2013 family vacation is underway.

We made it!  I have to admit I was exhausted before I even got on the plane.  Hugh and Poppy were so excited that the first thing they asked at 7am was ‘are we going yet’.  Only another 12 hours of waiting, and answering that question then!  Finally we were on our way, bags packed with what I know to be way too many clothes – I even managed to sneak some extra shoes in their bags;)  For the first time we actually departed from the new Atlanta International terminal.  In the past we have checked in there and then had to get the airport train all the way back to the old terminals which just seemed like a complete waste of time.  This time we got to explore the sparkly new terminal, with a food court to rival those of the best airports in the World.  I could quite happily have spent an hour or so in Ecco drinking wine and eating flatbread.  Instead we had homemade ham and cheese butties which I think Poppy and Hugh appreciated far more.

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My travel attire: Trousers – James Perse cargo trousers (similar here) // T-shirt – Gap // Sneakers – Golden Goose (I ended up wearing my hi-tops though – a story for another time!)

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After an hour delay due to bad weather we were on our way, finally!

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We arrived yesterday to glorious weather in Bury.  So sunny in fact I managed to recover from my jet lag lying in the garden.  Just perfect!  I also got to try out my early birthday present from my Husband.  Looks like he picked up on my not-so-subtle hints.  My fabulous man presented me with a new Nikon D3200 before I left.  I am SO excited to have a great camera.  It’s the perfect entry level DSLR – even though it has all the bells and whistles, it has an ‘Auto’ setting for when I’m feeling lazy:)  I have, however, read the instructions and have tried out some of the various settings.

Nana and Grandad have converted their serene garden into Alton Towers.

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I found the perfect objects for some still lifes:

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Unsurprisingly the weather here is ‘changeable’.  I started the morning with a run in the sun.  I’m not sure Bury rush hour traffic was ready for bright pink hot pants though.  I suddenly felt rather self conscious.

My bare arms have since been covered with a grey cashmere cardigan, and I’m adding layers as the morning progresses.

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T-shirt – Gap // Scarf – Marks and Spencer’s (from my last visit – has a bike printed on it – I love it! // Jeans – Gap // Ballet pumps – navy Tory Burch Eddie flats

We’re looking after cousin Alice today.  I’ve a feeling Nana and I will be on the wine soon.

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You can’t beat jeans and a jacket.

I don’t know why I don’t just stick to this simple formula:

jeans + jacket = comfort + confidence

Regardless of the type of jeans – and I have all styles from bell bottoms to skinnies, nothing beats the simplicity of just adding a t-shirt and jacket to provide a relaxed yet pulled together look.  I should remember this every day when I get dressed.  I have a passion for loud, colorful trousers, as you all know, but jeans are my true love and I should never forget that.

Wearing these 501s is so nostalgic for me – they elicit all kinds of emotions when I put them on.  Even though these are newish they take me back to the late 80’s when I would borrow a friend’s pair that were perfectly worn and ripped (I think they were Sara’s that she had ‘borrowed’ off her boyfriend?).  Tightened around the waist with a big leather belt, that needed extra holes back then, I would wear them nearly every weekend in the summer of ’88.  I thought I looked the dogs b*ll*cks in them.  I even remember the green bat wing t-shirt I used to like to wear with them, and I still wear YSL Paris perfume that was my favorite back then.  I can see us all now – Bury Grammar Sixth Form – in our weekend common room at The Hare & Hounds.

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Jeans – Levi 501s // Shoes – Tory Burch Eddie flats in musk // T-shirt – Gap (now on sale) // Jacket – River Island

What clothes are nostalgic for you?

 

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The Roaring 20’s.

School, very kindly, has given us our first ‘project’ to complete.  First grade and we’re already doing project work – which basically means Mom and Dad are doing project work.  It’s for social studies and we’ve been asked to pick a decade in history to research the differences between now and then.  Poppy (read Mom and Dad) has to learn how to Google for information, collect images, make a poster, and then dress as a character from that time in order to present her findings next week.  Using my noggin I picked the decade based on the easiest costume to locate on Amazon.com – I’m not stitching one together that’s for certain – so the ‘Roaring 20’s’ it is.  Poppy is thrilled with her bright pink flapper dress and feather head dress – and I’m thrilled as that’s my contribution complete, though I thought I’d rent Bugsy Malone and Throroughly Modern Millie so we can learn some moves:)  Having a Doctor of history in the house means that I have delegated all research to MM.  He claims it’s not his period, but tough.  I was advised to keep the poster for Hugh when he enters first grade – apparently all families recycle their projects…not sure how he will feel about the pink flapper dress – but he’ll only have to wear it for one day.

I wasn’t sure about the dress I’m wearing today when I first bought it, but I really like it now.  The sleeves are a great length and it has a lovely deep V neckline at the back – just deep enough to show some flesh but not too deep so your bra strap shows.  I really like the geometric print and the colors are just me – pinks and greys.  It’s from H&M but their US website isn’t showing it right now – I can’t wait for them to start their online store!  The leggings are Boden grey marl and the flats are Tory Burch Eddies – yes it’s still warm enough for ballet flats here – and they have some sizes on sale right now.  The necklace is from Macy’s.

 

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Styling our Primark jeans!

Knowing that my blogging friends, Avril (SchoolGateStyle.com) and Beth (StyleGuile.blogspot.com), had also fallen under the trance of the Primark floral jeans this summer, we thought it would be fun for the three of us to collaborate and show you our interpretations of styling for these floral wonders!

As you know I really am new to the Aladdin’s Cave that is Primark as we don’t have them in the US, but I made a child free shopping trip there when I was back in Bury in June.  I love skinny jeans but I have to admit I was pretty terrified by the floral jean trend.  Any pattern for that matter, on jeans, just seemed wrong.  Talk about u-turns!  I nabbed these jeans at just 5 GBP (about $7.50!) and fell in love with them as soon as I wore them. For the price they are great quality and a fabulous fit, plus given all the colors in them they go with a variety of tops – though I definitely advise keeping the tops simple.  The jeans themselves have green, purple, pink, taupe and black in them and I have worn them with tops in all these colors.

Here’s how I styled them back in June in England, I love the casual look here – I wore an AllSaints tank and H&M taupe linen jumper which coordinated great with the jeans.

And here is how I wore them more recently with my pink Zara linen t-shirt from the sale:

For this post I decided to go for a slightly dressier look – though I love that it can easily be a fun, relaxed look without the jacket.  The jacket coordinates perfectly – it’s the Boden tipped blazer in blossom – currently in the sale at $88.80 though other colors are cheaper.  It is fabulous quality and one of my favorite Boden purchases this year.  Under the jacket I’m wearing a simple men’s Gap white t-shirt, with 2-3 year old H&M pink beads.  My Tory Burch musk Eddie flats are my favorite shoes for these jeans – nude and simple.

I absolutely love how Beth, Avril and I have all styled them differently – who would have known that statement floral jeans would be so versatile!

For more details on Beth and Avril’s outfits hop over to StyleGuile.blogspot.com and SchoolGateStyle.com for some inspiration!

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Summer cold.

So all the temperature extremes are taking their toll – from 95 degree temperatures to freezing cold air conditioning – I have a head cold:(  Or as MM suggested it could be the extreme fumes from the new hardwoods in the bedroom being treated yesterday – we must have all been high as kites yesterday – even with the bedroom doors closed the fumes made their way around the house thanks to the air ducts.  The plumber is here today putting in the new faucets – the finish line is in sight!!

I’m taking Poppy to the hairdressers today for a ‘grown up’ hair cut.  She had a go at cutting her own fringe the other day much to my horror and she flattly denied it – even with the evidence presented – locks of hair sitting next to scissors.  She needs to get far better at hiding her misdemeanors!  Preparation for back to school is in full swing and some counties even went back today…I’m not ready for summer to end.

With that thought I did some reckoning and we’ve probably got at least 12 weeks left of above 80 degree temperatures here – so with that in mind I just checked out these fabulous tropical print pants from Zara.  I’ve seen them on several blogs this season but it’s only now, having adapted well enough to the concept of printed pants, that I felt brave enough to buy them.  They were just $19.99 on the ‘last sizes’ section and I grabbed the last pair of 6s – lucky me!

Today I threw on one of my favorite Boden tunics – these Fab jersey tunics are so comfortable and summery.  They are currently in the clearance and the pebble color is only $31.20 – Egyptomaniac is wearing it here and she looks adorable in EVERYTHING!  This is the moss color and it goes great with navy and pink.  I always pair it with my Tory Burch navy patent Eddie ballet flats.

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Summer jackets.

I was inspired to write this after Kat at Doesmybumlook40.blogspot.com highlighted the gorgeous Zara printed jogging blazer – which I admit I bought after seeing it in person yesterday – resistance was futile especially with a piece so versatile.  Kat has opened my eyes to Zara – it’s one of her favorite stores and we have one here in Atlanta but I rarely venture in, but as she has warned me I think I may now be hooked.  Even better news is there is a HUGE one at Barcelona airport so if I haven’t managed to spend my holiday money each year I know exactly where to head before the gate for the flight home:)

The jacket is simply gorgeous and such a vivid print – it will look amazing with jeans or white pants – or even these fabulous red Editor pants from Express that I’ve had a while and are now a steal at $36!  One tip – if you are in store looking at the jackets make sure you look at the back to see how much print is there – I picked a couple up and there was more white than print on the back which may be preferable for some – but I managed to pick one out that had a good balance of print on the back of the jacket.

So while I was in Zara I took a peak at their other jackets.  I love a great summer jacket, though it’s definitely more difficult to get away with in the 90 degree heat of the South.  Having said that I’m always in an air conditioned house, office, car, restaurant, mall etc. so I always seem to be carrying a lightweight cashmere cardigan around with me.  What better way to sharpen up a look than a fab lightweight jersey jacket instead?  Starting at $80 a pop these Zara jackets are great wardrobe staples and can be worn with shorts, skirts or skinnies for a great polished look.  My favorites are the following:

Fuchsia jersey jacket:

Jade jersey jacket:

Short blazer with pockets – gorgeous with just a white tee and jeans:

Piped Fantasy cardigan – I love the detail and lining:

Not surprisingly I did leave with one more jacket – I swear it literally accosted me and held me at gun point so I had no choice.  I’m wearing it here (Zara white jersey jacket) with J.Crew linen harem pants from a couple of years ago, a pink Loft tank and my ever faithful musk Tory Burch Eddies.  I love how sharp the jacket looks instead of a cardigan – very chuffed – thank you Kat you are a bad influence and I love it!

Oh and yes I ordered the blossom tipped blazer from Boden – shhh – I had some account credit sitting waiting to be used – I will model it as soon as it arrives!

 

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Another 13.1 done…

So another half marathon successfully completed.  Still a tad slower than I had hoped for but the course yet again had far more hills than the profile had led me to believe.  It was also one of those courses where you ran backwards and forwards along the same 3 points so you could always see the faster folk running past you the other way – just a little demoralizing!  I much prefer a nice long loop where you have no idea how many are in front of you or behind you!  It was won by a 26 year old girl (it was an all female race – I prefer mixed) in 1hr 31mins – amazing.  The last 2 miles seem to go on FOREVER but thankfully my reception committee was there to cheer me across the line.  The weather was amazing and we got to relax afterward with music and wine by the side of Lake Lanier.  I shuffled around the house for the rest of the day – my knees got really tight – but I’m feeling pretty good today after a good stretch and using my foam roller.  I have to wait till Wednesday to see if I get an NYC marathon number before planning another half.  My goal now is to get leaner, toned, stronger, faster and more competitive – my next 13.1 will be under 2hrs!

My outfit today was inspired by the need to be comfy and by School Gate Style’s color palette.  I love pink and grey together – MM always says it’s my love of the ’80s.  I’m wearing my Hudson Collin jeans (mid-rise today for added comfort!), grey ruffle J.Crew tank from a few seasons ago, pink Boden LE sparkle pocket cardigan from AW 2011, and my favorite Tory Burch camilla pink Eddies.

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10 more miles.

I must start by thanking Elaine, my pacer, for running with me yesterday morning.  We had an amazing 10 mile run.  I normally run on my own and it is so nice to have a partner on a longer run.  Somehow we both seem to know when the other is struggling a little and needs to kick it up a gear.  We sprinted up the hills and really dug deep with what seemed like a great pace.  Unfortunately we didn’t time ourselves – it was intentional – but now I wish we had done as I feel like we were flying.  Maybe it was my pre-run chia seed drink?  Coincidence or not I’ll definitely be drinking it before the half on Sunday.  I LOVE my CEP compression sleeves too.  I ran in them then wore them all day and I had no swelling at all, I really appreciated the extra support they give my calves.  Maybe I need some compression tights?  It has to be said that I was fit for nothing for the rest of the day – I was completely drained.  After consuming my body weight in carbs I spent the day shuffling from one sofa to another and then hit the sack at 9pm which was still really only 8pm due to the clocks changing!

I nipped into Ulta this morning – luckily for me, unluckily for my bank balance, there is one around the corner from the office.  They are having their 21 days of Beauty event, and though I don’t usually need an excuse to shop there, there are some fabulous deals on which I don’t want to miss.  Today they are having a Philosophy event and I grabbed myself a Peel Party kit for $39 plus I got a free Philosophy gift with it too, on top of that you get $3.50 of any $10 purchase so I walked away with an arm full of goodies for some spring pampering.  Keep an eye out for the flyers and the various offers each day – there are some real bargains to be had.

I can pat myself on the back too as I have remembered Mothering Sunday in the UK is this Sunday!  I’m so excited I remembered.  Normally I forget and my poor Mum has to wait till May for the US one, but something triggered me to remember this year and I’ve successfully ordered a gift – can’t tell you what as Mum reads this – Hi Mum!!

This morning I was still hobbling around with sore thighs so wanted something comfy to wear.  It might also be my last day in a sweater for a while as the forecast is for 80 degrees for the rest of the week.  I’m wearing my Hudson Signature Collin jeans and AllSaints Itat shrug in black (I have it in vintage marl too), with my Tory Burch Eddies in black.  I tried to create a little quiff with my bangs this morning too – it must be okay as MM immediately noticed an paid me a compliment…not a bad start on a Monday morning:)

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