2 dresses in 2 days.

I’m trying to find my running mojo again.  After a couple of months off, due to injury, getting back into the swing of things is tough.  My motivation seems to have buggered off.  After picking the Christmas tree out this morning I headed home with the intention of doing not much at all.  On my way back though I saw several runners and walkers out and about enjoying the cool air.  Suddenly I was attacked by a pang of guilt and no matter what I did I couldn’t shake it – I had to go out for a run.  So I did.  It was hard work but I did it and enjoyed it a bit.  Now I need to climb that hill back to where I enjoy it a lot – fingers crossed the stamina returns quickly.  Billy Joel helped me find my rhythm this morning – I really need to play him more.

Without a doubt connected to the lack of running, my choice of clothing has been driven more and more by comfort recently.  Another reason to get the running shoes back on otherwise half my closet won’t fit anymore.  I don’t wear dresses/tunics nearly as often in the winter as I do in the summer – not sure why as with a pair of tights and boots a knitted dress can actually be warmer than wearing trousers.  Yesterday I wore the Boden smocked tunic dress with M&S cable knit tights (mailed by Mum last winter!) and my Frye Phillip studded harness boots.  Now admittedly the tunic may not be the most flattering item of clothing I own, but I still like it a lot.  It is incredibly soft and really easy to wear.  Unfortunately most of the smaller sizes are currently sold out here – but definitely worth stalking – I’d suggest going down a size too if you are between sizes as it is generous.  On another note Boden have 35% off party pieces until midnight on Sunday – worth a look if you have some fun festive parties approaching!

Now yesterday I made quite a commitment to Poppy – I promised her we would make our own salt dough ornaments.  Yes my first foray into crafting – clearly I am losing my mind.  Once again I am all talk and no action – we’ve baked 6 so far…not enough to decorate more than 2 branches on my 8ft tree.  I’m trying to relax and not get too involved – but aaargh how difficult can it be to roll some dough out evenly…?  Step away from the children and leave them to it!

Anyway in my eagerness to be well prepared and collect salt, flour, acrylic paints etc. etc. I headed off to Target.  Fatal.  It took me 45 minutes to get past the clothing section.  Somehow this incredible beauty jumped into my cart – in both colorways too.  Now forgive me if I am wrong but it is incredibly similar in style (if not a complete copy) to the AllSaints solstice dress that retailed at a fair bit more than this Converse number at $30!  Rather happy with it it has to be said:)

I teamed it with H&M leggings, Newbury boots and then an old H&M scarf and my Zara quilted leather jacket.  I feel polished but comfortable…perfect!

I also walked out with my festive t-shirt for Christmas day!

Will have some exhibits regarding the tree and homemade ornaments soon hopefully! x

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Decorating.

I’m sorry but I hate decorating for Christmas.  I love the end result – but hate putting it all up and then taking it all down.  I just want the tree to magically appear perfectly dressed.  We always get our tree from a local school that uses the tree sale to raise funds for the PTA and each year we’ve had a beautiful 8ft pine in the house.  Now an 8ft tree takes a lot of decorating and for someone who is a tad OCD that is a lot of lining up, leveling, and gaps to fill to make sure that the ornaments and lights are appropriately positioned.  Nay fun for neither me, or the folks around me who have to deal with my OCD.  I love the idea of us all decorating it together, as a family – but in reality it gives me palpitations and anxiety beyond belief – especially if one area of the tree is overloaded with ornaments at Hugh’s height – meaning they are not located equidistant from one another around the tree.  Last year I actually left the country to avoid decorating the tree.  I happened to be in the UK and though I tried to provide instructions and directions via Skype, in the end I had to let MM take control and get on with it.  The tree arrives on Friday and both children are so excited to help decorate – the control freak in me is tempted to do it all before they get home – but that’s just mean isn’t it?

Yesterday I was late and dashing around so had to do a quick iPhone shot for you.  Jane left me a comment the other day about the AllSaints Bonny Cuban boots so I dug them out from the bottom of the boot pile.  They are a fun boot with plenty going on, what with fringes and buckles – they are also pretty darn comfy.  I love the taupe color they have in stock now too.  Building from the ground up I went with the Zara emerald green jeans, AllSaints Wasson dress layered over an H&M t-shirt dress, topped off with the Zara camouflage scarf and the Zara quilted leather jacket.  Perfect for a cold, comfy Tuesday.

You all know that I am a fan of Zara’s harem pants.  I wore these back in June then these here more recently.  They are definitely not to everyone’s taste – but personally I love them as an alternative to skinny trousers and jeans.  The only issue I have with these pairs is that they are quite dressy and silky – not ideal for office wear – well not in my very relaxed office anyway.  Fortunately I found these herringbone pants – less harem – more just cuffed trousers – but they are so comfy, and even better they are warm – plus they have an elastic waist!  I think they will be great for traveling in as an alternative to sweatpants.  Today I paired them with a Zara camo top (my I do like my camouflage), Sam Edelman Petty boots in burgundy (they appear to be sold out on Zappos.com after Cyber Monday) and a Zara scarf.

Have you got your tree up yet?  Do you decorate as a family?

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Embracing routine.

I always know that I’ve had a great break when I wake up wide eyed, bushy tailed and ready to get back into a daily routine.  I’m not denying that it was tough getting out of bed at 5.45am this morning but after a strong cup of java I was ready to rock and roll.  Now can someone just explain to me why children sleep in when they need to get up and yet get up with the birds when they can stay in bed?  My two had to be well and truly peeled off their beds this morning but I’m always thankful when there is no grouchiness – adults and children were all smiles this morning…it won’t last.

I’ve already had a very exciting morning – I’ve just bought tickets for myself – yes just me, myself and I – to head back to the UK in February.  The first quarter of the year is always a great time to plan a trip as it is normally quite an uneventful time of year after all the frivolity of the Christmas period.  I’ll be spending my time with family and friends and traveling between the North West and London – I cannot wait!  There is something so freeing traveling alone.  I love my family vacations, but traveling under my own steam, and doing what I want and when I want is very indulgent.  Oh and there might be some shopping to do too!  Yay!:)  It’s going to take me till then to decide what to pack too as I’ll be meeting up with a bunch of very stylish ladies – more on that at a later date I promise!

On Saturday night MM and I had a lovely date night – well it started out lovely.  We went to see Skyfall which I have to say was amazing – Mr. Craig with a bit of stubble was quite luuurvely and Javier Bardem was the best baddy ever!  We then had plans for dinner – unfortunately a flat tire made it a tad more stressful than anticipated so my appetite had dwindled by the time we sat down to eat.  The pinot noir and sticky toffee pudding made everything better though.  Oh and the new Isabel Marant Dickers put a spring in my step too.  I wore them with some Gap camouflage jeans bought a few years ago – but I love them as the camo print is really dark and very subtle.  The sparkly jumper is the Skye jumper from Boden – perfect for a bit of snuggly bling and a night at the movies, and I layered it over an H&M t-shirt dress for warmth.  The scarf is also an oldish H&M purchase.  Boden, by the way, have 30% off till tonight!

Today ’tis freezing again so I opted for my coated skinny jeans, black knitted tunic dress and scarf all from H&M (and none of which I can find on the rubbish US site), with my Rag & Bone Newbury boots – yes my feet are very happy with me right now – though my pocket book not so much.  Better do some work and earn some money before that trip to the UK:)

I’ve had some great emails for Cyber Monday but as I clearly don’t need any new clothes or boots I have not indulged.  Have you treated yourself yet?

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Santa at the Zoo.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of days what with the Thanksgiving festivities.  Now the children are getting older I have to say it is getting more and more enjoyable.  It was fun watching Poppy hooked on the Thanksgiving Day parade while I was getting the turkey ready to go in the oven.  We were all very organized and sat down to eat early at 1.30 – at the request of MM so that he could justify eating leftovers later in the day.  In the evening we cracked open the box set of The West Wing – my those first episodes look dated now – but it was thoroughly enjoyable accompanied by a bottle of Barolo.

Yesterday we headed to some friends for their annual post Thanksgiving party that includes BBQ and a fun jam band.  The kids had a blast and let off some steam and I talked and talked all afternoon.

This morning we were up at the crack of dawn for a visit with Santa at the Zoo.  Now I know Santa is a busy guy at this time of year – but come on 8.30am??!  At least we had cookies and hot chocolate to warm us – it is freezing here today!  I’m now enjoying some alone time while everyone else is at the park riding their bikes.  It’s bliss – I’ve got the coffee pot on and Radio 2 playing and I may go and hold the sofa down for a minute or two:)

Poppy was very excited to select her perfect outfit for Santa this morning:

Hugh joining in the fun, somewhat under duress:

The all important lists which were an exercise in patience for Mom:

Hugh explaining to Santa that he is just going to stand next to him – under no circumstances is he sitting on his lap – smart boy:

Me wrapped up for the first winter day in Atlanta – my new Boden Iona coat which I love, over my Boden Must have jumper in blackberry, layered over a Hampton t-shirt (mine is a 2011 version), my Hudson skinnies, Frye Phillip studded harness, and snood/infinity scarf what ever you call them and wrist warmers are from H&M.  The bag is my ever loyal and trusty YSL Roady (couldn’t find a link to mine with the sting ray handle).

Believe it or not I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday – even though I had lots of fabulous offers arrive in my inbox – some of Net-a-Porter’s were very tempting – but I resisted.  Did you get anything?

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The Fourth Doctor.

The thing about blogging is that when you have so many stylish friends in the blogging community, almost every day, in someone’s new post, I see an item that I want too!  The other week it was Avril at SchoolGateStyle.com.  I have rediscovered my passion for scarves since knowing Avril – and not only does she have a great selection but she wears them well.  My Nana taught me how to knit when I was little – I wouldn’t know where to start now – but I distinctly remember knitting a ‘Dr Who’ scarf – I was the Tom Baker generation and a big fan of the 4th Doctor…Anyway before I digress into complete geekdom the point is Avril was wearing this fabulous 8GBP scarf from Matalan here the other week.  A quick email to my Mum and Bob’s your Uncle – a week or 2 later I have one too!  Thanks Mum:)

The colors are perfect – this year’s burgundy with navy, blush, yellow and grey – and it is SO long!  I wore it the other day to the park with my AllSaints sweater, from a couple of years ago, layered over my Boden velvet henley in rose that I just love – it’s really soft and fits great.  The jeans are my Hudson Collin skinnies and the boots are the Frye Jenna studded.  The specs are my lovely Oliver People Wacks in matte blue havana.  A great outfit for a cold day – only problem was that as we stood cheering Poppy on, successfully riding her bike with no training wheels (UK – stabilisers), the sun was beating down and the temperatures rose to 70 degrees – no one else, oddly enough, was in their Dr Who scarf:)

Have been studying other ways to pose in front of the camera – as you can see my current favorite is ‘Looking at your feet’.

I’ve just released the turkey from an amazing smelling bag of brine and herbs.  It’ll be going in the oven in an hour or so and then I can open a bottle of bubbly:)  HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!

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Green and tan.

I’m loving having nothing to do.  Right now I’m sitting drinking a delicious coffee while the kids are sweeping out the garage – and they’re giggling while they do it!  Perfect!  Radio 2 is blasting out Maroon 5, the sun is out and we’re off to the park shortly to practice riding bikes without training wheels – let’s hope that doesn’t start any tears of frustration from the children or the grown ups!

I have a lot of khaki in my closet and I’m really enjoying wearing my fatigues:)  These are the Zara skinny cargo pants that are lovely and soft and really comfortable.  I’ve layered a Zara khaki t-shirt under an H&M square cut grey sweater.  The camouflage scarf is also Zara and it is so soft and snuggly – my local store resembles an army supply store right now!  The jacket is the Boden leather jacket, from a Spring 2011 I think – I love this color and the leather is so soft – it also coordinates perfectly with my Ash Bowie sneakers.

Zara may have a lot of khaki right now but they are now starting to get their new items in store and online.  I’ve got my eye on this tartan suit – and yes I would wear it as a suit, with my new black Dickers – more on those later:)

This coat is also on my radar – I love it.

Look out for their color blocking too – especially in black and white – it’s stunning – really eye catching.

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Off to join the circus.

We had the most amazing day yesterday.  To start the Thanksgiving Holiday I got tickets for us to see Totem by Cirque du Soleil.  Each year they put up a Big Top down in Atlantic Station, and I’ve always wanted to go, but in previous years I’ve been aware that the children were just too young to sit though it.  This year though at 4 and 6 – I thought it was worth taking a chance.

I got the cheap seats – which as it turned out were not bad seats at all.  As it is in a Big Top it is really intimate and wherever you sit you have a great view as everything takes place in the ring below and in the air above.  It was a thrilling show.  Years ago my Mum and Dad used to take me to Blackpool Circus, and it took me back to the good old days of acrobats and clowns, like Charlie Cairoli.  In fact I was reminded of the year we went for my birthday and I was invited down to the ring to meet Charlie – fantastic until panic set in when I had to find my seat again – I had no idea where my Mum and Dad were sat when I looked up at what seemed like a million spectators!  A couple of years ago I took Poppy and Hugh to see Ringling Bros. circus – I have to say I HATED it.  The use of animals and the look of sheer misery on their faces turned me completely off it.  I swore I’d never go to another circus with animals again.

I left Totem wondering why we had left it so long, the four of us watched the whole show spell bound.  At some points in the show I was so in awe of their performances I was moved to tears – yeah I’ve said before I cry easily.  The whole performance including the music was incredible.  When they gave their encore at the end, all dancing together and grinning ear to ear, it took all my will power to stop me jumping up and running down there to join them.  Surely there’s a job for me with them doing something?

It turned out to be a stunning day here too – and MM giggled asking me whether I was off to the circus or the opera when he saw me wearing my new faux fur from Target🙂  I love it and wore it over my Boden slouchy merino jumper and Gap black jeggings (of which they now have some gorgeous colored jegging cords).  The boots are my favorite Fryes – the Jane Tall Cuff – which I never wear cuffed and the scarf is from Zara.

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Another swim meet…

So I’ll be sitting in the gym all afternoon waiting for events #21 and #33 again!  At least I’ve bought my tailgating chair this time so I won’t get corners in my bum sitting on the floor.

Before I dash out to cheer her on I have time to quickly share my outfit with you today.  I just love this jumper – it’s H&M – one of my favorite brands of this Fall season – their knitwear has been especially good in my opinion.  This is just 20% cotton and 5% wool with the rest a mix of viscose and polyamide – but it is remarkable soft and warm (if a bit creased here!) – and at $25 a pretty good buy in my eyes.  I love the contrast pockets – and even MM remarked how he liked them.  Unfortunately I can’t see it online but it will be in the Divided section in store. I’ve layered it over the H&M black tank dress – which I have in a couple of colors – it’s perfect for layering and smoothing bulges:)

The leggings are my favorite black pants right now – they are faux leather at the front and ponte at the back.  Now I never thought I’d wear faux leather – some of it is just too plasticky – but these Zara leggings are great – really comfy and perfect to wear with a big knit.  I love how they can be dressed up or down.  Today I chose to wear them with the Ash Alex wedge – well I will be in a gym so I need to wear sneakers surely?

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It’s Holiday Time!

Yay my Thanksgiving break starts today!  I will no doubt be doing bits of work from home over the next week but it’s lovely knowing the children will be home and we are schedule free for a week!

Today I have to plan my shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.  There’s only four of us admittedly but we all have different ‘favorites’ that we want with our Turkey, whether it be roasted beetroots and shallots (MM), roasted parsnip (me) or carrots (the kids!).  We always make too much but somehow it all gets used in the following days as turkey butties or turkey curry!  As fairly new Americans we are enjoying creating our own family Thanksgiving traditions and that includes cheesecake for dessert:)  Fortunately we always head out for a long walk on the Friday to work it off.

I was in Target the other day buying craft supplies for Hugh’s Thanksgiving Turkey project (yes – I know – I do not craft – but I am now armed with glitter, pom poms and felt).  I happened to wander through the clothing section as you do.  For a split second I removed the blinders (blinkers – for the UK readers) and spied this beauty.  OK I didn’t just spy it I bought it.

It’s a gorgeous blush pink, fake fur jacket – and looks lovely on.  It certainly looks more than the $49.99 I paid for it – but don’t stand near any naked flames in it.  I have some blush pink jeans and with taupe boots it will work a treat.  Even with regular blue denim skinnies and a white t-shirt it will add that little something different.  They also have it in cream but I love the blush color and it will go with lots in my closet – justification done.

Today I’m wearing comfy clothes for a day of pottering around town and running errands.  I love the H&M knitted dress – the stripes are great colors and it is really quite warm.  I’ve worn it with my Boden brown leggings and Zara burgundy scarf.  Today’s boots are last year’s Steve Madden Carlsen taupe boots.

What are your novel Thanksgiving traditions?

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Why I love Boden.

I’ve been wearing Boden since summer of 2009 and was, like many, introduced to their women’s line when I started buying Mini Boden for the children.  Their fabulous patterns and easy to wear cuts were what first appealed to me, and all my initial purchases were tunics, perfect as summer dresses here in the summer heat.  I have to say I was completely oblivious to any of the negative connotations that tend to be associated with the brand in the UK.  Some adjectives I’ve heard used are a long the lines of ‘frumpy’ and ‘mumsy’ – we all know the stereotype.  In my opinion though – and I am as guilty of this as anyone else – any item of clothing can be worn badly, or in an unflattering manner.  The art to dressing and keeping clothes stylish is in choosing the right shapes for your body and then styling them so they represent you.

I’m not convinced I’ve articulated myself well, but let me use myself as an example.  I am definitely not what I would consider ‘frumpy’ or ‘mumsy’ (feel free to shatter my illusions) but I wear A LOT of Boden.  Sometimes I wear all Boden, sometimes just an essential t-shirt layered under another brand’s sweater.  I pick items that I know can be styled and worn in what I consider to be a more ‘on trend’ fashion (in danger of disappearing up my backside here but bear with me).  Other times however, I want to look a little more conformist and will intentionally dress a little more staid, a prime example is for a PTA meeting when I want to ‘blend in’ (though I am feeling less and less like conforming for these events, and being more and more the ‘eccentric English bird’ that I am).  Boden works for all scenarios.

When I select an outfit I tend to pick one key piece that I want to wear then build the outfit around that item.  Today I wanted to wear my lovely Boden stripy jumper.  I had no idea that the entire ensemble would end up being Boden – in fact come to think of it brand plays little or no part in whether an item is picked from the closet that day.  The grey jumper led me immediately to look for some colorful trousers – of which I have many – but I picked out the Boden cyclamen skinny jeans (SS 2012) today, because randomly I had already applied a purpley pink lipstick!  The grey chic biker jacket (SS 2012 – sold out online) seemed like a no brainer with these two items.  The only non-Boden items are the H&M vest dress layered under the jumper for warmth, the Guess Cardio boots and the scarf which I was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law a few years ago.  Together I think this is a really fun outfit and a great way to take summer jeans into winter.  I feel anything but frumpy.

So again Boden I thank you for providing great quality, stylish, classic items that can be worn by women of any age and in her own style.  Your prices aren’t too bad either with a discount code;)  I’ll always have a soft spot for you – I just hope to see more tunics appear for SS 2013!

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