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

Friday, 21 July 2017

M&S Summer Style | More Yellow Sandals!

I'm aware the M&S sale is in full swing so I wanted to share a couple of pieces that I was asked to style up as one of them is in the sale and is such a steal and the others are a complete bargain (without being in the sale) but you'll want to get them ASAP as they are going to be lovely to wear in the gorgeous weather coming up next week.

Starting with this cream skirt which I can't find online but I have seen in-store. It's from M&S Collection and it's not something that appealed online but I saw it in the store and held it up against me and it just swished so fabulously, I had to have it. It's quite dressy but easy to dress down with trainers and a denim jacket. And don't mind anyone who tells you you can't wear cream and white. I love them together.
Skirt - M&S
(currently own about 6 of these cotton t-shirts...some colours are in the sale!)
Jacket - H&M

Next, the yellow version of the sandals I reviewed on this post. I knew they would be super comfortable already and had been thinking about them ever since I chose the black and cream version over the yellow earlier in the summer AND since I realised I would struggle to wear the heeled yellow version until my back settled down. But I have to tell you that the heeled yellow ones are now in the sale for £11! Limited sizes - don't hesitate.
They're perfect with my M&S top from my last blog post, which has since sold out. Not because of me I should say...that would be a lofty statement. It was down to limited stock before I mentioned it. This is a stunning alternative with all sizes available as I write.
Bardot Top - M&S (similar here)
Jeans - Topshop Jamies
Oh and I'm standing in the middle of the road because it was the 12th July parade that day and the traffic was at a standstill!

Last share today because I'm being shouted at for working on holidays but this watch is a TOTAL steal. It's not been off my wrist since I got it. It looks way more expensive than it costs and it's been brilliant for wearing up on the beach as it's easy to wipe clean - bracelet wrap straps are awful when you get near sand. I originally thought I'd not worry about losing or damaging it on holidays but I actually would be gutted if I did!


Ok - better get back to the family. We're not away, away...just up at the coast for a few days. Don't want to venture far in case of my back....which is sore sore sore after my trip to London. But don't tell the husband. It was worth it for the fabulous time I had. I'll update you on here when I can but in the meantime, there are some photos on Facebook and Instagram.

No update on the back btw...still waiting on an injection date and popping the pills in the meantime. Hope you're all well - back soon! 

Ax

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Blush Velvet & Navy

A quick post featuring some items I've been wearing lots and loving in recent weeks.
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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Outfits Galore | Pain Update

The trouble with Instagram is that it's killing blogging a bit. But I am reminded daily by you lovely readers that not everyone is on Instagram. I have a loyal group of followers who aren't actually on any social media at all (🙌🏼)  and who only follow me on here. So every now and again, I'm asked 'how is your back' & 'what have you been wearing?' and I look on my phone to find a plethora of pictures I've been meaning to share on the blog but didn't get around to.

So strap yourself in - here's the rundown of worthy outfits from the past couple of weeks, followed by a back update. And if you do follow me elsewhere, you might not have seen them all....I do like to keep a few exclusives for on here.

Starting with my favourite outfit in a long time - that evening I decided to give pain the middle finger and go sashaying with my girls on the 'end of term' night out. I wasn't able to wear heels but I think I got away with it and more importantly, I wasn't asked to leave the bar because of my 'sports attire'. The dress is probably more wedding appropriate but I loved it too much to leave behind after my personal styling session with Katherin. How fab that it works with trainers. Gamechanger.

Dress - Coast (I always need to size up in Coast so this is a 12)
Faux Leather Biker Jacket - H&M (currently in store on the sale rail)
Trainers - Adidas Stan Smiths (wearing the boys 5.5)
Handbag - Boden (past season)
Next up, and it's another one of Katherin's picks that again is probably on paper, more of an occasional dress. But Katherin suggested wearing it with skinny jeans or shorts in a kimono style and I love how this works too!
Shorts - Ancient preloved from Tu Clothing
Cream Vest - Gap Outlet
Pom Pom Sandals - Menarys
Next up, yet another Katherin pick. I didn't realise I had these all one after the other - it's the order they loaded from the phone but I guess that's the point of going to a personal stylist...you get stuff you actually end up wearing! The top is Monsoon and it's not really something I would have picked myself but it's brilliant dressed down with these American Eagle ripped jeans (which I got on preloved). 
Jeans - American Eagle
Sandals - Max Mara (preloved from DejaVu)
All picked my me this time - this dress is a couple of years old now but it comes out each summer looking as good as new....
Bag - from my own shop
Next up - there's a theme again as I have the denim jacket/dress combo going on. This dress is from the current Zara sale and although it's not showing online, I saw several of them in Zara in Belfast so it's worth calling in if you've one near you. Go in early - while it's all tidy. It's a jumble sale from 11am onwards.
And the bag is one I've not shown before...it's a smaller tan version of the navy one from the photo above. Unfortunately, there aren't any left...sorry. I had hoped to stock even just a few of them but it's not to be.
Dress - Zara
Sandals - Topshop (SS16)
Denim Jacket - as above
Bag - as discussed above!
Back to the Katherin love again with this very different silhouette. You'll have seen this jacket on my birthday styling session post and I've had lots of you ask me about it since I showed this picture on Instagram so for information, I'm wearing the size 10 and I'd say it's true to size. It's tight on the arms for any fellow weight-lifting girls but it works ok for me as long as I don't try to put anything chunky underneath. Which I wouldn't want to anyway. 
Cream Short Sleeved Top - 'Only' at Menarys
Indigo Skinny Jeans - F&F Clothing (old)
Nude Suede Loafers - Seven Boot Lane (SS15 - similar here & here)
More skinny jeans next - this time from River Island last year. I don't wear them nearly enough but every time I do, I think 'I should wear these more often'. Fab with grey.
Skinny Cargo Jeans - River Island (similar here & here)
Trainers - Adidas Stan Smiths as before
Grey Short Sleeved Jumper - Benetton (AW16)
White Vest - stolen from the 13 year old's underwear stash. He never wears vests and had about 5 of these lovely pure white ones that are now too small for him. Thank you.

And I'm getting up to date now with this picture from yesterday. If you do follow me on social media, you'll have seen the outtake already. This is the well-behaved version. I kind of wish this dress was about 2 inches longer - I think it would just work better with my proportions. 
Dress - Warehouse (I'm wearing the 12)
Cross Body Wallet - Accessorize (sale in-store)
Rose Gold Sandals - Lidl (SS16)
And finishing with today - yesterday's hot sunshine in the past. These jeans reminded me that I've put on half a stone since my back started playing up in April. That's the half stone that no-one else notices going on. Only your clothing tells you. I'm ok with it...don't get me wrong. There's a reason. But it's still a bit disheartening seeing all the hard work of the past 2 years being slowly undone. Some of it has been down to poor food choices though so I'm leaving the unbearably tight jeans on for the rest of the day to remind me anytime (everytime) I reach for the biscuit tin.
Jeans - old Kings of Indigo from TK Maxx
Jacket - Urban Outfitters (past season but this one is FAB)
T-shirt - Rutgers University shop (NYC trip 2014)

And there you go - I'm exhausted & I'm sure you're fed up looking at my bake. But we're all caught up now and I can go back to all the other blog posts I still haven't written...and probably won't write for another few days, knowing me.

Finishing with a pain update, again for those of you who haven't had to sit through my Instagram Stories whitterings. I met a spinal consultant on Monday (privately...aarrggh) and he's suggested 3 potential paths for me. 
1. Do nothing and hope it goes away 😱. The plan that's not been working out so good for me so far.
2 . Spinal Injection for approx 3-6 months of pain relief which would allow me to get back training again and build up core strength to support the back...and hopefully avoid number 3...
3. Spinal surgery to remove the bulge. Routine, 1 hour surgery which works well but does have pitfalls including the fact that it doesn't get rid of back pain - just the referred leg pain.

After much reflection, feedback from people who've already been down one or more of these paths and lots of advice from medical friends, I'm going to opt for the injection for now and put my name on the NHS waiting list for the surgery. In the hope that I'll not need it but at least my name is there and given there's a 6-12 month waiting list, it might be good timing should the injection effects wear off and the pain returns. Many people have told me that the injection has resulted in them avoiding the surgery for many years so do tell me if that's the case for you or someone you know. I've also heard a couple of disheartening stories about injections too so please don't send those particular case studies my way at the moment. I'm trying really hard to be positive!

Key to my decision to get the injection as soon as possible (i.e. pay for it), is the pain I've been in since late last week. I feel like I'm being guided a bit from above in that regard. I'm really sore - back to levels I've not seen for a while and I am just WORN OUT. I know so many of you have been here too. The clothes keep me going, as do the happy smiles in the photos but I'm all out of energy right now. I'm a complete needle-phobe so maybe I needed wiping out to help with the decision.

I'll keep you posted - both on here and on social. It might not happen for a couple of weeks because of 12th holidays here and the surgeon's schedule. Meantime, I'll do my best to keep smiling!

Lots of love to you all.....thank you for the support now and always.

Ax
PS for anyone local and interested, I'm seeing Mr Eugene Verzin privately and I can recommend him.  He was recommended to me by my physio and by a number of medical and non medical friends. He works out of 352 and the Ulster Independent Clinic. This is most definitely NOT sponsored...oh no. I've just paid for the consult (online) and the less said about that, the better. And no, I don't have private health and definitely don't get me started about the whole NHS vs Private scenario. I could rant about it for days....
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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

OOTD | TK Maxx(i) Dress

See what I did there? Blog title genius in the making!
Here's another amazing dress that I picked up for a mere £16.99 in my local TK Maxx and since I got it a couple of weeks ago, I've worn it 5 times. That's an impressive price per wear so soon after purchase.
QED London Navy Floral Print Wrap Maxi Dress - TK Maxx (only size 8 left - I'm wearing the 12)
Apart from a slightly dangerous wrap detail that you need to be mindful of on a windy day (learning on the job 😳), it's just got a fab colour combo that happens to work amazingly with my new blush trainers from New Look.
I like how my navy David Jones bag works well with it - dressing it up a little. I think the trainers take it down a notch, the bag lifts it up a notch. All in all, nicely balanced
Bag - David Jones (contact me to buy - I may be able to get more!)
And the gold in my bag is allowing me to wear lots of my gold jewellery (not a fan of mixing metallics). Since I got my gold watch I'm enjoying wearing the various gold coloured pieces that I've already got and a few new pieces I've picked up recently.
Crystal Double Chain Necklace - Past Season from my own shop

And a big shout out to H&M for this fab stretchy cropped denim jacket, which has been a fantastic addition to the wardrobe over the past couple of months. I've worn it so much - it's not for everyone given the cropped cut and neat fit and it's definitely not for wearing with jeans for me but it's great with dresses as it nips in at the waist beautifully. I'm wearing the 10 - could have probably done with the 12 but there wasn't one in stock.

Getting on well with the Tripod - the kids and the bribery may be a thing of the pass....

Ax
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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Beautiful Bedding | Foxford Woollen Mills

So one of the highlights of being stuck in my bed for much of April and May was being sent the most DIVINE bedding from Foxford Woollen Mills.
Foxford Woollen Mills is an Irish company which was started in a convent in Foxford, Co Mayo, on the River Moy. Now my mum is from Mayo and we always had Foxford blankets in our house and in the car. Everyone had a checked blanket in their car in the 1970's and 80's. It was the law.

But as well as that family connection to Mayo, Foxford actually have a shop closer to me in Dungannon - as part of the Linen Green development in Moygashal and in fact, they stock our Field Day candles. Additionally, the team from Foxford came to meet me at the Showcase Trade Show I attended in Dublin in January and were so impressed with the new range that they now stock it in the Mayo shop too.
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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Beauty Spotlight | House of Fraser Belfast

I was invited recently to try out the new Beauty Spotlight at House of Fraser Belfast, which is their collection of trending beauty products - the must haves of the season that all the beauty bloggers and press are raving about. 
Seeing as I'm a bit of a beauty numpty, though keen to increase my knowledge, I took up the offer to come along and have since been testing some of the products - rather intensively and critically I'd like to think.....I'm always honest about beauty stuff whether the brands like it or not.

Starting with Colour Wow and I've used their grey hair powder for a few years and would rate it very highly. It's more of a faff to put on than the l'Oreal spray but it does look more natural and doesn't colour the scalp to the same degree. But Colour Wow are keen to emphasise that they are not all about grey coverage. Their products are for anyone with coloured hair who want their colour to last longer and look better and top of the list for achieving this is their range of Bionic Tonics. Think cocktails for your hair but good, non hangover-inducing cocktails with amazing healthy ingredients that have been tested and proven to revive coloured hair.
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Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Mango Blue Dress | and a few alternatives

I'm gutted that this dress is sold out because it's definitely up there as one of my top 3 dresses of the summer. I have linked to a few similar ones at the bottom.
I got it during my birthday session with Katherin in Victoria Square and it was one of those that I didn't even have to think about twice. As soon as I looked in the mirror, that was that. Even though it was pricy for Mango, I wanted it. 
It looks great with tan so the perfect opportunity to dig out these tan Topshop sandals from last year. I got the black in these too and tended to favour it last summer. This summer, I seem to be wearing the tan more often.
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