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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!

4.29.2016

Second Post Today But This Can't Wait | Super Sale Alert

You'll be sick of hearing from me today but honestly I couldn't wait to tell you that Mango Outlet have an extra 50% off tons of items (click here) and it looks as if it's only until 1st May so better get your skates on.

Lots and lots of stuff but here are some of the hilights.

Fine-knit Striped Sweater £10 (that's a 67% saving by the way)


I've got this and it is gorgeous. It washes like a dream and doesn't even need ironing. It hangs beautifully and no one would believe it's only a tenner. Even at full price of £29.99, it was a bargain.



Embroidered Cotton Coat £20

I really don't need another jacket. I want one but I don't need one. And anyway, the daughter berates me for buying so many. But ohhhh. This one!


It's a dressy uppy, dressy downy piece don't you think?

And here's another ...

Structured Cotton Blend Jacket £20


The fact that there's over 70% off and all sizes currently available would put me on high alert. Maybe there's a design fault (it happens) or maybe it's the styling (you need to pop over to have a look for yourself). So I wouldn't recommend that you order just this as chances are, you'll be disappointed and have paid out postage but, if you're ordering other things, pop it in your basket and give it a try.

And another...

Double Breasted Jacket £22.50



Once again all sizes still available (ring a ding ding). But, I flippin love this and would look great with flared jeans, an alternative to styling them the boho way. I do find double breasted slightly more difficult to wear as they always seem to look better done up.

Trimmed Jacket £17.50



If you're in the jacket market and looking for something fairly easy wear, get this. The straight edge running down the front is super flattering, particularly if worn with a column of colour underneath similar to the model. Great colour for all.

Geometric Pattern Jacket £15


Don't just think workwear with this one. The slim fit would work so well with culottes or cigarette pants and a slogan t-shirt.

Waterfall Structured Blazer £20


Not keen on the styling here, that navy underneath, top and bottom is too heavy but this could be a lovely summer jacket. Perfect with jeans and a white t-shirt. Great for the hols and even to travel in. I remember seeing this last season and considered ordering it, surprised it's still hanging around.

Braided Cord Sweater £12.50


I bought a striped top similar to this before Christmas and love it. Buy this one and box it for autumn/winter. I mean, come on, this shitty weather can't last that much longer can it?

Message Cotton Sweatshirt £9


Nine quid? I've got a bottle of white wine at the side of me that cost more than that. Chuck on a black blazer and you've got a natty little outfit there.

Fine Knit Linen Sweater £9


A pop of red? Oh go on then. This is the sort of thing that you can add to your neutral wardrobe to mix it up a little. Looks great with black, grey, navy and white and the linen blend means that it's light enough to wear throughout the summer.

Premium Ribbed Fine Knit Sweater £9


Got this and love it. Had a bit of an accident with those ties at the bottom of the sleeves (you use them to ruche up the arms). I was snipping off the loop things inside a dress and one of them got in the way and I cut my jumper dangles off by mistake. I wanted to cry. Anyway it's a great piece and comes up ever so slightly big.

Beaded Cotton Jacket £17.50


Another lovely jacket and how great are the colour of those jeans.

Frayed Hem Jacket £12.50


I blogged about this way way back and actually ordered it. For some reason it went back and I can't for the life of me remember why. Maybe it felt a tad short so possibly better on someone smaller.

Fringe Trim Sweater £12.50


Lazy styling. There's so much you could do with this. Black cigarette pants and loafers, skinny jeans and ankle boots, throw in a coloured bag for colour, shorts for a visit to a (UK) beach....

And I could go on and on and on. There's so much although it seems that only jackets, knitwear and sweatshirts are in the special-special sale. Obviously the jeans and trouser buyer got it right!!!! Mind you there's still lots of them on the outlet at good prices.

Come on ladies, get flexing those credit cards. It's bargains galore this Friday night. And let me know if you manage to bag anything lovely. I'm having to sit on my hands but no doubt I'll cave before Sunday.

Anyway I survived wearing the pyjama bottoms today (blog post here). No rude comments and one lady even asked me where I'd bought my lovely trousers from. Gulp.


Apparently I've Well & Truly Lost The Plot

No they didn't have to verbalise their thoughts. I could see it written all over their faces. As I walked downstairs this morning, the husband's jaw dropped (not in awe I hasten to add) and the son stifled a laugh. Why? Because of these.



My new trousers. Actually scrub that. 

My new pyjamas. 

Yep they're pj bottoms from M&S Autograph. Sorry can't link as they're not online but they had loads in the sale in my local branch (reduced to a tenner as well).

I've been desperately searching for a good pair all season. Love love love the ones from Me&Em (here) but I couldn't bring myself to spend over £100 for something I might only wear a few times. They're probably a one season wonder too (which doesn't make me love them any less).

So, when I saw these, it was a case of buying, trying and if I feel an absolute tool or the ribbing at home gets too much, I can relegate to their proper use - bed wear. 

Ok so we won't be showing the ruched waist band. 

Pink Shirt - Dorothy Perkins (old)
Black and nude Pyjama bottoms - Marks & Spencer (not on line but check in store)
Boots - Boden (similar)


To prevent them from looking too pyjamaish I've kept things formal on top. Initially I'd planned to wear a chiffon mac but it all looked too floppy and one step away from bedtime so blazer and a nude pink blouse it is.

Dare I venture out? Pah, yeah of course. Mind you I'll give Tesco a wide berth. Didn't they ban people sporting nightwear from their stores a couple of years ago??

It's worth popping down to your local M&S to check their stock as they seem to have much much more in the sale than online. In fact, I might have picked up a lovely pair of floral ones too. 

NO I WON'T BE WEARING THEM AS DAYWEAR.









4.28.2016

Discount Time At Great Plains

Just a quickie from me today to let you know that the wonderful Claudia Suiting Trench that I have from Great Plains is on a special at the moment with 20% off.


I actually can't tell you how much I love this and have worn over the last couple of months. It's been a life saver!



Love to say, it's an ideal transitional piece that you'll get out again come autumn but in reality, I doubt it will be put away over summer. I mean let's face it, these days a vest is something you wear under your clothes, not with shorts (well it is in the UK anyway). I anticipate getting lots more wear out of it.

There's 20% off all full price items until next week using code 20GP16. Which means that the Marsie Textured trousers and Waffle On Cropped T-shirt (don't worry it's not really cropped) seen above are also reduced.

Love the Spring mid-season reductions as you can pick up some fab stuff that can be worn RIGHT NOW!!

Right I'm off.

Catch you laters xx


4.24.2016

Game Changers

Peering in my wardrobe for inspiration the other evening, it all felt a bit meh for a girlie night out. I'd chosen an ancient top, the usual coated jeggings and past season sandals.  I mean, there's nothing wrong with any of the pieces but together they were all a bit, well, safe.

And then I remembered a little chiffon style mac that was hiding in my jacket wardrobe that I picked up before Christmas and had yet to wear because it's been too cold. Suddenly the world all felt ok again.




It got me thinking about game changers; you know, items of clothing or accessories that take an outfit to the next level. Upping the style stakes and all that. For me, this little chiffon mac belongs in the game changer category. It makes the outfit slightly more special.

So what can we incorporate easily into our wardrobe to take it to the next level? Here's a starting point.

1. Animal print

It's going nowhere is it? Every year, there's some animal print pattern out there whether that be leopard, snake, zebra, crocodile, pony, even giraffe. It comes in the form of accessories in my wardrobe; bags, belts, scarves, shoes and boots. It gives a plain outfit a bit of an edge. A pair of jeans and a white shirt instantly looks more stylish with the addition of a leopard print bag for example. It can also make you look like a stylish confident woman (even if you're thinking inside you look like a tool - you don't by the way).


Cara V-Neck T-Shirt - Kettlewll £35
Skinny Jeans - Next £22
GAME CHANGER: Chancery Clutch - Boden Now £39.50
Wardrobe staples of a v-neck t-shirt and jeans are given a whole new lease of life with a statement bag. I have all of the items featured and can vouch for each one. I've used the bag so much - it goes with everything (and it's now in the sale woohoo). 

Lace Top - Zara £29.99
Black Workwear Culottes - Next £22
GAME CHANGER Juliette Mid Heel Shoes - Top Shop £49
I am so in need of a new pair of animal print shoes. I just need to work out whether it's a heel or a flat. These mid heels might work a treat and certainly give this outfit a little cheeky twist. Don't be put off by the description of the culottes - 'workwear'. I find a slightly more structured pair are easier to wear and style than those with volumes of fabric (I'm looking at you Alexa Chung). 


Soft Shirt Dress - Mango £16
Metal Detail Sandal - Mango £14
GAME CHANGER Crocodile Print Tote - New Look £9


Oh bargain alert! This whole outfit is £39. The colour of the bag gives the dress and sandals an injection of colour but still sticking with neutrals. And a very useful, versatile bag it is too. 


2. Jewellery

Never underestimate the impact of even just a single piece of jewellery. I wear a bracelet and a watch everyday plus a small necklace. It's as second nature to me as wearing knickers. Jewellery gives that polished look and finishes off an outfit. I rarely wear big blingy pieces these days, it's all about subtlety but nevertheless still as impactful to the overall look.

Woodley Cropped Jumpsuit £109
GAME CHANGER Toucan Leather Bracelet - Reiss £25
Need. Want. Can't live without. That jumpsuit. I love Baukjen jumpsuits, they are the bee's knees. Pretty plain on it's own so I'd add a touch of glamour by way of this bracelet from Reiss. Not a great picture but go on, click through and check it out in it's full glory.

Delicious isn't it! I'd also probably add a very small pendant such as the Claudia Bradby Double Halo Necklace that I featured here.


Daria Dress - Baukjen £89
GAME CHANGER Double Chain Necklace £15.99
Sticking with Baukjen, the Daria dress is a modern classic (I have it in 3 colours). And it can be dressed up or down. The necklace I've added is from Zara whom I fear have gone down the totally wacky jewellery route this year (check out the body necklaces!!!!). Anyway, this one is a sheer delight. Unusual, not too blingy but yes, it's an understated statement piece (if that is possible - I'll leave it with you to work out that conundrum but I know what I mean).


3. A Pair Of Trainers

Yes, a surprising entry for the humble sneaker but so useful to give a youthful twist to an outfit. I'm surprised how much I wear mine. I own a pair of grey suede Adidas Gazelles, white Adidas Honey Los and red suede Mango (plus the usual plethora of Converse and running trainers). Not that many compared with some, but enough for my needs.


Navy Buttoned Blazer - Mango £39.99
Skinny Jeans - Next £22
GAME CHANGERS Panel Suede Sneakers - Mango £18
I always grab a blazer when running errands. A pair of trainers keeps the outfit looking too formal or officey. As well as being comfortable of course. These ones have been reduced to £18 - an utter bargain for suede and leather. I wear mine (the exact same ones) at least once a week. Very tempted by the black which are the same price or these yellow ones that I featured the other day.


4. A Statement Jacket

Ah yes, let's talk jackets. One of my most favourite subjects in the whole wide world. There's jackets and there's jackets. What I mean by that, is there are functional jackets that keep you warm and stylish jackets that give a whole outfit a bit of pizzazz. I'd always opt for the latter, probably regret it in the middle of January but hey, you can always add a scarf. And a hat. And gloves. And thermals. Ok, maybe not always practical. I'd say if budget allows, try to buy a new jacket each season, something with a nod to current trends but won't date after a few wears. Sounds difficult? It's actually not.

Cotton Shirt - Marks & Spencer £35
Sculpt & Lift Skinny Jeans - Marks & Spencer £35
Military Jacket - Hush £65
It's all about the khaki military jacket this season isn't it. But let's face it, this kind of jacket isn't going to hit the 'has been' pile anytime soon. A good old plain white shirt and black jeans are brought bang up to date with this simple addition.

Lightweight Shirt - Boden £35.58
Skinny Jeans - Next £22
Abingdon Trench - Boden £104.30
And the trench is making a comeback. Of course the fashion pack are raving about it but savvy ladies have been wearing none stop since last time it was deemed 'in'. Another basic outfit of chambray shirt and jeans is suddenly thrust in to S/S 16 with the addition of the trench. And we know from experience that we can carry on wearing it for years to come. A good investment!

Basic wardrobe staples have been used for the collages above. Most women will have jeans of some nature in the wardrobe, shirts, t-shirts, a little black dress and so on. Adding a few game chambers can take an outfit to a whole new level and bring it bang smack up to date. Don't you agree?

Trouble is, I've mentally composed a 'want' list in my head after writing this post; yellow trainers, the Zara necklace, the Hush jacket, the animal print shoes and of course the Baukjen jumpsuit. Argghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Poor son has been traipsing around the Peak District all weekend on his practice D of E. He returned wet, cold and very tired. I can hear him splashing around in the bath eating a pot of pineapple and Peperami sausages (don't ask) - he's been in there over an hour now. Cue: no hot water for me then. Off out for something to eat shortly - it will have to be an early one as I can't see him staying awake past 7pm.

Husband has treated me to a new backdrop for my photos. Well, he's put some new bush things at the front door which amounts to the same thing. Be interesting to see how long they last before I kill them off. Cheshire Ripper of the gardening world I am. Gardening isn't really my thing.

Right, I'm outta here. Enjoy your evening.








4.21.2016

The Low Down On Swimwear


Och, we're hurtling towards the holiday season at the rate of knots. Which means it's time for the dreaded annual swimwear post! S.W.I.M.W.E.A.R. not my favourite two syllables but has to be done. We're doing a bit of a tour for the first week or so and then our usual week in the sun. I still don't feel I've mastered the art of daytime wear - let's call it a work in progress but I kind of know what needs to be done on the swimwear front (a dozen sessions in the gym would help but 'cat in hell's chance' springs to mind).

Anyway, if you're heading for the sun and sand this year, you might find my swimwear guide useful. This time, I've broken it up into categories.


THE BOTTOMS

Plain, dark coloured bottoms will minimise an area. If you're a pear shape, this is an easy trick to adopt as a plain bottom half will look narrower.
Nb. boy shorts make your hips look wider so as much as you may want to cover them up, don't wear these.

Patterned bottoms will build up the bottom area so perfect for a straight up and down figure or someone with broader shoulders than hips. They will give the illusion of curves.

Side ties will give the illusion of curves at the hip so straight up and down figures can create the 'hourglass'. Ladies with curvy bottom halves might want to avoid anything with hip detail.

High cut bottoms make the legs look longer. Ideal for anyone wanting to lengthen the leg or balance a  long body

Fold over designs tend to sit higher so if you're conscious about your tummy area, try these.

The 1950s style fuller shorts work well on curvy ladies. Someone who has a full bust may need larger coverage on their top half. Wearing teeny weeny bikini bottoms will make you look top heavy so balance this with a fuller bottom half.

THE TOPS

Big busted ladies need support. Look for a proper bra shaped top with wide straps and even wired support. If you prefer a halter neck, avoid the spaghetti straps (imagine the strain they're taking and your poor neck will suffer).

Bandau tops make you look wider - ideal for pear shapes who want to balance out their figure. Not particularly flattering for big busted ladies though.

Halter necks are wrong wrong wrong for pear shapes (I could really fall out with Gok Wan about this). The line of the straps narrows the shoulder line making you look wider at the hips than you really are.

If you're flat chested, look for pattern, bright colours and ruffles which will build up this area as will tie fronted tops.


THE TANKINI

Great for hiding the tummy but the gap between top and bottom will hilight this area so make sure it's your best feature! Ideally look for a longer top to minimise the gap.

Perfect if you're long bodied and prefer swimsuits but find them too short in the body.

THE ONE PIECE

Although pattern tends to build up an area, it has the opposite effect across the tummy. A pattern is great for disguising tummy issues. As is a buckle near the bust line as it draws the eyes up and away from the tummy.

And you'll probably see lots of swimsuits with ruching across the middle - perfect for hiding belly fat too.

Side panels in dark plain colours are brilliant for shaving off inches (think optical illusion dress).

If you're not feeling particularly confident, choose a plain dark coloured one piece, accessorise your look with lots of colourful chunky bangles and a beautiful printed sarong. You can pop the sarong over your swimsuit every time you get off the sun lounger which will make you feel better about yourself.

PATTERNS

Here's where we get down to the nitty gritty. I kind of follow the body shape rules but take great delight and  make total guilt free decisions when choosing colours and pattern. I mean come on, we're talking swimwear. But if you want to play 100% by the rules, then the type of pattern you wear matters. So fluid shapes such as swirls, florals, spots, paisleys, circles and squiggles are best for curvy ladies. Stripes and geometrics won't lie straight over your curves! Leave these to the straight framed who will also look good in checks, abstracts and squiggles.

As I've already said, a busy pattern is great for disguising a tummy. But it will also build up an area so be careful if you carry you weight across your hips - a pattern will hilight this area.


As always, there's some great finds on the High Street. The bad news is, you need to grab them now as come August they'll all be gone. Well, if you're a size 6 bottom and 34GG top, you'll probably be ok. I'm not a swimwear snob. Ever since spending weeks on end in Spain with the kids over the summer, I've realised that they're not made to last. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to wear a La Perla one piece but let's be practical; suncream, sun, salt water and chlorine are going to do it no favours at all. It would break my heart it would, to ruin it. So, yes I stick to the High Street and I even ventured to Tesco last year. Honestly, my favourite bikini cost me less than £20.

Here are a few that have caught my eye so far this year.

Secret Slimming Palm Print Twisted Front Swimsuit £35.99


I saw this in real life yesterday, it's stunning. The secret slimming panel, ruching across the tummy and vibrant pattern, well let's just say, every little helps!

GOOD FOR:

Disguising a tummy
Larger busts
Hourglasses

Dark Turquoise Underwired Bikini Set £33.50 (for the set)



As a rectangle, this is my preferred shape. The feminine cut of the top gives the illusion a womanly figure and the higher cut of the bottoms is excellent for hiding a multitude of sins. The roll top hipsters prevent it from looking frumpy.

GOOD FOR:

Anyone who wants a bit more tummy coverage (it's perfect for hiding the c-section tummy scar over hang!!!)


Black Textured Strappy Swimsuit £29.50


A plain black swimsuit with a twist. More Agent Provocateur than M&S don't cha think? Shame the legs aren't cut a little higher though.

GOOD FOR:

Straight up and down figures (columns and rectangles). The cut at the front and straps at the back give it a more womanly feel.


Magic Brushstroke Print Ruched Front Swimsuit £16


An illusion swimsuit - the black panels running down the side are perfect for shaving off those inches

GOOD FOR:

Slimming down the frame


Floral Printed Bikini (various prices)



This bikini comes in a few different variations of style. We'll just concentrate on this one for now. How pretty???

GOOD FOR:

Building up the bust
Inverted triangles (where shoulders are larger than the hips) - the halter neck will help to draw the eye inwards

Freya Zodiac Underwired Padded Bandeau Bikini Top £38



The combination of bandeau top and straps that start in the middle (making an inverted triangle shape) make the top half look wider.

GOOD FOR:

Pear shapes (as the top half will appear more balanced). However, I would swap the bikini bottoms for plain black as you don't want to hilight this area with a pattern.


Black Aztec Bodice Underwired Tummy Control Swimsuit £45




The plain black will minimise the bottom half and the eye will be drawn to the top of the swimsuit which is far more interesting! The orange band around the tummy hilights the waist.

GOOD FOR:

Pear shapes


Navy Mosaic Print Bikini Top £24 Bottoms £16



The wider straps will provide good support for the bust and the fuller brief bottoms balances out the overall look.

GOOD FOR:

Bigger busts


Buffalo Ethnic Printed Blouson Tankini £38



So pretty! I actually love this, it's so different to anything I've ever had. The blousey top hides a multitude of sins without looking frumpy. The plain black bottoms are perfect for minimising larger hips and thighs as the eye is drawn upwards. And as it's a tankini, it's ideal for taller women.

GOOD FOR:

Concealing tummies
Pear shapes
Tall or long bodies


Black Shaping Bikini Briefs £30



Ok ok, passion killers I know but let's have a chat about these. They're tummy controllers, they're very high. But no one needs to know how high do they? Swimwear 365 have dozens of tankini tops that you can pop over to make it look like a bikini. Such as the one above or this one:

Black Ruched Tankini £39.99



In fact you could buy a few tankini tops in different colours to wear over the big pants for a different look each day. They'll give you that little bit of extra hold. Personally I find tankinis much more comfortable than swimsuits.

GOOD FOR:

Concealing tummies

Retailers are already selling out of some sizes eeeeek! Best get my skates on. How about you? Have you already started looking too?

Orthodontist appointment first thing for the son. He was congratulated for diligently wearing those funny elastic bands that aren't dissimilar to wiring the jaw shut. His orthodontist said they'd done the job. I saw a wry little smile on the son's face knowing full well what he was thinking - the fact that he hasn't worn them at all for the last 5 weeks! A point he couldn't wait to share on the way to school.

Lovely lunch with friends and not a drop of alcohol passed our lips. How did that happen? As I was driving over to school at 5pm (someone had a detention - I'm naming no names) it was 17.5 degrees. I predicted this morning on Instagram that I wouldn't need a jacket. I didn't. And that makes me very happy.

A couple of meetings tomorrow and then off to Lord Of The Pies (I kid you not) with friends for an early dinner tomorrow evening. They have Prosecco on tap. And that makes me even more happy.

Did anyone order the white dress? Let me know what you think of it.

Come back again soon.



4.19.2016

Say Hello To My Little White Dress

You may remember last week, I briefly mentioned this dress



Rather nice isn't it! 

And not dissimilar to the Self Portrait design.




Except it's £200 cheaper so plenty left over to buy a nice pair of shoes (now we're talking). 

Actually, it wasn't the lace that attracted me to it, more the cut. See those vertical lines running down the front of the dress, they're going to make you look longer and leaner. A bit like the old racing stripes on a Ford Capri in the 80s. And the runner across the waist? Well that's there to give a bit of definition. And the pencil cut? Super flattering on many figures*. And the absence of the spaghetti strap which Mr SP often favours, can only be a good thing for ladies of a certain age!

I'm wearing a 10R which is very roomy (I briefly considered an 8 but then thought nah girl who are you trying to kid!). 

It will OBVIOUSLY look better with proper underwear!
Ideally, I would have preferred it a tad longer. It's available in different lengths but the long won't work as I'm not really long bodied so the waist will be in the wrong place. It's described as ivory, I'd say it was more of a soft white which is handy as everyone get's this colour in their palette. And it's also available in navy.



The quality is excellent for the money, to be fair Next stuff normally is. And the dress does all of the talking so accessories can be kept to the minimum (that's a double tick in my book). 

So, if you have a bit of a do to go to this year, it might be worth a try on.  It wasn't available in my local store so I had to order it.

There's some stunning white dresses available from Next this year (here), although I'm not sure I can justify another. 

Anyway, let's talk popcorn. Propercorn in fact, who contacted me recently to ask if I might like to try some. Normally I'd say thank you but not for me. Whilst I admire food bloggers instagrams who obviously have magical qualities and can make a toasted tea cake look like a work of art, it's not for me. Grub is for eating not photographing in this house. Except the kids were looking over my shoulder and said something like Muuuuuum say yes, we love Propercorn. I confess to never having heard of it. So I said yes and this is what arrived. 



And then this


Now the fresh stuff arrived on Saturday evening via Tesco. Totally threw me and I nearly sent the delivery driver packing. The penny finally dropped that it was a gift from Propercorn - doh!

Anyway, I made this for lunch today

(You can find the recipe at the above link. Funnily enough there's no popcorn - go figure!)



Have to confess that I cheated somewhat. I don't have a spirally thing so couldn't do spiral sweet potatoes so I improvised. It was delicious! To be honest, it's not something I'll be cooking every lunchtime as it's slightly more faffy than my usual tin of tuna eaten at the kitchen sink. But it's a fab recipe for a girly lunch or weekend meal. It's all part of Propercorn's campaign to provide a 'Happy Lunch' packed with good stuff. 

We've demolished the popcorn and I've replenished our supplies. Very timely discovery as I'm trying to follow a gluten free diet at the moment. My favourite flavour has got to be the sexy Smooth Peanut and Almond. Anyway, what I want to know is why the kids didn't tell me about these before. Beats Walkers Deep Ridge Flame Grilled flavour any day!

Off to finish a swimsuit post that I started the other night. 

Catch up soon x





*very curvy ladies might struggle with this shape though.

Next have not sponsored this post in any way, I love the dress and wanted to share it with you
Propercorn very kindly sent me the delicious samples and fresh food to create the delicious lunch although I wasn't obliged to blog or even mention it at all.