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

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Faux Fur & Leather Layers

Today's outfit was all about the layers. I've been wearing my Next gilet so much over the past couple of weeks but today it was colder so I decided to layer it over my H&M quilted faux leather jacket and I love the effect it gives. Looks like a fur coat with leather sleeves....much more flattering than a coat with fur arms which all seem to make me look huge. Though I have seen a fab grey fur coat in Oasis....


Back to the outfit and it was a combination of greys and blacks with denim.
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Gilet - Next AW14
Jeans - Gap Perfectly Skinny ex Outlet (similar)
Faux Leather Quilted Jacket - H&M (similar)
Grey Square Cut Jumper - H&M
Black Suede Ankle Boots - Ash Jalouse
Cross Body Bag - Boden
Scarf - TK Maxx (ancient)


I've been asked a few times about the sizing of the Next gilet and I can confirm that it comes up a bit big. Mine is a size 8 and has plenty of room for a jumper and coat underneath as I've worn it here.
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Oh and I do believe this is the debut of my other Ash boots....so in love with the navy ones, I used the last of my eBay money to buy a black pair too. There's 25% off in MyWardrobe until midnight Sunday using WIT25 (courtesy of Laura over at Wearing It Today!)
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'is that a mark on my new boots...?!!'
Perfect for a Saturday spent prepping for a few days away - I'm taking the girls to see my family in Tipperary while hubby stays at home. It's the first visit in 6 months (because of my back) so we're excited to see everyone again.


While I'm away, the shop will be open but items won't go out until Thursday. To make up for the short delay, postage is free on all UK orders in the shop until midnight on Tuesday. For european and international deliveries, postage is discounted to £2 and £3 respectively.


I've prepped a couple of posts for while I'm away...all around challenging myself to wear more dresses. First one is on the blog tomorrow morning. Hope you enjoy :)


Ax

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Call Me Pretty Boutique

There's nothing better than coming across a great independent boutique that stocks affordable brands AND has an online presence. Exactly the sort of business I love to feature on the blog as it's relevant to all my readers near or far, whatever their budget.
Call Me Pretty Boutique is one of these businesses so when Paula & Dave, who own the shop, contacted me to see if I would give them a mention on the blog, I was more than happy to do so.
In return, Paula & Dave offered me an outfit from the shop and it was a case of two more of the wish list being ticked off - black coated skinny jeans and a long grey cardigan.


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The jeans are from Vero Moda and they are actually called 'Jeather' - a mix of jeans and leather trousers!


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I'm not fully sold on the whole faux leather leggings for day-time wear so these are the perfect in-between option. They have a lovely rise and fit my pear shape well, with no belt required. I'm wearing the size 30 as they come up a little small (I'm normally a 28/29). I've worn them now for a few days and can confirm that they are holding their shape well - no bagging at the knees etc.
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The cardigan is from Vila and is a lovely marl grey. It's designed to be worn open, so there's no belt loops/ties hanging at the side (bonus) and it's lovely and warm. I've been wearing it around the house as an extra layer while working and as a lounging cardi too...it makes my PJ bottoms look super stylish :) Oh and there are pockets - important for mums.
I was also sent a Vero Moda white long sleeved top which really is a great buy if you're looking for a good quality basic top. Scoop necked, it comes in 4 colours, lovely and stretchy and most importantly, it's long line so gets bonus points from me for that.
I know I'm going to get lots of wear from each item in a wide range of outfits but conveniently for this blog post, all three items look great together so I wore them yesterday - just adding in my grey leopard scarf and Clarks boots.
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Grey Long Line Cardigan by Vila (mine is the size M/10-12)
Black Coated Skinny Jeggings by Vero Moda
White Long Sleeved Jersey Top by Vero Moda
all ℅ and available from Call Me Pretty Boutique
Boots - Clarks (past season)
Grey Leopard Print Scarf - eBay (past season)


I hope you'll join me in supporting Call Me Pretty as they start out in the competitive world of retail. Liking their Facebook page will ensure that you are the first to hear about new stock and special offers and if you're on Twitter, you can follow them on this link. Meanwhile, if you would like to order anything from the site, Paula & Dave have given me a special postal discount for School Gate Style readers. Simply put FREEPP in the promotional code box at check out, to give you free standard shipping.


Thank you to Call Me Pretty Boutique for these welcome additions to my winter wardrobe and thanks to you for supporting the brands that support this blog.


Ax

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Burgundy Loafers & (another!) New Coat

At the beginning of this season, I made a list of a few key things I wanted to add to my wardrobe for winter and I've slowly been ticking items off, thanks to a huge sell-off of lots of high heel boots and shoes as well as some older coats that I've not worn for a while.
I have burgundy on the brain this season as you'll know from my last post and it just continues with these Burgundy Loafers from Van Dal at Gray & Osbourn. I spotted them when I was choosing items to feature on this last post and they kept calling to me thanks to those little google ads that pop up on your screen when you're on Facebook or Yahoo....annoying but effective in my case.
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A burgundy coat was also on my list (coat obsession - I know) and I spotted an advert for Atterley Road a few weeks back telling me that all their coats had 20% off...so I went for a look. I couldn't find a burgundy one in the current season stock but on a whim, had a quick look at their sale stock and found this absolute beauty...it's called the 'Fun Coat' (??) from Selected Femme. Wool mix, longer length, half price, no brainer. And when I logged in to pay, it turned out I had Atterley Road loyalty points which took a further £6.50 off the price. Love it.
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And here is the whole outfit...just about enough burgundy for me to be happy! Excuse the 'post-formal' messy hair :)
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Coat - Selected Femme @ Atterley Road
(still some sizes left - I bought the 10 & it's generous. Extra 10% off with EXTRA10 until Thursday midnight)
Denim Shirt - White Company Outlet
Black Skinny Jeans/Trousers - H&M
Black Cross-Body Bag - Boden (past season - similar here)
Burgundy Patent Loafers - Van Dal @ Gray & Osbourn


I can't recommend both of these items enough. The shoes are the perfect trans-seasonal pair...more substantial than a pump for cooler days but storms or not, it's still mild this week - and wet, so these shoes are getting lots of wear. They are also very comfortable as you'd expect from Van Dal. Perfect for my wider foot (and the old bad back - which wasn't happy to have heels worn the night before these pictures).
The coat is VERY warm - a lovely weight, fully lined and beautifully finished. The longer length means it ticks the Irish 'Big Coat' box (a bit of an in-joke for my local readers...have you got your 'Big Coat' out yet??)
OK - I'm going to try to stop with the burgundy now....try that is...I can't help thinking how lovely the Clarks Cross Body Bag would look with this outfit.
Ax

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Formals & Farms

It was a tale of two very different fashion scenarios this weekend. Friday saw me heading to the Culloden Hotel as a guest of ASG Ireland for the Chartered Institute of PR Awards. I'd bought a long black dress to wear but took a last minute dislike to it and ended up racing up to my neighbour about an hour before my taxi arrived. She gave me this fabulous black dress from JS Collection (past season) with a lace bust detail and sheer sleeves and back. It fitted like a glove and looked suitably glam for the occasion. I wore my black ankle strap sandals from Heatons (past season), a clutch bag from DP's and jewellery from my shop. There's a similar dress in Debenhams on this link.
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I have to thank everyone for the lovely comments when I posted photos from the night on Instagram and Facebook. I'd been quite unwell overnight Thursday into Friday and was not feeling great when I arrived at the event but all the comments and the great company at my table helped to make the evening really enjoyable.


On Saturday it was back to porridge with the usual running about with the kids. I reverted back to a favourite outfit from a week ago. With a run to the farm for a birthday party drop off, I needed to be cosy and ready for showers.
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Coat - Target Dry
Scarf - Mango
Navy Oversized Top - Mango
Jeans - Replay
Boots - Mango (similar here)
While my daughter was at the party, I had a quick look in a nearby shopping centre - there was a definite burgundy theme. This black & burgundy cross-body bag from Clarks is stunning in real life - gorgeous leather and a great size. It has a wrist strap so can be worn as a clutch also.
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Toft Hill in Burgundy - Clarks
(20% off all bags at the moment in Clarks with code BAG2014)
I'd seen these burgundy brogues on Instagram and was keen to check them out in real life..
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Hamble Oak Brogues - Clarks
Finally, I've been keeping an eye out for a burgundy breton and this beauty from Dunnes Stores caught my eye. The material is a lovely weight and has a great stretch but it's the pleather trim and rear zip that makes it a fab buy for £10 - unfortunately not available online.
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I might have picked up something else in Dunnes that was on my wish list - photos to follow!


Hope you've enjoyed your weekend,


Ax

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Next Day Delivery in Northern Ireland from NEXT

If you're based across the water, next day delivery is probably something you take for granted, albeit there's a higher cost involved.  However, the reality in Northern Ireland is that even 'day after next' delivery is ambitious. On top of that, some retailers charge extra to post here - a particular bug-bear of mine...but I'll save that rant for another day.
But this is all set to change with the news that Next will now fulfil all Northern Ireland deliveries on a next day basis - and you can order up to 10pm the night before. These orders will cost only £3.99 (the standard Next delivery rate) or you can have free delivery if you opt for your parcel to go to a local store and if you take up the latter option, you have until midnight to complete your order...which is *almost* same day :)
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This has been made possible because Next have built a warehouse picking and packing operation here in Belfast - a first for Next, with Northern Ireland being the only country outside of the UK Mainland to have access to this service.
To launch the service, the team at Next invited some local bloggers and press to the Robinson Cleaver building, opposite Belfast City Hall, to preview the latest drop of winter 2014 womens, kids and mens fashion as well as the gorgeous Christmas home and gift range.
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Emma from Life at the Little Wood taking pictures of the Christmas decorations
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And even the waiters were advertising the new service...
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We were treated to Ulster Fries on a stick (!), smoothies and freshly made coffee & tea - all made from local ingredients and as always happens at these events, there was plenty of blogger banter. Hence I had a bit of an fail on the outfit photo taking though I did take this quick pic of my new grey Next fur gilet before I left the house...
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I spotted it on Saturday and loved the colour and the length. It looks amazing over my quilted pleather H&M jacket but Tuesday was warm so I just wore it over my Boden Breton, with my Only patched jeans (similar), Ash Jalouse navy boots (here or here), Dune handbag and a long necklace from my own shop. Finally remembered to take a picture when I was shopping later in the morning.
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We were given a £25 voucher to try out the service out so I decided to do just that at 9.40pm last night...ordering some shoes for a formal I'm going to on Friday - quick delivery was important. The shoes arrived a mere 14.5 hours later to my front door....very impressive
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Next Black Shoe Boots - £38


Now in my usual formal dress debacle, I'm not yet sure what I'm wearing so as a consequence, I'm not sure if these will work but they can be returned for a full refund so it's not a problem if I decide not to keep them. Since my back trouble, I can only tolerate heels if my foot is well supported so these are perfect. Watch this space on the formal dress and shoes...and sure I don't have to worry as I have one more day to order before 10pm if there's a last minute panic!


Ax

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Monday, 13 October 2014

Coral Coat, Denim & Navy Ash Jalouse!

You know you're well and truly into the school term when the nit letters start coming home from school. Now that the girls are in separate classes, I am getting one pretty much every week. So yet another string to my bow - nit nurse in training - as we comb and comb the girls' hair every few days and spray them every morning pre-school with a nit-repellant spray. Fingers crossed they stay away and I'm very relieved by my friend Elizabeth's assurance that they don't like coloured hair - at last a reason to be thankful for my greys!


This past week was much cooler also so my Almost Famous coral coat come out a couple of times. In these photos, I wore it with double denim. Wearable for the school run I think as long as you keep the denim colour a bit different. I like a dark jean with a lighter shirt.


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Jeans - Replay Hyperflex
Coral Coat - Almost Famous
Denim Shirt - The White Company Outlet
Navy Ankle Boots - Ash Jalouse (with 15% off - limited offer)
 available here in other colours (not navy) with 20% off - limited offer


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Time to welcome the latest addition to my wardrobe - long lusted after Navy Suede Ash Jalouse's (or should that be Jalousi??!). I have sold on eBay, on the blog and via consignment in Deja Vu and last week finally had enough to order them. IN LOVE. They are the perfect height for me and have just the right amount of 'point'. Of course, I'm now frantically selling again to cover the cost of a black pair!


Hope your Monday went well. First thing tomorrow, I'll be reporting back on some exciting news from Next for Northern Ireland customers. Keep an eye on Twitter and Instagram to find out first!


Ax

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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Old Favourites

This is an outfit that comes out every year in different guises. This year, the shoes are new but the rest are wardrobe staples that everyone should own- a great mac, distressed jeans and a breton top...
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'Propping up a Tree while being blown away!'
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The scarf is the original and best one from my shop - I know quite a few of you have this or the pink version of it. It's simply perfect with a breton though sadly sold out now - the last ones went out to a couple of lucky customers last week.
Photos were taken by one of the twins while we waited for her sister to finish gymnastics classes...found a lovely spot behind the building and it passed 10 minutes or so of the 1 hour wait in a crowded, noisy reception area with not enough chairs and too many bored siblings...
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Mac - Zara (past season - similar here, here & here)
Distressed Straight Jeans - Maison Scotch (similar)
Striped Breton - Boden
Cross Body Bag - Boden (similar here & here)
Pointed Patent Flats - Boden (past season - link goes to this season's version)
Scarf - School Gate Style Shop though no longer available.

Hope you're having a good weekend - I've been shopping...surprise, surprise. But I only bought one item...all will be revealed soon!

Ax
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Friday, 10 October 2014

Best Ever Skinny Jeans - Replay #Hyperflex

Over the past few weeks, for a few different reasons, I've been ruthlessly decluttering my wardrobe - scaling back on items that I've just got too many of. Today, 23 scarves went to the charity shop - eek! Skinny jeans were another item I had in abundance. In my pursuit of the perfect skinny jean, I had a double figure collection. But not anymore - I've found my perfect pair and I'm down to a total of 4 (skinnies that is...I'm not including the coloured/boyfriend/straight/patterned ones!)


When I put on these Replay Hyperflex Skinny Jeans at the launch day in Victoria Square a couple of weeks back, I was blown away. Just the right rise, with a real 'spanx' effect but a thick enough denim so that they don't show every lump and bump. If all that wasn't enough, the colour is perfect - dark but not a flat navy rinse that can make jeans look too much like trousers.
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They're an investment pair - most quality jeans are. But the total value of the 8 pairs I gave to charity or consigned, thanks to finally finding these perfect skinnies, added up to much more than the Replay ones cost. A lesson that has informed my current clear-out.
But here was the real draw - they promise to uplift your behind.....look away now & scroll if you don't want to see the evidence but I'm ok with my rear looking this good at 41!
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To coincide with the launch, Reply Jeans have teamed up with UK band The New City Kings, sponsoring their UK tour and bringing them along to the Hyperflex launches.
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As I arrived at the store super early, I got to see the band prepping in the store room and one of my girls was particularly fascinated with the guitar tuning process. She sat in that spot for over half an hour watching closely!
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meanwhile, my other daughter was happily photobombing me as I tried to get pics of how good the jeans fit:
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Since I was last in the Replay store, they've launched a range called One Off - a gorgeous higher-end limited edition range of clothing that was reminiscent of All Saints. Some gorgeous embellished pieces with beautiful details...wish I'd had more time to try on.
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While there, I met up with Gemma Louise and we took the obligatory selfie:
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Then it was time to head home in an entirely different outfit to the one I arrived in as I couldn't resist this Replay T-shirt to wear with my new jeans.
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Morning Outfit:
Collarless Denim Jacket - M&S (Past Season)
White Vest - Zara Basics
Monochrome Scarf - Next
Black Maxi Skirt - Matalan (SS14)
Taupe Bali Ankle Boots - Seven Boot Lane (SS14)
Cross Body Bag - Boden
Afternoon Outfit:
Cream Cityscape T-shirt - Replay
Replay Hyperflex Luz Jeans
Silver Spike Necklace - SGS Shop
Boots & Bag as before


I decided to hold off blogging about these jeans until I'd put the comfort & shape-holding claims to the test. I've worn these jeans for 10 days over the past 2 weeks and I have to say, I'm blown away by how stretchy and flexible they are - akin to a jegging style trouser. But most impressively, they have held their shape. Do you know when your skinnies have just been through the wash and you wear them for the first time straight out of the drier? It's like they've pinged back into shape again and they feel lovely and supportive. Well, that's exactly how it feels putting on these Replay jeans every single day....without any laundering. That has to be a win/win.


Thanks to the team at Replay for inviting me along - Replay Hyperflex jeans are available online here and in Replay stores.


Ax


UPDATE - forgot to talk about sizing! So I fitted into the 28 in these. I'd say the sizing is similar to Gap. My other Replay jeans are a 30 or 31 I think! The leg is 32 but seems long so I've taken mine up a couple of inches. There is a size 30 leg available but they weren't there on the day I was in. 

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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

By Request - TU at Sainsburys AW14

Last week Ingrid got in touch asking me if I wouldn't mind calling into one of the big Sainsburys in Belfast to see what the new season range is like. She lives a bit of a distance from a Sainsburys but was wondering if it was worth the trip having seen this photo in a magazine:
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Well - rant time now...when on earth will Sainsburys get their act together and start selling online? It's a strategic decision to stay in-store only apparently but given how well other supermarkets do online, it seems like a short sighted one. I rate the TU range highly but I don't always shop there so I sometimes miss new items coming into stock. Rant over - I made the trip over to the store in West Belfast, which has the biggest clothing range of all the NI stores.


So here's a quick selection of the things that caught my eye - I tried on what I could find in my size further down so keep scrolling! First up, a lovely raspberry red boyfriend fit coat with wool - this is the same coat that Louise Rednapp is wearing in Ingrid's photo but there were only big sizes so I couldn't try it on :(
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This is a grey jersey dress/tunic. Nice oversized shape and with pockets. Would look great with a big scarf and some ankle boots/tights:
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This blush coloured top is from the Gok range - which incidentally was very small and not particularly prominent. Wondering if this partnership is reaching an end? It, along with the cream top below, were the only stand out items from what they had in stock of the Gok range - it's trimmed in a gold fabric - lovely finish but sadly not a colour that suits me.
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This grey marl top with pleather trim was the one thing I would have bought if I could have tried it on (fitting rooms closed for maintenance) it is a lovely weight, rather reminiscent of Zara and very well priced at £12.
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These boots are a lovely colour..overall the footwear was quite good:
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This spotty top was a nice weight and again, had a pleather trim:
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This scarf is a great dupe of the Zara one that sold out really quickly last winter. It's a good big scarf too - great value at £12
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Some nice knitwear - including this cardigan. A bit Orla Kiely-esque?
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This dalmation jumper is cute - I'm not a fan of animal jumpers usually but did like this:
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And if you're a fan of Joules - there are tons of tributes to this equestrian brand (including the doggy jumper above):
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Nice striped breton here - a bit different with the blue neckline and a lovely weight of cotton for £8:
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So now to what I could try on while remaining decent at 10am on a Saturday morning! This jumper appealed immediately - love the print and the pop of yellow.
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...sadly too short. I tried on a 12. Long body strikes again but I think it's veering on cropped. Not a good look for many.
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This fur collar shawl was nice in grey
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But full marks to Sainsburys for the next two coats - first up this biker style mottled grey one with asymmetric zip. I tried on the 12 which looks a bit big on me - a lovely cosy coat for £40 (I think - from memory)
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And this blue one is LOVELY - would have bought in a heartbeat if I was the right colouring for it...wool mix/boucle style with popper buttons. This is a 10 and it was probably a bit neat on me - so size up!
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Phew - that's all the pictures! Hope it was a helpful round up. I was disappointed not to see the yellow coat that Ingrid took a picture of but will keep an eye out the next time I'm in.


PS the eagle eyed among you may have spotted that I'm wearing a sequinned top - at 10am on a Satuday morning. I was en-route to record the Belfast Community Gospel Choir Christmas CD and we were asked to wear Christmas jumpers, or similar festive clothing. Sequins always win over Christmas jumpers for a supermarket visit on the first Saturday in October :)


Ax

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