New H&M treasures!

I always find H&M very hit or miss. I hate going into their stores here as it’s impossible to find anything – they stuff their racks full of items and there seems to be no rhyme or reason where they put stuff in the store. Having said that it is almost essential to go in the store and try things on as their sizing is SO random.

A lot of new items have just hit the website here – including the Studio Line. Stock up your cart – in the US you can get 15% off with code 1932 and apply free shipping with code 0040. I mentioned these boots the other day and the red still aren’t stocked in my size!

H&M boots

These are going to be really polarizing – BUT – imagine them with black cropped kick flares – I think they are da bomb!

black patent boots

These are lovely ankle boots and a great price – available in beige and navy.

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Their knitwear is FABULOUS – so many great choices – I wish it was cooler here so I can start wearing them now!

I ADORE this pink sweater.

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A softer pink mohair mix here – I have this in the baby blue too.

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Last year I bought a green sweater with a shirt tail hem – I love it – so much easier than wearing a shirt under a sweater but you get the same effect of layering. This one is similar and I love the wide cuffs.

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So a few winter items have been ordered – now I just need winter to appear here with gusto – I lose 2 weeks of cold weather too this Xmas as we are off to Costa Rica! Bring on the cold!

Today I am wearing my new H&M bomber jacket – it’s great quality and quite thick – I sized up for a looser fit to a US 12

jacket-2Shoes – Zara // Jeans – Zara (old) // T-shirt – J.Crew (old) // Bag – Stella McCartney // Jacket – H&M

Yesterday I dusted the Newburys off for the first time this season! I LOVE wearing them – they really are my favorite boot – comfortable yet high enough to extend the legs!

mangoshirt4Boots – Newburys // Jeans – Zara (old) // Shirt – Mango // Bag – Stella McCartney

Boot Porn

I love a good boot and I consider myself an early adopter when it comes to over-the-knee boots. Some are still skeptical about their ‘Pretty Woman’ association, or in the UK the ‘pantomime’ connotation. I gloss over this and simply enjoy wearing a long, thigh high boot with skinnies or a shorter dress, flashing a bit of flesh.

So to ‘fess up – here are those that I currently own:

2 pairs of the Stuart Weitzman 5050s – not too tall – basically just over the knee. These were the cult classic boot before the introduction of the Lowland. They have an elastic back and leather front – hence the 50/50…I have both the black suede and tan nubuck (no longer available unfortunately). Both are incredibly comfortable and I consider them my ‘practical’ OTK boots!

5050_BLASUE_12

black 5050

me tan 5050I’m also lucky enough to own 2 pairs of Stuart Weitzman Highland boots. The black were bought about 3 years ago and the grey were an addition last Fall. I adore these boots. Super leg lengthening, the perfect heel height and great with a dress. These go pretty high up the leg but are easy to put on. The suede is stretchy so I roll it down and pull up like a sock once my foot is in the shoe.

me black highland

me grey highland 2Then there is the Lowland in currant that I bought last year. A much louder color but great with jeans and big jumpers. The Lowland are the flat, more practical version of the Highland.

me currant lowland

Finally the other knee high boots that I own and adore were cheap as chips from Zara last year. They are knee high and have a great 70s vibe to them.

Zara boot

So what’s it to be this year? Yes I know – I don’t really need a pair but who ever said I bought something only on a ‘need’ basis?! There are several pairs that have caught my eye so far and I’m pretty sure I know which will be in my closet before Christmas.

The first pair is the Sam Edelman Josephine. These are knee high – but quite high like my Zara ones above. They are flat and have gorgeous fringe detailing. They are available in tan suede or black suede. Sam Edelman are now available on Net-a-porter.com too so tax free in the US!

Josephine tanThe next pair I absolutely LOVE! They are a higher version of the Josephine and have a block heel – the Sam Edelman Taylan. The tan is available on NAP here but I also love the modern ivory available here and here. They are so lovely and slouchy – I just LOVE them.

Taylan NAP

taylan tan

EC0217970_0_MultiAngleViewImage2_250x250And in steel grey here and here.

EC0217969_0_MultiAngleViewImage2_250x250The Sam Edelman campaign shows them worn super slouchy – just fabulous!

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Finally – my absolute lust after boot for Fall 2015. This is actually a ‘summer’ boot from Stuart Weitzman – the Rockerchic. It has the height of an OTK boot, but the slouchiness of the Taylan – a little more louche than the Lowland boot. Not to mention I LOVE the color fossil – not practical for snow I agree but hey how much snow do we get in Atlanta?

rockerch_fossue_12 rockerchicZappos.com also stock them in a saddle/tan color if you’re looking for that nod to the 70s.

rockerchic saddle

Neimans stock them in a cashew very similar to my 5050 nubuck boots, and black, so there is plenty of choice around!

cashew

Finally some outfit updates – an odd mix recently given the odd mix of weather we’ve had!

My lovely husband kindly suggested I was channeling Blackadder in my H&M blouse the other day! BTW H&M have 20% off and free shipping on all orders over $60 at the moment – use code 3204 at checkout.

Blackadder dayShoes – Marks and Spencer // Jeans – J.Crew // Blouse – H&M

leather skirt 2Ankle Boots – Rag & Bone canvas Newbury // Skirt – Mango (last year similar here) // Jumper – AllSaints Portland jumper (old) // Scarf – Zara (old)

ToutafaitSneakers – Stan Smith mid tops // Jeans – J.Crew broken in Boyfriend // T-shirt – Madewell final sale // Cardigan – ASOS last year (similar here)

 

My first shopping trip back in the UK!

Yes I’m here! Back in Bury! I had the quickest transatlantic flight ever on Thursday night thanks to 165 mile/hr tail winds! Unfortunately that meant there was little time for sleep on the flight so I spent yesterday feeling quite fuzzy and jet lagged. Nothing that a good sleep couldn’t fix thankfully. So this morning I was up bright and early ready to head into Bury with my Mum. The weather didn’t disappoint – snow, rain and wind as captured from the car this morning:

downloadFirst stop was M&S where I collected the flares that everyone is talking about. I haven’t tried them on yet but will keep you posted once I do. They are out of stock again online but Bury had several left on the racks in various sizes. Pop back online regularly too as when I ordered mine it looked like there had been a new delivery – so more may be expected. There is also 20% off online right now using this code FEB15EM till the 23rd February. By all accounts they fit true to size. (*update I got 12 regular and they fit great plus there are now 12s back in stock online!)

flaresI was really impressed with some of the clothes in M&S, even in our little Bury store. The shoes were what surprised me most though! These boots are such a fabulous ‘save’ version of my ‘splurge’ AllSaints Alba boot – just £39.50 compared to the more than $200 (in the sale too!) that I paid for the Albas. The M&S version are also available in navy.

platform M&S boots M&S boot IMG_1879 IMG_1878When wearing them you would be hard pushed to tell the difference – and just to prove a point here are my Alba boots:

Alba

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I snagged a great skincare bargain today as well with some Indeed Labs products. They are still listed at full price on the Boots website, but great value with the 3 for 2 offer. Plus the Hydraluron products in my local Boots store were all on clearance reduced to £12.50 from £24.99 AND they were 3 for 2 – so make sure you check out your local stores too!

Hydraluron-Moisture-Jelly Hydraluron

As for what I have been wearing – well warm clothes mainly! I left Atlanta under a snow warning at 15 degrees Celsius and arrived in Bury to sleet and snow so thank goodness I packed the woolies! I did wear my new flares from ASOS the other day for running errands before I left. If you don’t mind distressed jeans these are superb, great value at $38.50, and stretchy with quite a high rise – these are a 29 and fit fabulously.

ASOS flafresJeans – ASOS // Sneakers – Nike Air Max // Jumper – Boden

 They may not fit so well, however, after all the Monster Munch and pork pies that I am planning to consume while I am here 😉

 

Happy Birthday!

I love my friends but they sure can be a bad influence. Sue has introduced me to Everlane. Ironic as they don’t ship to the UK yet (except via me for Sue!). They are online only, with plans to ship internationally next year, and because they have no bricks and mortar their focus is on cutting costs for the consumer while providing incredible quality – which they do. I am a huge fan of their sweatshirts and cashmere.

Their short sleeve sweatshirt in particular is fabulous – a great boxy cut – and I think quite generous in size. They claim a medium is a US 4-6 but mediums fit me great I am definitely a US 8 on top. It comes in grey, black, navy and vanilla.

everlane short sleeve

 

Their cashmere is divine and a great price. I love their slouchy v-neck and now have 2 of them – the black will be on it’s way to me soon I hope! It’s beautifully cut with a longer back and plenty of drape. Again I am in a medium.

v neck sweater

 

IMG_9764Sweater – Everlane // Jeans – Zara // Boots – Newbury by Rag & Bone // Bag – Coach (old)

Today is my brilliant Husband’s birthday and we have just been for an indulgent lunch. Dinner has been postponed till all the Halloween celebrations this weekend are done with.

IMG_9781 IMG_9778 IMG_9776 IMG_9775Boots – Zara // Skirt – Mango // Jumper – AllSaints Haff 

Happy Birthday gorgeous!

 

How one ‘need’ can lead to another ‘need’ in a matter of moments.

I’m still debating with myself about the over the knee boots.  It’s now moved on from ‘should I get some?’ to ‘which do I get?’.  It’s a tricky one.  The choice rests between two Stuart Weitzman styles – the Stuart Weitzman Highland or the Stuart Weitzman 50/50.  Both over the knee but VERY different.  I actually could make an argument for both – which is the problem – because now I want both.  The Highland is long, sleek, heeled and sexy – definitely a going out boot, and the 50/50 is a low heeled boot, more practical looking, but still a gorgeous riding boot that could be worn during the day too.  My heart says the Highland, my head says the 50/50.

Black Topo

If I go for the 50/50 another multitude of decisions needs to be made – suede or leather, print or plain, and then what color? I love both the black suede and the topo suede.

5050

5050

Then look what arrived on the Bloomingdale’s site the other day!  This nubuck pair is divine – imagine them with bare, tanned legs and a dress.

nubuck

 

So that’s what I did – imagined myself with OTK boots and a dress.  Fatal.  That vivid imagination of mine led me straight to the ASOS site.  ASOS are killing me.  They are my new go to site when I am on the hunt for something.

For me the critical features that a dress must have to be worn stylishly with OTK boots are:

1. Slightly loose or flowy – nothing tight – way too hoochy mama with boots – think Pretty Woman.

2. Not too dressy – for the same reasons as above – let the boots do the talking.

3. Don’t show too much skin up top – no boobs or cleavage for Pete’s sake.  We’re looking at the legs not the tits.

4. Slightly shorter than the top of the boots – let at least an inch of flesh show between the boots and dress, either bare legs or opaque tights.  If you wear tights – make sure they are a slightly lower denier or color from the boots – you want people to see where the boots end – they are thigh highs and supposed to be a little sexy! (again just not Pretty Woman style)

Okay those are the rules – fairly easy to follow and easy to apply.  All I did was search for ASOS brand black or grey dresses and here are the all the dresses that I now cannot live without.  Especially once I have my OTK boots – whichever pair I end up with.  If I procrastinate any longer they will be sold out.  These first few dresses are lovely casual dresses that contrast brilliantly with the decadence of thigh highs.

I love this dress – I’ve seen a few sweatshirts with similar print.  This would be perfect with suede Highlands.

animal sweat dress

I’ve just ordered this sweatshirt dress – again perfect for wearing with a dressy heeled boot – I love the juxtaposition of the two together.

ASOS tunic dress

This jersey nepi dress is the PERFECT shape as far as I am concerned for thigh highs.  Nothing too OTT about the dress – it’s all about the boots.

Nepi swing dress

I love this skater dress for the same reasons.

simple skater dress

Remember what I said about no flesh up top.  This dress takes it to the extreme – gorgeous with short hair or long hair in a high pony tail, with the boots of course.

polo swing dress

Now this one bends the rules slightly – but there’s always one isn’t there?  With the flat 50/50s this would be perfect – here the top of the dress compensates for the lack of heel on the boots.

lace insert dress

This crack print dress fell in the mix purely because I adore the print – very Mint Velvet.  A perfect party dress with high or low heeled OTK boots.

crack print dress

Finally a drop waisted dress.  Pretty, flirtatious and no hoochy mama in sight.

dropped waist dress

So now the conundrum – which boots is it to be?  Choosing the dress will be easy then no?

As I head off to dream about thigh high boots here’s what I’ve been wearing the past couple of days.

I bought these Steve Madden boots so long ago that at the time it completely escaped me what fabulous Marant tributes they are!

Mango coat

Boots – Steve Madden Carlsen (old) // Trousers – Zara (old) // Sweater – Off Duty sweater Boden // Coat – Mango

IM collage

 

Jeans – H&M (old) // Tank – H&M (old) // Sweater – Zara // Boots – Isabel Marant pour H&M via eBay // Scarf – H&M (old) // Jacket – Zara

 

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My boot obsession.

You’ve all heard about it before – I love boots.  Can’t get enough boots as far as I am concerned, which is a shame given the climate I live in.  I can only really wear them for 4 months of the year – that was until I discovered my summer boots – the Newbury canvas boot.

Anyway we’re a long way from summer right now and it is wet, wet, wet here in Atlanta – all be it heading up to 70 degrees this afternoon – totally random weather.  Regardless ’tis definitely boot wearing weather, and though most people here drag out their ‘rain boots’ i.e. wellies when it rains I prefer to stick to ankle boots.  For me my wellies will only ever be worn when trampling across muddy fields, avoiding sheep shit, which rarely happens to me these days outside of Lancashire.

Thankfully at this time of year sales are bountiful – especially now retailers are gearing up to clear all their boot inventory ready for sandals hitting the stores in February!  One of my favorite brands is Sam Edelman.  I have a couple of pairs of his Petty boots which I love, plus a pair of Louie boots – I’m a sucker when it comes to a fringe.

Petty boots:

Petty

Louie boots:

Louie

p.s. for you Moms with gorgeous daughters out there Sam Edelman have a range of kids boots that I have never noticed before – I LOVE these for Poppy – also currently on sale!

kids louie

LOTS of his dressier boots are currently in the sale and here are my top picks pop pickers…

The Kenley boot – great buckle detail:

Kenley

The Mila boot – 50% off and very Isabel Marant – perfect with coated skinnies:

Mila

The Princeton boot – slightly lower but still a rocking boot with the laced back:

Princeton

I am OBSESSED with the fringe detail on the Mariel boot!  They are available in a gorgeous cream too.

Mariel

Here is another pair that my heart races for – the Martina boot – I adore the corset back of these – 33% off and still plenty of sizes available at Nordstrom.  I might order these just to try…

Martina

And here are my outfits this week – it’s been packed with work, tinsel buying and school projects – oh the glamor.  At least I got to wear an early Xmas present on Monday.

Per Una fur coat

Coat – Per Una Marks & Spencer // Jumper – Uniqlo men’s cashmere dark grey // Scarf – Uniqlo cashmere // Jeans – Zara Camo jeans (old similar here) // Boots – Black leather Rag & Bone Newbury boot // Glasses – Oliver Peoples Wacks

Tuesday was definitely a day where comfort came first:

Gap shirt

Shirt – The Gap // Scarf – Primark (old) // Jeans – Zara // Boots – Zara (old)

Now off to run more errands while it rains!

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Fall arrivals.

I get so excited when the Boden previews are launched – then EVERY season I regret placing a preview order.  They arrive way after everyone else’s orders that were placed at the beginning of the full season launch, as the orders are always shipped from the UK.  Remind me next time not to bother with the preview orders.  Anyway mine just arrived today.  To add insult to injury one of the large boxes (mainly my son’s Fall trouser collection) was damaged – it may even have been tampered with – and the Canonbury leopard clutch that I had sneaked in the order was missing.  There is now a delay on the clutch and I won’t have it in time for my birthday dinner this weekend – sob!

The disappointment was eased a little by the fact I adore the other two Boden items that arrived,  the Canonbury clutch in pink, and the stripy merino sweater in pink.

13WAUT_AM190_BPK 13WAUT_WK891_GRY_M01

 

The clutch is about the same size as the folded leather clutch from last season – but this season’s has great compartments inside – much better for organization.  It still comes with the detachable strap and the wrist strap so you can use it as a cross body bag or a clutch.  Now if only the leopard print clutch had made it!

IMG_7407 IMG_7408

The stripy merino jumper is a lightweight, box shaped jumper.  Great for transitional weather.  I love the colors and the elbow length sleeves.  The button back is okay – I think I’d prefer it plain like the front though.  This is a US 8 so I’d say it fits very true to size – it is slightly shorter than some may like.

Stripy Merino jumper

 

Now for some fun with shoes!  I am completely smitten with Zara’s new season collection, full of masculine silhouettes.  I was torn between two pairs of boots so ordered both to compare.  They are what I would call Fall boots – they aren’t really to be worn with socks so they’re the type of boot I can wear here till it gets really cold in late November.

The first is the suede pointed shoe boot.  Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea and I am still undecided.  I really want to love them.  They are proper winkle pickers – with the pointiest of points, but I do feel a bit dressed for Halloween in them…I think they will look fabulous with my tartan cropped trousers or with grey skinny jeans and a slouchy black jumper.  Bear in mind I am trying them with shorts here – not how I would ever style them!

Zara pointed shoe boot

 

The second pair are the sling back boots.  Much less aggressive looking and a nod to all the cut out boots we’ve seen this year.  They are fabulous quality and have a little western thing going on with the toe.  I think they will be amazing once the soften up.

Sling back boot

Both are in my regular Eur 39 and fit great.

So there you go – boots and jumpers while it’s 85 degrees outside!

 

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Airing the almost 42 year old legs.

Gosh that looks so odd to see it in writing – I’m 41 3/4.  I have to say I don’t feel what I thought almost 42 would feel like.  I certainly don’t see myself as old, or middle aged for that matter.  I still buy clothes that I like rather than what I, or others, think I should be wearing.  I just have a few extra greys that need covering each month.

So am I wearing a skirt that is too short for my age?  What do you think?  I didn’t consider it too short till just now.  I bought it based on the Michael Kors skirt I’d seen and I love the color.  I think it is the only yellow item I have in my closet though – it’s definitely not normally a color I gravitate towards.

Michael Kors $695 version:

MKB24EQ_mf

 

IMG_6228 IMG_6232 IMG_6211

Skirt – JCrew Factory // Boots – Rag & Bone Newbury boots // Shirt – JCrew Factory (similar here)

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M&S is calling.

Given my trip back to Blighty is now just over a month away I thought I’d have a quick peak at the Marks & Spencer’s website.  M&S and Boots are the two stores that I miss most over here in the States – they are so quintessentially British.  No matter that M&S takes an occasional bashing, I am still a die hard fan.  I inherited a love for all things M&S from my Mum, and whether I’ve bought knickers and bras, oversize men’s cardigans or my first career suits, I have loved everything from M&S that I have ever owned.  I remember walking into the Marble Arch store and being flabbergasted at the choices available versus our little store in Bury (which isn’t so little these days).  M&S have dressed me for every occasion from my church confirmation to my interview for my first City job to friends’ weddings.  I can’t wait to get back in there!  MM still laughs at my story of a business trip to Paris when I was the junior member of the team and I had to collect lunch for everyone – M&S butties for goodness sakes – in Paris!!

In the 12 years I’ve lived here M&S has had it’s ups and downs and has diversified it’s offering significantly.  The Limited collection is still pretty new to me but here are some items I have my beady eye on, again some are very ‘British’ and I like to wear things that you can’t necessarily buy here in Lenox Square Mall.

I love this crown print jersey tee – very patriotic and a great on trend color:

Anything with animals on always grabs my attention and this very English Bull Dog print tank will look great with a fun pair of shorts.

This bird print shell top is again very on trend and similar to a lot of prints I’ve seen on ASOS online.  I have to get my hands on this:

Finally I adore this bird cage print tee and it’s in the sale at 12 GBP (no idea where my pound sign is on my keyboard)!  I might have to get Mum to pop in this week and see if she can pick it up for me.  My only quibble with it is that I wish the print ran along the back of the tee too.

Finally I’m lusting after this Per Una necklace:

It’s very similar in style to the chunky heart necklace I’ve just been looking at in this month’s issue of Lucky magazine on Gia Coppola:

Hmmm maybe I better start thinking about keeping some space free in my bags?  The kids won’t need to take much with them will they?

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My summer makeup.

So summer is here to stay by the look of it.  Not only does this mean switching out my closets, but also my makeup bag.  I don’t tend to wear a lot of makeup – just foundation, concealer, eyeliner, mascara, blush and lip gloss normally.  I sometimes use a bit of loose powder too but I am starting to get more paranoid about it as I once read you should stay clear of it as you get older as it can settle in fine lines and age you.  I don’t remember where I read this or even if it holds true but it stuck with me.  I also don’t like a shiny nose and chin though, so that can present a dilemma.  That is until I discovered my new favorite product – Boots No.7 Shine Free.

For my US readers Boots is a fabulous UK retail store which I miss greatly.  They are probably best described as a cross between Ulta and CVS.  They began as a pharmacy, but I miss them for all things cosmetics plus their lunchtime sandwiches!  They have great store brands and my favorite is the No.7 line of cosmetics.  I always considered No.7 a splurge when I was younger especially compared to their 17 brand, which is cheaper, targeted to a younger market and as far as I am aware not available in the US.  Well I’m older now, plus living in the States where everything seems cheaper, including Boots No. 7 makeup, which can now be bought at Target and Ulta – hoooray!!  As I was tracking down my favorite No.7 Protect and Perfect Intense Serum, a white tube caught my eye that promised to leave me shine free – it’s now become a staple in my summer makeup.  I apply it after moisturizing and it goes on smoothly, though you can definitely feel it’s non-greasy and it has a different consistency to anything else I’ve tried.  As soon as it’s applied you are instantly shine free, with no discoloration or chalkiness, so you don’t even need to apply foundation if you, like me, prefer to be low maintenance in the summer.  It’s perfect and highly recommended.

Shine Free

So as I wander around shine free I’ve had two vastly different temperatures to deal with.  Yesterday was in the 80’s and today was only mid 60’s so it was back to the jeans.  As I’m growing my hair I’ve taken to just sweeping it back with some pomade while it’s still wet.  MM likes it but then a friend at the bus stop said I was channeling Pat Benatar – not sure that is a compliment.

Yesterday’s outfit was a fab Target dress from 2 years ago bought for probably $15, a J.Crew lightweight cashmere cardigan, my Frye Carson pull ons in fawn, and some lovely Ralph Lauren turquoise earrings that I got dirt cheap at Nordstrom Rack.

Today I was out and about in my Hudson Collin jeans, AllSaints plume jumper and Tory Burch Eddie flats in musk.  I love this plume jumper it’s really lightweight, super easy to wear and conceals any imperfections around the midriff – what more does a girl need?

Oh and I love the earrings I wore today.  Kenneth Cole does great quality, ‘urban’ style jewelry that is easy to wear and not overly distracting.