A new luxury.

So a couple of unusual events took place this morning and it isn’t even 9am here.

1.  I actually waited till payday to make a purchase

2. I bought myself a handbag

You may say number 2 isn’t that unusual given the couple of Boden leather folded clutches I have recently bought, BUT it is VERY unusual for me to buy a bag over $100 for myself.  My everyday, tote-it-all bag since August 2011 has been my YSL Roady.  Now I adore this bag, even though at the time I thought it was a crazy amount to pay for a single item.  But MM’s logic was vindicated – investment pieces really can be just that, and it has bought me great joy, and continues to.

In the YSL store in NYC – can you tell I was excited?:

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Now the only draw back of the Roady is it is black.  Being a seasonal gal and like to transition into the new seasons with new colors, fabrics and attire that is appropriate.  Hence, the black Roady just wasn’t going to cut it for SS 2013.  I had therefore promised myself an Alexander Wang bag.

Initially I had my eye on this beauty – the Rocco in tangerine.

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Yes it’s $850, but compared to many ‘it’ bags it really could be considered ‘reasonably priced’ – MM just balked at that idea…I guess my threshold for ‘reasonably priced’ is changing!  I adore the color and with all the brights this Spring it would be perfect.  But the conundrum is shouldn’t I have the basic, neutral colors in my bag collection before adding accents?

Then the moment arose when I stumbled on TheOutnet.com – not a site I frequented – but I am now smitten.  Created by the folks at Net-a-porter.com it is a virtual designer outlet.  And what was there waiting for me with my name on it saying ‘buy me, buy me’?  This stunner:

The Alexander Wang Diego:

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So not wanting to disappoint it I bought it at 45% off.  It’s the perfect color, shape and has two straps – it is now wending it’s way to me.

The tornadoes from last night are gone leaving awful damage in some parts of the State.  We just got lots of rain and wind, and this morning is the calm after the storm – gorgeous blue skies but cold.  Still I ventured outside for you this morning for a change of scenery.

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This is the Boden Fairisle jumper from AW 2012 – so snuggly and quite a few sizes and colors left in the sale – I sized up 2 sizes for a less fitted look.  I’ve layered it over an H&M fitted tank/dress, the jeans are Hudson Collins, and the boots are the Sam Edelman Louies.

Don’t forget it’s another Catch of the Day for Boden – today it is 25% off selected tops.

 

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The pantone of 2013.

“Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty
that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.” PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald color of the year 2013

Now I’m not typically a fan of ‘green’ though I have noticed that I am more and more drawn to it, in fact all bright colors in general.  I am in love with the color blocking trend for spring.  J.Crew and J.Crew Factory have some great, wearable options that follow the trend, for great prices too.  I’m currently lusting over this beautiful yellow mini skirt – a much cheaper option to the one seen in the Michael Kors Spring collection at $695!  I’ve promised myself it when I return from the UK, assuming I haven’t squandered all my earnings in Primark.

J.Crew Factory:

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Michael Kors:

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My new found obsession with J.Crew led me to these lovely café capris, again sale bargains at $30.  They were a risky buy as I purchased my ‘wannabe size’ and they’ve been hanging in my closet for a few weeks.  With some trepidation I tried them today and they fit!!  Hooray!!  Given it’s going to bounce up to the 70s again today, and that we are now in the last throws of January, I decided to celebrate and bring Spring forward on the calendar.

The blouse is Ann Taylor.  I NEVER shop there these days as I don’t have a ‘proper office job’ anymore.  As I wandered past the other day this blouse caught my eye.  It’s actually really similar to a J.Crew collection printed top that was crazy expensive (the photo floral print that is no longer available).  This Ann Taylor version was just $78, and currently they have a buy one get one 50% off on their new collection.  I was really impressed with what I saw – lots of great black and white prints and bright colors.

J.Crew Collection version:

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So here’s me today wearing the pantone of the year accessorized with the Zara black court shoes and my fabulous Boden folded leather clutch.

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Finally don’t forget it is Boden’s Catch of the Day again and today it is the turn of selected knitwear and jackets – you can get 25% off today so don’t delay!

 

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Preppy in pink.

First there is very exciting news from Boden – this week they are offering a Catch of the Day!  Each day, this week, a new category of clothing will be on offer at 25% off!  Today the deal is on women’s dresses, and boy’s and men’s shorts – grab them while you can!  The drop waist dress that I love is included so it may end up in my shopping cart today:)

Other emails that appeared in my inbox this morning included one from Net-a-porter.com.  It can be quite a dangerous thing being on email lists.  Sometimes I just try not to look – this morning I looked.  Fatal.  Rag & Bone have some beautiful new grey nubuck Newbury boots that I am lusting after.  I love how they have styled them on Net-a-porter.com with a dress.

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I also adore these Rag & Bone brogues in white.  Very cool looking for Spring.

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At $495 though, for the Rag & Bone brogues, this Boden option maybe better value – plus with the 15% off using my banner ads they are just $142.80.  Tempted, very tempted.

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Today I’m switching gears with my look.  After the 80s look from Friday I’m shifting today to a more refined, preppy look.  It’s nice to change it up a bit occasionally:)  The trousers are J.Crew café capris that I got for $30 in the sale, and the blouse is Target and absolutely fabulous for $20!  The belt is also Target and the shoes are Nine West from Zappos.com – currently on sale at $56, reduced from $69.

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So what do you think of the more refined look?

 

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Another night with the girls.

My New Year’s resolution is going well!  Last night I had my second night out with girlfriends this year and we’re still only in January!  It was a really fun night with some great neighbors.  The four of us all live within walking distance of each other, but rarely see each other all together, what with the eleven children between us.  So our wonderful Husbands provided childcare while we had a few cheeky cocktails and caught up with each other.

Now I am no wall flower when it comes to a night out, as you know, and the first thing MM said to me when he saw my attire was “well I’m sure it’s still 1987 somewhere”…I really am an 80s girl and it still clearly shows.  I wore Zara trousers, Forever 21 top, Zara jacket (from last summer) and the old, old Steve Madden Carlsen booties which are really coming into their own again at the moment (I found several on eBay.com here).  They work great with peg legged trousers like these.

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Now when I posted this photo on Facebook last night I got a very mixed reaction:)  That’s what I LOVE about clothes, and experimenting with them is fun!  I certainly made at least a couple of people smile last night, so the trousers were worth it just for that.

 

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Tweed with spots.

I was out and about yesterday volunteering at the school.  I got to read to the class – it’s quite intense – a group of 6 and 7 year olds is really a tough audience to please!  Then I spent 2 hours stapling – yes I feel like I have a repetitive strain injury.  It was fun though and interesting to have a peek into their world for a couple of hours, though schools still make the hairs on my neck stand up – I equate them with hospitals for fear factor.  Odd considering how long I spent in academic institutions!

This week I’m trying to wear my winter coats and jackets as often as I can as this cold snap won’t last forever.  Today it’s the turn of the Boden tweed jacket from AW 2011.  I love the pink and green combo of this jacket and the quality is outstanding.  It was a fabulous sale bargain – one of the rare times that I held out for the sales!  The shirt and scarf are also Boden from 2011 – the Limited Edition sassy stitch blouse is one that rarely gets worn as it is silk and I hate paying for dry cleaning!  I’ve decided it’s tragic to keep it hanging in the closet unworn.  The jeans are the Hudsons and of course the boots are the Pistols in mocha.  I just took a look and it appears net-a-porter.com has a bunch of new stock as most sizes are now available.  Taking a day off from the gym today – I can barely raise my arms to get dressed – so the glasses are on, the Oliver Peoples Wacks in blue havana matte.

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Thanks for all your book recommendations – much appreciated!

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A compelling read.

I love it when I pick up a new read and can’t tear myself away from it.  There is no better way to spend some down time than with a fabulous book.  American Psycho is just that – I truly can’t put it down.  Yes it is a controversial book, containing scenes of graphic violence and sex, but the narrative is breathtaking.  It was published in 1991 and is set in a narcissistic, greedy world of New York investment bankers (think Wall Street) and their ‘hardbody’ girlfriends.  Brett Easton Ellis’ talent lies in his ability to set the scene and and make it tangible through paragraphs filled with adjectives and detailed descriptions.  For a brand lover like myself it is heaven to be able to visualize every item a character is wearing, down to their Oliver Peoples.  It’s a book I’ll be sad to finish and I highly recommend it if you can stomach a few grisly scenes!

The Arctic blast has reached us here in Atlanta so time for some cashmere and fur (though fake!). I was hoping to change it up a bit and take the tripod outside this morning, but bbrrrrrr you’ll have to wait for that!  The jeans are my old faithful Gap black Always Skinny jeans – unfortunately my ability to describe the comfort of these jeans is not on par with the descriptive talents of Ellis – but believe me they are probably the most comfortable fitting jeans I own.  The jumper is a Boden cashmere roll neck from a couple of years ago but they still have plenty of options in their current clearance section.  The Dickers are out again and Net-a-porter.com has just received all their new stock so be quick!!  The belt is Gucci, which now fits perfectly hooray!

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Before heading out I threw on the relatively new Forever21 jacket – I think these fit to size and this is a Medium.  It’s really pretty good quality for Forever21 and even has a suede trim with pink lining – very cute.  Unfortunately I can no longer see it online to link to.

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And here’s the inspiration for the outfit, the splendid Ms. Moss:

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Let me know if you pick up American Psycho and tell me the best books you have read recently – I have a couple of transatlantic flights approaching soon!

 

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MLK weekend.

Just 2 weeks have passed since we all went back to school and work and now we have a long weekend.  I respect everything Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished, but I wish he had been born later in the year.  Fortunately we have had a weekend full of activities ranging from haircuts to birthday parties to NFL games to walking up mountains.

Friday was very indulgent and 3 hours of it was spent sitting in the hair salon.  You wouldn’t believe how much hair came off – when you have short hair it’s still amazing how much shorter it can go!

Saturday started with my ‘free weights’ orientation at the gym.  My very buff instructor obviously knew what he was doing.  The way he threw the weights around looked easy.  I’m glad he is a gentle giant – he genuinely suppressed his amusement when I tried to emulate his moves, and even when I struggled just to change the weights on the bars.  Everyone has to start somewhere I guess!  He did offer to ‘spot’ for me as it can be ‘dangerous if you get stuck under the weights’ – heaven forbid that level of embarassment ever occurs!

Later that afternoon, with arms still feeling like jelly, we went off to a party for the children.  Now earlier in the day I swear I had ballet flats on, but once the sun started to lose its heat my feet were so cold I committed the fashion sin of wearing ankle boots and socks with cropped trousers.  Forgive me – I was past caring at this point.  So here I am wearing my J.Crew sale bargains that I got in NYC – the herringbone café capris (currently there is 40% off final sale prices using the code Get40).  I wore them with lots of Boden including the Must have jumper, the chic leather jacket and the Lightweight scarf in Multi Meadow is from the Spring collection.  I love the combination of bright and nude pinks.  The boots are the Guess Cardio – currently in the sale on Zappos.com!  (Remember to check out the Boden site again this week as there are new items with 20% off from the Spring collection that will stack with the 15% off with my banner ads).

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Yesterday the Atlanta Falcons had a major game to play – victory would result in a trip to the Superbowl for the first time in years.  Of course we didn’t win – but for a while it was fun believing we might.  I enjoyed a couple of beers watching the big screen and holding the sofa down – the game was closer than we thought it would be, which made it harder to lose:(

There’s been a lot of discussion on my friends’ blogs regarding boyfriend jeans recently and the quest for the perfect pair.  Kat at Doesmybumlook40 has written a couple of great posts with some good reviews, and Sue at SusieSoSo has also just posted on them – we’ve all added our 2 cents worth in comments.  I have 2 pairs of boyfriend jeans, both bought from Gap, bought in the sale about 3 years ago.  They still have the ‘sexy’ boyfriend jean – but I haven’t tried them on so can’t compare the cut to the ones I own.  I sized down in mine – a US 2 – there is no way in hell I am a US 2 – but it still makes me smile when I put these on:)  I just noticed too that Gap here in the US have a 30% off online code that ends today – GAPDEAL is the code.  I love my jeans – I roll them a couple of times at the ankle, and they are slouchy enough around the waist and butt without being, in my eyes, unflattering.  The Heartbreaker jumper is another J.Crew sale bargain, worn over a Boden Hampton t-shirt.  The ballet flats are the fabulous VInce Camuto fawna flats – again a sales bargain from over the Holiday period.  The croissant/pink color is still available in the sale in some sizes here at Nordstrom.

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Now off to enjoy this extra day at home we have…I’m going to start it with a run then who knows what fun will ensue!

 

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21 years later.

My final repost for now – dedicated to MM – thanks for all your love and support xx

First published May 2nd 2012:

21 years ago today MM and I became an ‘item’.  I’d known him for a while beforehand but a romance with him, quite frankly, had never crossed my mind.  He is 5 years older than me and back then, at the tender age of 19, a 24 year old PhD student seemed well out of my dating league.  We met while we were both students at the University of St. Andrews.  He was studying for his PhD in Byzantine History and I was doing my undergraduate degree.  We both worked in The Central bar where I knew him as somewhat of a ladies man, schmoozing the female punters with his extensive vocabulary, sardonic sense of humor, and couldn’t care less attitude.  That was until May 2nd 1991.

I was in the university library studying for exams when I saw him sauntering down the corridor in his laissez-faire manner.  I kept my head down not wanting to have an awkward conversational encounter with him but in the corner of my eye I could see him approaching.  I made a couple of whispered, flippant remarks and he asked if I’d be in the bar later.  Well of course I would be – even when I wasn’t working pulling pints of 80 Shilling I was in there enjoying a Newcastle Brown – so I thought nothing of it.  Later that afternoon when my brain was overloaded with glycolysis and other fun stuff, I perched myself in the corner of the bar by the water tap – my usual spot.  MM wandered in not long after – he lived upstairs so was often popping in for his caffeine fix in between translating Ancient Greek texts.  He looked surprised to see me there so early and I was equally surprised that he sat down next to me with his Gualoises legers and ordered a drink.  There were plenty of his football buddies around so why would he choose to sit with me?  I was just someone he worked with?  Our mutual friend S. was working behind the bar and at this stage he offered me a large Moscow Mule – why not I thought – it was a thirsty Thursday after all.  Time passed, cigarettes were smoked, laughs were had, the bar filled up and S. kept the drinks flowing.  Now it is 21 years ago and the blue label makes it a little hazy, but for some reason we must have started flirting a little and before I knew it MM was standing on his bar stool telling me and every Yah in St. Andrews that he was ‘infatuated’ with me.  I was caught quite off guard.  Little did I know that he and S. had been together all afternoon plotting some kind of rendezvous with me.  It appears he had ‘fancied’ me for sometime – which completely blew me away as, as I mentioned earlier, my romantic radar (which was always operational) hadn’t even detected him as a potential suitor.  Well as the story goes we embarked on a very intense love affair walking the beaches of St. Andrews and then of course drinking in the many bars to keep warm.  The summer of 1991 led to a separation due to summer jobs and then I went off to Lisbon for 3 months to study.  In those 3 months, in the days before easy access to email, he wrote a long hand letter to me EVERY day.  I kept those letters for years but they were lost when some containers were stolen on the move to Atlanta.

Through all the ups and downs (mostly ups) of the past 21 years he is still my best friend, the love of my life and he can still irritate the hell out of me!:)

We truly are evidence that opposites attract and you could not pick two people more different to fall in love:

1. He is a Southerner from ‘posh’ Cheltenham and I am a Northerner from ‘not so posh’ Bury.

2. He had traveled extensively and lived abroad, I didn’t visit London until I was 22.

3. He is incredibly well read and still reads The Economist every week cover to cover, I grew up on Enid Blyton and enjoy my US Weekly every week.

4. He was a history student, I was a science student.

5. He is terrified of conforming, I am terrified of not conforming.

6. He’s very secretive, I have never kept a secret.

7. He saves all his money and then buys lavish gifts, I spend all my money on me.

8. He never raises his voice, I yell.

9. He doesn’t ever worry about not making an effort with people or people not liking him, I am a people pleaser.

10. He is Scorpio, I am Leo.

Over the years he has learned to conform a little and I have enjoyed not conforming a little more, so as in all good relationships we have met in the middle – if not a little closer to my side – I don’t like to compromise too much:)

My Man back in 1990 standing in Ajax football stadium with the University of St. Andrews football team.  From Left to Right: Martin (one of our Best Men), my Brother-in-law (our other Best Man), and MM in his usual get up back then of ripped Levi 501s, red Converse boots, bandana and oversize cardigan. 

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14 years!

Another from the archives.

First published September 19th 2012:

MM and I have been married 14 years today!  I remember it all vividly.  The location was The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, West Yorkshire.  Neither of us are from anywhere near there – we just wanted a beautiful location and I was obsessed about having a venue that didn’t look like a conference room – I didn’t want “any metal legged chairs”!  We were living in London at the time and we had our hen and stag nights the week of the wedding.  Madness in hindsight.

My hen night was at Kensington Place – a great restaurant in Notting Hill – on the Wednesday night.  I then traveled North back home with my Mum and sister on the Thursday, whilst the boys congregated in London for the stag night.  They traveled up to Skipton on the Friday morning – with Martin, one of the best men, having to side step out of the ticket line to throw up, before getting on the train.  I still feel awful for anyone who was in that line that day!

Friday night was spent at the Devonshire Arms.  I promised myself not to drink – that promise lasted 2 minutes – and a party ensued as all our guests arrived – some we hadn’t seen for a while.  Not a good idea to get carried away on excited energy the night before you get married!  I didn’t sleep a wink that night and I remember sharing a room with Jo, one of my bridesmaids.  In the corridors I could hear MM and his brother howling and giggling – I knew it was going to be a tough morning!

I headed off at the crack of dawn with my Mum and sis to get our hair done.  I felt rough as a badger’s arse but ridiculously excited!  The champers at the salon soon had me buzzing again and it was off back to the hotel to get dressed.  Now remember this is the 19th September in West Yorkshire – all bets would be on rain and clouds but the weather was stunning!  Blue skies and sunshine – in fact a little too warm for some dehydrated folks:)  Later I heard it was quite a miracle that MM made it to the ceremony at all.  He had gone to work off some of the previous night’s excesses in the gym, having forgotten his sneakers he ran barefoot on the treadmill and went flying off the back of it, then he tried to walk downstairs in his flip flops, spilled his cup of water and went flying again!  I’m giggling as I write this – talk about the excesses of youth!

I walked in with my Dad to Pachelbel’s Canon and Simon read The Owl and the Pussycat and we were done!  Mr and Mrs – as easy as that.  The great thing about our venue was that no one had to go anywhere as we used the same room for the ceremony, the reception and the disco.  Our first dance was to ‘Love me Tender’ but I remember the dance floor clearing later too as we whirled each other around to ‘Satisfaction’ by the Stones.  There are some amazing photos of MM and his mate dancing and stripping – yes stripping though not naked thankfully – to ‘Bad to the Bone‘ – many chins were on the floor at this remarkable scene – my Dad’s for one.

The following day we made our way back to London elated, and then on the Monday we jetted off to Northern Cyprus where we traveled with back packs and a jeep for 2 weeks – bliss.

After 14 years and 2 kids not a day goes by when he doesn’t make me laugh – at him or with him:)  Happy Anniversary my lovely.

The photo on my desk!:

Now off to Bacchanalia tonight for a tamer celebration than 14 years ago!

Today’s outfit is all Zara!  TRF blue pants, t-shirt and jersey blazer worn with my Tory Burch Eddies.

 

 

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