Next Leopard Ankle Boots | Dilemmas

I have a bit of a head block when it comes to leopard print footwear. It always feels a bit 'out there' and that aule cow Bet Lynch is partly to blame. I think for me, she made 'full on' leopard print middle aged & desperate and I cringe when people use terms to describe leopard that include her name! No, I am not wearing a 'bit of Bet' today...because that just makes me feel like I've 'TRAGIC' tattooed across my forehead.

Don't get me wrong, I do like leopard accessories...scarves, glasses, belts. It's footwear, and specifically the wearing of leopard footwear in daylight hours that up until now, I always declared never for me.

But we're on a theme here of being brave - so meet my new leopard print boots. 


Blog Randomness | Kingsmill Super Toasty

Yeah, every now and again there's a blog curveball and this is it. I came home on Thursday to a toaster & a loaf of bread, sent to me by the team at Kingsmill. I've worked with Kingsmill before when they launched 'Thins' a couple of years ago and now they're targeting the toast market with a loaf they're calling Super Toasty - your best ever toast...or your money back (T&C's apply).

Now I don't know about you but toast is a staple in this house. It's my standard reply to the 'Mum, I'm hungry' moan that I hear about 6 times a day, however we never ever buy white loaf bread. So the kids were absolutely beside themselves (no lie!) at being allowed to have white toast for a couple of days...and the extra bonus being that they got to road test the new toaster - this groovy number from Dualit:
We actually have a Dualit toaster already - a wedding present from back in 2003 which is showing every one of its 14 years. About 3 months ago, it started making a funny noise while toasting and I've been waiting for it to explode any day now. Well it can explode away now as it's got a replacement standing by. It's not often the blog provides me with something really useful for the whole family so I'm very grateful to Kingsmill for this.

The kids were most impressed that it's got a bagel setting that toasts one side of the bagel and warms the other side
and tortured me to buy bagels immediately but we stuck to the Super Toasty loaf and I have to say, the toast was great.
Oh so moreish and delicious and the kids would have eaten it all evening if I'd let them. 
For the purposes of testing thoroughly, we also made some in our old toaster and the verdict was that the toast still tasted as good so reluctantly, the kids allowed me to put the new toaster in the cupboard until the old one blows up it's last bagel (& hopefully not the whole kitchen).

Super Toasty is now on the shelves of major supermarkets and independent retailers with an RRP of £1.25. Best bit? It's made here in Northern Ireland, over off the Castlereagh Road in East Belfast. 

If you'd like to try before you buy, simply head to Victoria Square on Saturday 4th March, where the Kingsmill Super Toasty team will be treating shoppers to free toast :)
Disclaimer - I was gifted the toaster (and the loaf of bread!) but was not paid to write this post, nor was I required to. I did kind of feel obliged to though...that's the thing. Blogger dilemmas. But I'm most grateful to have saved myself the cost of buying a new kitchen appliance and it was a good excuse to practice my photography....and I've just realised this is the closest I've got to blogging about food since I changed the name of the blog!


No brainer shoe purchases | Gucci Dupes

There's not much brain power goes into any of my shoe purchases. I seem to lose rational thought when faced with fabulous footwear and I place the blame firmly with my mother. My sisters and I have all inherited her weakness for shoes and in fact, I went missing when I was about 3 in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford (police were involved - my poor parents!) and was found trying on ladies shoes. It was my happy place from an early age.

Which brings me onto today which started with 3 hours spent watching 23 different Girls' Brigade groups each perform the same poem about a hungry crocodile. I wanted to be savaged by the crocodile (or any wild animal) by the 23rd performance. It wasn't even a long poem but there were huge delays and deliberations between performances. It was like some sort of medieval torture. I think I must be a bad mother because all the other mums in the room seemed to enjoy it or maybe they are just better at hiding their boredom.

It was enough to drive me to drink but instead I drove to Boucher Road for an unhealthy lunch and then I remembered River Island was close by. Time to bring joy back to my Saturday. 
(We're finally at the shoe part of this post)

While the kids deliberated about the best way to spend a £1 in Poundland. I went next door to look for the Gucci Princetown dupes that Susie So So blogged about this week. They really are as gorgeous in the flesh and there was one size 6 left.  


5 ways to sell your pre-loved clothes

I have been asked for many months to share the best ways to sell pre-loved items from your wardrobe. It's fair to say that most of us have at least a few items of clothing we could off-load. But for different reasons, we hold on to them. Mostly emotional reasons (guilt/attachment), sometimes life-changing reasons (following weight loss or gain) and in lots of cases, practical reasons...we don't have the time and are unfamiliar with some of the technology.

The easiest thing is to bag it for charity and as someone who has volunteered in a charity shop, I'm all for that but if you have items in your wardrobe that you invested decent money in or that still have labels attached, it's not unreasonable to look into trying to make back some of the money you paid for them.

Depending on what you're selling, there's usually a market out there willing to buy it - for the right price. This blog post outlines 5 ways to sell (and 1 way to swap out) items from your wardrobe. I've used all but 1 of them so I'll share with you my tips for each of the ones I've used and why I chose one over another based on the item and how easy I want the transaction to be.


Being Brave

This outfit got such an unexpected (to me) reaction on social media that it prompted me to blog about it. About how outside my comfort zone it pushed me and about how nervous I was to share it online.
Jumper - John Lewis Cashmere Crew Neck (almost all sold out now)
Skirt - Sinequanone
Boots - Ilse Jacobsen
both from via Sarah Jane Boutique, Magherafelt


Minimal Jewellery || Lines & Current

I'm a huge fan of local jewellery and accessory company Lines & Current and was excited to buy my first piece back in January down in Banbridge - the Petra Pendulum earrings. I've worn them so much since I got them.....and for someone who hasn't worn an earring in years, that's saying something. They've totally restored my earring love...and luckily my little used piercings were still present.

Lines & Current is owned by Rebekah, a mum of two (with one on the way) who designs all the pieces herself, sticking to a simple, modern and uncluttered approach. Each piece is effortless and unique, yet it's all affordable - so as well as making a great gift for someone else, it's something you could easily treat yourself to.


Shopping with Danielle!

On Saturday, my kids were at a snow-tubing birthday party in the Craigavon Ski Centre (amazing idea for a party - really handy for Belfast and such great fun...kids had a ball) which meant I had a couple of hours to kill in the area and the first person I thought of was my friend Danielle, who also happens to be one of the Personal Shoppers in Debenhams in Rushmere. Danielle and I met years ago whenever we both started blogging and you may remember me featuring her on here before when she owned a boutique in Lisburn. Moving on a few years now, Danielle's shop has moved online and she's doing more of what she really loves - personal styling/shopping. As well as working in Debenhams, Danielle also does personal styling appointments in her own right where she's not affiliated to any particular shop. I need her to bring me around Zara some day!
Anyway, I was close to Rushmere and Danielle happened to be working that day so what better way to make use of the free time than to try on about 50 things in the comfort of the Personal Shopping suite...
As this was more of an impromptu appointment, instead of picking things for me in advance, Danielle instead walked around with me for 15 minutes or so and showed me some of the pieces she really likes from all the collections and between us, we accumulated rather a bit to try on. Some of it was stuff I knew I would like, others things I wasn't so sure about but was willing to try - because that's what's great about going to a personal shopper - it's about pushing yourself outside the comfort zone of buying the same old stuff over and over again!


Oliver Bonas Try On Session...

Quick changing room try on session from the other day that I wanted to get up here fast while the stock is still (mostly) left in limited sizes. I was passing the Belfast Oliver Bonas shop on Thursday and it was pouring rain so what better excuse to nip in for a look. Even better, my friend Wendy was working there that day so that meant I didn't have to explain why I was bringing 15 items into the changing room for ages while taking endless photos.

First up, please excuse the gym gear. I had planned to go to kettlebells that morning but something else cropped up and I ended up missing the class. I promise I wasn't all sweaty doing this try on - but it's fair to say that the leggings don't really show anything of what I tried on in its best light. Hence, I've downloaded images from the website to show you each item properly styled.

Starting with this knit which is new stock and comes in cream and black. Reminiscent of my River Island tops that I wear endlessly but which badly need replaced.  I ended up preferring the cream in the end surprisingly. Here's the online image of the black one:
and here it is on me. Have I ever told you how much I love slits up the side of jumpers. LOVE.

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