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

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Cashmere, Fur & The Sales

What a week - hope you all had a lovely time over Christmas. Our first one in the new house was just perfect. Lots of family time, Christmas movies, too much food....and the sales! I'm not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of being in the queue for House of Fraser at 7.45am on Boxing Day...
10435988_817364831654341_1443837435508385786_n
but in my defence, I was looking for house stuff. I'm a huge fan of the Living By Christiane Lemieux range at HOF - it fits nicely with the art deco era of the house and it will work really well with the colours I've planned for the new kitchen. I picked up placemats, coasters, mugs, glasses and some towels. All in storage for a month or so until the kitchen goes in...cannot wait!


Clothing-wise, I had only one item on my wish list and that was a mid-length navy cardigan - very sensible :)  I found a great unstructured one in Mary Portas (not online). 100% merino wool for just over £30 - I'll feature it soon on the blog. The Mary Portas range is always great in the sale - I also bought this oversized knit in the ink colour way...love the zip detail on the neck. There's no doubt, the range is definitely aimed at taller women with apple figures but I find her tops & knitwear generally work on me.
Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 18.12.12
I only stayed in town for a couple of hours on Boxing Day so on Saturday, I was itching to check out Next and M&S for my annual stock up on underwear and nightwear - can't bear to pay full price for lingerie or for anything you wear in bed. While walking through Next, I was tempted by the coats and shoes but I've already ordered a pair of over the knee black flat boots for £30 during my VIP slot last Tuesday, a coat from the Zara sale online AND  a second pair of over the knee boots from Zalando (blog research - won't be keeping both pairs), so I resisted.


But back to today's outfit which showcases one of my Christmas presents from Mr SGS. I've had a 100% cashmere jumper on my wish list for ages but they are just soooo expensive. What a treat to get this gorgeous one....it's a great shape for me as I don't suit traditional jumpers with waistbands. Great shopping hubby :) I enjoyed wearing it today with a fab little fur snood I got in the M&S sale on a slippery walk to Starbucks. I can't see the novelty of being so close to everything ever dwindling!
image
image
Coat & Hat - Trespass
Boots - Sorel (some reduced in the ASOS Sale here)
Jeans - Maison Scotch (past season)
Cashmere Jumper - Philosophy
Fur Snood - M&S
Black Cross Body Bag - Warehouse


Finishing with an outfit from last night when we were invited to friends (and now they're neighbours) for their annual Christmas quiz. It's our 3rd year attending and we joked that the last two were so good, we decided to buy a house on the same street to ensure we could stagger home this year...and stagger I did...but mostly because of the heels and the ice!
image
Black Jacket - ASOS (past season)
Black Sleeveless Top - Warehouse (current season)
Boyfriend Jeans - Gap (past season - current here)
Snakeskin/Suede Heels - LK Bennett Outlet


Not sure if I'll get a chance to blog again before New Year - let's see how this week goes. The workmen are back in the house again from tomorrow so I'm going to be looking for inexpensive ways to keep the kids entertained and out of the house. Fingers crossed for dry weather!


Ax

Share:

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Keeping Warm on the School Run with Trespass

Long time, no blog - sorry my friends but I know you've all got more important things on your mind than fashion this month. In any event, I'm still living out of the suitcase I packed 3 weeks ago for a week at my Mother-in-Law's. A bit traumatic but actually it's lovely not having dressing dilemmas in the morning..I won't know what to do with myself when the wardrobes are finally fitted at the end of January.


So my last post before Christmas is to share these cosy new items from Trespass - they've been keeping me super warm on the school run...and have been an absolute blessing as I can't find any of my coats, hats, scarves or gloves, since we moved!
image
Although I'd heard of Trespass before, I had no idea that they stocked such a great range, including real down filled coats. The prices are competitive too - my boots, coat, hat, scarf & gloves all came in at less than £140.
image
I've harped on about real down filled coats before. In terms of warmth, they are streets ahead of anything with a polyester fill. This Snowglobe down filled coat is also unbelievably light - I honestly didn't expect it to be as warm as it is. It compresses down into a tiny little drawstring bag, making it perfect for travelling and for storing over the summer. The price point of just over £70 is excellent for this quality of coat and as well as being super warm, it's showerproof too. Size-wise, I'm wearing a Medium.
image
Now every busy mum should have a pair of snow boots in your wardrobe. They're ugly - no getting away from it - but they're incredibly practical and in the really wet and snowy days, will ensure that your good boots don't get ruined. These Trespass Floral Boots are a steal at just over £30. Easy to pull on and off and very cosy. I got a size 39 and I'd say they're snug so if you're between sizes, go up to allow for a thicker sock.


To finish off my cosy outfit, I added a hat and scarf set (the hat has a fab fleece lining) and some  amazing Crossover gloves. These are the first non-bulky gloves I've found that keep my hands properly warm and dry - highly recommended for any fellow Raynaud sufferers.


Huge thanks to the team at Trespass for keeping me warm on the school run for the past few weeks - I've tested the items well...including during a spell of chainsawing while clearing the back garden this week!
image


I was glad to bid the last workman farewell this afternoon (until Monday) and we're now looking forward to the first Christmas in our building site new house...it will be one to remember for lots of reasons :)
Wishing all of you - my lovely readers - a very Merry Christmas with lots of quality family time and great memories.
image
(my freshly undercoated front door - soon to be glossy red!)


Ax


PS - Extra 10% off Boden sale on this link - use G4Y4 at the till!

Share:

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

A furry skirt....

because that's the sort of sensible purchase you need to make when you've just moved house and are living in a building site. Well, I should clarify that the kids and I have done a runner to Granny's house and left hubby to live in the new place alone...but that's another story....back to the furry skirt.


So I was out getting supplies for the workmen when I nipped into Warehouse at Forestside and decided I needed something new for a few nights out over Christmas. But I wanted something that would also work in the daytime. Meet my new  furry skirt...
4349076670
I tried it on first in the size 10 but it felt very tight & short on me and was creasing across the front of my hips.


image

Here it is in the 12 - a better length and more accommodating of a Christmas food baby.


image

Here's a close up of the fabric and a peek at a little cross body evening bag that I also bought. It's a blatant copy of the Celine Trio, which I love but can't afford. This non-leather version is perfect for nights out and is only £15.


image

There's also a coat in the same material which is a great alternative to all the furry coats out there at the moment as it's got the look but not the bulk, which has put me off buying one up to now. It looks better in the photos than it did when I was there but it could have been the exhaustion that skewed my opinion. Just one thing - the coat is only £20 more than the skirt...am I being unreasonable to think a skirt is 10 times easier to make than a coat and therefore it should be at least half the price??


image

Finally, I was reading in Look magazine about how we should all have a pair of sparkly jogging bottoms so I tried these..


image

So so comfy and looked ok but they were a bit tight on the calves for me and needed shimmied down too much.
Loved the subtle sparkle


image

I brought this top in just to have a plain black top to try with the skirt and ended up buying it...it's a lovely fit and has a cute detail on the back. This is a size 10. Can't have enough plain black tops and Warehouse do them so well.


image
imageOpen Back Shell Top - £28


Finishing with what I was wearing - an outfit you've seen before but I'm working out of a tiny capsule right now so theres no room for creativity. I'm living in my Celtic & Co sheepskin boots at the moment as I can't find my flat boots anywhere and as for my Helen Bateman Billy Bag - well, it's been an utter godsend this past week or so...especially when we left our old house for the last time and I had to fill it up with all the randomness of the house, which included wires, bulbs, a bottle of bleach, sandwich bags and about 6 sets of keys we can't work out doors for.


imageGrey Fur Gilet - Next (size down)
Breton - Boden
Jeans - Maison Scotch (past season)
Boots - ℅ Celtic & Co
Handbag - ℅ Helen Bateman


Hoping I can squeeze in a post or two this week while staying at my mother in law's. I've finally found the holy grail of foundations and want to share it with a few of my winter skin savers.


Right - I'm off to bed to try out my nocturnal lenses for the first time. Looking forward to a day without glasses or lenses tomorrow - the first in 26 years. Will report back with a proper blog about these as so many of you have contacted me with questions. If you want more information in the meantime, full details are on the Gillian Gervais website.


Ax

Share:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Next Sequin Top & Zara Try On

Ok I promised a mention for this top ages ago and then forgot. Sorry! The trouble is that it doesn't photograph very well - nothing dark grey/black ever does unless you're outside during the day...and I'm finding sequins are not great on a building site. But it's the perfect going-out top for me. Not too blingy and can be dressed up or down. So easy to wear and very flattering.
Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 22.59.02
Next Grey Sequin Layer Top - £30


I'm pretty sure it comes in a few other colours but I'm struggling to find them online right now. The sequins are at the front only and are not super sparkly ones - more of a dull finish. Lovely dark grey so it looks great with black skinnies but also will look amazing with the grey jeans I *will* find before my next night out. I ordered it on the next day delivery service and am pleased to report that it worked a treat again.


So I will try to share it in an outfit soon. I'm not due to have a night out until next Friday's school mums' night out - naively agreed to and all paid up for in October when I was sure we weren't moving this side of Christmas. It will be a dry night with the car parked outside unfortunately. But that should mean I won't forget to take a picture :)


And now for the Zara try-on. I mentioned on my last post that I bought a few bits in Zara last weekend. I had great hopes but didn't get on great with them sadly. First up - this black top was supposed to be the perfect going out/daytime top and while I love the shape and style, I just wasn't loving it enough overall as a top. A good gauge when you buy stuff is to see how much you want to wear it there and then. I didn't. Back in the bag:


image

Next, I was looking some red for the festive season and the detail on these basic jumpers from Zara is lovely. But they're tiny and there were only Mediums left. I'd have needed an XL I reckon!


image
Lastly, the shape & colour of this top was an instant hit. I bought it in the size M. It looked great in-store and then the creases happened on the way home. 20 minutes in a bag at the most. No way Zara...lovely top and a great fit but I'm not dealing with those creases every time I wear it!


image

Now to work out when in the next hectic week I'm going to get a chance to get back to Zara to return the lot.


Hoping to be back on Tuesday or Wednesday next week to report on my nocturnal lenses. For those of you not on social media, I'm having Ortho-K lenses fitted on Monday, all being well. You can read all about them on this link and the plan is that they will remove the need for glasses or lenses during the day. So excited about it! Here I am with my optician, Gillian Gervias on Tuesday, being measured up for them.


image

In the meantime, keep in touch on Instagram if you want to see how the move and everything else is all going and you never know, you may get an occasional glimpse of something other than trainers and leggings!


Ax

Share:

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Outfit Update & Relocation Sale!

The house move is imminent - we'll be handing over keys in less than 2 weeks and the new place is far from ready so it's a case of all hands on deck for the next 10 days or so. Ever dedicated to my blog (ha!), I'm trying to get a photo on the days when I'm not in leggings/tracksuit bottoms, so here's last week's building site/kitchen shop/B&Q style :)
Wearing my long flat boots more with this colder weather as they're so easy for running about. Mine are from Carl Scarpa a few years back. I teamed them with my BHS Navy pea coat, Boden Off Duty Jumper (both from last winter), jeans from New Look and a fab new scarf from Next. I know, I know...scarf overload...
image
Close up of the scarf - love how it works with navy & the light grey. It's cosy too and not really huge like lots of these blanket scarf. It's much more wearable for that reason.
image
Next up, long boots again with a cape. I was going to stock this cape in the shop but it came as a twin pack and I didn't like the other colour way so took the decision not to buy it. I knew this colour would sell but I'd end up losing money on the other one so it wouldn't have made business sense. Sorry girls - if it's any consolation, it's quite hard to wear...kept slipping off my shoulders! But with a belt it would be better and it also works as a great oversized scarf.
image
Back in the ankle boots for this hangover outfit from Friday (book club was the night before and as it was my last one as a resident, I probably enjoyed it more than I should have!). Furry Gilet and Breton are both from Boden, Jeans are Maison Scotch from Feather & Stitch and my boots are the Navy Ash Jalouse. Sorry for the poor photo - indoor photos on these gloomy days are tricky!
image
image
Last up, grey and burgundy for a trip into Belfast on Saturday morning. Boots from Seven Boot Lane, Coat from Dunnes, Jeans are Gap & my jumper is H&M. My son had his second (of three) transfer tests so with an hour free in the city, it would have been rude not to go into Zara.
image
I took photos of my Zara try on so will try to blog about it in the next few days, house move permitting.


Right - back to work here now as I've a ton of shop orders to make up. For anyone who's not heard, due to the move, I'm closing up the shop on Friday evening for a few weeks. So there's a re-location sale for the next 3 days with amazing reductions on all my winter stock. Grab a bargain while you can - some lines have sold out since this morning. Thanks for all the orders so far - I will endeavour to get them dispatched by Thursday.


Ax

Share:

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

WIN - a Helen Bateman Billy Bag!

Following on from my last post where I shared my new Helen Bateman Billy Bag, it's my pleasure to tell you that Helen has offered me one to give away on the blog! Worth £155, the winner of this competition can chose whatever colour they want from the Helen Bateman website....


HB Billy Collage


To  be in with a chance to win, simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. The competition will run until Monday 24th November with the winner announced on Tuesday 25th. UK entries only - prize subject to availability - winner chosen at random by the Rafflecopter app - all winner entries will be verified! Good luck and thanks again to Helen Bateman for this amazing prize.


Ax


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share:

Monday, 17 November 2014

Grey Handbag Love - Helen Bateman Scotland

I've talked about the hunt for a grey handbag on this blog before. They're not easy to find! Back a couple of years ago, I ordered what I hoped was my holy grail of grey handbags from a consignment store in Dublin and while the colour & size are perfect, I've never got on great with the shape of the bag and definitely don't use it as much as I'd hoped. So the hunt continued....

Then I was approached by Helen Bateman, a designer based in Edinburgh who is best known for her shoes but she has also designed two really stunning leather handbags for her collection, the Lila and this grey leather wonder - the Billy Bag.

Untitled
The Billy Bag is also available in lots of other colours....some of which make my grey look a bit dull but I've tried the bright coloured handbag and find that I don't use them as much as my grey, black or navy ones. And once you see the lining of this bag, you'll realise it's not one bit dull.

Untitled
These bucket style bags became popular when Zara introduced them a few years back but I never liked the zip-in liner they came with. This bag gives you all the benefits & style of a bucket bag but it's fully lined with all the pockets you need for smaller items so you won't be rummaging for them endlessly. The leather is an excellent quality and will improve with age. There are sturdy studs on the base also - a key requirement of a good tote! Given the number of bags I've bought over the years, I can happily stand over this in terms of quality. It's a lot of bag for your money and will most definitely stand the test of time.

I put the Billy bag through it's paces all weekend. On Saturday, we went to the school open day and it was perfect for accommodating the 52 bits of plastic the kids bought as well as the 4 (yes 4!) boxes of tray bakes I bought from the cake stall (the mums at our school are amazing bakers). No plastic bags anymore thanks to the NI charge but I was ok - tons of room in the Billy Bag.

On Sunday, it was the girls' birthday and we took a small group of their friends to the cinema and on to Pizza Hut afterwards. Once again, the bag was stuffed with wipes, tissues, plastic bags (in case of a Code Vom), candles, matches, cupcakes...etc etc. With room to spare.
Here's how I styled it on Saturday:

Untitled 

I've definitely gotten out of the way of a bigger bag in recent months but now my days are filled with site visits and house related shopping, I'm glad to have a larger bag with me to stuff all the brochures, paintbrushes, bags of nails and other randomness..

Thanks to Helen for gifting me this beautiful handbag and thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Ax

Untitled
Share:

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Couple of Outfits from This Week...

I only had two outfits worth photographing this week - the rest of the time, it was wellies/raincoats & tracksuit bottoms! I hope none of you saw me :)


First outfit is one I wore on Wednesday on a trip into Belfast to get carpets for the new house. We'd heard about an architectural salvage place up off North Street and as we were close by, we called in for a look. What an Aladdin's cave! Definitely worth a look if you're in the area and are a vintage or up-cycling fan. We were looking for a large knob for our front door (ooo errr missus) but they didn't have any this visit. Here's what I wore:
image
image
Grey Puffa Coat - Dunnes
Jeans - ℅ Replay
Navy Spotty Blouse - Boden
Cream Vest - Zara
Cross Body - Boden
Black Leather Wedge Boots - UGG™ Australia ℅ Cloggs


Then yesterday, I was on a bathroom & light fittings mission which took me all over Belfast & Lisburn. Cannot recommend BHS enough for their lighting by the way - and there's 20% off at the moment. Here's what I wore
image
image
Coral Wool Coat - Almost Famous
Grey Utility Trousers - Uniqlo (past season)
Grey Scarf - Zara
Denim Shirt - White Company Outlet
White Vest - Zara
Cross Body - Boden
Black Suede Ankle Boots - Ash Jalouse


While I was struggling out of BHS with a large box of lights, I spotted this burgundy fur coat in the teenage section of BHS. Loved the colour so had to try it on (in age 15-16).
image
image
It's a gorgeous quality fur (not as shiny as the photo - I had a spotlight right above) and is on 20% off this weekend too. Well with considering if you want to tick the fur trend this season but not break the bank. Available on this link. I couldn't justify sadly...my coat problem is well documented :)


Today it was our open day at school so I had a lovely morning catching up with my mum friends. Mostly, we're all rushing on the school run and don't have time to talk for long so it was lovely to chat properly. I'll share the outfit tomorrow as I've a new handbag to show you and haven't edited the photos yet.


Oh and before I go, I've found the best 'just throw it on' top from Next which will be perfect for nights out between now and Christmas - can't wait to share...it's getting its debut tonight!


Have a lovely weekend,


Ax

Share:

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Boden 25% Off Until Thursday

Between now and Thursday, Boden is offering 25% off all items (code is F2J7) so just a quick post to share this good news! Bad timing for me as every penny is currently being gobbled up by the new house at the moment. But if I were to treat myself, here's what I'd be trying out for size...


First up, I'm still hankering after a leopard handbag so this one is definitely on my wish list for Christmas. I wear my off-duty jumper from last year loads. The shape is so flattering. This year, the navy and mustard are calling to me! And it's a great time to stock up on basic tops. The crew necks, which come in stripe and plain colour ways are down to £11.
Boden3 Collage
Zip Top Clutch in Leopard,  Textured Off-Duty JumperEssential Crew Neck


Next, this green velvet trim spotty top has taken my fancy. It gets great reviews - also available in pink & navy colour ways but the green would suit my colouring best. gorgeous grey coatigan that would get so much wear and if you're looking for a well priced pair of basic black ankle boots, you can't go far wrong with these.
Boden2 Collage
Velvet Trip Top, Seed Stitch Coatigan & Boho Boot


All the blues now - if you're looking for a checked scarf that is a bit different - this one is fab. And after seeing Nikki over at MidLifeChic wearing the Ingrid coat, I'm just loving it.
Boden1 Collage
Skye Scarf in Cream CheckIngrid Coat - Blue & Raglan Sweatshirt


Finishing with some serious bling for Christmas. Every fashionista was drooling over these Boden jewelled pumps and with 25% off, this is as good a time as any to purchase. My favourite is the gold colour way and how fab would they look with this uber-blingy Sequin Cable Jumper? Finally, these super skinny spotty jeans are a great night out alternative to black skinnies. Lovely in the daytime too!
Boden4 Collage


 Jewelled PumpsSequin Cable Jumper & Super Skinny Jeans,


Back to picking wallpaper for me - though a few basic crew-necks *may* be sitting in my basket. I'm also tempted to get the twins something gorgeous for their 6th birthday next weekend...


Hope you've had a good weekend,


Ax

Share:

Friday, 7 November 2014

Kingsmill Thins launch - in a Leopard Coat!

I'm so slow getting this post up - apologies - but do you remember when I asked you all to do a survey about making packed lunches? And I told you it was because I was helping to launch a new Kingsmill product? Well, that launch went ahead the other week and I had to come into Belfast to be part of the photoshoot. Sounds very showbiz but to me - it was simply the perfect justification to buy a new coat :) that's how I roll.


What to tell you about first....the coat or the bread?!.....The coat it is -


I spotted it while walking through Menarys in Lisburn the day before the Kingsmill launch. It's from Esprit and is a boiled wool style. There's no lining so it almost falls into the coatigan territory.....but I'd say it's closer to a coat.  Menary's don't have an online store but you can get it here on the Esprit website. It was a bit of a treat (especially given the imminent house move) but I had been admiring Michelle's M&S coat on her blog the same week and after a quick peek at how she's been wearing hers, the deal was sealed. In a further example of twisted retail logic I figured I might as well buy as much as I can before the bills start coming in for the new house!


Kingsmill livens up lunch for busy Belfast shoppers!


I kept the rest of my outfit very simple as I think the coat made enough of a statement. Jeans are from Call Me Pretty Boutique, black leather ankle boots from Clarks (a few years old now) & denim shirt from Boden (SS13).
And check out fellow blogger, Karen from Raising Mighty Girls - how amazing is that Jigsaw coat from the current range?


Kingsmill livens up lunch for busy Belfast shoppers!


So the product we were launching was Kingsmill Thins and they fall somewhere between a sliced loaf and a pitta bread - the kids have been enjoying having them for lunch a couple of times a week.  As part of the launch, we had to come up with a different way to use them...apart from the obvious ham/chicken sandwich option. Almost immediately, my son suggested his weekend favourite - French Toast. An inspired choice as it's so easy to make! Beat an egg, add a splash of milk, dip the bread, fry in a little butter & serve with syrup or a sprinkle of icing sugar.
image
Thanks to Kingsmill for giving Karen and I this opportunity and you'll find Kingsmill Thins in the shops now in both white and 50/50...a nice change from the usual sliced loaf :)
Ax

Share:
© A Life to Style | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig