Friday, 7 September 2018

#FridayRetailTherapy | Oliver Bonas | Avoca | Mint Velvet | Cath Kidston

One of the things I'm going to do for as long as I can on here, is Avril's Retail Therapy. I'm not shopping like I used to so looking at what's in the shops is my new therapy and you've told me it's the kind of content you want to see on here. That's what I call a win/win.

So this week it's the turn of some Belfast shops because I had to head in there today for an appointment. Specifically Avoca, Cath Kidston (random!) and Oliver Bonas. I also had a quick peek at Whistles & Mint Velvet in House of Fraser - the latter is KILLING it at the moment. All the Hush vibes without the price tag.

So I've added the pictures up here and I'll add links where I have been able to find them. 
Starting with Avoca who had these amazing cashmere knits from Jumper 1234. They're not cheap but they're so beautiful.

There were several gorgeous print dresses from a brand I've never heard of before, Primrose Park:
Avoca always have an amazing edit of Scotch & Soda - this jumper was calling to me too. It's a nice change from traditional leopard which is being overdone on the high street this season.
These M Moustache trainers came in a few colour ways. Beautiful shape and leather lined. They're £110 so definitely an investment item but a classic that would get an impressive price per wear. (available online here)
Another gorgeous brand Avoca stock is Samsoe & Samsoe. This coat is stunning!
Also love the mix of formal stripe shirt with embroidered stars in this Scotch & Soda piece:
Next, I headed over to a random one for me - Cath Kidston. Just because these cross body bags drew me in - I'm loving that they're doing more leather bags this season...and less of the plastic oilcloth ones.

And how about some Bee trainers without the designer price tag?
There are some nice bits in their sale too, including this jumper:
And this fab red bag (dare I say it, would make a nice Christmas gift?)
Over to Oliver Bonas where I spotted this leopard inspired shirt with a pink trim. A great way to brighten up a black suit:
Also loved the gold trim on this white shirt:
And seeing as I'm back in love with my stripes again, this top is great. Has a metallic neck trim which sets it apart nicely. Lovely oversized fit too.
I think this yellow jumper might have been my favourite piece from OB though (sorry for the shadow)
And who doesn't need a furry yellow bag in their life?
This brocade jacket is great too - perfect worn casually or formally:
I just love Oliver Bonas - such a feast for the eyes when you go in...and it reminded me that I could do with a beautiful new doormat:

Over to House of Fraser next and I spotted this leopard bag in Mint Velvet - not unlike the one I have from Biba and I'm asked constantly where to get a leather leopard bag. Well here you go:
I mentioned above that Mint Velvet reminds me of hush this season...and the prices are much more palatable, especially for these knitwear and sweatshirt pieces:

Nice to see the Bando brand - famous for their notebooks - in t-shirt form!
And I had a quick look at the Whistles sale rail. Some nice bargains still to be had if you're looking a slogan top. The first two are cotton t-shirts and I can't find them online but this one on the Whistles site on this link is similar.

This next one is a cotton knit jumper:
And this last one is a sweatshirt:
And this one is from the new AW18 collection ❤️
I'll admit I'm still on the fence with logo jumpers and tops but I do make exceptions for ones with a bit of French on them - in fact today, I'm wearing my 'Tres Bien' one I bought on a preloved site a while back. It's past season New Look and goes really well with my new Sister Jane Skirt that I got in Sarah Alexander Boutique in Newtownards recently. I tried to resist but I couldn't. I think it's going to be a great work and casual piece for Autumn Winter as it's lined and works well with knitwear.

Massive thanks to Katherin Farries, Personal Shopper extraordinaire from Victoria Square who took this photo...so lovely to catch up with her today in-between her appointments. She's already booking for October if you're looking some help with your wardrobe this AW18. Full details on this link - I can't recommend her highly enough.
Jumper - New Look (preloved past season)
Shoes - Dune London Guilt Loafers
Leather Jacket - Reiss (via eBay)
Cross body Bag - Mulberry (via eBay)

And that's my Retail Therapy for this week - hope you enjoyed and I'll be back next week a bit further afield in Magherafelt! 

Ax
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Thursday, 6 September 2018

Blog Detox - What Next?

Since my last detox post, I've struggled to blog because I couldn't work out what to do next on here...

I felt I was between a rock and a hard place in terms of buying clothes, working with brands and being on my social channels....'what about the detox?' I heard people saying.

 I cursed my honesty in declaring that I want to buy less, be online less and work with brands less. But then I was reminded that I never said I wasn't going to do these things ever again. I simply called them out because they are at unrealistic levels generally in the blogger space and it was affecting my head and my blog. I have changed my approach to all three in recent weeks and I can't believe the difference it's made to my wellbeing.

But bigger changes have been evolving in my head also. 

When I started blogging, I had 2 babies at home & a young child in school until 2pm. The blog was the perfect 'fit around the kids' kind of escape. I blogged when they napped or in the evenings when they were all in bed. It was a vital creative outlet away from motherhood, which can drive the best of us mad on a good day. It wasn't something I needed an income from but when it did start to create a small income, it meant I could continue when the kids were in nursery and then in the early years of primary school.

But now my kids are in school all day with after school activities most days. In fact, my son is away from 7.45 until 4pm...my girls will soon be on this timetable too. I can't sit and write blog posts or scroll social media all that time....I'm climbing the walls! I'm also not feeling the love of the self employed hustle - constantly looking for the next gig, invoices, tax returns...not a strong point for me.

What drove me to blog - to keep my mind active and my skills relevant in the first place - is driving me to want to be back in that pre-children corporate world. 

I'm probably mad - my husband certainly thinks so. But a desire to contribute to society and to the running costs of a family of 5 has me hunting for a 'real' job. It might take me a month, or a year...or I might never find that ideal role but I'm in the market and actively looking. 

And I'll share this experience with you too as I've had some interesting discussions with recruiters in the past month or so. There's definitely a blog post that needs written around the challenges of returning to the workplace in your 40's after a decade away.

 But in the meantime, while I look, I will keep blogging and creating content on social media and that blogging will include what you've told me you want to see - what's in the shops now, key pieces to add to your wardrobe this autumn/winter, capsule shopping, preloved fashion, profiles of local shops and businesses and reviews of more ethical clothing brands - something I feel very strongly about after reading 'To Die For - Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?' by Lucy Siegle.

To keep me afloat while I look for work, I will include some brand-let content in all this but it will be kept to a minimum and always relevant - I promise I'll never overdo it in that regard.

All that's left for me to say is a massive thank you to all of you for the encouragement to date...and if you know anyone who might employ me, please send them my way :) 

Ax


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