Turning 46

I truly embrace growing older and consider it a privilege. I’m healthier than ever and enjoying success in many areas of life. A lot has changed in this past year, most for the better. I hate to keep harping on about it but not drinking has contributed massively to lots of positive changes. I truly consider it as a better choice I’m making, not something I am depriving myself of. All the things that you imagine alcohol to alleviate – like anxiety and stress – I’ve realized were actually caused by drinking, or at least exacerbated. I feel more confident than ever, and deeply connected with my emotions and the universe. I’ve read a lot too over the summer – meditation, affirmations and universal energy are all new concepts to me – but I truly believe in their power after practicing them, being more open minded, experiencing real results and receiving the abundance I asked for. Certain people have entered my life recently who have become incredibly important – I may not even have noticed these people a year ago. It’s funny what can happen when you consciously embrace situations and opportunity, instead of relying on chance and luck.

Top – ASOS  (love it in lilac here – I’m wearing a US8 it is oversized) // JeansHudson // Shoes – Sam Edleman // Bag – Alexander McQueen

The best designer jeans – many on sale!

I live in jeans. Years ago I would only ever buy Diesel jeans, then Hudson became my brand of choice, and more recently I fell in love with the J Brand Selena jeans. I wear a lot of jeans from high street stores too like H&M and Zara – but as I get older, I once again learn that valuable lesson, that less is more and it pays to invest. The softness of the denim and cut of a designer brand really is superior.

As luck would have it there are MANY sources of great, cut price brand name jeans. Here I’m pretty much sticking with my favorites – J Brand, but Bloomingdales for example has LOTS of other brands on sale. It’s also worth noting that in the US – text BLOOMIES to 25666 and you will get a 20% discount code for signing up to texts which can be applied to jeans already on sale.

First I’m including two pairs of J Band Selena jeans which are not on sale, just because I love the wash for summer – the first pair has distressed hems and the second pair is a lovely light blue wash.

J Brand selena decoy wash J Brand Selena

Now my next port of call for great discounted designer jeans is always TheOutnet.com – I found these gems today.

Both these J Brand Selenas are on final sale with an extra 40% off.

J Brand Selena the outnet

Bloomingdales has the J Brand Selena on sale here in a variety of washes – don’t forget the extra 20% too by texting BLOOMIES to 25666

Stylebop.com has the Selena in one of my favorite washes – undertow – and starting today there is an extra 15% discount applied at checkout.

I was looking for a pair in white and managed to find these at a store I’ve never used before – elevtd.com – use welcome15 for an extra 15% discount on this distressed pair.

Others that I loved at TheOutnet.com include these bargains – the 835 distressed mid rise from J Brand discounted by 56%

j brand 835 mid rise jean

The Kick from Current/Elliott reduced by 55%

Current/Elliott Kick flares

The J Brand mid rise crop in black discounted by 56%.

J Brand crop in black

As I say Bloomingdales has a plethora of jeans on sale right now so check them out here!

Which are your favorite brand jeans? I’ve been reluctant to stray but I’m sure there are other brands I need to check out!

Here I am today in a pair of J Brand jeans from Bloomingdales. They are SO soft and stretchy – no gaping at the back either. Totally stupid to wear heels though on a hot spring day!

Jeans – J Brand // T-shirt – Mango // Shoes – Marks & Spencer (welcome20 in the US for a 20% discount)

Shoes – Zara (old) // Jumpsuit – Uniqlo // Jacket – AllSaints // Bag – Proenza Schouler

Top – Target (old) // Culottes – Uniqlo // Boots – Rag & Bone // Bag – Coach

70 degrees Farenheit on December 4th?!

Sorry to rub it in for all you folks suffering with cold and snow – especially back in the UK – but we are having ridiculously abnormal temperatures here for the first week in December!  It’s in the 70s!  Talk about Global Warming – seriously!  I was out and about yesterday and saw people in shorts and t-shirts again.  Now I like warm weather but I like my December to feel like December – I hope it cools down soon so I can snuggle in my sweaters and knitwear again.

Daycare was closed yesterday for random reasons, so I had my son with me all day.  It turned into a fun day.  He ‘helped’ decorate the outside of the house – not National Lampoon style – but a few lights on the bushes, plus our inflatable 4ft Santa – tasteful if you ask me, with just enough festive spirit:)  We then headed off to the Fernbank Museum to see the dinosaurs.  There was also a fabulous Genghis Khan exhibit and a fun adventure area for him to burn some energy off.  He obviously had fun because when I asked him to tell Daddy what we had been up to he was thrilled to tell him ‘we had Chick-fil-a for lunch!’ – sod the museum.

The tree is also up and finished.  I had a lovely Saturday afternoon decorating with the kids, drinking Prosecco and listening to Radio 2 – it’s the little things in life:)  I then embraced everything Southern as I cheered on the University of Georgia in the SEC Championship Football game – fabulous game but we threw it away with 15 seconds to go, such is life.

Our salt dough decorations, as promised.  These were painted at 7am Saturday – we’re early crafters in this household:

The tree – no idea why we have a blue top:

So today there was a bit of a dilemma when it came to dressing.  It was freezing when I was out walking Tennyson at 7am but the weather man has promised it will be in the 70s again today.  I opted for my Hudson jeans with a long sleeved t-shirt and my lovely Zara jacket that hasn’t had too many outings (sorry I can’t find either online!).  The boots are the Sam Edelman Louie.

Last night I watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – my favorite ‘remove brain and watch’ t.v. – and the Beverly Hills franchise is my favorite.  This season I am completely smitten with Yolanda and her effortless beauty.  Just watch and see how stylish she is in her white jeans and Hermes beltLast night she looked amazing in her Lululemon Inspire crops and she was by far the most appropriately attired for their trip away.

Yolanda:

Do you watch the Real Housewives?  Who’s your favorite cast member?

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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.

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:)

AllSaints Itat Shrug

The inner geek.

Even though I have shared my disdain for Valentine’s Day I still managed to have a pretty good 14th February.  MM and I met up for lunch with an old friend who was in Atlanta for business.  We hadn’t seen him for probably 5 years so it was lovely to catch up over some good food at one of my favorite places to dine, Canoe.  I could have sat there all afternoon but of course had to go and collect my sugar fueled daughter from school ready for ballet.  I was quite relieved that she was going to dance off some of the Valentine’s Day sugar buzz.  It was freezing here so wore my AllSaints Char cashmere jumper to keep me snug, along with my Hudson Collin jeans and Tory Burch flannel Revas.

AllSaints Char jumper

I’m feeling a bit nerdy again today as I’ve been doing some Facebook development for our business page.  Years ago I did some coding as an IT consultant and I still love to get my hands dirty occasionally.  I’ve discovered a fantastic application called ShortStack that allows you to develop custom forms and tabs on a Facebook page.  I’ve even managed to put a tab on Poppy’s Style Facebook page where you can see new blog posts and the RSS feed!  I LOVE it and I feel like I’ve had a very productive day customizing some tabs, so let’s hope both pages get an uptick in fans thanks to my inner geek.

My daughter is having a play date this afternoon with a ballet buddy and I love her Mom so I’m looking forward to having a natter.  Her Mom is a runner too so I’m hoping I can convince her to run a couple of half marathons over the next year or so.  Unfortunately I have been a bit lazy over the past few days and have been lacking motivation due to the weather here.  I’m so ready for spring to return so I can get back outside once again, pounding the pavements.

The sun is shining today so I chose a bit of color with my Boden aqua wrap jumper.  I was pretty uninspired this morning so went for the easy button again with my jeans and flannel Revas, all topped off with JCrew‘s boyfriend blazer from a couple of years ago.

Boden aqua wrap jumper, JCrew jacket

My nail polish at the moment is Chanel’s Madness but I think I’m going for a change tonight with something a little lighter – decisions, decisions….

Madness

Sexy and I know it.

I’m feeling pretty virtuous today after a trip to the gym at 7.15am.  After a couple of days off it was good to get the legs moving again on the treadmill.  Though I mostly dread the treadmill I do sometimes enjoy cranking the speed up and doing a bit of interval training to see how fast I can go, and how often, before I feel like dieing.  I often wonder how and why some people jog in the gym while trying to read a book or a magazine.  For me the gym is all about pushing as hard as I can and sweating as much as I can – what’s the point otherwise?  After Super Bowl Sunday and seeing LMFAO with Madonna I had downloaded a couple of their singles.  Their tongue in cheek humor appeals to me and I loved running to “Sexy and I Know It” this morning – perfect gym music.  The video comes with a warning though – there are lots of Speedo ‘action’ shots:)

Both children were very excited this morning as they headed off to school in their new New Balance sneakers.  MM is appalled that I am converting them into New Balance fans but I assured him it was purely coincidence and they did actually select their own on Zappos.com.  My son did, however, look a little like he should be heading off to the computer science lab rather than daycare with his Dee Dee Ramone hair cut, New Balance 993s and Mini Boden baggies hiked up above the waist – he may have inherited my nerd genes…

I’m once again trying to wear as much knitwear as possible before the weather warms up for good here.  Another brand which I am obsessed with is AllSaints.  It’s purely coincidence that their flagship store in in Spitalfields where our flat is, but still provides another reason for my loyalty.  I love their knitwear – most pieces drape beautifully, have biased cuts, raw edges and external seams.  Very urban.  We don’t have a standalone store yet in Atlanta but there is a great concession in Bloomingdale’s (ask for Charlie or Alex), and I also buy a lot off their website.  Today I am wearing their Cerulean long black cardigan, a basic black tee from Express, Hudson signature bootcut jeans in Elm wash, and my black Bloomsbury boots from Boden.  A look that is completely at the other end of the spectrum from yesterday’s, and one that probably reflects more of my true style.  I feel comfortable and sexy – what else can a girl ask for on a Wednesday?  Must remember LMFAO is ironic.

AllSaints cardigan, Hudson jeans, Boden boots

I still love Madge

I still can’t believe the Giants won – the team I am rooting for hardly ever wins.  It’s not that I’m a huge Giants fan (Falcons obviously) but I do like to see Tom Brady lose – forgive me all you Patriot fans.  I managed to stay awake long enough to see Madonna in all her glory.  I thought she was amazing and her entry was spectacular – though I do have to remind myself that Madge came first and therefore she can’t be accused of copying Lady Gaga.  Her performance was fabulous with some fun guests and I loved the ‘mash-up’ with LMFAO.  ‘Vogue’ reminds me so much of my university days when I would listen to ‘The Immaculate Collection’ on vinyl over and over again, and I always forget what a brilliant song ‘Like a Prayer’ is.  In fact I’m off to iTunes once this is published to download it.  Oh and I would die for those boots, and of course to look as hot as she did in them at 53.

Madonna Superbowl

So on the most popular day in the U.S. to play hooky I was up bright and early, ready for another Monday – sort of.  My legs are flipping killing me after my long run yesterday so I was in need of my comfy clothes again.  But refusing to wear sweats out of the house I selected my Hudson jeans, Boden Canterbury tunic, Boden long line cardigan from SS 2011, and my Tory Burch musk Eddies.  The tunic is another that I bought early in the AW 2011 season and then returned, only to buy again at a bargain price in the sale.  Along with the multi acorn colorway (shown here) I also bought the coal stencil rose, and both, along with the other colors, are still available in the sale for $34 – you’d be crazy not to take a peak.  They had many mixed reviews, and yes I did have to size up due to the snug fitting empire waist, and it is a little more cleavage than I would show in a corporate environment, but I love them and no one in the office mentioned me flaunting my ‘assets’ – and trust me they would.

Canterbury tunic, long line cardigan

 

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Thank you H&M…

It’s 69 degrees in Atlanta today and we’re gripped by Spring fever.  Everyone around me in the office seems to be planning trips somewhere – except for me…I’m getting itchy feet listening to them book their flights and chatter about sunshine, hotels and cocktails.  This time last year I was getting ready to head off to London for a week of fun and frivolity – I think I need to plan another city break with some girlfriends!

Sunday is Superbowl and while I’m not a huge football fan I, like many others, enjoy the partying, the food and the general sense of occasion.  This morning The Today Show gave us a sneak peak of some of the Superbowl commercials that will air and all I can say is thank you H&M I shall be replaying this often on YouTube!

Last night between the parenting and party planning for my son’s birthday, I managed to paint my nails – this time Smokin’ Hot by Essie – a lovely deep purply/grey.

Smokin' Hot

Mr. UPS swung by as well to deliver my new Boden Essential wedges.  I ordered the red and truffle and they are cute, but not only do they fit small, I do think they are a tad pricey for what they are.  I love the suede but I think if I am going to get some wedges I may get the now famous L.K. Bennett Maddox…so off they go back to Boden.  Another influencing factor is that there is a 14 week wait for the next size up – what is going on with Boden’s stock levels this season?

Boden Essential Wedges

The springlike weather influenced my clothes today and I am wearing my Boden Pretty Top, Boden LE sparkle pocket cardigan (which is SO soft – I love it), Hudson Collin jeans and my grey flannel Tory Burch Revas.

Boden Pretty top, Hudson, Tory Burch Revas

See you tomorrow – I’m ready for Friday!

My scent of the 80s

As promised I continue to learn more about US politics and spent last night watching the NBC GOP debate.  Well all I can say is the more I hear and learn the more terrifying the prospect of exercising my franchise becomes.  I shall continue to listen and observe even if at times I want to hide behind my cushion like I used to when watching Dr. Who.  It has to be said that I found the debate significantly more entertaining than my DVRd RHOA – though that isn’t too tough to accomplish.

Woke to a gorgeous sunny morning in Atlanta – the weather here can turn with the flick of a switch and we’re expecting sun all week and temperatures in the mid 60s.  So, panicking that the days available to wear boots may be dwindling fast, I chose today’s outfit around a pair of Frye boots – my brown Veronica Slouches.  The jacket is one I bought early in the season from Boden, then returned thinking I couldn’t justify another tweed jacket, then bought again in the sale after succumbing to pure lust for it.  At one point I would never have dreamed of pairing tweed with stripes but Boden’s patterns and colors have made me more confident about clashing/contrasting them, so I am wearing my striped Hampton tee with it today.  My Hudson Collin jeans are my favorite – these are the mid rise in Dark Elm wash held up with my Gucci belt (a gift from MM).  To be honest I actually prefer the regular rise Collins, and although they are lower they fit around my hips so tend to give less of the undesirable ‘muffin top’ effect.

Boden tweed jacket, Hudsons, FryeSide view

Earrings are again Tiffany – Elsa Peretti teardrops.  I know I am fairly extravagant with my spending but don’t be misguided into thinking that I am constantly in Tiffany’s.  Most of my jewelry has been purchased for me by MM over the years – fortunately he is very extravagant too, and generous.

Tiffany Co Elsa Peretti Teardrop Earrings

I had fun choosing my lipstick this morning.  My favorite brand is Revlon and I have quite a few – I have to say I like cheap and cheerful when it comes to lipsticks.  Occasionally I will splurge on a Chanel lip gloss especially in the summer but when it comes to lips and nails I like a selection to choose from.  Today I am wearing a lovely matte pink – Stormy Pink.

Revlon Stormy Pink

Recently I bought some new perfume as I had used all my Jo Malone Orange Blossom.  I ended up going old skool and bought some YSL Paris which I adore.  It’s true what they say about how evocative scents can be.  It is quite a strong scent but it reminds me so much of the 80s (and MM will tell you how much I love the 80s) and trips to France with my parents.  On the way back on the cross Channel ferry I would always be treated to a ‘duty free’ bottle of perfume and invariably my choice was Paris.

YSL Paris

It’s been a busy morning at work but Tuesdays are always a tad chaotic.  My daughter has ballet classes after school so it is the one day of the week where I sit in the carpool lane and then take her to her class.  The following hour is spent panicking over creating her hair bun, bickering with her over playing games too loudly on my iPhone while we wait, and then chatting exuberantly for 45mins with her classmates’ Moms.  It’s then my turn to collect my son from daycare…hence on Tuesdays I usually hit the bottle as soon as I walk in the door.