Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New York City!

This time tomorrow, I'll be in New York with 65 of my choir friends...all being well! While I'm away, the blog and shop will have a week's break but I'll be busy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, updating my outfits, shopping, sights and of course, our many singing engagements. My last post before I go is just to show you what I'm bringing with me in my NYC capsule.
It's all very black because we're singing every day and there are few opportunities to wear anything other than the black I have to wear when performing...that made it easy to pack for I have to say!
I really need to shout out to a few brands who offered me items to take to New York. Boden and Hot Squash both offered me maxi dresses to take and I'll get some photos of me wearing them when I'm there - they're quite different in style...the Hot Squash one is also made from their 'cool' fabric so I'm interested to try it out!
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Boden Maya Maxi Dress, Hot Squash 'Cool' Maxi Dress (use APPLE at the checkout for 20% off Hot Squash!)
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Wallis sent me a jumpsuit to take with my Matalan one so again, I'll model this when I'm in New York. It's a similar fabric to the Matalan one - just a bit heavier - and it comes with a belt. Really lovely on!
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Hush also sent me the harem pants I wore in my previous posts so these pants are going to be my comfy travelling trousers but additionally, Hush asked me to try out their relaxed trousers, which aren't jersey and are just a bit dressier than the harems so they'll definitely get worn at one of our engagements.
They're pictured in this next photo along with a new denim jacket I bought in Surfdome - it's a Vero Moda one and was only £27.99 it's just the exact colour of denim I was looking for and the 12 fits beautifully. The black jacket is a quilted one from Dorothy Perkins that I picked up in the charity shop last week. Perfect for throwing over my choir dresses en route - a bit smarter than the denim. My H&M trainers  are coming for the ride and my suitcase essential - three basic Zara vests...the ones on this link. They are amazing - give really great support and hide all bra straps! Oh and a cross body bag is an essential - and I'm bringing my Boden one as it doubles up as a clutch also.
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Here are the sparklers that are coming with me....mostly from my shop of course!
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Cosmetics wise, I'm bringing the usual array of minis - including the ever important Batiste dry shampoo - my desert island beauty product.
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And in my large hand bag, lots of on-flight essentials. Eye mask, hand wipes, melatonin, ear plugs, pain killers etc...and some warm socks, a scarf and my kindle!
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It's my first long haul flight in almost 10 years...beyond excited! See you all in a week


Axx

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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Wedding Style

It's taken me ages to get round to posting about the amazing wedding I was at last week. I met Dawn via blogging about 2 years ago and was so honoured to be asked along to her Belfast wedding party. She and Dave got married in Las Vegas in April with just the bridal party and immediate family and last week was the big dress reveal for extended family and friends, in the Cabaret Club at AM:PM in Belfast City Centre.


Some of the bloggers met up on the roof terrace of AM:PM, where there sun was shining..
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Gemma Louise (That Belfast Girl), Cathy (Clicks & Shutters Photography), Bex (Welcome to Faeriwood) & Nic (Strawberry Blonde Beauty Blog)
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And here's what I wore on the night...
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Jumpsuit - Matalan
Jacket - H&M (borrowed from Gemma Louise!)
Shoes - Zara (old - similar here & here)
Handbag - The Prada Baby (similar here & here)
Necklace - SGS Shop
How fabulous is  this jacket? I was looking everywhere for something sparkly to wear over my jumpsuit and was thrilled when GL said I could borrow hers. It's perfect...didn't want to give it back!
The necklace is not actually listed in the shop - I got just a couple of silver ones and gold ones to see what the quality was like. Really pleased with the impact it has here so I'm keeping this gold one! I've got another gold one and two silvers if anyone's interested. They are £15 including UK postage. I'm unlikely to get them added to the shop before I go away on
Wednesday.
After our champers on the roof terrace, we went down to the cabaret room to sit at our Las Vegas themed tables and await the bride & groom!


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One of the lovely touches on the evening was that we were given a small bottle of cocktail with a 'Drink Me' label...but being bloggers, we noticed there was a QR code on it. I scanned it and the link brought us to a video of the Las Vegas wedding ceremony..so lovely to see. Not a dry eye at the table by the end of it! The same bloggers are in this photo, with the exception of Caroline from The Red Dutchess on the far right.
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Photo - via Clicks & Shutters Photography
Lots of love and best wishes for a happy life together to Dave & Dawn - thank you for inviting me to be part of your wedding xx
10333655_386346224839629_6884536895000552756_oPhoto - via Clicks & Shutters Photography


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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Summer Sandals from Clarks

One of the most frustrating things about buying shoes or sandals for footwear obsessed (where did they possibly get that from??!) twin girls, is getting matching pairs that fit both girls properly. There's a full shoe size and width size between them so invariably, when we go into the shoe shop, one comes out disappointed because she can't get the same footwear as her sister. I'm sure they will be happy with different things as they get older but right now, if one 5 year old gets sparkly sandals, the other one wants them too!


So this year, when Clarks offered a pair of sandals to both the girls and myself for a 'mini-me' feature, I was sure it would be the same story again. I took them to my local Clarks to get measured and to see if we could find two pairs the same and lo and behold, they had one (only one!) sandal that they both loved AND that fitted each girl properly...
the Orra Noon in white leather!


Clarks Girls


The best thing about these sandals is the soft, cushioned leather across the heel area. The girls have worn them quite a bit since we got them, thanks to the recent lovely spell of weather, and they've not pinched or rubbed any part of their little feet. Meanwhile, for myself, I also went for a t-bar shape and some sparkle with the Sail Cruise Sandal in Nude:
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These are also very comfortable - the reviews online seem to concur with this too. I just loved the simple lines and the neutral colour. They will go with everything this summer! They're actually really similar to a pair of neutral flat sandals I got many years ago in a little boutique in Surrey that had to be binned at the end of last summer as they completely fell apart from endless wear so these guys are going to work hard. A note on sizing - I am normally a 6/6.5 but these come up small as I need every bit of the 7.
Here are me and my mini-me's wearing our sandals...is this called a felfie?? A foot-fie?? Just wondering...
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I had a poorly little girl the day we did the photos and she didn't want to be in them so I was going to wait until another day so all three of us could show off our sandals but Miss K, who normally won't smile for me in photos, was very keen to go ahead with them. She loves her sister but she does also love doing stuff on her own with me!
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Dress - F&F @ Tesco (SS13)
Cropped cardigan - H&M
Necklace - Cos
Sandals - c/o Clarks
K's Sandals - c/o Clarks (also available in light pink)
When I was in the Clarks shop having the girls fitted, I had a bit of a look round at the SS14 range. I'm so impressed with the fit-out the shops have all had recently. The white box shelving and bright lighting really shows off the shoes so beautifully. Here are some of my picks currently available in-store and online.
First up - Romantic Moon in lilac and metallic. Available in a few other colour ways online and I'd struggle to choose between them. This is a sandal that looks better on-foot than online. So comfortable - I tried on the 6 (but would need a 7) - the footbed is a soft suede material - like walking on air!
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Gorgeous Alicia Ava pumps in three colour-ways.
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More brogue love...
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Adore the shape of these wedge Sateen Curtain sandals. Not for the school gate but stunning for a night out or a day at the races. And 20% off at the moment.
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And some fugly Perri Coast sandals that come in black or white patent
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Finally, a Jackie O moment as I realised that my fabulous Sail Cruise sandals also came in black, neon yellow and lilac/metallic!! One of each please :)
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Once again, an impressive selection from Clarks, just in time for a great summer and my mini-me's and I are looking forward to getting lots of wear from ours in the coming months.


Ax


 
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Monday, 19 May 2014

How I Wear My Harems

I promised you that after sourcing all the images from Pinterest of other women rocking harems, I'd try to replicate some of the looks myself. It was challenging to say the least.
First up, I had reluctant photographers. My kids are great - they'll take a few pictures if I ask them once or twice a week. But they don't like being asked every 20 minutes over one afternoon.
I asked each in turn, bribing encouraging them...and I would say that I had about a 5% success rate with the photos as they were all pre-occupied with getting back to Lego/TV/colouring in. As I planned my 5th look, the three of them disappeared to different parts of the house and didn't respond to my calls....4 looks it is!


The harems I'm wearing throughout are from Hush - they are black and I'm wearing the size S/M, which I would say equates to a generous 12.
First up - this is how Hush style them on their own website...alongside my interpretation..I'm on the left ;)
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Harems - c/o Hush
Grey Jacket - Mint Velvet (SS13 - similar here & here)
Scarf - Old
Sandals - TK Maxx (SS12)
T-Shirt - Zara
Next up - styling with an unstructured jacket
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Jacket - Hot Squash
White Vest - M&S
Black Patent Sandals - LK Bennett Outlet
Then a loose interpretation of this next one. I'm calling it 'wearing with tan accessories'. I did try the belt but the Hush harems have a tie waist detail and a belt doesn't really sit properly on them. I also tried with a lacy top I have but it all looked a bit too fussy - hence the white vest again. Loved this look I have to say and will be wearing on the school run.
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Denim Jacket - M&S (SS12 - similar)
White Vest - M&S
Tan Cross Body - Boden (AW13 - similar here & here)
Tan Sandals - Clarks (SS12 - similar here & here)
Final look is a night out look which I also love and will re-create again
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Cropped Black Jacket - Dunnes (6 years old - similar here & here)
Grey Cowl Neck Vest - Room 31 (old - similar here)
Black Sandals - Heatons (current)
Sparkle Necklace - SGS Shop
Box Clutch - TK Maxx (SS13 - similar here)
So what do you think? Did the girl do good? It goes without saying that I am now a harem lover and am already planning what colour to buy my second pair in!
Ax

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Friday, 16 May 2014

Jumpsuit Update & An Anniversary...

The hunt for a black jumpsuit is over! Despite lots of searching, the only one I was actually able to pick up in person was the Matalan one - in a size 10 and you should generally size up when buying jumpsuits so I was really impressed by it but needed the 12.  I shared some pictures on my Facebook page and thanks to a local reader of the blog and the very helpful Gemma Louise (That Belfast Girl), I managed to get the last size 12 in Belfast the next day and it fits perfectly! Wore it to the wedding last night so lots of photos to come...


I'm sure if I'd been able to get into Belfast city centre, I could have seen some of the others I'd featured on the last post but I was limited to out of town shopping so could only get to Outfit (limited range of DP's, Wallis, TopShop & Miss Selfridge) and Matalan.


But I also need to update you on the three ASOS ones I ordered. Thank goodness for free delivery, free returns is all I can say!


First up, a bit of a curve-ball - a wide leg one from Love. It didn't do too badly on the crease test and is a good length on me but it came up very small and short in the body - and the design made it virtually impossible to put on & take off...I was seriously worried I'd have to cut it off me but with some help from hubby, I managed to ease it off. It's made from a mid-weight polyester type of material with no stretch in it - so all in all, not a contender on lots of fronts.
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Wide Leg Jumpsuit - Love @ ASOS
The next one was jersey - but it was very creased coming out of the packaging so that wasn't great. But it was easy to put on and take off and came with a belt. I would say this could have been a contender if I'd not been able to get the Matalan one BUT I would say that the material is lighter, more see through and less forgiving than Matalan's.
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Belted Jumpsuit - Love @ ASOS
Last up, was the one that I liked the most online and in real life - the ASOS Racer one. It's a completely different proposition, made from a heavier material - rather like suit material - with no stretch. Sadly, it was too long for me and a bit shapeless at the waist. But I don't think it was so big that a size smaller would have fitted. Also, the racer style cut at the shoulders and the completely open back (didn't notice that when ordering) makes it really impractical. LOVED the shape on - it's a great cut for anyone with a smaller bust but only if you're happy to work a complicated stick on style bra or not wear one at all.
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Jumpsuit with Chic Racer Detail - ASOS
So there we go - jumpsuit search over .... though at time of writing, the guys at Wallis have offered to send me one of theirs to review so I'll report back on it when it arrives.


Meanwhile, I hope you're enjoying the sunshine wherever you are - here's what I'm wearing today.
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Maxi Dress - c/o Hot Squash
Coral Vest - Benetton
Black Flat Sandals - LK Bennett Outlet


It's our wedding anniversary but we're not heading out as my back gave up the goat last night when I was carrying a heavy bag up the stairs after the wedding - it had been niggling all day after I'd pulled something in it earlier in the week so in retrospect, wearing heels at the wedding and lots of walking in those heels may have had a part to play.
A day of painkillers and rest is on the cards...but I've been given anniversary flowers and cake to help with the recovery :)
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Happy Friday!
Ax

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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Brogues with a Parka?

We're in that funny in-between time of the year. The sandals are out of storage and the boots are away but it's still a bit nippy. It's not easy to dress for so I've been mixing in bits from my winter wardrobe, like today when I had to go get this Boden cardigan mid-morning as I was so cold!


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Cardigan - Boden AW13
Jeans - Gap Outlet (similar)
White Shirt - Betty Barclay @ John Lewis
Brogues - Clarks
When it came to the school run, I couldn't decide what jacket to go for. Initially, I put on this stone coloured jacket I've had for ages from H&M
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Neutral Swing Jacket - H&M
Cross Body - Boden (AW13)
I decided it was .... a bit 'meh' so I dug out my Warehouse Parka to see if it would work better. One of the reasons I bought this parka was that it has a removable furry lining. So I de-fuzzed it at the weekend and it's a really nice weight for this time of year. What do you think?
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Parka - Warehouse (AW14)
I'm still not sure and the hubby started playing The Who on Spotify when he saw me....but I wore it out anyway. Sometimes it's nice to mix it up!
Mostly I was distracted from my coat musings by these brogues...officially obsessed. Why it's taken me so long to embrace this trend, I'll never know. I'm slow on the uptake mostly but I'm also deeply suspicious of very masculine trends.
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They're still available in Clarks even though my mother in law bought them last summer. And if you're interested in them or something similar, I've rounded up some picks from the high street on this collage. Because I'm really getting into my collages these days...have you noticed?!


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1. Clarks, 2. Next, 3. Dune, 4. Hotter, 5. Seven Boot Late, 6. Clarks, 7. ASOS


Haven't forgotten the 'how I wear harems' post I promised....it should be coming up next. But before then, I've a wedding to go to! Yes - tonight, I am honoured to be attending the wedding party for Dawn, my blogging friend who got married in Las Vegas last month. LOTS of photos to come soon - keep an eye on Insta & Facebook!


Ax

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Unify Fashion Showcase - Belfast - 15/16 May

I don't normally publish press releases on here but this one is supporting an amazing charity that I just recently become aware of. You may remember when I got my hair and make up done for the In Magazine Awards, Gemma & Lynne told me all about the charity they work tirelessly for - the A21 Campaign, which fights human trafficking both locally and globally through awareness and education.


Well, I'm delighted to hear that A21 is the nominated charity of the 2014 Unify Fashion Showcase and therefore I had to tell you about this two-night showcase of Northern Ireland’s leading design talent, which takes place on the 15th and 16th of May in the Titanic Drawing Offices.


Unify A21 aPictured at the announcement is (L-R) Unify NI designer Kiera Ann Marie Philips; local designer and Unify NI Manager David Henderson and Gemma Managh, representing A21.


It's set to be one of the biggest nights in the NI fashion calendar. Leading model Nuala Meenehan will host the event on Thursday 15th May and guests can see designs from Goddess and Swift by Larissa Watson, John Paul Couture, RUEDI by Ruedi Maguire, Attune with NewU@92, Honey, The Yellowest Diamonds collection, Diamond Dolls, Art on Fashion by Celine Magill, Tamsin Blackbourn, Gordon Donaldson and the “One to Watch” winning junior designer and runners up.


Then on Friday 16th May, Sarah Travers will host a show that features local designers David Henderson, Shauna Fay, KAM by Kiera Ann Marie, Attune ladieswear, Surreal Fashion by Jessica Edlin and A K A N I by Diana Mukushii and jewellery designers Alison McIlkenny of Rustic Dove Designs, Melanie Bond, Joanna Ritchie of Aura, and Stephanie Cheshire of B’Jewelled Bridal. Milliner Marie Claire Ferguson and Kelly Black Bridal will also be in attendance. Guests will be treated to a roaming fashion show on arrival by costume designer MT Connolly who will be showcasing her stunning flamenco designs.


The Unify Fashion Showcase is officially sponsored by Charles Hurst Specialist Cars. Other local companies supporting the event include North Financial Management, In-Spires and Ground Espresso Bars.


Tickets for the event cost £20 or £25 VIP and includes goodie bag and drinks reception on arrival.  For more information visit www.unifyni.com or follow Unify at http://www.facebook.com/Unifystudio or Twitter @UnifyNI / #UnifyisComing.


Ax

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On the hunt for a Black Jumpsuit

Firstly, thank you for all the supportive comments on my last post. It made yesterday an emotional day - in a good way. I can honestly say I'm stronger for reading your kind words and wise advice. I'll try to keep the personal drama to a minimum from here on in - promise ;)
Now, let's get back to shopping and fashion - #priorities - and have I mentioned I'm heading Stateside on the 28th May? Yes, in just over 2 weeks, about 60 members of Belfast Community Gospel Choir will arrive in New York City for a 5 day visit! I've hardly had a minute to look forward to this but I may drive you mad mentioning it from now on.


We've got several events to sing at each day and are staying in a hostel with 6 to a room so it's going to be challenging to pack for this trip. It's unlikely we'll have time for laundry or ironing as some of our gigs are back to back, late nights and early mornings.
So I've decided to pack lots of jersey and have been accumulating bits and pieces for a while now. But I've still to find the right  black jumpsuit.
I want something that's jersey or crease resistant, with a tapered leg, a closed in back, not too plunging a neckline and ideally sleeveless (though not strappy). And for less than £50 if at all possible. Not too much to ask surely?!
To avoid a long day traipsing around the shops, I went online this weekend and here are my contenders.


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1. Phase Eight
, 2. Mango (fits the bill but but a bit ££ for Mango!), 3. Jane Norman, 4. New Look


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1. Wallis
, 2. Dorothy Perkins, 3. Mint Velvet, 4. Matalan


Out of all of these, I'm first going to look at the DP and Matalan ones in the shops tomorrow. But in the meantime, I've ordered these three from ASOS. Free delivery & free returns - love ASOS!


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1. Jumpsuit with Racer Back
, 2. Love Jumpsuit with Open Back (completely not what I was looking for but I want to try it on) & 3. Love Jumpsuit with Belted Detail


Will fill you in when I've done a try on but lol at these collages - they all look the same...mmmm....I'm sure there are some key differences.....let me report back.


Finishing with my day to night outfit from Friday. This is the day...
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Jacket - Mint Velvet (SS13 - similar here)
Jeans - Gap Outlet (similar)
Coral T-Shirt - H&M
Birkenstocks - Arizona in Basalt Grey
And a quick change for dinner out with a friend..
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Jacket - H&M
Black Flowy Top - H&M (not online)
Jeans - as before
Sandals - c/o Heatons
Necklace - Flower Statement from my Shop
Clutch - Boden (AW12)


Be back soon...
Ax

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