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!


A Style Makeover Service Called Tuesday With Marks & Spencer. Didn't Even Know This Existed!

Amongst the tons of Cyber Monday emails (which appear to have carried over to Tuesday and beyond) sat a little invitation from Marks & Spencer to try their virtual 'Style Makeover' service (although it may not be as virtual as I first thought, see below). It's available to Sparks customers only I think. 

It threw me at first, I thought it was only available on a Tuesday, turns out the service is called Tuesday. Doh! 

Anyway, my question to you is, have you tried it yet? 

Out of sheer nosiness, I've tried virtual styling services before and been totally disappointed. Having a good idea of what suits my colouring, shape and personality, I've been known to fall off my chair laughing at some of the suggestions. Either that or totally indignant at their choices....how dare they dress me like a middle-aged woman. Oh yeah, I am middle-aged. Actually I'm more than middle-aged. Wallis' offering is one that springs to mind, I hated everything that was suggested. Occasionally, I receive emails based on my initial input and I've yet to like anything. Fussy bugger I am.

So basically you're asked a series of questions to ascertain

- what you're expecting to get out of it (ie whether you want a complete overhaul or just a few ideas)
- your lifestyle
- colouring
- your body shape
- your style personality

There's sometimes an element of guessing or making do. My body shape didn't appear in the Marks & Spencer questionnaire so I chose the one that was the closest fit.

This one isn't revolutionary, the questions asked are no different to other similar services that I've tried but you gallop through the various sections fairly quickly. It's all very clean and orderly.

The biggest difference with the Marks & Spencer service is that it 'appears' to have a real life person at the other end rather than a virtual programme. I had to upload a photo (never been asked that before) and was told that my personal stylist is Jodie and very nice she looks too. 

It would seem that M&S are going one stage further and will be introducing changing room reservations for you to try on your selections. THIS EXCITES ME. Imagine that - your choices waiting in your very own changing room. What I'm unsure about is whether you have to buy everything online as you do right now or just reserve them. 

Anyway, I thought I'd give it a go and report back with her recommended. I told the truth about my physical features, current style and lifestyle. But I told a little white lie about wanting a complete overhaul (not really, unless she comes up with something A-Mazing). Really interested to discover what Jodie recommends.

Has anyone else had a play with the Tuesday's Styling Service? And if so, how did you get on? 

And that aside, I would love to be a Jodie!!!! Now can I have a job?

To be continued....

So excited for the 1st December - I get to open my first advent calendar window. How giddy can a girl get? 

On the Christmas shopping front, it's all going very well....the wheels are bound to come off soon aren't they? I've already had to remind the kids about the present list rules. 

Catch you later in the week.


Cancel Your Gym Membership This Christmas - I've Found The Miracle Dress

A couple of weeks ago, I popped into Winser London's press day to have a look at the spring/summer 17 collection. To be honest, I have enough on my plate keeping up with current trends never mind future ones. But, one thing I love about this brand is that they have a core collection that is tweaked every season, so it might be a different sleeve or a new shade. And then they introduce a few new pieces to remain current and fresh. I like that.

I've borrowed, bought and been gifted several pieces from the current collection. Does that qualify me as a Winser London expert? I mean, I 'get' what the brand is all about, providing quality pieces at decent prices. Clever designs that flatter a real figure and give us women the confidence we need in todays crazy world. To be honest, I've been blown away by every single piece that I've had the pleasure to try.

Anyway back to the press day. I was particularly intrigued to check out the miracle dress range. We are talking serious frock power. You know me by now and my love of Ponte fabric. Well, this isn't any old Ponte, it's double knit jersey Ponte de Roma fabric. I haven't a clue what that means, sounds impressive though. What I can tell you is that it's bloody amazing. Why? You want to know why?

1. It holds you in
2. It doesn't show your lumps and bumps
3. It holds it's shape because the fabric is tightly woven
4. It doesn't crease so travels really well
5. It has stretch so is very comfortable to wear
6. It doesn't fade when washed

What's not to love? And very cheekily I asked if I could borrow three different designs to do a show and tell on the blog promising faithfully to look after them.

These are the ones I've chosen to show case.

Miracle Short Sleeve Dress in Moonlight £99

You get a lot of bang for your buck which is probably true for all of the dresses. See those pleats across the tummy? They're like wearing your magic pants on the outside. They hold you in and disguise the bits that you don't want to show. Super flattering too. If you haven't tried this style before, you really must. I've had a couple of similar styles and the pleats really are quite brilliant.

Moonlight Miracle Short Sleeve Dress - Winser London
Pearlised Grey Clutch - Karen Millen (similar currently 25% off)
Pearlised Grey Shoes - Karen Millen (similar 20% off with code GOGOGO)

I love the soft rolled crew neck which I hadn't clocked online. Just a little detail but it really does take the dress to the next level.

All the dresses I ordered are a size 10. I'm on the larger size of a 10 and they fitted perfectly. You might want to size down if you're smaller. Ideally I would have liked to have tried the rich burgundy but it's sold out in my size. Seem to be having a love-in for all things burgundy at the moment! It's also available in black (of course), midnight navy, camel and teal.

Short sleeves (big thumbs up) and of course it means that the dress can be taken right through to summer.

Let's face it, our upper arms might not be as toned as we would like them to be so a bit of coverage is always welcome. I didn't think I'd like this dress when it was unpacked, it looked a little too classic for my taste but oh boy, it takes on a different persona when it's on. Turned out me and this dress quickly made friends. 

Rich Burgundy Miracle Fitted Dress - Winser London
Lace Up Shoes - Marks & Spencer (similar)
Rich Purple Croc Metallic Clutch - Mimi & Thomas (Quote BLKFRI15OFF for 15% DISCOUNT

No clever pleats this time but the thick, heavy fabric holds everything in just fine. What a stunning dress for Christmas! I need someone to get married on 24th December. 

Did I mention that this one has pockets? Brings it right into the 21st Century doesn't it? 

Those georgette sleeves though. Finished off with a tiny covered button. A sucker for detail, I am.

Look how the line of the pocket is cleverly integrated into the seam which in itself is a flattering cut to draw the eye inwards. 

There's nothing over designed about Winser London pieces, that's why I like the brand so much. Take the notch crew neckline. It has a hidden button so as not to interrupt the the simple line. The designers are probably sticking pins in a Donna Voodoo doll right now because I'm sure that these dresses are technically ambitious to pull off. 

And it's available in black and Moonlight as well. 

Miracle Crochet Shift Dress In Ivory £135

This one caught my eye at the press day so I was keen to try it for myself. It's probably fair to say that it's slightly more fashion-led than the other two. That funnel neck and shorter hem line would certainly appeal to my 21 year old. It's still a shift dress.....but not as you know it!

Ivory Miracle Crochet Shift Dress - Winser London
Leopard Print Ankle Boots - Michael Kors (similar)
Bronze Tassels Metal Trim Clutch - Mimi & Thomas

By the way, the zips of all the dresses are covered. You're not going to find this level of detail on many £135 dresses!

One of things that I really loved about this dress is that it isn't see through. My absolute pet hate when wearing white.

Also available in black and deep purple. 

One of the things I noticed when trying these dresses is that I didn't feel the need to over accessorise. In fact, I wore just my wedding ring and watch in the ivory one. 

I'd be hard pressed to choose a favourite, each style is beautifully cut; the blue one is super flattering across my problem area, I was totally surprised at how much I loved the burgundy and ivory felt youthful and fresh. 

Do you have a favourite? Anyway, they're all packed up ready to go back. I'm glad I've tried them though because they lived up to their claim of being 'miracle dresses'. By the way, I'd highly recommend playing around with your own bags and shoes and taking photos when you're doing a try on at home. Sometimes it's much easier to make a 'good' decision when you have all the pictures in front of you. Well it has to beat a selfie in the changing rooms with jeans around your ankles!

Lovely day in Manchester catching up with my friend Helen from The Flaky Fashionista. Shock horror, we managed only two shops and spent the rest of the time gossiping over lunch. Back home now and huddled in front of the fire with a family sized bag of Minstrels. I am so going to need miracle dressing this Christmas. 

p.s. This is not a sponsored post, I have not been gifted anything. And, I haven't been asked to write about them. I merely wanted to share my experience of these fabulous dresses with you. 


A Cosy Stripe Jumper Perfect For Layering

I wasn't going to post today but this little jumper arrived earlier and I had to tell you about it. It's an absolute steal at £18 but then there's 20% off until Monday (I think) making it just £14.40.

You know yesterday I was talking about not over layering because it adds bulk, well this is thin enough to wear under a blazer (I may also have a thermal vest on too).

Stripe Jumper £18 (quote GOGOGO for 20% off)

Navy Emilia Blazer - Boden
**Navy Stripe Jumper - ASOS (Code GOGOGO for 20% off)
**Navy Lift & Shape Jeans - M&Co (Code GIFT25 for 25% off)
Burgundy boots - local boutique (no longer available)

**Absolute bargains at the moment
The jeans are also discounted as well, smarter than your average denim huh?

I'm off to the football now, as if I'm not already cold enough. I have a date with my big coat I think.

Enjoy the sunshine if it's out where you are xx


How To Look Slimmer Over The Festive Period Without Trying Too Hard

Shall we step away from cyber world madness for a while. My inbox is pingaling pinging every few seconds and there's dozens of browsers opened on the laptop. I'm trying to hide all digital evidence from the kids and I can't remember what I've ordered and what I haven't. It's full on click frenzy mayhem. And I am exhausted.

Deep breaths into a brown paper bag Donna, deep breaths.

So let's talk about me and you instead. I'm a firm believer that over the festive period, we should be able to eat and drink what we want, when we want without worrying how we look. Trouble is, these days Christmas starts in September and of course we're still eating Panatone and mince pies well in to February. Let's just gloss over that point.

How then, do we still look good while piling on a pound or two? Well, here's a few tips.

(Apologies for the amount of photos of this old woman but they illustrate a point!)

1. Wear A Column Of Colour 

You know by now that I'm a huge advocate for wearing the same colour top to toe. Thing is, people mistakenly think that I'm slim-slim. Yes, I have thin legs but my top half is a good size larger (I'm not proud of this, we won't go in to detail) so I have to watch what I wear. A column of colour not only helps balance this imperfection but it also elongates the frame giving a leaner silhouette. 

I wear a column of colour casually

Off Duty Jumper - Boden (similar hereand here)
Navy Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Tan Boots - Boden (similar)
Twiggy Bag - Modalu

When I'm dressing up

Top - Ichi (similar)
Black Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Shoes - ASOS (similar here)
Tassels Metal Trim Clutch in Bronze - Mimi & Thomas

Christmas sparkle-wear

Lift & Shape Slim Leg Jeans - M&Co
Bag - Next (old)
Cold Shoulder Shimmer Jumper - M&Co
Shoes - Next (similar)

Even when wearing a skirt

Ruched Skirt - Kettlewell Colours
Cara V-Neck T-shirt - Kettlewell Colours
Bag - See By Chle (old)
Sandals - Top Shop (black version here)

It just works! Pick your fail safe trousers/jeans and add a top of a similar tone. It doesn't have to be exactly the same shade; charcoal and black, navy and black, navy and charcoal. They all work just fine. And of course deeper colours are always more slimming than lighter ones but don't discount them. A column of winter white can look utterly divine. 

You can even add a jacket or coat in a different shade as long as you've got the column of colour going on underneath, you will look slimmer

Here I have a charcoal top and black bottoms (the shades are near enough to work) and I've added this lovely rich burgundy. 

Merino Wool Wrap Coat - Winser LondonBlack Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Grey Frill Jumper - Next (similar)
Trainers - Adidas Gazelles 

Remember: an uninterrupted vertical line draws the eye up and down making you appear taller and leaner

2. Wear The Right Shoes

Shoes? How can shoes make you look slimmer? Oh they do my friends, they do. Firstly, expanding on the theme above, wearing tonal shoes will extend that vertical line. 

Here I'm wearing boots so there is no interruption of flesh at all from top to toe. Wearing a contrasting shoe would interrupt the vertical line.

Cashmere Blend Chunky Coat - Winser London
Top - Ichi (similar)
Coated Leggings - Next
Boots - Marks & Spencer (similar)
Bag - Mimi & Thomas
Even if you can't bear to do a heel, that all black combo will still have the same effect on your frame. 

And speaking of heels, of course they're going to make you look longer. Not one to be prescriptive but I feel I need to point out that beauty is pain and all that. Feel free to take this piece of advice as you see fit. Need I mention that a heel also changes our posture. We automatically draw up the torso and push our shoulders back. Go on, tell me you're tempted to dust off those stilettos.

3. Raid The Jewellery Box

Now you're thinking I've totally lost the plot....or I've been on the vino again. Well neither actually. Let's take necklaces first of all. A long necklace adds length and takes the attention away from the hips. It's working the old verticals again. Scroll back and have a look at the photos above for examples. 

Stacks of bangles, interesting bracelets and watches draw the eye to the wrists ie. away from the upper arms, belly and hips. Who would have thought a humble bracelet could have so much power? Of course we all have amazing wrists so we should hilight this virtue yes?

Mine look very wrinkly. At least I have something in common with Madonna other than the name.

Bob over to ASOS here for some really lovely affordable pieces to get you started. Use code GOGOGO for 20% off and free p&p (arghhhhhhhhh this is supposed to be a Black Friday free post).

4. Don't Go Overboard On The Layering

I know, I know it's been baltic this week (try living in this house. No, our central heating still isn't fixed) but over-layering adds bulk. Vest, long-sleeve t-shirt, shirt and jumper all add bulk. 

Here's a little physics experiment for you. Lay each piece on the bed, one on top of the other, grab them at the waist and scrunch them up in the middle. That huge amount of material in your hands is how much bulk will be added to your frame. Scary huh? Better to be cold, slim and miserable then? Errrrr no, my bones are too old to suffer in the name of fashion (unless we're talking shoes). All I'm saying is don't go over board and choose natural fibres where you can, cashmere and Merino wool are far more heat efficient than acrylic. 

5. Get That Fake Tan Out

Brown arms and legs look slimmer than white pasty ones, fact. Give yourself a once over with a tanning mitt and when completely dry, go back over your flabby bits with an extra layer to deepen the colour. It's a bit like contouring your face. This is great for an instant tan (3 shades, I wear medium).

6. Wear Your Hair Up

Or at least away from your face. Your face will look instantly thinner. My goodness, we might even discover our long lost cheek bones.

So my top tips for disguising the extra pounds this Christmas. There'll be no dieting in this house. In fact the only sweat I'll break is curling my hair. Jeez-Louise I feel as if I've done a full bicep workout when I've finished. No one said looking good is easy!

Hope you've got lots of lovely things planned this weekend. We have a football match tomorrow (please let us win) and then I'm meeting up with my blogging pal, Helen from The Flaky Fashionista for a long overdue catch up. 


Mango's Secret Closet. But I Know A Back Entrance...

A quickie from me. Not many people know that Mango has an outlet store totally separate from the main website.

Here it is Mango Outlet and there's currently 65% off as part of their Black Friday deal. They don't seem to advertise the site, it's almost like their dirty little secret!

Not much to write home about on the dress front but there's some amazing coats and jackets.

No links because it will take me too long and everything will have sold out, just pop over to the website for a browse. It's not all tat either, see that little grey blazer below. I've seen this in real life, it's rather lovely, very casual due to the soft fabric and unfinished hems. And at £14, a bit of a steal.

Sizes are limited in some items so quicker you get over there the better.

An early Crimbo pressie from me to you.

Have a good day xx

9 Dresses From The ASOS Black Friday Sale That Will Take You Beyond Christmas

Better late than never, ASOS has joined the jolly Black Friday merry-go round with 20% off across the board and NO MINIMUM SPEND (use code GOGOGO). I stopped procrastinating and finally made a start on the Christmas shopping yesterday and currently have 17 items winging their way to me (no kids, if you're reading this, they're not all yours). So I'm sat here feeling smug. I mean, how difficult can it be? Family provides a list, I sit with a cup of coffee, google like hell for the cheapest, free p&p deals, flex the old credit card and wait for the parcels to arrive.

Except, I've already had 2 emails saying that items are no longer available (cr*p stock control) and it means I'm going to have to stay in for the next week to receive the parcels.

Why do delivery men ALWAYS deliver when:

a) you've popped out for 12 minutes to the post office (but you've been in all day other than that)
b) you're vacuuming and don't hear the door bell
c) you've been in a telephone queue to a call centre for 47 minutes and are now plugged in to the charger because there's no charge left on your mobile. Meaning you can't get to the door!!
d) you've just got out of the shower dripping wet through and can't find anything decent to put on
e) you're having a wee
f) Homes Under The Hammer are about to announce how much the house is now worth after renovations

Mind you, it still beats joining the crowds at The Trafford Centre. I am a die-hard internet shopping fan.

Anyway, back to ASOS. I've pulled out a few little pearlers that will take you through the festive period and, because we have a life after Christmas, well into next year too. I've tried to pick out pieces that are pretty easy to wear. I'm a lazy so-and-so and really can't be bothered to think too hard about what type of bra is needed and whether I'll need to shoehorn my body into shape wear.

All prices before the discount is applied.

First up and this is an absolute corker. The under belly of our upper arm is covered but we're still seeing a hint of sexy shoulder. The hemline really does make the dress look far more expensive than it is and it's navy. We all get navy, it's so much more forgiving on everyone as we get older. By the way, I hadn't realised that dropped hems are back - ASOS is teeming with them.

Closet London Cold Shoulder Long Sleeve Dress £58

And the back view. Stunning with rose gold.

And for women who can do jewel tones (Clears look amazing in these), we have a lovely vibrant emerald green. Perfect for a spring wedding too.

Closet London Cold Shoulder Long Sleeve Dress £58

An easy wear next and another navy number. This is the sort of dress that I think you can do a lot with by adding different colour accessories. Gold, silver, rose gold, black, neutrals or even a pop of colour such as pink. If I'm doing a pop, I'd keep it to one thing such as shoes otherwise it looks too matchy-matchy. Easily dressed down too with a biker jacket  and changing the belt for a leather one. The relaxed fit would be ideal for the mountains of food that you'll no doubt consume on Christmas Day. Just saying!

Midi Dress In Plisse With Self Tied Belt £35

Also available in green although as hard as I've stared, it looks grey to me.

Midi Dress in Plisse With Self Tie Belt £35

Ok, so personally, I'd have to add a lace trimmed cami under this next one but you could have a bit of fun playing with colours; black, nude, grey etc. The neckline is perfect for pear shapes as it makes the shoulders look wider than they are, resulting in a more balanced frame. And the colour is bob-on for most skin tones (red heads might want to add gold to warm it up a little).

Selected Alba Long Sleeve Silk Wrap Dress £170

Claire Underwood eat your heart out. This one is for you! Didn't she have the best wardrobe in House Of Card? And did you know, the actress, Robin Wright also played Jenny in Forest Gump? Full of trivial trivia I am. If you're wondering what Plisse is by the way, it's the crinkle fabric which never creases, a perfect packing partner. A dress that will sit in your wardrobe for years and so easy to update each season. Add a blazer for the office or dress it up for a day at the races. One for the cooler skin tones I would say.

Plisse Midi Dress In Marl Pleated Fabric £35

Some pattern now. This is a blogger's favourite and it's not difficult to see why. I love the unusual print and it's nice to see that they haven't gone overboard with the size of the pattern.

Warehouse Ink Rose Midi Dress £59

You know when you've pigged out on Boxing Day, all the relatives have gone home and you have a date with a Netflix box set, a tin of celebrations and the dregs of  three opened bottles of wine? This dress is perfect. Warm, cosy and no digging. And then after Christmas, biker jacket and boots.

Miss Selfridge Slouchy Knit Dress £35 (more sizes available here)

Or a more tailored knitted dress. A clever one; that rouching will hide those little pot bellies. I'm a big fan of this style. But then I would be, me and my little pot belly.

Warehouse Side Rouch Detail Dress £39 (more sizes available here)

Ok, so I've played it pretty safe with these choices but you know what, you'll still be wearing these dresses waaaay down the line. That's sensible Black Friday shopping!

A Few Other Cyber Deals You Might Like To Know

Boden (use code F6P8) 30% off plus free p&p including these fabulous heels

The White Company (use code AP380) 20% off almost everything. I could do a lot of damage in the candle department!

Great Plains 50% off selected items. Plus the Claudia Suited Trench that I have (and love) is in the sale

French Connection 50% off selected items. This fantastic jumper is now only £38

Moda In Pelle 25% off everything plus free p&p over £50

Kettlewell Colour 30% off selected lines (limited stock)

Baukjen (Use Code FREE201620% off plus a free gift and another discounted. That makes this turtleneck very very good value.

Dorothy Perkins upto 50% off and free p&p over £40. This ruffle shirt is now only £16.80

Hush 25% off selected styles

Mimi & Thomas (use code BLKFRI15OFF) 15% off everything. You so need one of these cashmere wraps in your life

Laura Ashley 30% off everything (fashion and home) including my beautiful floral midi and this stunner which is almost half price

All Saints (use code CYBER) 30% off everything including their leather jackets (crying in a corner here, I paid full price)

Top Shop upto 50% off. This leather studded bag is now only £18. Looks amazing with black, navy or charcoal

Personally I'm sorted on the Christmas outfit front although I'm sure there'll be a manic moment when I realise I need something sparkly or other. I'm waiting for John Lewis to do something Black Friday-ish though. Husband heard me groaning yesterday and asked what was wrong.

"It's John Lewis, I said. They're not in discounting mode yet"

"Why what do you want?" he replied

"This turtle neck jumper, it's still £35"

John Lewis Turtle Neck Jumper

"Just buy the bloody thing woman"

He just doesn't get it does he. Black Friday is a drug.

How are you getting on with your shopping?