Thursday, 11 October 2018

#FridayRetailTherapy - Alana Interiors Lurgan | Style

For this week's Friday Retail Therapy session, I'm in Alana Interiors boutique in Lurgan. It's a shop I've visited a number of times - both in my Field Day job (they are stockists of the range) and just because I was in the area. I can't recommend it enough for a day trip out of Belfast - it's one of Northern Ireland's hidden gems - only 25 minutes out of the city. And I know this post is supposed to be about trying on but the scones...I mean, they're enough on their own to make me visit on a daily basis. I can honestly say, the best I've EVER eaten..
Before I get to the outfits, Alana is spread over 2 floors so I wanted to show you a few photos from the ground floor where the gifts, furniture and interiors are based. It's a great place for lighting, beds and bedding and for pretty much anything you need in the kitchen/cookware space...
But back to fashion and Amy and Carol invited me down to try on some of their gorgeous AW18 clothing range which is all up on the 1st floor. Brace yourself for photo overload - there was just so much that I knew you'll like to see and the bonus being that you are supporting a local family owned business. And the scones...did I mention them? It's a proper win/win/win.

Alana don't have an online shop but you can buy anything you see here or on their social channels by sending them a message on Facebook or Instagram and they will organise for it to be posted out to you.

I'm kicking off with these gorgeous down coats from Tommy Hilfiger - so beautifully cut to flatter, not swamp you and guaranteed to keep you snug.
I was surprised at how much I liked the brighter blue - there's also navy if you want something more subdued though:
The next one is still a Tommy coat but it's cut a little shorter and comes in this gorgeous khaki colour way:
And if you want something a little lighter in weight, this next short down jacket is one of the ones you can roll up into a little drawstring bag. Perfect for travel and so cosy to wear.
In all of these photos above, I'm wearing some grey suede ankle boots from Cara. Grey is so versatile, making a lovely change from a black ankle boot and these are so flattering to wear with a slight dip at the front.
Still in the Cara boots in the next photo but I've changed into a pair of Guess skinny jeans - the exact ones that Personal Stylist, Katherin Farries raved about to me recently. She was RIGHT! They're a great fit - especially for pear shapes - lovely and snug on the waist.
But it was this Jorli poncho style knit that won me over. It's super cosy and soft and I'm loving this purple colour way. I ended up buying and bringing it home!
Same Guess jeans and grey Cara boots again but this time with a gorgeous ochre coloured Selected Femme coat:
This jumper from Numpf has a gorgeous bell sleeve detail. Ties in nicely with these tan Mode in Pelle chelsea boots. The jeans are still the Guess super skinnies.
I've swapped the jeans in this next one for a pair of Tiffossi 'One Size Fits All' jeans and once again, I was won over. They are the most amazing fit! And you just buy the one size - they are literally so stretchy....how blooming perfect? I fluctuate up and down a size throughout the year and these jeans will always fit! Really well priced, lovely denim and a gorgeous wash on these black ones. I was sold and they came home with me. I should say the one size is limited to 8-14. Only downside.
The boots in these couple of photos are so on trend - with the triple buckle detail. I've kept the look grungy above with the Guess logo t-shirt but have smartened up in the next photo with a soft cosy charcoal knit from Sandwich and a fab little cream faux fur collar:
This next jumper is also Sandwich and I've layered it over a black stretchy shirt and added one of the new season of Guess cross body bags. Same boots and jeans as before:
And one more with the same jeans and boots - this time wearing a Guess khaki jacket with gorgeous purple embellishment and a matching Guess T-shirt underneath. Who knew khaki and purple would work so well together?
Back in the comfort zone again with this grey mix combo. The jumper is an oversized one from Sandwich and I love how it works well with the grey Cara boots (again!) and this checked grey scarf:
This next poncho was another winner for me - the colour was so flattering. It looked like nothing on the hanger but is such a gorgeous piece to wear with skinnies and boots this autumn:
Wanted to share these fab little Mode in Pelle suede boots too. They're the perfect height heel, gorgeous soft suede and really wearable with trousers, jeans and skirts/dresses:
In the interests of finding great basics for your wardrobe, I tried on this great white shirt too - it's got stretchy jersey panels making it so lovely for layering. Looks so good with jeans and boots.
And I couldn't go without trying this Selected Femme herringbone coat with its red racer stripe down the side. Just love the pop of red - imagine how fab it would look with red ankle boots? I've accessorised it here with a Guess mock croc black cross body bag. Shoes, jeans and white top are my own.
And that's not all...if you are reading this on Friday, there are videos of my entire try on over on Instagram today that I'll save up to a highlight if you want to look back over. 

I need to say a massive thank you to everyone at Alana for looking after me so well - Amy, Carol, Breege...and the team in the restaurant who held me over a rhubarb scone as that's the first flavour to sell out every day. Unreal....you need to taste one!

If you're local, Alana have a few great evening events that you might like to make arrangements with a friend to attend. On Thursday 18th October, there's a Winter Fashion Launch with promotions, nibbles and a bit of a fashion show and then on Thursday 8th November, it's the first of 3 consecutive Christmas Thursday Nights with the shop open until 9pm. Perfect girly evening out...definitely make a date with a friend and enjoy a lovely evening browsing this beautiful shop.
Before I go, please show Alana some social media love on Facebook and Instagram - the team put regular videos and pictures up on both channels and as I said above, they are happy to post any items out to you.

Back next week with more try-ons!
Ax
Disclaimer - Alana Interiors covered the cost of my mileage to and from Lurgan and the time I spent in store that morning trying on. I was not obliged or paid to write this blog post.
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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Must Have Essentials for AW18 - Footwear

The theme for these posts is the creation of a capsule wardrobe of essentials that will be endlessly wearable and pretty much timeless. They're your wardrobe heroes and they're the items you should  invest a little more in so that they do last from year to year.

When it comes to footwear, it's SO tempting to buy lots. I'd hazard a guess that footwear is the most under-utilised part of our wardrobes. They're beautiful, always fit us regardless of how well we are looking after our bodies and you can find the most gorgeous footwear now at such good prices.

But I urge you to invest in your footwear and buy fewer pairs and key to doing this is to buy the styles of footwear that will work hardest for you - the essentials. I'm not going to cover occasion/going out footwear. This is day to day, working/casual based and I'm splitting them into 3 sections - Flats, Boots & Trainers. I don't think there's a winter outfit in your wardrobe you can't complete if you've a pair of each.

1. Flats
Starting with flats because who has the time to wear heels anymore? Yes, for a night out but day to day, unless it's a boot with a small chunky heel, I'm in a flat. It gives you so much freedom to move quickly and safely and with the selection out there, they don't have to equal frump.

My favourite flats are loafers, followed closely by brogues. I find loafers more wearable generally though with skirts, jeans, trousers etc. The androgynous style of a brogue needs to be styled carefully to avoid looking masculine. They work best for me when combined with feminine items like skirts or culottes.

So focusing on loafers and here are the Dune London ones I wear constantly. A reasonable investment last winter at £75 mainly because they're Dune - they definitely felt pricey for the weight and feel of them, though the leather is nice:
And maybe my gut feel on them was right because a year on, they're starting to look wrecked. I'm not sure if thats because they are a bit flimsy or I'm just too hard on them and have worn them too much. Possibly a mixture. I know I feel ready to invest in something more durable and these John Lewis ones look like they might fit the bill:
I've also seen these LK Bennett ones in real life and they're incredible - way superior than the Dune ones in terms of quality. They're more than twice the price though so I'm going to watch the sales keenly. I'm told they went to half price last year:

2. Boots
Moving to boots now and a black or grey ankle boot will see you all through winter. The right pair is wearable with dresses, trousers and skirts, casually and for work.
I've seen a few bloggers recommend these M&S flat chelsea boot - available in black and brown.
For a heeled version, it's M&S again and these Autograph ones that were part of the Holly Willoughby must have range. Really lovely on and back in stock in some sizes - keep an eye on the website for re-stocks daily if you want these!

If it's the holy grail that is a grey ankle boot you looking for, I spotted these Tamaris ones in local shop Cordners - they are available online and are more than a nod to my old favourite Seven Boot Lane ones from a few years back:
(By the way, lots of people ask me about Seven Boot Lane and it does look like it's no longer in operation, which is such a shame. Amazing boots that stand the test of time. Hopefully they will be back in the future.)

Another independent shoe website that I keep seeing on Instagram and it makes me laugh because I keep thinking it's Keith's Carrott Shoes..but it's actually Keith Scarrott. I'm easily amused. Either way, it's a goldmine of gorgeous footwear. I've never ordered from them but I've seen a couple of other bloggers recommend. That's where I spotted these grey suede ankle boots:

3. Trainers
And now for trainers...and if it's a look you love, as I do - then invest. I bought the Seven Boot Lane leather ones about 18 months ago and  they've been worth every penny. Leather trainers are more comfortable to wear and age better. I can't see myself needing to buy another pair of white trainers for years. 
I mentioned above that SBL is no longer trading so for an investment pair of trainers, I recommend Veja. They have a great ethos and make amazing trainers. They retail at about the same kind of price point as Seven Boot Lane and they have a great back story - you can read all about them on this link.

And I'm always asked this so I'm adding these in, even though they go against my 'invest' rules. Where to get a good high street 'starter' trainer if you're not sure about the trainer trend and want to try it out. Well you won't go wrong with either of these two pairs from Miss Selfridge. I saw them today in Menarys in Lisburn and was so impressed. They look much more expensive than they are:

And that's it - my footwear essentials. I've been asked about longer boots and yes, they are making a comeback but I still stand by ankle boots from a price per wear point of view. I don't think you get the same wear from long boots and the season to wear them is shorter than ankles, which can be worn almost all year round.

Would love to hear your views and other recommendations so leave me a comment if you've any suggestions. Coats have been requested as the next essentials post so stand by...I'll have it ready for you as soon as!

Ax
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