thatcher territory any more. These are still a classic shape with a modern twist. The subtle silver sheen is just stunning don't you think?

Celebrity Style Icon: Kate Winslet

Recap: relaxed and informal | comfort is important | minimal jewellery

Feeling comfortable in your clothes takes priority over anything else. Your wardrobe will be made up of casual pieces such as jeans and t-shirts. Your jewellery will be minimal and maybe even have an ethnic vibe. Bracelets might be a no-no - they get in the way. So I've chosen you a simple almost home crafted feel necklace.

The World Is Your Oyster Necklace

It's sits on the collar bone so won't get in the way - god forbid anything that jangles and dangles! Please please please don't be tempted to remove the lovely pearl though!!!

Celebrity Style Icon: Sharon Stone

Recap: follow trends rather than high fashion | simple clothes teamed with stunning, well chosen accessories | colour is used with caution

You shop with care and don't make many mistakes. Your clothes are simple but teamed with beautiful accessories. This rose gold pendant will look beautiful against your clothes (which may be in the main, neutral colours). I fall into this category.

Double Halo Rose Gold Long Necklace 

And this is what I was sent. To say I was delighted, is an understatement. It's just perfect. I couldn't have chosen better myself. Worn with my Monica Vinader rose gold and silver necklace.

What a lovely, useful piece this will be in my wardrobe. I now need to source an equally beautiful rose gold bangle or bracelet. Oh look, there's this one.

And the necklace got it's first wear today.

Double Halo Rose Gold Long Necklace - Claudia Bradby
Soft White Tee-shirt - Next (similar)
Navy Blazer - H&M
Navy Pinstripe Cigarette Cropped Pants - Ichi (in sale)
Tan Boots - Boden (similar)
Navy Bag - Coach (similar)
New necklace, new hair! What more could a girl want.

There's 20% off all jewellery this Easter weekend. Quote BLOOM20 at checkout. A perfect opportunity to give your wardrobe a spring update. And let's face it, a piece of jewellery lasts longer than chocolate.

Contemporary pearl jewellery for every day wear. Yes Claudia Bradby. I buy in to that. Crack out those pearls ladies.

Shall we talk about yellow next time?


It's Sale Time Again!

Make way, make way for high summer. Madness isn't it, that shops are putting their spring stock in to sale already. I actually dipped my big toe into this season at the weekend. Pah! That didn't last long, back in boots and jumpers on Monday.

But have to admit, I love a Boden sale email.

I bought this shirt last year and love it and as I write all sizes are available in the blue.

The Boy Fit Shirt (from £35.70 depending on colour)

Not worn for a couple of months but it will come in to it's own in a few weeks when the weather cheers up.

It's an easy piece to style; looking back I wore it with burgundy pleather leggings and white jeans (probably more so than denim).

I might even take it on holiday this year as a beach cover up. It's a really light weight fabric and will be perfect styled with sandals and a straw hat.

Available in 4 other colour ways. Very tempted with the pink.

If you prefer a shorter version, the Girl Fit Shirt is also in the sale.

The Girl Fit Shirt (from £32.70 depending on the colour)

This would be my choice, love a stripe and don't care whether it's horizontal or vertical. I'm not fussy.

And there's 20% off the Bonnie Studded Flats which you're probably terribly bored of seeing on my Instagram (sorry!).

Bonnie Studded Flats (from £71.60)

Last worn this weekend.

I'm planning on wearing them lots more over the next few months (double sorry). White jeans and the boyfriend shirt above. Denim jeans, white shirt and navy blazer. And that's for starters.

A couple of other pieces that have caught my eye.

Rebecca Jumpsuit (from £79.60 depending on colour)

I don't normally do sleeveless but I'd bend the rule for this. Oh look she's wearing red shoes. I love it even more. It's one of those 'get your wear out of' pieces isn't it? Trainers and a blazer during the day. Ermm red heels in the evening. And even holiday wear.

A wardrobe investment piece next. Although not an investment price. I love the shape of this coat and perfect for today? Gosh I was perished.

Carrie Coat (from £119.40)

Yes please to every single piece of this outfit. And as for talking about transitional wear yesterday....this does the job perfectly. Wear with lighter colours (and less layers now). Bulk up in autumn.

One more, just one more and then I'll stop.

I've mentioned this cardigan before as well. And yippee it's in the sale.

Isabella Belted Cardigan (from £64.50 depending on colour)

Another inbetweeny piece. Possibly not as versatile as a plain navy or black but it still doesn't stop me from loving it.

I could go on, but I won't. There's free p&p with orders over £30 (so that's easily achieved) and 10% off full price items (quote code 5H3A).

No outfit photo today - I looked pants. Lugging boxes around at work necessitates 'old stuff'. I'd say one up from decorating clothes. You know when you put an outfit together and feel rubbish all day. That! Anyway on the upside, I've got my daughter back from Uni for the Easter hols. We already feel her presence as she seems to leave a trail of destruction wherever she goes. And yet her Uni room is so tidy. How does that work then?

Back soon.


Higher Hemlines And Less Layers, Yep We're Talking Transitional Dressing

It doesn't take a lot to make me happy. A little sunshine and shedding of layers. Happened this weekend. Yep, it made me smile. Just a little mind.

Let's just skip over the fact that temperatures dipped yesterday and I was literally shivering. 

So what's this mythical thing called transitional dressing? For me, it means dressing normally (it's certainly my comfort zone).  Everything's still covered but far less layers. Blink and you miss summer so my own trans-seasonal dressing starts around now and finishes well in to October. 

I've yet to conquer the summer wardrobe, it's never going to be my favourite season. I hate the cold so winter is a no-no. Give me now any day. Well now if it were a few degrees warmer. 

I pulled out an old mac the other day,  a classic inbetweeny piece. Something that can be easily added to if it's colder outside - a thin knit and scarf and yet is thin enough to throw in a bag if we're suddenly hit with a heatwave. Fat chance.

It seemed the perfect opportunity to road test the Stripe Boat Neck Tee that Kettlewell asked me to review. A pair of skinnies sporting a cuff to show just a smidgen of ankle. These are Fat Face Worn Vintage Skinnies and the red Bonnie Studded Flats from Boden (I do change my shoes occasionally, honest guv). 

Ok, I know I'm not reinventing the wheel here but I never really set out to do that. Ever actually. Far better to be comfortable. I swear I'm entering my senior years. And every piece is indeed the epitome of comfort. 

A comfy outfit = a happy Donna. And that's the most important thing. Yes? 

Let's just say that the top isn't strictly speaking my colour. A bold red and white stripe? Eeek. But you know me by now, never one to stick to the rules. It's just a matter of giving it a helping hand. So a few adjustments here and there....a lighter jacket/coat and tying my hair away from my face always does the trick. 

It kind of works don't you think? 

It's a lovely little top actually. I don't think I even need to talk about the quality - goes hand in hand with Kettlewell. Three quarter sleeves (perfect for now) and of course I get to show off my arm candy. And the length is just right for giving a bit of bum coverage but most of all not too long when I progress to my blazers. I'm wearing a medium, plenty of room. An excellent addition to my wardrobe. 

So that's what transitional dressing means to me. Happy days. 


Uniform Part 2

Uniform Part 1 (although I didn't know it was part one when I wrote it) is here. But I feel a follow up is needed. You see the peeps at Great Plains asked if they could send me a 'uniform' to have a play with. Ooooh go on then. I've bought a few bits from this company over the last couple of years and love each piece. In fact, their Spring catalogue was delivered just before we went to Dubai and I took it to read on the plane. There were many dog-eared pages. Well it is a long flight.

One of the things I love about Great Plains is that there's always a nod to current trends through colour and cut but the pieces have longevity too. I'm so over buying in to trends that only last a few months. And I'm getting a bit too old to follow them anyway. I'm more about building a capsule wardrobe these days.

So, my uniform is made up of skinny jeans or trousers and a top plus a jacket, coat or jumper (the weather dictates the latter). Gosh how lazy am I???

And this is what Great Plains sent me.

1. The Bottoms

Marsie Textured Jacquard Trousers (True Navy)

Not a new shape to me as I have a couple of pairs of slim leg crops and these were love at first sight. They have pockets (oh yeah), little slits at the back of the hems (these thing matter) and they're navy (a great alternative to black for many of us).

2. The Top

Waffle On Cropped T-Shirt 

I think GP designed this with me (and you) in mind. Love the stripes of course but the fabric is really different, it's a lovely soft waffle fabric. A slouchy box fit with elbow length sleeves. One of those easy wear tops that you'll reach for time and time again. Love how good it looks with the current season wide leg crops. Actually, there's some lovely, lovely trousers in this season's collection - have a look for yourself. Got my eye on 3 pairs.

3. The Layer For Warmth

Claudia Suiting Trench Coat

Not just any old trench coat, a very special one. I've got a traditional camel trench that I'll show you next time. Thing is, it doesn't look as good open as it does when it's fastened. Sometimes you just want to slip a coat on and leave it at that. Well, I was really surprised at how lovely this Great Plains one looks when it's left open. Although it looks fluid, it hangs in a structured way which for my body shapes works a treat. Perfect for transitional wear and something that won't date. A big tick for longevity.

And the three pieces together.

3 key pieces that will work for a heck of a long time yes?

I didn't really need to do anything other than add shoes. Love outfits that you don't have to think too hard about.

Sizing is pretty standard. If you're a 12, you're a 12. The only issue I had with the items was that I'm an inbetweeny size and the trousers fitted around the waist but were ever so slightly too big around the hips. I can live with that.

You know when you feel nice in an outfit?


This uniform lark is dead easy. And I for one will be sticking with it (most of the time) because I'm a lazy so and so. And it kinda works.

Hey, there's 20% off selected items at the moment too, just quote 20GPRED and if you want to receive the newsletter, click here.

It's all been very exciting this week in the boutique. We took delivery of the first 10 boxes of Ichi samples. I snaffled a khaki long sleeveless waistcoat, a pair of trousers and a top. Very restrained. Thing is there's another 48 boxes on their way. I'm pacing myself. Just got to work out how we're going to get the whole lot up to the top floor. And who is going to take them. Eeny meeny miny moe. If you're in or around Macclesfield, do pop in to say hi.

And turning my attention to housey things, we really need to update our home office. Husband has decided that the floor that was put down in the cinema room last year isn't the right acoustic (lord knows why he's bothered, he only watches sport) so wants to lift it and relay it in the office. Much scratching of heads by the flooring people but they've decided, yes it can be done without too much damage. I'll kill him if there isn't enough wood to do the job. Haven't a clue what design we're going for, it's about as interesting to me as a visit to Sports Direct. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.

Final note: husband's verdict of the above outfit,

"yes very nice, haven't you already got a stripey top"

Stupid comment. Haven't you got more than one pair of black socks?


I've Discovered A New Shop!

Hey you guys, why didn't you tell me! About The Range. Keeping it all to yourselves. I mean I've heard about it (wasn't there a documentary or something on television last year) but I've never been in one or even looked on the website. I don't even know if there is one near me. Hang on, I'll google...

Nope, the nearest one is 16 miles away.

I normally get my homewares from the likes of John Lewis and HomeSense (love HomeSense for quirky bits). Oh and Next are pretty good for cushions but the cushion pads are pants so I throw those away and buy nice ones. But never The Range.

So there I am the other night googling for World Clock clocks. I suddenly fancied a World Clock clock for our downstairs loo and this one pops up.

World Clock £24.99

Bingo, just what I was after. And a snip at £24.99. It's only for the downstairs loo after all.

And if I spend another £25.01, I get free postage. Yep this is how my mind works. I'd rather buy something else that doubles the spend to avoid paying postage. I AM A RETAILERS DREAM.

So, I ordered this bucket to put the loo rolls in.

Oval Beer Bucket  £15.99 although the price seems to have been amended to £7.99 (what I mean is, it's not in the sale but cheaper than what I paid - not happy)

Thing is, embarrassingly, we have empty cupboards so don't actually need a loo roll storage solution. There's a whole double cupboard in the downstairs loo that's completely empty. Wish the same thing could be said for my wardrobes. I've even considered putting my smalls in there but that would be totally impractical wouldn't it. And, I don't really fancy guests rummaging through my knicker cupboard when trying to locate the air freshener after doing a smelly poo (it happens). Actually, striking a match is much better at getting rid of the smell than masking it with scent. Something to do with the sulphur in the match if I remember rightly. Cor blimey how did we get on to that!!! Back to the empty cupboards, I'll fill them with more loo rolls I think.

Only another £9.02 to go.

Two of these, a big one and a small one.

Vintage Butterfly Vase (large) £2.49

Vintage Butterfly Vase (small) £1.34

(They aren't the same size honestly, even though it says they are in the product description).

Just another £5.19 to go.

These then.

Silver Pear/Apple Ornament £3.49

Guilty of not reading the blurb. I didn't realise you only got either the apple or the pear. Doh! Mind you, if I'd ordered two, I might have ended up with two pears - that wouldn't have done at all, I wanted one of each. I only  ordered one and got the apple. Which is not apple sized at all, more the size of a Galia melon. And it's  a shiny silver, not as in the picture so doesn't really go where I wanted it. But that's ok, it's found a home as you'll see below. Now how do I go about getting the pear?

£1.70 to go. It's hard work spending this £50.

So what can I get for £1.70 or thereabouts. I know. A Pyrex jug, there's bound to be a Pyrex jug. I dropped mine the other month and let me tell you when they smash, they smash. All over the kitchen floor. Yep, a 0.5L jug for just £2.99. That's an overspend of £1.29.

0.5 L Pyrex Jug £2.99

Pyrex jugs are like Monopoly boards aren't they, every house in the country has one.

And here they all are in situ.

*Tip* don't buy for the bedroom. It takes 4 AA batteries, that's 4 ticking clocks! Unless you like the sound of ticking that is.

There's about 7 loo rolls in there, so it's a good size bucket.

Absolutely adore these and can't believe the price! A couple of quid each.

Told you it was shiny. Here's where it lives to give you an idea of scale (it's a pretty large sideboard)

Ooooh that was nice wasn't it, talking about homewear instead of clobber. Mind you, I'm still smarting about the beer bucket price hike. Such a Yorkshire tight a*se.


You want to see a picture of the Pyrex jug?



Here you go.

I bet that's changed your life!

Have you ever shopped at The Range? And if so, why didn't you tell me about it? It's fab. I shall make it my mission to visit a store soon. And if The Range people happen to read this post, I want my   £8 back. Cheated I feel, cheated.


Jeans, Joggers & Caffeine

Hello hello, me again. I just had to tell you about a couple of pairs of trousers that I've picked up from Next. I always seem to come up trumps with their bottoms. The faux leather leggings from last season were a triumph. They have a similar pair this season here if you're interested. So wish they would do them in grey and navy. Hello buyers if you're reading. GREY and NAVY please.

Anyway, this time I've managed to snag a pair of cropped wide leg jeans. Well, I will when I've decided on the colour;

Distressed Hem Cropped Wide Leg Jeans in Mid Blue £26

I've been looking for a pair of cropped kick flares for ages and quite frankly I'm fed up. These are the best I can find. Ideally I would have preferred a tighter leg but ordered these on an overnight delivery last night out of curiosity. Tried them on quickly (forgive the shocking photos and styling - no excuse offered) and am pretty pleased. I'll decide on the colour when I can get my head around how I'm going to style them. This actually means popping over to Pinterest and stealing someone else's style. Och come on, you know I don't reinvent the wheel.

The light wash ones...

And the dark ones

These are size 10s and possibly come up ever so slightly big. The length is pretty perfect on me (I'm 5 ft 8 1/2). I don't normally get on with 'baggier' trousers as they lose the shape of my leg and make me look bigger than I am but being cropped, gives me the benefit of showing my lower leg which balances it all out. Well in theory anyway. My favourite favourite thing is the frayed hem which is exactly what I've been looking for. Oh and the fabric, a lovely soft cotton.

I've been looking for a side stripe since I saw the Me&Em ones before Christmas. Totally lush. Except they were a wide leg (read above - a no go area for me except knowing Me&Em, they'll be so cleverly tailored that everyone will look good in them). I've been tempted with these ones but didn't really want a crop. I bobbed in to Next to pick up my jeans order and a couple of pairs of joggers caught my eye. These ones.

Navy Side Stripe Jogger £28

Ok, let's over look the styling shall we.

And it doesn't get any better...

Black Side Stripe Jogger £22

So the navy ones first. What can I say. Divine. Fit like a dream (size 10). There's enough fabric for looseness but not enough so they're flapping around the thigh.

ON LOCATION (in the daughter's bedroom). Ok Ok I know, my styling isn't much better (but I was only trying them on)

And the side stripe plus me looking gormless.

The black ones are nice. Such a bland word, nice.  I wanted to like them more than I do because in my head I have 101 outfits planned around them. I don't hate them and I might still keep but the cut is much more generous, the waist band gapes even around my big belly and there's more fabric in the leg. I guess they just don't fit as well as the navy ones (you can't really tell from the photo). Well I'm not keeping both so a cull will be made in the next couple of days.

Actually looking at them here, they don't look half bad. I'm not sure they look this good in real life.

Next did good on the bottoms front although I wasn't terribly impressed with much else in the shop when I popped in. To be fair, it's a challenged on the square footage side of things. Online is best me thinks.

I don't tend to talk much about other stuff on the blog particularly health issues but thought I'd share this with you. I've been advised to cut dairy from my diet (apparently developed an intolerance in my old age). So last Wednesday I stopped drinking tea and coffee - what's the point of a latte without milk? Don't get me wrong I'm not flicking the kettle on 10 times a day (bit difficult when we don't own a kettle - it comes out of the tap). Three cups of tea and one coffee max. The headaches I knew would be inevitable. I've done it before and ouch ouch ouch, it hurts. Give it 3 or 4 days and they subside. On Friday night, I started with lower back ache which got worse and worse over the weekend. It wasn't a pain, more of a dull ache which I could also feel in my lower abdomen. Think child birth, think contractions, that sort of a pain. By Sunday night, I was pacing around the bedroom. I couldn't sit, stand or lie down. Didn't even go in to work Monday. That's a first. I didn't have a clue what was going on. And then in the evening, I succumbed and had a cup of tea - at least it would lift the headaches and I'd only have the back ache to deal with. Well go to the foot of our stairs, within 20 minutes I was pain free. What's all that about? Someone please do explain.

Anyway, the moral of this story is tea is good for you. Obvs.

And if you're still with me, the son had a surreal school run yesterday. He was driven to school by Nick Grimshaw and Matt Healy from The 1975. Yes you read that right. How cool? I'm not sure I'm even supposed to say anything as looking at Nick Grimshaw's Twitter he was a little secretive.

School told him to be at a location for 7.50am to take part in a discussion on wellbeing. Oh how he moaned and groaned. "Wellbeing on a Monday morning, really Mum?" So I dropped reluctant child off (in my pyjamas, no make up on, hair scraped back - oh the shame, the shame). And who should turn up but Grimmers and Matt with a film crew (I didn't think radio needed a film crew but apparently so). It was up to Harrison and 2 friends to interview Matt as he took them to school.

Of course as 14 year olds do, he took it all in his stride and his hair was 'on point' so it was all good. Mind you, I'd love to drag a brush through t'other one.

His Radio 1 debut will be aired sometime this week. Of course the daughter is greeeeeeeen with envy.

Well that was a random rambling blog post wasn't it.

Got a lovely, lovely outfit to show you next time.