The build up to the 25th

It’s been a funny old week what with feeling ill, lots of Christmas services, the end of school and my Father in law arriving. I feel like I’m spinning a bit and it’s hard to reconcile it is Christmas Day next Thursday. Fortunately I have a very organized Husband so gifts are wrapped and food lists are written. We’re having a buffet on Christmas day. After Thanksgiving I never feel like roasting a turkey again so we’ll be feasting on ham in coca cola, smoked salmon and dates stuffed with goats cheese wrapped in prosciutto – yum! Also my fabulous FIL arrived bearing gifts of pickled onion monster munch and piccalilli so I’ll be tucking into those too!

On Friday we headed out for a boozy lunch to welcome him and celebrate the start of the Holidays for us.

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Leather culottes – eBay // Sweater – J.Crew Tippi (40% off with GIFTNOW) // Boots – Zara

Last night, before cooking steaks, we went for our annual drive around Buckhead admiring the Christmas lights. There are some corkers this year and we saw the biggest inflatable Santa ever!

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Today will be a lovely lazy Sunday eating BBQ and watching football so I am dressed appropriately.

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Trousers – Gap skinny chinos (old) // Sweater – J.Crew (still available in blue with 40% off using GIFTNOW) // Sneakers – Nike from J.Crew (similar here)

One final note to end my odd week – my baby brother who is only 31 on Tuesday had an operation yesterday. They discovered testicular cancer last week so he was very fortunate to be operated on so quickly. Please get all the men in your life to check themselves regularly – I was shocked to learn it is most common between the ages of 20 and 40 and yet is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. It’s hard being here when all this is going on at home so I am sending virtual hugs to my little brother xxx

 

 

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A week of Christmas concerts

Even though we have lived just up the road from the Governor’s Mansion for 15 years, we have never yet received an invite for dinner and drinks. This week we came close and we were invited for a Christmas tour accompanied by music – and bonus – Poppy’s school chorus had been selected to sing, in addition to that Poppy’s name was one of 50 drawn out of the hat to represent the chorus! Talk about another proud mom moment. I dragged myself off my sick bed and threw on my festive colors. I was even greeted by the First Lady of Georgia a the door, though I chose not to challenge her about the lack of previous invites ;) It was a fabulous morning and I may have shed my first tear of the season.

OH took the photo – hence the sun in the eyes, the large amount of blue sky and lack of sparkly boots, but thank you nonetheless :)

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Trouser – J.Crew (30% off with code JINGLE) // Sweater – Everlane sleeveless polo neck // Coat – Marks and Spencer (old) // Boots not seen – Zara

Yesterday I had Hugh’s 1st Grade concert to attend. Unfortunately there are no school nativities here due to separation of Church and State etc. so we were treated to a Holiday celebration of ‘patterns’.  Quite good fun actually – they sung about patterns in music, numbers, nature etc. There was an absence of Holiday colors on my part but the kids made up for it I assure you!

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Sneakers – J.Crew // Jeans – Zara // T-Shirt – ASOS // Scarf – Boden (old) // Cardigan – ASOS

Just this morning I was back at the school watching the chorus and orchestra perform. Such good fun – they really love it too and they were so animated. I can now say that Christmas has arrived. I was there early as you can see it was still pitch black when I took my photo! This is the closest you will get me to wearing a Christmas sweater :)

IMG_0289Sneakers – Golden Goose (similar here on sale) // Trousers – Zara // Sweater – J.Crew (30% off with code Jingle) // Jacket – Mango (similar here on sale) // Bag – Zara

 Just as I am wiping my brow with relief that all the Christmas shopping is done, I am beginning to receive sale emails! The Mango sale started today so I’ll be enjoying a glass of white and perusing that later :) Now I need to reapply my lipstick as my lovely Husband is taking me out for lunch before the kids break up for the Holidays tomorrow. My Father in Law arrives from the UK today too so the festivities are certainly underway here.

I’ll keep you posted with sale news so keep checking my Facebook page too!

 

 

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Mango 40% off everything code!

Sorry for my absence this week – I have been sick as a dog with some kind of gastro flu uuurgghh. I’m on the mend now though and managed to make it to the Governor’s Mansion today to see Poppy’s school chorus sing for all those visiting and touring the mansion. I can finally say I am starting to feel festive and I shed my first tear of the season.

I did want to share a fabulous code for Mango with you – not sure if it was just sent to those of us with the app but it is described as a ‘private sale code’ – in the US it is 6SALES2 and will give you 40% OFF EVERYTHING till tomorrow. Enjoy!

Based on previous experiences it may work for the UK if you remove the 2 at the end – but I have been unable to track down a UK code to be sure.

 

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Off to Birmingham

Not the Midlands of the UK, but Birmingham, Alabama. It’s only a couple of hours drive away and Poppy has her first AllStar Cheer competition there tomorrow. We decided to drive there with friends tonight so we can rest well before the early start tomorrow morning. I am not sure who is more excited me or Poppy! Sequins, makeup, bows, music and tumbling – what’s not to love? Poppy is a flyer too so I am particularly proud of her as she is so brave with her stunts! I promise photos of all the chaos soon – keep an eye on my Instagram account for live updates. I assure you this is going to be a HUGE culture shock of me – think pageants combined with gymnastic recitals and you might be close to the scene we will encounter. I expect some Moms will be totally into it :)

Here’s a couple of quick outfit updates before I head out of the door.

Yesterday I wish I had worn something warmer!

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Boots – Newbury Boots // Jeans – Zara // Polo neck – Uniqlo Merino // Gilet – AllSaints (old – more items added to end of season sale here)

Today I have learned my lesson and the puffa is out.

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Sneakers – Stan Smith // Jeans – Zara // Jumper – TopShop (old) // Jacket – Zara (wow currently half price darn it!) // Scarf – Boden

Wish us luck!

 

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A new hobby

Throughout my life no one has ever considered me to be creative. I’ve always been pigeon holed as the left brained scientist. Not a bad thing at all, but I do remember feeling rather dejected after my attempts to draw and shade the light and shadow on an apple, and my rather pathetic depiction in clay of me sitting on a wall – it used to be on the sideboard at home but even my proud Mum has now relegated it to a shelf in the spare room :)

Having children can force you into all kinds of situations that you would never normally consider, such as crafting and painting. Before kids I would never have considered owning a glue gun or paint brushes. Well how things change. Poppy and Hugh have always loved making a mess with paint and recently I was inspired to have a go. It was after buying a couple of fabulous Donald Robertson designed J.Crew tees. I love them for their simplicity and repetitive images. I started following @Donalddrawbertson on Instagram – he really does seem quite a down to earth, talented guy. Having said that, I thought ‘this looks a piece of piss – I’m going to have a go’. So using his art as inspiration – the highest form of flattery – I grabbed my acrylics, a brush, and a bottle of white and started dabbling. Feel free to giggle but I am quite proud of them having not painted since I was 14! Give it a go yourself – you never know what might appear in front of you on paper!

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This is my first ever painting on canvas – it is now hung in my sunroom – signed – just in case it is worth a fortune after I am gone…

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Here is a frame I put up with my attempt at the top and Poppy’s brilliant interpretation below:

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Now these were quite scary – both were attempts at self portraits – far too much wine by this stage :)

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I then moved on to animals – it started out as a deer, then became a dog with Christmas antlers:)

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A cairn terrier – not sure where this came from but I had one called Macks as a child.

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This is probably the one that troubled my Husband the most when he saw my talent scattered on the kitchen table. I’m not sure about this one at all – the Devil, a Centaur or Mr. Tumnus?

devilAnd here I am wearing one of my favorite tees that inspired me to pick up the brush – head over to J.Crew where they are currently on sale with 30% off using code GIVETHIS – there are also some fabulous Crewcut versions for kids.

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T-shirt – J.Crew // Jeans – Zara (old) // Boots – Charcoal suede Newbury boots (similar here) // Cardigan – AllSaints (old but similar here and the end of season sale is on in the US)

I forgot to include this photo the other day of me grabbing some Christmas bargains in J.Crew for Poppy.

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Boots – Isabel Marant Dicker // Jeans – Diesel Fayza // Sweater – Boden Off Duty jumper (25% off everything right now) // Knitted coat – ASOS

Finally yesterday – it is getting a bit chilly for ankles but I am persevering!

12_9Shoes – Zara // Trousers – Zara (old) // T-shirt – J.Crew (similar here on sale) // Jacket – Zara (old) // Scarf – H&M (old) // Bag – H&M

So when you are wondering what to do on a cold winter’s night get your paints out and see what happens!!

 

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Christmas has arrived

Yes our household is now the proud owner of a tree. Our school doesn’t have a tree sale so we support another local elementary PTA each year and get our 9 footer from them. I refused to let the kids decorate last night as the tree was wet and I didn’t want them electrocuted while we were out. That didn’t go down well with them at all, so this morning I was verbally assaulted from 7am onwards with “mommy get up! We want to do the tree”…I tried to hide under the duvet after a late night out but it didn’t work. My kids are relentless.

Another sign that Christmas has arrived is that our elf, Maximus, has also returned. Lying in bed the other night, about to fall asleep, my Husband sat up with a start – ‘f*ck’ he said.

What, what, what?! Have we left the gas on? Have we forgotten to pay a bill? Have we left the children somewhere?

No – worse than that – he explained – “I haven’t moved the f*cking elf”

Mango 2 Mango jacketShoes – Gucci fringe loafers // Trousers - J.Crew // Tee – Zara (old) // Jacket – Mango // Bag – H&M

On Thursday I had my monthly trip to the salon. I wanted less length on top and went for a more textured look, along with a lighter color to highlight my faux hawk. I am pretty darn happy with how it turned out. I got to wear my new Boden Off Duty sweater. I absolutely love this year’s version – the knit is looser and it drapes nicely, the sleeves are also longer. It’s the perfect winter jumper.

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Shoes – Golden Goose (similar here on sale!) // Jeans – Zara // Sweater – Boden Off Duty jumper // Fur – Zara // Bag – H&M

Last night we went out for dinner – maybe our last night out together before Christmas what with parties, cheer competitions and the arrival of relatives. We had a fabulous evening as always. Stella joined me for the photo session but quickly lost interest.

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Dress – AllSaints // Boots – Stuart Weitzman Highland

I was very excited before we left as the tree had arrived!

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Today my elves have been dressing the tree while I hold the sofa down exploring our new Hulu service – I am obsessed with all the British shows we can now watch!

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Before I head back to the sofa make sure you check out AllSaints this weekend – their sale has started in the US and in the UK there is 20% off coats and leather jackets till tonight with code WINTER. Enjoy!

 

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An ode to Emmanuelle – again…

I have spent many evenings on Pinterest searching, pinning and ogling at her image…yes I think I could almost be classified as obsessed with her – ‘her’ being Emmanuelle Alt, the Editor of Vogue Paris. No matter how many times I see her image I just melt and think how easy she makes looking fabulous. She definitely has a formula but the pieces she wears are always simple and understated.

A jacket is a must – whether it be a fur, military style or simple blazer. Rarely seen in skirts she relies on ankle length jeans, harems and occasionally flares. Her shoes are always fabulous – simple courts, flat booties, over the knee boots or (currently what I am most obsessed by) lace or mesh booties – often peep toes. All paired with a simple tee or white shirt and a classic belt. Now why can’t I get it right?

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Personally I think my love of clothes i.e. having too many clothes…means that I overcomplicate outfits, either to a) wear items that have been neglected or b) just by over-thinking an outfit. I have a substitute for everything she wears (no surprise), so my challenge over the next few weeks is to just take it easy, breathe, and relax, and then transform myself into an elegant, effortlessly stylish Parisian ;)

Oh and if anyone spots some wicked lace booties holler! These are the closest I’ve found…I love them, but they look super high for tottering across the Place de la Concorde.

 

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Meanwhile back to reality here is what I have been wearing over the past couple of days. It’s blazing hot in Atlanta – how can it be 70 degrees on December 2nd? I’m not happy – a girl has furs and big coats to wear!

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Shoes – Office (sent by Eve!) // Jeans – Zara // T-shirt – J.Crew // Jacket – Mango // Scarf – H&M (old) // Bag – Zara

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Boots – Minnetonka // Trousers – Zara (old) // Sleeveless jumper – Everlane // Jacket – Gap (old – similar here)

So go on who is your style icon? I have more Pinterest boards to create!

 

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Thanksgiving

I had a lovely week with family and friends and I have overindulged. Our friends joined us for dinner on Thursday and I have to say I was pretty chuffed with how the turkey came out after brining overnight. Needless to say on Friday morning I felt like I had been soaked in a bath of salt and wine too, hence I didn’t get too involved or carried away with Black Friday :) In fact I had several items in and out of my Zara cart all day and didn’t buy any of them. I did succumb and buy the Off Duty jumper in charcoal and navy from Boden. I have a couple from previous years and love them so with 30% off I bit the bullet. I can never have too many jumpers!

Some of my favorite stores do still have great discounts this weekend carrying into Cyber Monday:

J.Crew – use HOLIDAY for 30% off and 40% off sale items till 11/30

Mango – use 5BLACK2 in the US and 5BLACK4 in the UK till 11/30

GAP are still offering 40% off everything in the US using code GIFT

Boden have 30% off using code 3K3G at checkout in the US and N9H6 in the UK

AllSaints – 20% off till Monday with promo code CYBER

ASOS have 30% off everything using TGIBF

Back on Tuesday we went to the movies to watch Hero 6 which was really good fun – popcorn and an empty theater – fabulous. I wore my fur as it was pretty chilly here in Atlanta.

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Sneakers – Golden Goose (on sale here) // Trousers – J.Crew slouchy wool jogger // Sweatshirt – Target (old) // Fur – Zara (currently in the Cyber discounted section!) // Bag – H&M (old)

Poppy and Hugh were very excited to get out of the house! Poppy is all in H&M except her fabulous red boots which are Boden – she hasn’t taken them off since they arrived!

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On Wednesday, once we had bought the 15lb turkey, we headed out for Mexican so we could prepare stuffing and cranberry sauce without feeling hungry!

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 Sneakers – Nike from J.Crew // Jeans – H&M (some washes just $14.95) // Jumper – J.Crew colorblock tunic // Coat – Mango

Today was spent walking and running with the dogs – time to detox before Christmas so hopefully I can still fit in some of my party wear! I am insisting however that we don’t even discuss Christmas in our house till next week when we get the tree. I need a week between celebrations to reset!

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Minnetonka

I love fringe and I love suede so what’s not to love about these adorable Minnetonka boots (available here in the UK)?

They come in 3 great colors and can be worn all the time as they are flat and versatile enough to wear with jeans, shorts and skirts. I have opted for the sand but it was a close call with the grey!

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Christmas shopping

I LOVE Christmas shopping – even more so since I can be so productive online. I really do try and put some careful thought into gifting at Christmas – especially as I forget so many birthdays throughout the year! Here are some of my top picks for the special people in my life – some purchased and some not and I’m not saying which as they are hopefully reading my posts!

I find it especially difficult to select presents for the men in my life. This year booze is top of the list. As my family are in the UK M&S are always the best bet as I can pay here and designate a UK shipping address, plus they have a great selection of beers and wines.

A case of Aglianico is superb value at less than £39. There’s also 25% off now if you buy 2 cases – one for you and one for a gift!

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Another very special person loves his beer. This gift will go down a treat. A mixed case of IPAs and ales.

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My nephews are still really little but M&S have some great gifts for kids. I love this Gruffalo t-shirt and I know someone who loves the animated movie.

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My sister is going to hate me for this one – but at least it’s not a huge jar of beads like we received last year!

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My niece is only 3 but she loves clothes and princesses – well what girl doesn’t. Here are my choices for her this year.

A beautiful skirt from M&S which is actually very similar to Boden’s applique skirts:

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Or I also love the idea of this craft set to build your own princess!

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For the Mom’s and sister’s in our lives how about some sleepwear. Sometimes it might feel too intimate to buy sleepwear but when it is ‘lounge wear’ I think it is fine – especially when it is cashmere. I have these from last year and wear them all the time in the winter in front of the t.v.!

Rosie pure cashmere trousers:

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If pure cashmere is a bit too much for your budget then these cashmere blend pants are also gorgeous and they have all sizes available – last year I had to trawl daily to grab a pair as they sold out so quickly.

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J.Crew are fabulous for sleepwear and many of their items have 30% off here in the US with code SHOPNOW.

I love their whisper jersey collection like these sleep pants:

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and this nightshirt:

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For some proper Christmas pyjamas that can actually then be worn all year round I just love these buffalo checked shorts.

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Knitwear is always welcome in my house and this colorblock tunic is new in at J.Crew – I especially love the poppy color but I couldn’t manage to grab an image of that so click through here to see it! This is the burgundy and navy – classic for this season.

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I’ve been having conversations with a friend about this side zip cable sweater. It is gorgeous and again is 30% off right now with code SHOPNOW.

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I love this rib stitch turtle neck in electric red – totally festive but not a Christmas jumper!

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This t-shirt is a great gift for a good friend – full of color and really unique. The Donald Robertson Dancing Ladies tee.

 

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Now for some extra goodies that I just love and will make great gifts – I would certainly welcome them!

For the traveler I love this passport cover:

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I know several people close to me who would love to carry their jewelry in this.

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I just love this cup – it is basically all I can manage to say before my morning cup of joe.

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This bowl is so unique and they also do dinner plates. Absolutely striking.

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For jewelry and accessories I adore a great fur scarf.

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Anthropologie always have great jewelry that I know many of my girlfriends would be thrilled to receive.

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With 3 dogs I have recently become somewhat of an expert in scented candles. I have several on my wish list for Santa. I think these from Anthropologie are gorgeous stocking stuffers.

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A long list but by no means exhaustive! What are you shopping for this year?

I’m off to chill out after a brisk walk with the dogs. We have a week off for Thanksgiving and the whole family is excited. It’s our favorite holiday of the year – yup we’re totally American.

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Trousers – J.Crew drapey wool sweatpants // Jumper – Uniqlo mohair blend // Sneakers – Nike from J.Crew (similar here) // Gilet – Zara // Bag – H&M

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Jumper – J.Crew (on sale plus 30% off with SHOPNOW) // Jeans – Diesel Fayza (on sale here!) // Sneakers – Nike from J.Crew (similar here)

 

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