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

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Scoot Around The Shops...

I've had practically no time for clothes shopping in the past few weeks - it's been all about getting the last few bits and pieces for the house as we race towards the finish line. We've owned the house for 4 months exactly and tonight, I finally sit in my living/dining/kitchen area watching TV in front of our new stove...without blinds/rugs/pictures etc but give me a few weeks and I'll share some before and after shots.


So today, while the last of the painting was finished and the carpet fitters worked away, I sneaked to Forestside for a nosey at the shops. I've really missed looking around so it was great to have an hour of peace to quickly skim the new arrivals.


First up - this is what I wore. I was out last night with a friend from Dublin who was staying overnight in Belfast so this morning was a bit of a rushed, slightly bleary affair. I had a walk early on - for a meeting 20 minutes from home so the trainers were a practical choice but the blouse gave it a slightly dressier feel and meant I wasn't too hot after the walk.
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image Coat - Mango AW14 (some Size L's left here & Black Size S here)
Blouse - Boden AW13 (other colour here/similar here)
Navy Merino Cardigan - Mary Portas @ House Of Fraser (AW14 - similar)
Jeans - Gap Premium Skinny (Outlet)
Trainers - Onitsuka Tigers AW13 (similar)
Scarf - Zara AW14
First up,  it was H&M where I tried this on...


image Jeans, T-shirt (not online), Knitted Jacket & Cream Trainers - all H&M
The trainers are a good copy of the Adidas Stan Smiths that every blogger who knows her onions is wearing but the nice thing is that these are cream so I think they're a little easier on the eye. However, I'm not sold on these (or the Stan Smiths) yet - but it was nice to try the look out. They're £19.99 and I'm wearing a size 39 which was a good fit. Maybe when the weather warms up, I'll change my mind?!
image Jeans were a nice fit on (size 29/32) but the rips felt a bit artificial and I really wanted a black pair so I resisted. They felt pricy for H&M too at £29.99.
I did bring the knitted jacket home but I'm not sure I'll keep it yet...watch this space. And the t-shirt is great but another warmer weather purchase. I'll regret not buying it when they sell out but this month has been an expensive one so I had to be strict.
The jeans search went on (unsuccessful) but I was well impressed with the selection in Next.
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image and with these superfit skinny ones from Warehouse
image My main frustration with skinnies is when the ankles are baggy so I love how all of these pairs are nice and neat on the ankle - giving a slimmer look overall.
Next also had these lovely colourful macs - very Boden-esque...looked and felt just like my everyday mac.
image And I loved this Navy cross-body satchel-style bag and the coat beneath it is a reversible one...wish I'd had time to try on. Navy on one side and blue on the other
image But as all my trips go - I ended up lusting over home stuff. Seriously impressed with the Paul Costello and Carolyn Donnelly ranges at Dunnes Stores
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image Finishing with this fun sweatshirt I saw in New Look...we've all been there!
image Busy few days ahead including a flying visit to London on Saturday....keep an eye on Instagram to see what I get up to :)
Ax

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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Spring is in the air!

Today was the first day I turned up the jeans and got the ankles (almost) and arms out!
image Top - Telco
Jeans - Maison Scotch
Scarf - M&S (old)
Taupe Suede Ankle Boots - Mango (old)
Pendant - A21 Charity Pendant from this post


It was a gorgeous day with sun streaming in the windows and my kitchen worktops were fitted!  So so pleased with them and I promise I'll share before/during/after photos once we've unpacked boxes, cleared out all the tools and had the room painted.


The top I'm wearing is a bit of a find from Tesco the other evening. It's a very simple floaty t-shirt style top with a longer back and split/pleated sides in a neutral shade of grey/blue. I also picked up the same top in black. They're down to £8 in the sale - a great wardrobe staple. I bought 12's in both and they're on the large side.


And if you're looking an inexpensive breton, this one caught my eye in Tesco also. Just £7 with a boat neckline though I had to size up to a 14 so they're not generous. Not online yet but there were loads in Newtownbreda. The blue is brighter than the pictures - more of a royal blue rather than a navy.


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And the hair has gone shorter - took the head staggers at the news that Johnny would be out of the country for 7 weeks so I asked for an 'Emma Willis' inspired short cut. Really pleased with it - here's a close up of it (and my new mugs - a clue to my kitchen colour scheme!) ahead of my trying on session.


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Hope you've had a good week, especially those of you still on half term - my lot went back on Wednesday thankfully. It's been so tricky managing school holidays and renovations!


Ax

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Monday, 16 February 2015

#littleloves - mascara, hair & good karma

I enjoyed doing my last #littleloves post so much, I thought I'd make an effort to do it once or twice a month going forward.  I'm a few days late with this one but had some technical challenges on Friday. Better late than never eh?


Read


I read Elle magazine this week but I only bought it because it had a free mascara. You see, I never buy mascara. Every few months, I look out for a freebie in a magazine and use it. They're always pretty good brands and for £3 or £4,  you get a nice totey size of mascara that you use within a few months and then replace - better for hygiene around the eye too. This time round, it's the new Benefit Roller Ball mascara which isn't as good as the Bad Gal one I had before or the Estee Lauder one I got as a sample at the counter before Christmas but it does the job....I don't want big scary lashes...just want a bit of colour on the ends. Does what it says on the tin and you get a good read thrown in..
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Watched


My heart was broken and lifted in equal measure after watching 'Can you cure my cancer' on BBC1 on Wednesday night. It was a Panorama special about the experimental treatments being tested on some patients in an effort to find a cure for cancer. A fascinating watch from an educational point of view. But as always, the personal stories were the compelling part. It's not an easy watch in places but it's also hugely inspiring.


Listened


I had my choir rehearsal this week and we are working on a couple of great new pieces. One of them gives me goosebumps every time. We'll be performing it at our upcoming concerts in Campbell College and Malone Presbyterian so if you're local and want to come along, the BCGC site (and the venues) have all the details. I've also been listening to the less melodic sound of drills as my kitchen and built in wardrobes were installed this week. Music to my ears in a very different way - soon I can move back in with the husband and enjoy our house. It's been lovely staying with my mother in law but I'm eager to get back to normality again...and hang up my clothes after 2 months of living out of boxes and suitcases.


Worn


My new Mango coat! In total love with it....it's just the right shade of grey, just the right mix of wool and was only £45 in the sale. What's not to love?
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Made


Appointments - I have (finally) found the most amazing physio who is helping me recover from my recent back pain episode. I'm loving Caroline's holistic approach - she's working on my legs and my hips as there are issues there that are having a knock-on effect on my back. I've also this week booked a hair cut - I want Emma Willis' hair - hope you're ready for this Johnny...
The-Voice-UK-presenter-Emma-Willis-husband-Matt-Willis-Rita-Ora-will-i-am-interview-Catrin-Carrucan-556292


and finally....


...this weekend my son lost his phone on a beach in Donegal on a half term trip with his cousins. A woman rang me on Saturday (my number is on the phone in case of loss) and kindly left it back to a local shop for my sister in law to pick up. Just so grateful to her for her kindness and for the trouble she went to, to return the phone safely. May karma be kind to our anonymous good samaritan.


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Do take a peek at the other bloggers who did a #littleloves post this week over on Morgana's blog:





butwhymummywhy

Have a great week...

Ax



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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hush & Mango Hauls....and kitchen installations...

We are so close to the finish line with the kitchen.....it's just teasing me with its unwired cookers and unplumbed dishwasher! I'm moving back within the next few days and there will be worktops by the end of next week so we can start to get back to some form of normality again. Oh and talking of normality being restored, my new wardrobe arrives today!!! WHOO HOOO! I can finally get all my clothes out of boxes...and hang up some of my recent purchases. Because living at your mother in law's with 3 kids and no husband and a bad back = shopping therapy......first up, Hush.


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(the honeycomb pattern belongs to a pair of pyjama bottoms that were sadly too small)
Following on from my last blog post, I ordered twice from the sale and kept half of what I got in the end. My back wasn't strong enough to do a proper try on post - but I kept the V-Neck jumper and Scarf from this photo.
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The geometric scarf was an amazing buy. If they weren't already sold out, I'd be telling you to grab one now but sadly both colour ways are gone. Meanwhile, the jumper will suit some and not others. The v-neck is very low and the seams are sown to the outside. The former I don't mind at all as I lends itself perfectly to layering. The latter however did make me dither a little as it does look like you have the jumper on inside-out. However, on balance, for the price and the fact that the colour suits me and is not one I already have in a jumper, I decided to keep. Worn here with my burgundy coat (bargain from Atterley Road last season)
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I also kept the chunky cardigan (bought in a size S) and the long knitted scarf:
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The cardigan is a no brainer for £25 really. It's just a great piece of loungewear as well as a fab coatigan style for when the weather warms up a little and you don't need a coat. The scarf has great colours and is cosy but the tassels annoyed me so I took them off...they were just looped on and super easy to remove.
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For info, all the Hush sale stock is being removed from the site on Sunday night and until then, you can get a further 10% off (sale and current stock) using SPRING15. Sold out items have been coming back into stock occasionally over the past few days as returns are processed so do keep an eye on anything you fancy over the next 2-3 days - you never know your luck.
Next up, Mango. I ordered from them about 3 weeks ago and I'll be honest and say that I'd forgotten what I ordered by the time the dispatch email arrived. It baffles me why some companies can send items out within days and for others like Mango and H&M (i.e.massive retailers) seem to have such logistic issues with online orders. Anyway, after watching the slow progress on the DHL site from Madrid to Belfast, it finally arrived, minus one item (refunded) but the good news is that everything else in the delivery was perfect and will be kept. And in fact if it hadn't have been, there was a 48hour free return post label. So I have to wait 3 weeks for my delivery but it can all be returned to them within 2 days? <sceptical face> but let's focus on the order success...all good things are worth waiting for, no?
First up, I've been looking for a grey wool coat since the sales started and just couldn't find the exact shade of grey (there are 50 after all I'm told) for the right price. But this one looked like it would tick most of my boxes and I'm really pleased with it. Sadly sold out in the grey now but is available in black on this link in limited sizes (I ordered a M which is about a 10-12 in Mango) and it fits me perfectly, being more of a 10 on top.
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I liked the sound of the coated skinny jeans in blue and have had good success with Mango skinnies in the past. The ones I ordered are a perfect fit for me in the 12/40. They do feel quite strange to the touch, almost rubbery but not shiny, and on the inside they're the softest blue denim so they are really comfy to wear. Just on a whim, I also ordered a blouse with a print including grey, navy and camel and a plain navy lightweight scarf. Both are great - the latter will suit more in spring or summer so I'm not wearing here but the blouse is perfect now with my Mary Portas cardigan as worn today. Photos don't really show these items off that well - apologies but in any case, they're not on the Mango site anymore.
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Lastly, a sneaky £11 Benetton purchase (from the Lisburn Road store). A wool mix, slightly oversized camel v-neck jumper. Total classic item and lovely quality. Worn here with an ancient Zara scarf from the Mens department.
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Still lots of knitwear and warm coats left in-store for you local girls. If you're wishing you bought a real down puffa this winter, they're so well reduced right now with lots of different lengths and styles available. Oh and the kids's sale is brilliant as well.
Right - half-term (and new wardrobe)...let's be having you!
Ax

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