What I'm buying on Black Friday | Shopping

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Black Friday has its haters and I know where they're coming from but broadly speaking I don't think it's a bad thing. For a last minute dot com shopper like me, it's a good push to get some Christmas shopping started and I do tend to pick up a few things that I'd have left to the last minute otherwise. It's also a great opportunity to pick up the things you buy regularly at a discounted price AND to buy items that are higher in price point and perhaps for an occasion - it's a great time to pick up a dress or a coat.
With this in mind, here's what I'm looking at this Black Friday...


A Shopping Trip to Omagh | AD

Have you ever thought about a shopping day trip to Omagh? Last week I was invited up to the town by 9 local businesses and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The task for me on the day was to showcase the town as a venue for a day trip by sharing a selection of the businesses in the town - food, interiors and fashion. And it really is just a selection because there were many businesses and shops I walked past but didn't have time to share.


The M&S Coat Edit | Life Lately

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Back to fashion (that's my blog rant stuff done for another wee while!) and for my monthly collaboration with M&S, I'm all about the coats. Which is a fortunate one as I'm not really fit for trying on much more than that at the moment...but more on that in a bit.

Despite negative press this week - and remember M&S are not alone with the high street struggles - I still maintain that they're changing for the best with the recent personnel re-shuffle on the clothing side of things. It's a massive business that will take a few seasons to find its feet but it's still my favourite high street shop. The challenge for the entire high street remains that they have to offer something that is better than what you get online and that's tricky now that deliveries are so often fast and free. For me, I love the experience of going in-store. The team in Sprucefield (where I spend most of my M&S dollah) are so friendly and helpful and I never go there without meeting someone I know that I've not seen for ages. On my trip today, I met Conor, the Belfast Food Blogger and his wife Lauren and daughter Lily. I also bumped into Jocelyn from Orchid Lingerie on the Lisburn Road (and Dungannon) so it was actually a real tonic for me after the week I've had!

But I digress - back to the coats and there is so much to love this season. I have a weakness for coats anyway but I was genuinely so impressed with the range I tried on....and there were plenty more I didn't try because my size wasn't available and because I ran out of steam..

So starting with this teddy coat - an absolute find! This colour is simply perfect. It's like a mix of brown, black and grey and it fits beautifully. So cosy and fully lined. 
Next up and I keep trying on this colour of coat - love the rust shade but I feel like I wouldn't wear my camel coat as much if I had it. Adore the shape of it and love how it works with the grey shades I'm wearing today.
Same kind of shade in a shorter fit with more of a boucle fit. This is a really well priced coat and it ticks lots of trend boxes. Great on a more petite frame as it's not as long as many of the others in stock at the moment.
This next coat is very like my Topshop one that I wear so much each winter. It's a lovely animal print effect with shades of black and grey through it so it's much more wearable than the brown/tan leopard print and a bit less Bet Lynch!
A pop of colour next and this is very similar to the famous purple coat from AW18 but it's in a much more wearable plum shade. There are a few other colours on the link. It's got a dolman/dropped shoulder effect going on so size down.
Another shorter one - this is a boucle effect double breasted coat from Per Una in a lovely duck egg blue. It's not a great colour on me but perfect for a spring colour palette.
Checks are everywhere this season too - I've actually tried this one on before because I LOVE the colours - perfect for a soft and warm palette. This comes up big - I'm wearing the size 6!
This wax-effect coat has been selling strongly and although I wasn't that drawn to it on the hanger, I was so impressed when I tried it on. Love the country/equestrian vibe and it's a gorgeous cut. The colour is another fab neutral winter shade - somewhere between a burgundy and a brown.
Next up, total comfort here in this duvet style coat. It comes in 4 colours but this was the only shade that was left in a size 10. I prefer the green shade on the link....adore the oversized shape. For info, it's polyester filled.
This is a more fitted padded coat and this time it's down filled. It does come with a belt but I have taken it off for these photos to see what it looks like without. I tend to wear my coats open and belts just annoy me! This is softer than the one above and SO warm. You can feel the heat as soon as you put it on..
And one last padded one - loved the colour of this one but it's really neat fitting so I couldn't zip up the 8. Definitely size up on this one. It's got wrist warmer details, taped zips and stormwear technology to keep you dry and cosy. It's poly filled for info.
Another casual one that I spotted on my way out. It's a classic parka that's faux fur this colour way.
And a final couple of things that I spotted on my way out. This Autograph coat caught my eye at the press show recently but it was only left in stock in bigger sizes. Love the mix of red and camel.
There were also some gorgeous leather cross body bags - I've been asked a few times about slightly bigger ones and these next two are great well-priced options:
Oh and worry not if you wanted an M&S Advent Calendar and saw that they're sold out online - there are plenty in-store in Sprucefield. Selling strongly but still a couple of week's worth left.
So that's it from the shopping side of things and it just leaves me to give you a little bit of a life update. I've been on my back literally for the past week because I injured it again last weekend. There was thankfully no referred leg or nerve pain so I was back moving pretty quick once I got the pain under control on Tuesday. Down to just anti-inflammatories now and hoping to ease off them in the coming days. It's a good reminder to get back to the gym as I've been slacking off in that department for the past few months. 

As always, being self employed is a blessing and a curse at these times. I can take a week off without answering to anyone but there's no income! I also had to cancel a few freelance gigs, including a try on in a gorgeous local boutique. There was just no way I could have done my usual strip off and try on which has been my cardio most weeks recently!! I'm hoping to do one this coming week - it's a bit closer to home and I'll bring some help so I don't over do it! 

Also next week, I'm helping my friend Clodagh who owns Honey on the Lisburn Road with a customer event on Thursday night. It won't require much from me except to meet and greet and give a bit of a chat around the fashion show. I'm really looking forward to it as her stock at the moment is beautiful. I'll be eyeing up some potential Christmas gifts because there will be some discount on the night. If you're local and would like to come along, you can register to attend on this link (purely for numbers and also for the prize draw on the night!). There will be Muff gin for everyone attending excuses!
Apart from that, like many other local readers, I'm an AQE mum this month so that's keeping things busy at home. My twins will sit three exams over three different Saturdays in November to determine which grammar school they go to. It used to be a single 11+ exam but Northern Ireland being Northern Ireland, we like to complicate matters. Roll on December!!

I'll be back with a bit of an outfit update shortly...speak soon!



Part 3 | A dose of reality | Why Influencer Marketing Works

So here's the I read back over my two blog posts from last weekend and following conversations with PR's and brands, as well as a few bloggers, I kept coming back to the annoying realisation....that no matter what, Influencer Marketing, as much as so many of you tell me you dislike it, still works.

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