Friday, 29 June 2018

Occasion Wear Try On | Phase Eight

I'm asked all the time about occasion wear but I'm at a stage in my life where I don't really go to that many weddings anymore. However, I have one next week which seems to have crept up on me - how on earth is is July in 2 days time?! I was in full on panic mode when I got an email from Cara, the manager in Phase Eight in Victoria Square with an invite to come in and take advantage of their personal shopping service. Epic timing. So today I spent my last few hours of freedom ahead of 9 weeks of school holidays to try on about 20 dresses. Exhausting but the air con in Phase Eight is good...an observation I don't think I've ever had to make before this week.

I'm not going to say too much about each dress - instead let you see them on me and link to them. I will tell you the size I'm wearing though, mainly because I didn't find the sizing to be consistent and you might want to size up or down in certain dresses.
Just to also say that about half of what I tried on is in the sale now so sizes are limited. However, if you are in the shop, the girls will do their best to source you one from another store - a further benefit of going in to try before you buy.

I'll kick off with a colour theme that ran throughout the morning.....red. This was a fab jersey print dress that could work well on lots of occasions and I also think it's a workwear option for some people...depends on your office I know but I'd happily wear this if I still worked in my old (proper) job.
Berdina Printed Dress | Carmine (Size 10 - neat but stretchy)
and I tried on a LOT of green too. This loose swing style dress comes in a gorgeous warm shade called cactus. Perfect for autumn colour palates.
I really wanted this one to work as it's got a black trim and therefore can be easily accessorised but the 8 was too small and the 12 too big. I'd have ordered in a 10 but then I found one I loved more...
Just the one jumpsuit - this is from new stock coming in and it's an absolutely stunning fit. Felt a bit warm for a summer wedding though. But one to remember for a winter occasion.
Cressida Roll Neck Jumpsuit | Carmine (size 10 - true to size)
This next dress was a surprising hit - it's got a very flattering arm design, a tie waist detail and pockets...what's not to love? The colour in my photos is a more accurate representation of what it is in real life - it's not as turquoise as the website shows.
On the hanger the next dress was not talking to me but when I put it on, I was blown away. It's such flattering fit and very wedding appropriate.
Paloma Floral Print Dress | Ivory (Size 10 - true to size)
Next it's more green and I loved the nod to tropical print on this dress. Again, another great one with sleeves and with a bit of black in the print, which always makes the dress easier to accessorise
This dress looks blue in the photo but it's actually a purple shade. Lovely midi length with little splits around the hem.
(I would have needed a 10)
Told you there was a lot of green - this has all the flattering tick marks - floaty sleeves, frill hem, nipped in at the waist. Along with lots of colours to tie in with your outfit. 
Hailey Floral Dress | Jade (Size 12 - size up)
A slightly more formal option here - very mother of the bride appropriate with some beautiful pinks and plums that can be lifted in your shoes/bag etc.
Have you noticed how dishevelled my hair is getting as the photos go on... anyway, another cream based floral option with tie detail at the sleeve. This was a final contender
until this next red one was  tried on...an amazing body con option for anyone who wants to show off their curves. It's the most stunning fit and you can't see on the photo but it's got a rose gold zip down the entire back of the dress. 
Dorothea Dress | Red (out of stock online)
Size 10 - true to size - neat but with a stretch
A floral maxi dress next - this would be great worn casually too so would be a better price per wear option
Candelia Print Maxi Dress | Ivory/Multi (size 10 - true to size)
Back to green and I really loved the simplicity of this wrap dress with frill collar. It fitted me perfectly and can be accessorised with so much - including leopard!
Allegra Wrap Dress | Emerald (size 12 - size up)
A less flattering one for me next but I'm sharing it because it's a brilliant option for an apple figure as it's nicely fitted around the shoulders and arms but then flares out to skim over hips and tummy. Even better if you're tall with legs to show off!
Suriaiya Swing Dress | Coral (this is a 12 - definitely size down)
This next green dress was a real showstopper for me - exactly the right fit and so classy though if you look on the link, you'll see it has a bare back which scares me a little! 
Daley Drape Dress | Bright Green (size 10 - true to size)
This red lacy dress with white embroidered daisies on it wasn't one that I was drawn to initially but it was fabulous on - such a comfortable option and one that I think could be dressed down with sandals and a denim jacket too
A final red dress and this is quite a versatile one as I could see it working as a night out kind of dress and it would be amazing for a Christmas party (sorry for using the C word in July but it's really well reduced so you know...one less thing to worry about?)
Martina Dress | Scarlet (size 12 was generous so I'd say it's true to size)
 and finishing with a new stock dress that's just hit the shops. Adore this mix of peacock blue and salmon pink:
Dianah Floral Dress | Peacock (size 10 - true to size)
 There's also a matching fascinator - instant outfit sorted!
and here's the massive rail of dresses that I tried on - some are doubled up here as I tried a couple of sizes but it's amazing what you can achieve with a couple of hours of focussed shopping!
At the end of the session, Cara, the Manager offered me a dress of my choice from the selection I tried on and after much deliberation, I picked one for next week's wedding...and I'm mulling over setting another one aside. Which one did I pick I hear you ask? Well you'll have to wait until next Saturday to see on Instagram....I can't reveal before then. Though if you're going to Lucy's wedding too and wearing any of the above, do drop me a private message 😬.

Finishing with my outfit today....another 29 degree day in Belfast.....phew!
Top - H&M (this year's version on the link - mine is past season)
Skirt - M&S (current - wearing a size 12)
Sandals - Topshop (past season - similar here & here)

Thank you to Cara & Jamie at Phase Eight for welcoming me to the shop and for gifting me with a dress of my choice. Lots of you contacted me via Instagram to say how useful you found it and to report that you've bought some of the dresses featured so I hope seeing them all on the blog is helpful to refer back to. 

Back soon,

Ax
Disclaimer - I was gifted one of the dresses to thank me for me coming in to do this session at Phase Eight Victoria Square. I wasn't paid to come in or to write this blog post. My links are affiliate links which means if you click through to the Phase Eight website, the company know you came from my blog and they may pay me a small commission if you buy and keep any of the dresses. This doesn't change the price of the item for you and the modest income I make via these links helps to cover some of the costs of running this blog....so thank you! 

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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Seven Days with SERE | Lifestyle #AD

Every now and again I get the chance to work with a great local family run company and share it on here, giving them a shout out they deserve. SERE Motors is one of these - did you know that it's an acronym of the owners' names? Stanley Edgar and Rosemary Edgar? They are a company that has customer service at the centre of all they do and I love that they took a bit of a punt with some of their marketing budget and approached me about taking a car from their range to 'own' for a week.
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Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Hush Sale | My Picks

The Hush sale started today so I thought I'd share with you here my favourite items that I think are worth snapping up while they're reduced!
The reviews say that this dress comes up a bit big and for me, it's a negative that it's polyester...but it's so pretty and very wearable dressed up and down:

These straight jeans get amazing reviews but I was put off by the price up to now. A much more palatable £50 in the sale:

This star jumper gets consistently good review too - the grey/green combination is a winner for me:

Most of the nice skirts are sold out but I do love this yellow one which is still available in all sizes. It's got a matching top too if you want the Maxi dress look but I would prefer it with a white top and denim jacket 

This is a marmite one - it gets mixed reviews but I love the print. Recommendation is to size down. Just as well as there are only smaller sizes left.

A hush classic at a more affordable price - this knit will see you through autumn super stylishly. Available in two colour ways with good size range still in stock.

I had this cute t-shirt in my basket so I'm pleased to see it's included in the sale..it seemed pricey at £35:

I have worn this hoodie endlessly since I bought it earlier in the season. It's only reduced by £9 - but it's a great buy. Tempted by the other colour way!

This top is just beautiful and a fab way to snap up a bit of hush for just £25! Amazing colours to brighten up your wardrobe this summer:

The sale is always a great opportunity to pick up one of the scarves - this blue colour way is beautiful:

I have to say, I didn't know that hush had leather handbags. Well now I do - and this one is a nice price for a real leather cross body classic:

Finishing with a pair of boots - thinking ahead to Autumn and these are only left in small sizes but are well reduced and come in gorgeous black suede. The recommendation is to size down in these if you have narrow feet.

And there you go - I'm trying not to look anymore as I already have 4 items in my basket...
Happy Shopping

Ax
Disclaimer - my links are affiliate links which means hush knows you came to their website from here and may pay me a small commission if you buy and keep something. This doesn't affect the price for you and the modest income I make from these links helps to cover some of the costs of running this website 
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Monday, 18 June 2018

Next SS18 Try On | Fashion

Just popping up the pictures from a very fast dress (and one jacket) try-on in Next this morning. I usually put all of these up on Instagram but by request, I'm going to try to duplicate them on here as I know lots of you aren't over on the grid.
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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Black Sandals | OOTD

I went on a black sandal hunt this week, armed with birthday money. In total I bought 4 pairs with the thought that I'd keep at least one, possibly two....
Starting with Topshop and I had admired these for a while and they were on 20% off last weekend.  
However they come up quite small and I also wasn't so keen on the hardware on them when I tried them on. They felt a bit too 'heavy metal'. I'm really weird about mixed metals and prefer when a sandal or handbag has little or no hardware visible.
Next up, the second pair I got in Topshop and these I thought would work well with some longer skirts and dresses that I have - comfortable but giving me a bit of height.
But I couldn't get my head around the rare looking toes sticking out at the top. I have always struggled with this style of shoe. I just don't think they suit my foot?
They seem to look good on other people though so it must be my feet!
Next it's a couple of pairs from & Other Stories. I've never ordered online from them before and checked that there were free returns before ordering. Both pairs I've admired for a while though they're not cheap for sandals and I had high hopes therefore.
Here's the first one with the toe post detail. Lovely and comfortable and nice leather..
but....they are just ok and I preferred this second pair. More like the H&M ones I bought a couple of years ago (why didn't I buy 2 pairs!)
Loved the look of these but I couldn't get over the fact that they seem a bit flimsy for the price. You can see on the photos that the leather is quite shiny, the inside sole is just slightly puckered in places and the sole is very thin. They don't feel like the kind of sandal that will improve with wear - quite the opposite. For £69, I was disappointed.
I waited until the next day and tried them again and decided I just couldn't justify the expense. They're a far cry from the premium H&M ones I paid £40 for or the Warehouse ones I got last summer for £55. Both of which were worth the money with good substantial soles and soft leather that improved with wear.

I packed all 4 pairs up and returned them...except the & Other Stories one wasn't just as straightforward to return as it's a DPD shop return. Cue most of Friday spent looking for an outlet I could leave it into. Not good enough & Other Stories, I shouldn't have to look that hard to return something and from what people were telling me on Instagram Stories, I am not alone in the frustration. I got sorted but definitely I will think twice before ordering online from there again. 

So I'm back to square one - here are my next targets to buy and try....but if they don't work (AND feel worth the money) I'm sticking with my Warehouse ones for the rest of the summer. Yes, they will end up wrecked but I'll just have to hope that next summer's flat leather sandal offerings will be more attractive!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend my friends. I'm finishing with what I wore yesterday for a trip to Ikea and the Makers Market in Belmont Tower. Loving the All-saints vibe with this linen mix dress from M&S.
Dress - Limited at M&S (not showing online but recently bought in-store)
Jacket - Old H&M biker
Bag - Mulberry Antony (preloved from eBay)

And I wore this on a night out with the girls last night....still recovering today:
Top - Zara (current stock but can't find it online)
Jeans - MiH (preloved)
Sandals - Topshop (current but out of stock online)

Ax


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