Scents and sensibility.

I’m off clothes.  I know I never thought I’d see the day either.  Bored, bored, bored with everything I see in the stores or online.  Maybe I have just over done it.  For the first time in a LONG time I am perfectly happy with all my choices when I walk into my closet.  I want nor need a thing.  I am instead indulging in products – more specifically scents – perfumes and essential oils.

I wear perfume everyday, but I am a woman of few scents.  Chanel Coco for date nights, and then either Pacifica Tuscan blood orange or YSL Paris for the daytime depending what mood I am in.  I have worn Paris for YEARS – I first bought a bottle from duty free on the ferry to France when I was about 14!

Perfumes to me are a bit like underwear – as long as it works why spend money on it?  I do like to splash out a little more on my night time perfume but not a ridiculous amount.  However, I am contemplating purchasing the following:

The classic Shalimar by Guerlain:

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Or Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermés which is gorgeous for summer:

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If any of you have worn these I’d love to know what you think.

While I was researching scents I stumbled across some old favorites – a couple of which I ordered.

Giorgio Beverly Hills:

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and Lou Lou by Cacharel:

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Both of these scents are incredibly nostalgic.  I used to wear them in sixth form – again probably duty free purchases from day trips to France.  As soon as I opened the boxes and smelled them it transported me back to nights out in Bury – the clothes, the people, the pubs!  Not always what you are looking for in a perfume it has to be said:)  Also they are much sweeter than I remember – my nose has definitely matured!  I’ll wear them for now if only to remember the Hare and Hounds – but I probably won’t buy them again…the Hermés looks good value now.

Moving on from perfumes I’ve recently been treating my olfactory system to some essential oils.  I’ve been struggling to sleep well and thought I’d give Lavender a try so I am going to burn some before bed and then put a few drops on my pillow.  I also LOVE citrus oils so I treated myself to some Tangerine and Sweet Orange – so now I can be calmed, cheered and brightened – according to the labels at least!  I’ll let you know if my sleep improves.  Again I’d love to know if any of you have dabbled in aromatherapy.  I’ve just bought a book too, so it may become an new little hobby for me…namaste….

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This week has seen me having to adapt to rain and now 80 degree sunshine.

Yesterday I headed to work in a jacket then changed into a jumper when I got home – to be honest most of the time I change into some kinds of sweatpants or workout gear.

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Birkenstocks – Arizona Blue // Jeans – H&M Boyfriend jeans // T-shirt – Gap (old) // Jacket – Zara (old) // Jumper – Boden (old – similar here on sale)

Today I opted for comfort for a dentist appointment – I have sparkly clean teeth again!

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Shoes – Converse // Skirt – James Perse (old – similar here) // Top – Zara (old)

So do tell – what are your favorite scents to tickle your nose?  Do you have a signature scent?

 

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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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My new dress.

This week has flown by.  My days have felt considerably shorter as I have been picking Hugh and Poppy up from camp at noon giving me just 3 hours in the office each day.  And now I’m done! I’m officially on vacation for 5 weeks!  Urgggh now the packing begins, two climates for four people in, what I consider to be small bags.  Help!

On Friday Poppy and I went to watch Hugh’s recital for Kindergarten camp.  She was thrilled to see her old teachers, and even more thrilled to be asked to help organize the kindergartners.

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Trousers – Zara (no longer on website here) // Top – Boden Breton (Tops currently 30% off!) // Shoes – Tory Burch silver Eddie flats (similar here on sale)

Last night we booked the babysitter and headed out for dinner, before I abandon ship with the children.  We had booked a table at a new place in town – highly unusual for us to venture out of our comfort zone – but the rave reviews lured us in.  Unfortunately, after sitting at the bar for a drink, we quickly realized it wasn’t our kind of place!  The food may have been great – but the ambience just wasn’t for us.  So we hot footed it to the nearest cab and headed back to our favorite spot on the Westside, where we enjoyed some oysters and glorious views of the Atlanta skyline on a humid free summer night.  We were quite proud of ourselves for not staying and spending money on a dinner, while wishing we were elsewhere.

My new James Perse dress had arrived just in time too:)  I LOVE it.  The boots are Rag & Bone camel canvas Newbury boots.

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I was lucky enough to spend my night with this hot guy.  Happy Father’s day my lovely, and thanks for making me pancakes this morning – I’m not sure that is how it is supposed to work on Father’s Day?:)

 

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My packing conundrum.

It never gets any easier.  Every time I go across the Atlantic and come back with a bag of full of unworn clothes I tell myself that next time I will be more clever with my packing, more ruthless, and more discerning with my picks.  I’ll create a packing strategy that I can turn to again and again.  But no, regardless of my strategy, it is always a challenge.  This time I thought that if I picked a color palette – two neutrals and two brights – it would be easy to just select items that create outfits using those colors.  It worked, sort of, but I guess I underestimated how many brown, navy, orange and pink items I have.  An added complication this time around is packing for two destinations with two potentially (hopefully not!) different climates – Bury and Northern Cyprus.

I have learned some things over the years:

1. The clothes need to be easy to pack and light – they need to be wrinkle free at my destination.

2. They need to be easy to wash and dry quickly.

3. Comfort is key – no tight waistbands indicating my increasing waist line while I’m away – I can repent at leisure on my return.

4.  Regardless of destination they need to be adaptable for different temperatures – cool in the heat, and suitable for layering in the cooler weather.

5.  I must be able to wear them casually, and then dress them up with a few trinkets, for beach to bar wear – or sofa to bar wear in Bury:)

I’m not asking too much surely?  As it turns out no.  I have discovered my clothing partner when it comes to travel clothes.  James Perse.

The iconic West Coast brand creates fabulous soft cotton tops, skirts and trousers that are cool in all senses of the word.  Low maintenance, well designed, quality clothing.  I became obsessed back in February when I traveled back to England in their fine cord surplus trousers – super comfy and stylish – I wore them with sneakers and rolled up with courts/pumps.  They are top of my list for this trip as again I can adapt them for day or night and wear them with sandals or flip flops.  Perfect for Bury Market, and respectable enough for visiting Mosques in N.Cyrpus.  Here’s how I wore them in February.  I also have a couple of James Perse t-shirt dresses that are so soft and stretchy – with great ruching that hide all those lady bumps.  They are comfortable enough for wearing in the house, and then I can add a statement necklace and some sandals and wear them to the Hare and Hounds.

Now at full price – the brand ain’t cheap, but hallelujah – just in time for my trip they’ve launched a James Perse Private Sample Sale!!  Many of the items are 50% off and my Husband has just stocked up on menswear this morning.  I’m procrastinating but have the following in my cart:

Heathered double V ringer dress – I just love this style of dress.  The skirt is ruched and double layered too.

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The stripe pencil skirt – similar in style to the skirt I’m wearing today – with ruching you can make it the length you want.  These are SO comfortable and can be easily dressed up or down.

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5 Pocket jersey pant – similar in style to the surplus trousers I have, these can easily be rolled up or worn long with sneakers.  I think these are the perfect holiday trouser.

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My favorite – the soft v multi layer t-shirt dress.  I have a capped sleeve black dress like this that I adore.  These dresses are so versatile – and I love the white.  I will wear this with my Newburys, Golden Goose, sandals and flip flops.  It is the perfect dress for every occasion and the white is perfect for summer to show off that golden tan!

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The parachute poplin sailing pants – my Husband bought the men’s version – I adore these in white.

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The cap sleeved casual tee – 100% cotton – t-shirts don’t get much better than this – I love the scoop neck with my bigger boobs – far more flattering than a crew neck.

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Sheer slub casual tee in bluebell – I am in love with this color – in fact anything blue right now – completely out of character for me!

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Today I am wearing a James Perse skirt, that I bought in their last sample sale, to try and demonstrate how versatile their clothes are.  Later today I can slip the jacket and boots off and just add flip flops for a comfy casual look at home.  I wish you could feel how soft this cotton is!

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 Skirt – James Perse // Jacket – Zara jersey blazer (old) // Boots – Sam Edelman Petty II (on sale) // T-shirt – Boden

Enjoy browsing but don’t wait too long to hit order – once news about these sales gets out stuff sells fast!  Oh and fyi – I’m a US 6/8 and my skirt, dresses and trousers are all James Perse size 2 – they have plenty of give in them.  One sweatshirt I have with a little less stretch is a size 3.

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Where’s my whistle?

So it’s a special day today – I’m wearing my new Golden Goose sneakers.  For many of you, when you see the price, you will think I have gone absolutely stark raving bonkers, you might even consider it irresponsible to spend so much on a pair of sneakers.  But before you start tssking let me just say this – I am fortunate that my work/life situation means I don’t need to wear suits anymore.  When I was in the corporate world I would have to buy suits and then clothes for outside of work.  Now I can wear all my clothes for any occasion – nothing is deemed inappropriate in our office – anything goes basically, as long as you can handle the ridicule that may ensue if you take it to the ridiculous.  So I feel am able to justify spending a little more on items that I know I can wear everyday and anywhere.  These fabulous sparkly shoes will be worn for work and play – with jeans, dresses and shorts – I am actually struggling to think of an item in my closet that I can’t wear them with.  In addition to this they bring me pure simple joy.  Justification done.

These glitter Golden Goose were bought from Barney‘s and they have some sizes left.  I went for a Eur 39 and they fit perfectly – I’m normally a US 8-8.5 so ignore the fact that all the GG size charts claim that a Eur 39 is a US 9.  One of my favorite retailers, James Perse (best known for their fabulous tees and cotton clothes), has also started selling Golden Goose and they have just received a shipment of the new SS 2013 collection.  I personally LOVE the Francy in peach – gorgeous with sun kissed legs and shorts.

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The Husband muttered something about refereeing as I walked in the office, I ignored him…

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Trousers – BlankNYC faux leather trousers Madewell (some sizes left on sale) // Top – Zara // Jacket – Zara // Sneakers – Golden Goose Barney’s

 

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I’m here!

Sorry for being AWOL for a couple of days.  I spent the weekend and President’s Day enjoying time with my family before jumping on a Transatlantic flight to Manchester on Monday evening.  After a pretty painless flight I’m safely ensconced at my Mum and Dad’s being fed endless supplies of bacon butties – fabulous!  It turns out my trip is perfect timing – not only do I get to enjoy time with my niece and nephews, tonight it is the Brit Awards, so I also get to catch up on some British pop culture.

I traveled over in what I consider to be the perfect travel attire – comfy, cotton trousers, sneakers and a cashmere jumper.  Easy for getting through security – no belts etc., and easy to relax and stay warm in on the flight.

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Trousers – James Perse fine cord surplus pant (similar here) // Sneakers – Converse // Jumper – Char jumper AllSaints (old – similar here)

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I arrived yesterday to two pairs of shoes and a leather jacket:)  All items that I’d asked my lovely Mum to order for me from stores over here.  More on the shoes later but suffice to say they are fabulous!  The jacket is the red leather jacket from Zara and using the current exchange rate, and what with sales tax in the US, it was quite a bit cheaper to buy it here.  It is stunning, beautifully made, fabulous quality and lovely soft leather – I was worried it might be a bit stiff.  The only thing I’d change is the size of the zipper pulls – not sure why Zara insist on using huge zips on all their jackets?

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So today I’m off for a brisk run over the moors to clear my jet lag and then off to Primark for an hour or so – all on my own:)  Before I report back here are some other highlights so far:)

A couple of cocktails on my own:)

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The perfect Boden travel tote.

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A mixed tape from MM for the journey:)

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My youngest nephew, Tom, wondering who on earth I am.

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