A Stumble, A Pause …..and a Little Holiday.

This December, I needed a little break….

It turns out I didn’t feel that sparkly during Advent despite my best intentions?! The reality was slightly different to the gloss!

I was unwell in December, and then I had one of those little ‘health scares’ that seem to be a part of mid-life. All fine now, I’m pleased to report. Continue reading “A Stumble, A Pause …..and a Little Holiday.”

Advent Sparkle!

….I am going to wear at least one item of ‘bling’ from my wardrobe every day until Christmas!

Not long now?! Advent starts in two days, and then it’s here – the ‘Christmas Build Up’!  From the 1st December onwards I intend to listen to all my favourite Christmas music (‘Now’ Christmas Album, of course – few things can top singing along to Maria Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas,’ whilst prepping dinner?); eat mince pies at every possible opportunity (I have already had several, but don’t tell anyone); and fill my house with as many fairy lights as is humanly possible!

In addition, this year, I intend to ‘self-sparkle’! Yes, that is a made-up term.  I don’t mean metaphorically, (although it has to be said, I can be quite good company) but I mean quite literally.  I have fished out of my wardrobe everything that is vaguely or fabulously sparkly, sequinned or has a silver sheen and I am going to wear at least one item of ‘bling’ every day until Christmas. A gold skirt, a spangly jumper, glittery socks or a completely over the top necklace.  I’m getting it on, it’s Christmas after all!

Continue reading “Advent Sparkle!”

Do you really need a new dress?!

Buy less, shop wisely and love the clothes you have!

Party Season is officially upon us and the joy of dressing up! Dresses, skirts, trouser suits, jumpsuits, sparkles and heels! Black or brightly colored, shiny, silver, sequined, velvet, animal print. Add make-up, hair, jewellery and a glass of bubbles …and you are transformed into that kick-ass princess who could floor Prince Charming with a glance from twenty paces…

But before you hit the shops, whether in a last minute panic for an event that night or with a more leisurely approach (list and budget pre-agreed) – take a good, hard look in your wardrobe.

What clothes do you already have? Which pieces already in your wardrobe make you feel a million dollars? What do you rarely get the chance to wear but absolutely love?

For a basic Party Edit take out all your ‘best’ clothes. I generally advice clients not to keep clothes for best – everything should be worn and loved – but you know those things that are ‘proper’ Party?!

Now, sort through them. Take out anything you don’t particularly like. This is party dressing, after all, and you want to go out looking and feeling great! Try things on if you have time – vague memories of how you think you look just don’t cut it. Put away anything that doesn’t make you look at your reflection and think ‘yes – I am going out!’

Anything that needs cleaning can be put into a separate pile – (you know, the dress you slipped back into the wardrobe that night when you staggered home from a particularly good event, but can’t really remember hanging up?!). These clothes are still there for you – just not yet.

Also, put to one side clothes that no longer fit. I have on occasion followed the mantra ”Pride must Abide’ – but it’s going to be a long, fabulous night and you have to breathe, eat and dance (at the very least?!). If you still love these clothes and can have them altered to wear now, get to the tailor’s. If it’s you that needs a little alteration rather than the clothes, just put them away for the time being and don’t worry about it.

Then take a really good look at what you have. You may take hold of that perfect sparkly dress and know instinctively that’s what you will wear. Otherwise, think about mixing it up a little.

Try putting a favourite top that you usually only wear with black trousers, with something completely different? Mix together as many different colours as you can? If you have an amazing skirt or beautifully cut evening trousers – try wearing them with a simple, fresh white t-shirt. Add jewellery – silver cuffs on bare arms look beautiful, or buy a totally over the top necklace, or fabulous earrings to lift the outfit to ‘party status’. If, for example, you have a dress you love but that feels a little too short ( I alternate these days between thinking ‘what the hell, I like my legs’ to ‘are you sure Andy, you’re not 25 any more’?!) – try wearing it with skinny black trousers. Coated, black, skinny jeans look great.

It sometimes helps to start with one thing that you really want to wear and build the outfit from there. Enlisting the help of friends or a stylist (that’s what we’re here for) can also help you to see your clothes in a completely new light.

You may need to buy one or two things, (depending on the relative abundance of your social agenda) – but remember, where possible, ‘Buy Less, Shop Wisely and Love the Clothes You Have’.

Scent and scent-suality…

It’s time for a new scent – something enticing but environmentally friendly….?

As I’m no longer buying any new clothes, I’ve decided that maybe a new perfume is just what I need to (literally!) spice up my wardrobe. Something that’s not too overpowering, as kind to the environment as possible, but still, in the words of Kelis, ‘brings all the boys to the yard’?!

Scent is hugely evocative.  Of all the senses, it has the greatest power to re-create memories and bring back thoughts and pictures, with such force it can be quite overwhelming.

I have clothes in my wardrobe that hold memories of past events. Highs and lows of my life, tucked within the silk folds of a favourite blouse or the sparkle of a sequinned dress. But it’s the scent I wore that really takes me back to places and events that have shaped my life.

It can be both positive and negative.  The other day I came across a perfume sample in my drawer and absent-mindedly dabbed it on my wrists. I used to love that particular fragrance, but as the smell drifted to my nose, I was instantly back in St. George’s Hospital and overwhelmed for a split second with the grief and trauma of seeing my child in intensive care. My oldest son is now 16 and full of the joys of imminent adulthood and independence(!) but for a short while at the age of 2, he was in an induced coma fighting for his life against meningitis. The scent, which a dear friend gave to me all those years ago as a small comfort to take into hospital, transported me straight back to that time.

On a lighter note, I bought myself a small bottle of body spray from & Other Stories earlier this year, for a (rare) girls’ weekend in Marbella.  Small so that I could take it in my hand luggage. For me now, the remains of that bottle hold the scent of anticipation!  Of a weekend of joy, laughter and female camaraderie.  Of being picked up in the early hours of the morning by a friendly neighbourhood police officer and driven to a party, because we couldn’t find the apartment we were looking for.  It is the scent of sunshine, skin, cocktails and dancing. Continue reading “Scent and scent-suality…”

I can resist everything, except temptation?…

Pre-Christmas discounts and private sales are very hard to resist..!

Has anyone else noticed the number of Sales that are taking place this weekend? Or the amount of attractive discount emails that drop incessantly into your Inbox at this time of year? Zadig and Voltaire; Bimba y Lola; Katherine Hamnett; Finery London to name but a few.

It used to be that the ‘Christmas Sales’ happened in January. Then you could take your Christmas money, and the vouchers that Great Aunt Maud had given to you, jump on the 312 bus into town – and go and buy anything that Santa had ‘forgotten’ to put in your Stocking.

In later years, January was a time to buy that winter coat or longed-for boots, ready for next year.

November, on the other hand, was a time for saving money, making a comprehensive gift list, and deciding which shop you would go into according to what you wanted to buy?!

Fast forward to now, and the Xmas shopping urge, which seems to be encouraged by the retail sector from the minute the Halloween pumpkin candles burn out.

Like many people (I’m sure?!) I now find myself magnetically drawn towards the ‘Private Sales 40% Off’ (or similar) signs, hanging alluringly underneath twinkly lights and festive window decorations, up and down the high street. Continue reading “I can resist everything, except temptation?…”

The Joy of Socks…

Socks, socks socks……and what to do with old ones?!

…there are so many to choose from!  Sports socks, woollen socks, knee-high socks, sheer socks, stripy socks, sparkly socks.  Low rise socks with trainers; woolly socks with boots; ankle socks with brogues; delicate lace socks with sandals?

At school my friends and I used to wear thick, ribbed ‘over the knee’ socks, held up with a small band of white, knotted elastic.  The trick was to get the garter just the right size – too tight and it left a big ring around your upper thigh; too slack and you had to resist the urge to run across the playground for fear your socks would end up around your ankles.

Now, I really hate having cold feet! My favourite socks at present are Falke – dark grey, wool socks with my ankle boots, and Cotton Touch black socks with brogues.  My other ‘go to’ brand for socks is & Other Stories.  Their Leopard nylon socks, in black, go with practically all my shoes.  And if you like the whole ‘socks and evening shoes’ thing, you can’t go wrong with their black, rolled edge nylon sock.

other stories socks
& Other Stories leopard nylon socks

 

For glamorous socks I would recommend looking at Wolford  – the Lace Up Knee High or the Lurex Net knee high would look great with a mid-calf length skirt and heels.  They also have beautiful sheer ankle socks embellished with Swarovski crystals (the Love Letter).

And for less glamorous footwear, (but equally as important!) – I love Uniqlos heat tech that handily come in packs of 2 (pairs, that is… not socks!)

 

But here’s the question. What do you do with your old socks? Does anyone darn socks any more? Or do you simply get rid of them when they wear through? Continue reading “The Joy of Socks…”

Why Am I Doing This?!…

Why have I decided not to buy any new clothes for a year?!…

question mark

This was the question I asked myself yesterday.  I was feeling low.  I’m practically a single mother, and two weeks of half term with 4-5 semi-teenage boys in the house (my own three, plus nephew, plus french friend ‘learning english’) is pretty hard work!  I’ve started my blog; unsubscribed from various emails to avoid shopping temptation; edited my coats; and purchased an elongated selfie stick with which to take some ‘totally amazing’ photos of the abundance already in my wardrobe – and what I really wanted to do, yesterday, was buy myself a new dress! Continue reading “Why Am I Doing This?!…”