Sunday, 29 June 2014

#bloggersabroad Yellow Linen Shirt

This is a short and sweet one as the kids are now on school holidays...lots of quality family time going on this week and next. But I couldn't resist sharing one of my #bloggersabroad items...it's just a great colour that I don't have much of already in my wardrobe and it works so well with tan accessories. Oh and here goes for the first proper post with my new hair :)

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Thought this this selfie was sweet with the girls playing behind me...
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Shirt - Kaleidoscope
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eans - Autograph @ M&S (via charity shop!)
Sandals - Clarks (SS12 - similar here & here)
White Vest - Zara
Necklace - Gift
Tan Leather Cross Body - Fat Face (current season version on link)
Sunglasses - TK Maxx

Hope you had a good weekend.

Ax
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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Bargain Jeans with a Lace Top

I was in TK Maxx last Wednesday looking for crocs for the 10 year old - who has the same size feet as me so I can easily shop for him now. Anyway..that did mean that I was trying on crocs and hoping no-one saw me and thought they were for me!
I will admit they're comfy...but oh my - please don't go there....remember about the holes:


Funny-memes-see-those-little-holes


Anyway - got a pair for him and seeing as I needed something to hide them underneath in the checkout queue (one of my best excuses for buying clothes in recent months!) I had a quick look at the bargain rail and I found a pair of Brooklyn Supply boyfriend jeans for £7!
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Jeans - TK Maxx but the same ones are available on ASOS at the moment for £40 - I bought a size 29
Sandals - Next
So I wore them the next day in this outfit. Girlied up the distressing with a little lacy top I got in Oasis last summer...oh and have you spotted the ponytail?! Yes...these photos were taken the day before the big chop. I forgot about them until now. Still no regrets!
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Top - Oasis (SS13 - similar current season Oasis & Fever London)
Scarf - SGS Shop
Black Cross Body Bag - Boden (AW12 - similar from Oasis & New Look)
Skater Shoes - Sperry (in red here)


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And I just want to give a shout out to the person who made one of my bracelets - Jo from Jo's Arm Candy. I saw her Facebook page a while back and sent her a message as I loved the infinity leather woven bracelets she makes. I ordered one in tan and it was only £5 so I wasn't expecting such a gorgeous quality piece for the money. Really lovely and stacks perfectly with my MK Watch and bracelet.


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Watch - Michael Kors
Silver Crystalised Cuff - Michael Kors
Leather & Silver Infinity Bracelet - Jo's Arm Candy


I also ordered a couple of Hello Kitty bracelets, which Jo also makes, for the girls and they were delighted with them. Thanks Jo!
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Ax

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

#bloggersabroad with Kaleidoscope

I was asked by Kaleidoscope to get involved in a really cool summer promotion called #bloggersabroad! The idea was that I would showcase some of their Holiday items on my summer holidays abroad. Slight problem...I'm not going abroad this summer :(
So I went back and politely declined..but despite the title, they were looking for one blogger who's doing a staycation. And they decided that I could be that blogger!
But we all know how difficult is it to dress for a staycation...not to mind ordering weeks in advance of going, with no idea if we'll be on the beach or in an 'interesting' museum sheltering from the rain.
I decided to be optimistic with my first item - these Joe Browns Beach to Bar denim shorts.
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I mean, everyone needs a good pair of denim shorts in their wardrobe? And I can confirm that these have ticked a lot of boxes for me. I'll be honest and say that I did chop a couple of inches off them - here I am (sneakily) wearing them during the hot spell last week:
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The fit on the waist is perfect & they are just nicely loose without being sloppy. I ordered the 12. Please put out the Child of Prague for the next two weeks so I can wear these at least on one of the days?!


Next up, I loved the colour and shape of this yellow linen shirt and knew it would look as great as a beach cover up as it would over skinny jeans with a white vest. I ordered a 10 in this one.
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Again - had a sneaky wear of this - will show you in a separate post tomorrow but here's the looky down shot...
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Final item was a bit of a wardrobe gap and a holiday essential, seeing as I've been buying smaller cross body bags most recently - a tan leather shopper.
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This is huge and made of a lovely soft leather. It's going to be great on our days out for filling with suncream & sun hats ... or raincoats & umbrellas :)


So all three are packed to take with me for a few days away with family on our staycation. During this time, I'll take some shots of me wearing them 'abroad' and share them on later blog post.


Another reminder that the shop closes for a couple of weeks from tomorrow (Wednesday) so last orders will be at 9pm tonight and they will be posted out first thing. This is just to allow me to get things in order, do a tax return, order in some new stock and prepare for a flash sale on my return! Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more details on the 10th/11th July.


Ax

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Michael Kors Winner!

Congratulations to Heather Lemon who was chosen at random by the Rafflecopter computer to win a gorgeous Michael Kors wristlet and the Butterfly scarf and Blush necklace from my shop!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've sent you an email Heather, so just send me through your address and I'll get your prize in the post to you this week.

Thank you to everyone who entered - it was such a popular competition so I'm sorry if you didn't win this time. I'll have another competition coming up on the blog soon. Ax
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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Cutting My Hair Off!

All my childhood, my hair was proper short - to the extent that I'd sometimes accompany my father to the barbers for a short back and sides! In my 20's, I tentatively tried out some longer styles but I have never had it as long as it was most recently - the two pregnancies definitely thinned out my hair enough to allow it to be manageable in a longer length.

But the truth is I've been bored with it over the past 6 months. Long hair is hard work & high maintenance. It gets into your food, sticks to your lip gloss and catches on zippers and buttons and I don't see the point in having long hair if you just always tie it up. Over recent months, I've met several women with amazing shorter hair - edgy, choppy and on-trend and my long heavy hair seemed very frumpy and a bit mutton all of a sudden.

So it was time for the chop! But not just a few inches here and there - a whole 10 of them!
Here's the before - last chance to back out...!!!

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Here's the during...no going back now
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and here's what came off - two lengths of hair that are currently winging their way to the Little Princess Trust - a charity that supplies wigs to children with alopecia and those undergoing cancer treatment. I found out about this charity recently thanks to a friend who shared a picture on Facebook and it had been in the back of my mind as I contemplated a new style.
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However some of the hairdressers I approached about this seemed to not know that coloured, bleached and even grey hair can be donated. Other hairdressers wanted me to come in advance of my appointment to see if my hair was suitable. But the fact is, you can send it to the Little Princess Trust as long as it's clean, product free (conditioner is ok), tied at both ends with elastic and is at least 7 inches long. And it can be coloured, bleached or grey...just not chemically straightened. And you can post it yourself in a clear plastic freezer bag, inside a padded envelope - you don't even need your hairdresser to do it for you! So don't be put off by mis-information. Full details of the criteria is available on the LPT website.

And here's my new hair...cut with great skill by Jonathon McKelvey in Uber Hair on the Lisburn Road, Belfast. I also had my colour done - hence it's a bit darker - my hair lightens hugely between colours...always to an auburn colour like you see in the ponytails.
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Kimono - New Look (out of stock online - this is similar and lovely too as I tried it on!)
Black Vest - Zara
Jeans - Gap Outlet
Sandals - TK Maxx (but available here)
Necklace - SGS Shop

36 hours on, how do I feel? Well I've no regrets - luckily! Instead, I feel like my hair is back to its roots (scuse the pun) and I absolutely love it. It feels like a fresh new start. Perhaps my wardrobe will have to completely change to fit with my new hair!??!

Ok - that's maybe pushing it...

A HUGE thank you to everyone for your lovely comments yesterday all over social media - it was amazing to have such support and to those generous lovely people who suggested I set up a Just Giving page - thank you for the prompt as I never thought about doing that and of course I should have! So if you have a few pounds to spare and want to support the Little Princess Trust financially (as the wigs cost a LOT to make), you can do so on this link.

Ax
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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Nike Air Max Thea Review

Clearly my trainer love has become obvious because I was asked by the team over at JD Sports to pick a pair of my choice for the summer months. Which is so welcome because despite the fact that I've bought 4 pairs of trainers in the past 6 months, all of them are fashion ones - not suitable for actual exercise. So my brief for this was to find a pair that could work both as an exercise trainer AND a school run trainer. Meet the Nike Air Max Thea in Grape.
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And can I point out that I'm not alone in my love of Nike Airs...a very similar style was worn this week by none other than style queen herself, Victoria Beckham!
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Anything VB can do...
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But back to my lovely purply/pink ones...here they are in all their close-up glory...
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I got a size 7 (I'm a 6.5) as I'd read that they come up small but I don't agree with this - I felt I could have gotten away with the 6.5 had this colour way come in half sizes but with my trusty converse sports socks inside, they're perfect. Other colour ways in the Thea do come in half sizes.
(On an aside, it's always a tricky one when as a blogger, you're reviewing footwear in particular - it would so beneficial if brands would send a few different sizes with a returns label for what doesn't fit.)

Outfit wise, I'll not share the pilates class/long walk get up of knee length leggings, white vest and my Heaton's pink top. Did the job. For the school run I kept it simple with dark denim jeans and a white t-shirt. But I couldn't resist a bit of bling from the shop (Pink/Plum Necklace) as it matched perfectly!
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This particular style is available in 6 colours from JD Sports on this link. But if you preferred VB's - they're on this link...though not in the colour she has. Thank you to the team at JD for allowing me to finally, after 8 years, chuck out my Asics white gym trainers and get with the trendy gym bunnies with their coloured Nikes.

My next post may come as a surprise...I'm certainly rather anxious thinking about it tonight!! If you're following on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, you'll get a sneak peak on Friday morning...

Ax
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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Shoe Sales Edit

My favourite sort of sale is a footwear one - it's an obsession that's in the blood as my mother was partial to a pair of shoes or 10! I rarely buy shoes at full price and when my favourite sales start, it's footwear section that I head to first. So this week has seen the start of the sales in some of my favourite footwear brands and here are my picks. Sorry for the temptation - this is not a sponsored post - I just had to share the shoe love :)

First up a recent find of mine..Moda in Pelle, where there are great reductions on sandals, shoes and boots (it's a GREAT time to buy boots at the moment!!). Here are some of my favourites but I'll warn you that sizes are very limited in some lines:

MIP Collage

Next up - Clarks..where there are reductions from 15-50% across the whole range..
Clarks Collage
Every winter, people ask me where they can get lovely navy suede ankle boots like my ones from M&S. Well if this is you - grab these when you can from Clarks - gorgeous shape, real suede leather and 50% off. Also available in a tan colour.
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Clarks Moonlight Cool in Navy Suede

Finally, Office are a week into their sale with again up to 50% off many lines, including New Balance, Ugg and Office own brand.
Office Collage

That's the shoe porn over for another day....is it wrong that I could happily have a pair of every one of these in my wardrobe right now??!

Ax
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Maxi Skirt & Butterflies

Father's Day saw us off on a wee trip to Castle Ward - one of three amazing National Trust properties within a 40 minute drive.  We've only been once before and the last time, it was just as sunny a day - result!
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Maxi Skirt - Matalan (only available in black and breton stripe this summer)
Vest Top - Zara
Pink Cross-Body Bag - Boden (SS13 - similar here & here)
Scarf  - Grey Neon Butterfly - SGS Shop
Pastel Pendant - SGS Shop
Basalt Grey Leather Birkenstocks - Birkenstock Shop

This maxi skirt has to be among the best buys in my wardrobe - I wore it so much last summer and now it's out again, looking just as good as when I bought it. It's cool but covers up nicely and it's so easy to wash and requires little or no ironing. It's not available in the grey marl this year but there's a black and a rather nice breton stripe too...tempted!
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Despite the lovely day, I knew it could be chilly up at Castle Ward as it's on the waters edge so I threw on this neon butterfly scarf from the shop which came in handy at times but was light enough to not feel too warm at any stage.
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The pastel pendant is another 'perk of the job' I've taken from the shop. It's just perfect with so many different colours but it has a longer length chain so can be worn up close to the neck as I have it here, or longer...as you can see in the shop photos on the link above.
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Birkenstock update - LOVE them ...I will admit that for the first week or so, they were stiff and I was wondering if I'd get on with them but now they are so incredibly comfortable and when I take them off, my feet feel great. I'm also loving the dark grey colour as it's so versatile.

A final heads up on the shop as I've had lots of teacher present buying going on this week (NI/ROI/Scottish schools finish up next week!). The shop will be closed from 9pm on the 24th June until 9am on the 8th July.  So if you need teacher presents for the first 2 weeks in July, you'll need to order now. I've also got gift vouchers available for any amount if you can't decide what to buy as a present. Postage is free on these and you can arrange to buy one on this link.

Thanks all - back soon with what was in this box from the team over at JD Sports..
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Ax
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Monday, 16 June 2014

Next Silver Sandals & Floral Trews

So after my last post, I did go back to Next for silver shoes...but not the silver shoes I featured. I tried on the heels again but practicality won over glamour and while I browsed, I spotted these silver beauties.
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Silver Leather Sandals - Next

I've had a silver sandal on my list to find for a while now. It's very hard to get comfortable ones that don't fall into the Birkenstock space...and while I love my Birks, I wanted something that looked a bit different and ideally was a bit dressier but not all sparkly and bejewelled.
These are FAB - so comfy, real leather and thanks to the cross over detail, they make my wide feet look narrower.
For my trip to Next, I was inspired by my new blog-love - High On Luxe. I loved Amanda's floral trouser & cream shirt combo on her most recent post so I attempted to re-create it:
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Floral Jeans - Primark (SS12 - similar here, here, here)
Cream Blouse - M&S (AW14 - similar here & here)
White Vest - Primark
Black Cross Body - Boden (similar here)
Black Strappy Leather Sandals - TK Maxx (SS14 but the exact same ones are in New Look on this link - go figure!?!)

Wearing the sandals today with denim shorts as it's another cracker of a day here in Belfast!
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Last few days left to enter my Michael Kors competition if you haven't already - read all about it on this link.

Ax
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Friday, 13 June 2014

Coral Top & A Trip To Next!

I'm a sucker for a bit of coral - this is my third top in this colour (there are also two jackets lurking in the wardrobe!). I think Donna would tell me it's one of my colours :)
This one I picked up in the Boden sale when there was a huge discount on summer 13 stock probably around Christmas time and I have been waiting patiently to wear it this summer. Natalie over at Glamrosie Blog has it also...oh and I should say it's a bit more orangy coloured in real life...
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Top - Boden SS13 (similar here & here)
Jeans - Next Ankle Skimmers (ex charity shop - similar here & here)
Sandals - ℅ Clarks
Handbag - Cole Haan (NYC purchase - only red on link but similar here from Next

So Thursdays = gymnastics for one of the twins. It started out with both doing it and then one decided she'd had enough (only after I'd paid for a second term! But they took pity on me and I got a credit for next term) so now every Thursday, I spend an hour with just one of the girls. Which is actually quite nice...not just from a twin perspective. It's just lovely to spend one-on-one time with a single child when you have more than one competing for your time. And thankfully, she's a good shopping buddy...and she's the one who's always happy to take photos.

After she took my pics, we headed to Next on a sunhat hunt. I'm the bad mummy who leaves it until we've had a few weeks of proper sun before accepting that last year's hats are too small.  I picked up the last two girl's sun hats left, which lucky for me were the same (no arguments) and featured Hello Kitty (guaranteed to be worn). Then it was time for a quick scoot around to see what caught mine and my little shopping buddy's eyes.

Next has really upped its game over the last two seasons and I can rarely go in now without seeing 2 or 3 things I'd like to buy. First up, I adore this print - really bright and perfect with denim, white or coloured jeans or shorts. It's got a zip fastening at the back, which I really like as I find buttons on the neck (as with the Boden top I'm wearing) really fiddly to close.
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Woven Top in Neon Floral

The same top also comes in both of these spotty patterns - loving the grey especially!
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Woven Top - Grey Spot & Navy Spot

These simple jersey dresses are so simple to throw on for holidays. The pattern is flattering and in one fell swoop, you're dressed! It also comes in a few plain colours too and would work with leggings if it feels a bit short.
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Drop Waist Breton Jersey Dress - only showing in grey/blue online

Loved this breton oversized sweatshirt - which has a cute denim detail on the inside seams and the sleeves. See...coral colours again! Can't find it online but it was only £20 and was quite a nice weight.
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This bag stopped me in my tracks. It's amazing and if I'd not already got my Dune one recently, I'd have bought it in a flash. It's the most fab shade of navy and is one of the best leather look materials I've seen in a long time. Perfect size, great strap length for easy wearing and a nod to Anya and Chloe...all for £34!
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Chunky Zip Across Body Navy Handbag

The footwear also got me wishing I'd not spent all my birthday money. These white sliders are so comfy and soft...and only £25
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White Sporty Mule Sandals

I loved these sparkly pumps too - again, super comfy. Not something I used to associate with Next footwear.
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And then - my undoing...the item I can't stop thinking about since I left the store. COMPLETELY impractical and unnecessary for every occasion in my life. But I just love them. The asymmetric cut, the metallic colour that will totally match everything, the comfort, the fit..and the price!
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Asymmetric Point Shoes - Silver (also available in other colours)

But I do NOT need silver stilettos in my life...I have many many pairs of going out heels that I rarely wear and when I do, send me to physio or require me to take painkillers for a week afterwards - my back does not like super high heels.  To take my mind off them, I decided to buy one of the items I photographed....I'll share it on the next post! It might be the outfit I wear when I go back to Next for a second look......shoes can be ornaments, no?

Ax
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