Belfast-based, style loving mum of 3. Fashion, Lifestyle, Food & Fitness

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Wedding...

I've got 3 baskets of ironing to do but I'd rather tell you about the wedding on Friday. What a lovely day - I'm worn out from all the talking, dancing, smiling and VERY high shoes. But back to the preparation beforehand...
First thing on Friday, I had my hair put up thanks to the lovely Suzanne at Hair Design in Dunmurry, Belfast. This took about 15 minutes and lasted 36 hours. I even slept in it as it was too perfect to take down (and I was a bit, ahem, 'tired' going to bed at 2am). Now my hair does not like being put up so this is some achievement. I'll be back next time I need a hassle free hairstyle for a special occasion.
Next up, it was off to the hotel - the Slieve Donard in the seaside town of Newcastle, Co Down, to get dressed for the ceremony. I shared a room with my BFF, Claire and don't we scrub up well?
The beautiful bride was a little late - but that's allowed when you look this good..
The ceremony was magicial - in a room that overlooked the crashing waves and the mountains of Mourne. A beautiful back-drop for the photos..
some gorgeous 'hens' making the most of the sunshine...


Close up of the bouquet and the cake - one layer was chocolate, one was lemon and one was fruitcake! And I tasted them all :)
Catherine had thought of everything, from the unique place settings to the button artwork by local company, Buttonbaps, which was commissioned for the day
What's a girl to wear? Well...after much drama, I was offered this dress by a very kind friend (THANK YOU Maria!). It's a heavy jersey dress in a light navy colour by a brand called Rina Scimento from a local boutique, Brazil. Simply perfect. Fitted beautifully, was flattering across the food baby and was accommodating enough for some serious dance-floor moves later on. These dresses come in red, black, dark navy, grey and green and retail for £69.99. I'm wearing a size M - which would be a 10-12.
My necklace was a gift from the guys at Boden who were keen to help with my outfit woes! It's the Heirloom Necklace - a fabulous piece, navy and blue stones with a black ribbon tie. It couldn't have been more perfect for the dress. Shoes by Zara and I can confirm they were worn for 12 hours straight without a blister. Seriously impressed as they are SO high. My feet were aching but not sore. Clutch is an oldie from TK Maxx.
I didn't want the day to end...it was simply wonderful. Thank you Catherine and Owen for inviting me.....and I'll leave you with my favourite one of the official photos from the day, taken by the talented (and incredibly laid back) Peter, from Peter Thomas Photography...


Oh and a footnote...Aileen, one of the hens was wearing the MOST fab shoes. She got them in Primark for £15 just last week! And she managed to wear them for the whole day..
Loving the grey and burgundy and as it didn't seem right to just share her foot - here's Aileen (right), with another of the hens, Seana. Loving Seana's floral dress:
I'll be back soon...off now to get some cleaning done ahead of the Boden party on Thursday <panic>!!
Ax
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Thursday, 26 September 2013

The mid-life crisis has hit...

I bought a biker jacket.
After all my declarations that they are a sign of mid life crisis and that only people who actually ride a motorbike should wear them.
But in my defence, I only think that of black leather biker jackets. You'd never see a hairy biker wearing a stone coloured one...would you?
Even less likely a faux leather one from the Tesco sale :)
Stone Quilted Biker Style Jacket - Tesco
Checked Scarf - Men's section in Zara!
Boyfriend Jeans - Gap
Suede Ankle Boots - Mango
It called to me from the sale rail when I was in getting some printer ink. I always think if you're not sure about a trend, buy a cheaper (preferably on sale) version and try it out before committing to the real thing.
 What drew me to it was the fab detail - the quilted effect sleeves and front and this cool pleating detail on the side. I like a bit of detail in a jacket...
Wearing today with my Boden wrap jersey top from clearance that I mentioned on this post. Love it - it's perfect for now and will also look great with a navy cardi when it's cooler.

Ok - off now to make final preparations for the wedding tomorrow!! SO excited! I'll try to put up the photos on Saturday night or Sunday morning but I will add a few on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter tomorrow so keep an eye on these if you want a real time update! 

Before I go - there are some new scarves & necklaces in the shop! Please check them out - I'm thrilled with these new lines and the quality is fab. Selling like hot cakes already so grab them while you can. If any are out of stock when you check, just drop me an email as I'll be re-ordering most of them next week

Ax

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Splurge v Save

When I look through magazines, one of my favourite features are the ones where they show something designer and ridiculously priced and show beside it an amazing inexpensive version. So I decided to do one myself - inspired by some Rag & Bone style boots I saw in M&S...
Splurge - Rag & Bone / Save - M&S 
Splurge - Rebecca Taylor / Save - New Look


Splurge - Jerome Dreyfuss  / Save - Boden


Splurge - Saint Laurent / Save - Fillipa K



Splurge - Alexander McQueen / Save - M&S


Splurge - DKNY / Save - Primark
(not online - but have seen in-store!)


Splurge - Lanvin / Save - Boden


Splurge - Eudon Choi  / Save - Next
Now if I was a good blogger, this is the place I would give you a balanced piece of writing about my views on the matter of splurging and saving and designers being ripped off on the high street. 

The truth is, this blog post took me literally AGES to do (those spend/splurge titles are v challenging you know!) it's now almost midnight, my head is pounding and I NEED my bed. 

But do tell me what you think...
Ax

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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Pulling an outfit together

Take one top that caught my eye in Primark this week. These marl tops are a lovely loose fit, mid-weight soft fabric and come in a few great colours. They were well picked over when I was in so I ended up buying a 14 as it was the smallest size left.
It's nice but a bit plain. Let's add a scarf - from my shop. A favourite one that I immediately claimed for myself when it came in...
Now I posted the pictures of this outfit on Avenue 57 and on the School Gate Style Facebook page on Saturday and within a couple of hours, the scarf sold out. Sorry :( but I will try to pick up a few more next time I'm ordering from that wholesaler....oh and I've ordered some gorgeous new scarves today from my other wholesaler that will arrive in a few days. They are stunning - watch this space!
Back to my outfit..next step, let's smarten up and add a jacket from Dunnes (an oldie)...
Last step...needs a little bit of red somewhere so I'll add a coloured bag from Zara..
Voila! Now, on looking at the photos, I think black ankle boots would look better but it was such a nice day, I had to take the opportunity to get the ankles out.

So there you go - the outfit that took me from shops to drop offs to the out of hours doctors at 8.30pm on a Saturday night. Everything is ok now with the poorly wee one but I missed XFactor and the ironing. Thank goodness for catch up today (not on the ironing front...)

Ok - back to Downton now...one of the best bits about the winter drawing in. Hope you've had a good weekend!

Ax

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Saturday, 21 September 2013

New Coat from Joe Browns, New Boden Dress, New Bling!

I'm aware this post looks like a pure shopping fest but in fact, I was gifted the coat, bought the dress with vouchers and my bling was a competition prize! (Husband relaxes)

I find black coats a bit boring so apart from a down filled coat (for warmth), I don't have one that I would wear on a day to day basis. But then I saw this beauty from Joe Browns, way way back during the heat of July when I was asked to preview their AW13 range:
Moscow Ultimate Coat - Joe Browns
I just adore the detail, the asymmetric closure and the buckle at the waistline. Quirky, yet dressy - very suitable for both the school gate and for work. Today's look is a bit smarter than normal as I was giving the new dress a first wear (scroll on for a peek) but it would work equally well with jeans and boots.
It's 54% wool though quite lightweight. Cosy but not a thick heavy wool coat. It's got a lovely patterned lining and the great button detail down the front and on each sleeve.
But it's the little buckle detail at the waist that I really love and that I think makes it so flattering to wear. It's not a functional piece though it does open and close.
I'm wearing the size 12 and it fits true to size. I've some room for layering later in the season but it's nicely nipped in at the waist. The 10 would have been too neat across the shoulders - I tend to size up with my winter coats. I'm actually quite broad in the shoulder but then sometimes in a fitted coat, I find the 12 is too shapeless on the waist. But that's not the case with this coat.  
Mosco Ultimate Coat - c/o Joe Browns
Easy Pocket Dress - Boden
Tights - M&S
Grey Ankle Boots - Clarks (via eBay)
Next up, it's the dress - my Boden party frock - featured on this post! I'm really pleased with it. It's the perfect, not too dressy/girly dress. The pattern is a cute maple leaf and it has sleeves and pockets, which I know lots of people love in a dress. It's also fully lined. Size wise, I got a 10R and it fits me perfectly. I would have liked it a tiny bit shorter, so I added my own belt to nip it up a bit. I may wonder-web it up another inch..if I find the time between now and the party. Oh and I don't need to tell you how much I LOVE the colour #greylove
I'll leave you with a close up of my Lola & Grace Swarovski crystal solitaire that I won over on the Media Marmalade blog! I've followed Mel since I started blogging and I always get tons of ideas from her. She's lots younger and a much edgier dresser...perfect for inspiring me to try new looks. And she runs great competitions too. Thank you Mel!
It's such a stunning piece - quite weighty and super sparkly but not too blingy for daily wear. It will look amazing with any outfit. Expect to see it lots. Hope you have a lovely weekend and remember, if you're local, pop on over to my M&S Macmillan Coffee Morning Competition for a chance to win a hamper of goodies! Closes at midnight on Tuesday 24th September!
Ax





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Friday, 20 September 2013

Warehouse AW13 'Style Me If You Can'

I'm a huge fan of Warehouse and I'm a sucker for a good ad campaign so I hope you enjoy their new 'Style Me If You Can' series of vides as much as I did..


Warehouse is a brand I buy from every season. It's probably the only brand that truly transcends the ages - their stuff is as wearable on a 20-something as a 40-something and if you've not bought jeans from them, I highly recommend going in for a try on. Their pocket jeggings have almost reached cult status amongst girls in the know.
I also find it's a great brand for knitwear and tops with unique patterns...and I'm a sucker for a great pattern. Here are my AW13 must haves... 
Trench Coat, Floral Jumper, Distressed Jeans,
 Statement Necklace, Baby Satchel

Ax







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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Barista Training & Competition Time!

This week, I learned a new skill - how to make the perfect latte! Some of my friends were confused by the photos I put on Facebook, thinking I'd started a new career but sadly, no. It was part of a campaign to raise awareness of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning, next Friday 27th September, in support of Macmillan Cancer


Marks & Spencer get involved every year and one of the best ways for you to support this amazing charity is to do what we all do most days...go and have a coffee in your local M&S cafe, because for every one sold, M&S will donate 50p to Macmillan. I can confirm that a good latte is more about technique than equipment and I had a master barista to show me the correct technique - the talented Lenka, who trains employees right across the M&S network in Ireland, North & South.

I showed up at 9.30am, donned my hat and apron and was ready to rock!

Lenka showed me firstly how to make a perfect espresso 

Next, it was milk frothing - trickier than you think and definitely the most important thing for ensuring a perfect latte. I learned how to hold the jug, angle the frother and judge the heat to get a swirling, shiny, frothy but bubble free milk to pour into your espresso.
and here's my first (assisted) latte... *proud face*
By the end of the morning, I was making a pretty cool latte, thanks to this wonderful lady.
And that's not all from M&S. To thank me for coming along, they've offered local readers of School Gate Style the chance to win a hamper full of coffee/tea related items (cafetiere/coffee/cake etc), worth £100! This will be couriered to you just in time for the World's Biggest Coffee Morning on the 27th September.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. You can also enter on Facebook by liking and sharing this post (and you can enter twice by doing both!) Unfortunately, due purely to logistics, I can only offer this prize to readers in Northern Ireland. Competition closes on Tuesday 24th September.

But I do urge all of you all over the UK and Ireland to support the coffee morning next week in whatever way you can, whether it's by hosting a coffee morning in your home or workplace or by visiting M&S and taking part in the activities planned in your local store. Visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee, call 0845 602 1246 or text COFFEE to 88080 to get your Coffee Morning Kit today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Autumnal Colours & Sunflowers

It's early days of autumn so I'm still enjoying the novelty of my out of storage cold weather wardrobe. Today, it's the turn of dark green, burgundy and black...

These coated skinny jeans from Zara were a great sale buy. I'm loving how neutral the green colour is and they make a nice change from denim. Underneath the coat, I'm still in short sleeves - it's just not cold enough yet to dig out the knitwear, though I might have worn a cardigan last night as I watched the bake off...
My green croc effect DKNY bag is also benefitting from the green jean purchase as I'm using it much more and this M&S scarf sets it all off perfectly. Oh and the Seven Boot Lane boots? Amazing, getting more and more gorgeous with wear and being worn all day long as they are so comfortable. Still on 10% off (as is their whole range) until the end of September using SBLSGS10 at the checkout.
Burgundy Coat - TU at Sainsburys (past season - similar more on trend version here)
Green Coated Skinny Jeans (Zara - SS13 similar here & here )
Cream Zip Detail Top - TK Maxx (SS13)
Black Chelsea Boots - Alabama from Seven Boot Lane
Black/Cream/Burgundy scarf - M&S current stock
Dark Green Leather Bag - DKNY (SS08 - yes 2008! - different bag but love it)
I'll be back tomorrow with a great competition for someone local to win a M&S coffee/cake themed hamper worth £100 and to share photos of the morning I spent learning how to make the perfect latte in my local M&S restaurant - all in aid of Macmillan Cancer's World's Biggest Coffee Morning on the 27th September....and I might share the wedge trainers while I'm at it (that was mainly for Helen!)

Oh oh...nearly forgot about the sunflower bit! Finally....after waiting since June, the wee man's sunflower has come out. Thank goodness the frost didn't kill it! Only downside is it's 12 feet off the ground so I needed my full camera zoom to see it properly...


Ax
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