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

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.
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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:


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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!


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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!


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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.


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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

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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...
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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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:
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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
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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).
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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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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 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

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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.
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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

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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Let the madness commence....

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have picked up that there is change afoot at SGS headquarters. As of the beginning of December, we are relocating...nothing like a pre-Christmas house move to get the adrenaline pumping! Oh and add in AQE/11+ exams for my eldest during 3 of the 4 weekends in November.....and the twins' birthday. We don't do things by half :)


So it's fair to say that I'm up the walls a bit. The house we've bought, while beautiful, is old and has been very neglected in recent years so we've a lot of work to do. Luckily, we were able to get the keys in advance of handing over our current home so we've got about 4 weeks to get this new one habitable.


Therefore, my posts in the next month will be fewer in number and shorter in content - I know you'll understand why. Once we move, I have to build in a period of WiFi instability too. Thanks to some help from friends & family however, the shop will remain open and orders will go out as normal until further notice - and on that front, some lovely warm winter scarves for this colder weather, along with gorgeous statement necklaces for the party season, will all be added this week.


But for now, here's a weekend outfit that I managed to photograph for the blog. A combination of some old and new favourites in my wardrobe. Photos by the 5 year old in front of the lovely lawn we're leaving behind - Mr SGS has his work cut out for him in the new house!
Just a note on my scarf - it is a freebie from label.m haircare! I got my hair cut last week at Uber Hair as usual and this scarf was available with every 2 products purchased from the label.m range. No brainer. Love the colours and it's a heavier material so perfect for this time of year. If you're local, Uber Hair is on the Lisburn Road and for everyone else, the label.m stockists are on this link.
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Jacket - H&M (SS14 - similar here)
Cream Blouse - H&M
Jeans - M&S Limited Collection
Ankle Boots - Ash Jalouse
Scarf - label.m free with haircare purchase


Ax

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pink Lining Changing Bags for Stylish Mums

I was contacted recently by the team behind Pink Lining, telling me about their stylish changing bags and asking me to take a look at the website. I'm past the changing bag phase now (phew) but I know lots of you still have babies and toddlers so I checked them out and was very impressed - I wish I'd had one a few years back...
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I was offered my choice from the entire Pink Lining changing bag range and it wasn't easy to find one favourite. After much deliberation, I opted for the Bramley Tote in Hydrangea because I loved the striped straps that are adjustable to suit any pram. It was always a frustration for me that not all changing bags sit well over prams as well as buggies (and don't get me started on twin buggies!!) You can read more about the strap design and see photos of it attached to a pram on the Pink Lining website.
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Inside, the bags have pink lining (obviously!), a decent sized changing mat, a wet bag, an insulated bottle cover, small mirror, key fob to clip your car keys onto (so you don't lose them in the bottom of the bag) and several pockets for smaller items. On the outside, it's got two large zipped compartments. Big ticks for the extra pockets - you can never have enough of these.
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But I'm most impressed that you can pick up additional bottle holders & changing mats on the Pink Lining website - great for mums with 2 or more little ones.  Additionally, you can find a matching wallet or co-ordinating phone cover...and so much more. There's even ultra comfy ballet pumps which help with back and joint pain during pregnancy (and beyond....I've my eye on the navy pair!)


To give the bag some perspective, I styled it up with a simple mum-friendly outfit - skinny jeans,  long wedge boots, a flattering draped cardigan and a scarf (all old favourites from my wardrobe).
I know I say it all the time but scarves are great for pulling an outfit together but they're also useful for breast feeding - especially if you're still getting the hang of it in the early days - AND for making a sling to carry your tiny one in (loads of video tutorials on YouTube).
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So now for the best bit - I'm giving this gorgeous Bramley bag, worth £69.99, to one lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, simply follow the instructions on the rafflecopter app below. And if, like me, you're past the changing bag stage, wouldn't this make an amazing gift for someone who's expecting or just given birth?
The giveaway will close next Sunday evening at midnight and I'll announce the winner on Monday. UK entries only.


Good luck!
Ax
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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