It’s my birthday tomorrow!

Yes I’ve spent the past week celebrating! It only happens once a year so why not!? Us Leos aren’t known for being shy and retiring either!

On Friday night I invited a few close girlfriends out for cocktails and tapas – it was perfect – such a fun evening.

Zara dress Castañer espadrilles Gucci purseShoes – Castañer // Dress – Zara // Bag – Gucci (similar here)

With a mild hangover on Saturday, my fabulous family took me to me favorite Mexican spot for lunch and margaritas.

target dress H&M sandals and necklaceDress – WhoWhatWear by Target // Shoes – H&M // Necklace – H&M

Tomorrow I’m being taken for lunch then dinner by my gorgeous husband. It’s a good job I’m back in the gym – Slimming World has been on hold this week 😉

As for this evening I’ll be cracking open one of my gifts – a bottle of champagne – and toasting the start of being 45 – my late 40s – and feeling better than ever!

The most perfect summer bras!

I have been unfaithful. Each year I replenish some of my underwear and trash the grotty grey stuff with pulls and stretched elastic. It’s wonderful to see all of it in the trash and my underwear drawer full of beautiful bright whites! As a true Brit I have always bought my underwear from M&S – since I was wearing big navy knickers and knee socks, till now. This summer I have strayed.

I have big boobs and I cannot lie…yup 36/38 D. I do, however, struggle with padded bras as I find they just add to the size! In the summer here in 90 degrees the last thing you want is an uncomfortable underwired bra collecting sweat under your boobage! Even with my assets I do love a bralette – don’t guffaw all at once – the ones I have have enough gentle support and are so pretty and yes they are XL. I would never suggest running or playing volleyball wearing them, but under a lovely strappy summer dress they are PERFECT!

This year I have bought a few racerback dresses and the kids were appalled at the nipples without a bra – so I compromised for them and found two beautiful designs at Target – and guess what – they are just $12 each!

The first is the Xhilaration lace racer back bralette. It comes in black, white, peach, silver (yes it’s meant to be grey!) and peach. I have bought all colors in XL and they fit beautifully – they are so pretty!

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The next is actually slightly padded – but the genius is it is a front fastening t-shirt bra – no struggling to get it on. I can honestly say it is possibly the best fitting bra I have ever worn – for some reason the racer back straps at the front are so more flattering as they don’t dig in. Again just $12 and I have the 36 D.

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How gorgeous is the back!?

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Of course there is also the regular bralette, also $12.

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Finally for all those off the shoulder tops and dresses my favorite solution is a bandeau. Enough support and rarely needs adjusting. These are $12.99.

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Oh and these gorgeous panties are currently 5 for $20. You can’t go wrong!

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So there you go – I have comfortable bras and my kids don’t have to fear me in a sundress!

Who What Wear with Target

Back in January WhoWhatWear.com launched it’s collaboration with Target. Their clothes are lovely on trend pieces – and all under $50. I picked up this beautiful blush dress the other day, and in black too. It is so easy to wear either as off the shoulder or on the shoulder and I find the length really flattering. It’s the perfect summer dress and just $34.99 – oh and it goes with my & Other Stories espadrilles perfectly!

whowhat wear blush blacktarget dress CollageDress – Target // Shoes – & Other Stories // Bag – Mansur Gavriel

You may have noticed I have had my haircut again! One of the drawbacks of super short hair is that I can’t go longer than 4 weeks without a cut. I left Van Michael feeling amazing though after my cut with O’Neil. He really is the best.

zara shoesShoes  – Zara // Jeans – Marks and Spencer (old) // Shirt and scarf – J.Crew (old) // Bag – Proenza Schouler

The other day it was time to get the shorts out – plus MORE new shoes – these ballet flats are TopShop.

shortd ballet flatsShoes – TopShop // Shorts and Top – J.Crew (old)

Ok off to go and collect my Mum and Dad from the airport after their little jaunt to Florida! Then the kids are home from school…for the summer!!!! YAY!

 

 

 

A birthday, Willie Nelson and President Carter!

What a busy week! My mum and dad arrived on Tuesday just in time for Poppy’s 10th birthday on the 18th. It was quite cute at the airport – I collected Hugh and Poppy from school early as they had prepared welcome posters for Nana and Grandad!

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On Wednesday, while the kids were at school, we went for some gentle shopping to DSW while the jet lag dissipated. Mum also loves to head to Ulta where she stocks up on OPI nail polish – one of the few things that is still cheaper here!

dsw2Shoes – Isabel Marant // Jeans – Zara // Top – AllSaints // Bag – Balenciaga

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We came out of DSW empty handed but I did grab a couple of tops in the sale at Old Navy – somewhere I haven’t shopped for years. It made me curious so I checked out their website later and look at these amazing swimsuits – 40% off and a GREAT tribute to the incredibly expensive Marysia swimsuits. The one piece is currently sold out online but check stores, and I was told there would be more stock online soon.

Old navy swimsuit

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I also saw similar on J.Crew’s website here, currently 25% off with code SUMMER.

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On Wednesday evening we all went out to dinner for my gorgeous girl’s 10th birthday – how did this wee thing…

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….end up this big?

old navy CollageShorts and tee – Old Navy here and here // Sandals – Avarcas Pons

dinner CollageShoes – Sam Edelman (old) // Jeans – Zara (old) // Top – Gap // Bag – Balenciaga

Thursday meant a trip to Target. I was absolutely surprised how many things I loved! Check out what ended up in my cart!

This denim jacket is fabulous – so soft and I love the sweatshirt sleeves and hoody.

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I’ve ummed and ahhed over a denim waistcoat/vest forever and now have this one at just $29.99.

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I love this top that I picked up too – can’t have too many pretty white tops in the summer!

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Finally – how cute is this dress for nights out in Istanbul!? I love it!

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Mum left Target with more nail polishes! How come she goes shopping and I spend more??? 🙂

targetShoes – TopShop // Jeans – Zara (old) // Top – AllSaints (old)

On Friday we went to the mall and stopped off at a few stores including J.Crew. Not great going in  J.Crew dressed in J.Crew!

JcrewShoes – Golden Goose // Jeans – Zara (old) // T-Shirt – J.Crew (old) // Jacket – J.Crew // Bag – Mansur Gavriel

On Friday evening we were lucky enough to have tickets for Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. My Husband and I have seen Willie before and knew it would be a great treat for Mum and Dad. Unfortunately it was an outdoor venue and the rain was pretty constant – but with cheese and wine the audience loved it. As a massive bonus President Carter, a big Willie fan, was in the audience and he and Rosalynn joined Willie to sing Amazing Grace. Moving stuff. My favorite moment of the night though has to be the legend, Kris Kristofferson, singing one of his most famous songs – ‘Me and Bobby McGee’.

kris kristofferson President Carter

mum and dad collage

Of course you can always use your M&S bag to stay dry 🙂
rain

Mum and Dad are now in Fort Myers for a few days so normality has resumed here – at least till Wednesday when they return and school finishes for the summer!!!!

Sunday CollageTop – Gap // Sunglasses – Mango (old) // Jeans – J.Crew // Shoes – & Other Stories

 

What to wear now the cold is here!

I’m so excited! Atlanta is COLD! Yay!! At last I get to wear some of my winter clothes – of which I have far too many for our climate! I’ll be in flip flops by March again…but I won’t rub it in!

So what am I wearing now the cold is here? Well I have my eye on several of these beautiful faux fur stoles. Even though it is cold here, with our car culture, I can pretty much get away with a leather jacket and scarf. So why not dress up a great biker jacket with one of these beauties?

Sue first noticed this one in TopShop and I have it in my closet – it looks far more expensive than it’s price tag of $60.

colorblockThis green stole is beautiful – much more subtle, but again it looks more than it’s price tag of $52.

19R51IBRN_2_thumbI love mongolian furs – this takes me back 20 years when I had a black mongolian fur jacket that I bought on Portobello Road with my measly student funds.

ombreThis New Look stole is gorgeous – it keeps going in and out of stock on Asos – but be persistent their website updates real time. At just $36 it’s hardly surprising it’s selling out!

image1xxlThis is another option from New Look – super fun and perfect with a black leather jacket.

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Talking of leather jackets, I’m so, so excited to be able to wear my AllSaints jackets at last!

AllSaints leather jacket Earnest Sewn jeans Golden GooseSneakers – Golden Goose // Jeans – Earnest Sewn // Jacket – AllSaints // Tee – AllSaints

Then yesterday I wore this to head to the Georgia Dome to watch the Falcons!

AllSaints leather jacket Zara jeans Adidas Top Ten FlaconsSneakers – Adidas Top Tens // Jeans – Zara // Tee – Falcons // Jacket – AllSaints (similar here) // Scarf – ASOS

Falcons tee Falcons game

On Friday I popped into Target for one thing. I left having blown the budget on the kids’ clothes. They have some amazing items in right now – especially for tween girls, plus save 40% on girls’ sweaters online!

H&M Splendid Zara Nike Air Max Target Balenciaga City bagSneakers – Nike Air Max // Jeans – Zara // T-shirt – Splendid // Cardigan – H&M

On arriving back home laden with goodies for Poppy and Hugh, I was thrilled to find my Carine Roitfeld coat from Uniqlo had finally arrived. Their customer service has been atrocious – no one picking up in their call center, orders being cancelled with no explanation, and delivery taking an obscene length of time. Not good, not good at all for a global retailer. Thank goodness I love it!

carinne roitfeld for Uniqlo coat

Finally today has been blissful – just stunning weather for our first day on holiday and we headed to the local park deer spotting. Our boxers loved it!

everlane uniqlo Golden GooseSweater – Everlane // Sneakers – Golden Goose // Jeans – Zara (old) // Coat – Uniqlo

One last thing – we all know it’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday this week, and the offers have already started pouring in! One to take note of that has 18 hours left to run, is at TheOutnet.com – use Twenty15 at checkout to get an extra 20% off their already discounted stock – some amazing bargains to be had!!

Easy dressing

In between cheer practices, runs, shelf assembly and dog walks, I dashed into Target on Sunday – mainly to stock up on Fall fashions for the kids, but also to take a quick peek at the Altuzarra collection for Target. If you are waiting for your package to arrive from NAP you may want to skip this part. In fact even though it is beautifully presented on NAP, I still don’t get why they are selling these collaborations, though it obviously increases the hype and desirability. In the flesh I was really disappointed.

I’ve read lots of bloggers who have loved it and even claim it is the best collaboration to date. Maybe it is my familiarity with Target that clouds my judgement. I love Target, don’t get me wrong. As I have mentioned for kids clothes they are fabulous – great value and great designs – but their women’s wear always seems cheap – which of course it is. Overall I found the fabrics on the Altuzarra items to be cheap feeling, and the finishing was poor – but having said that where else can you get designer duds for less than $50 a piece? My problem is I see them as Target, not designer. I just don’t get it. Why would you want to wear something that is instantly recognizable as Altuzarra FOR TARGET? One of the reasons I didn’t buy anything in the Pete Pilloto collection was that I recognize it through a crowd instantly. Anyway here are the photos so you can make your own decision.

I loved the color of these trousers but the velvet felt stiff and thin, and the finishing on the waistband was poor.

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I loved the dresses till I inspected them close up – the sequins seemed cheap and the finishing poor.

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This sweatshirt is nice – but really crumpled on the the hanger and there were threads hanging off everyone of them! Plus that print is too recognizable for me.

IMG_0920 I liked the peasant blouse and the shirt on the hanger. However, the peasant top did nothing for me at all…I tried to like it but just so not me.

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I liked the shirt a lot, and I actually carried it to the till, but I changed my mind, deciding I was buying for the hype and not because I loved it. I have no regrets about leaving it behind.

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Maybe if the presentation in Target was nicer I’d be more enamored, but Target still feels like Target to me. I’m passing on this one.

The week to date has been crazy too with Drs appointments and school conferences, so I find a dress, jacket and sneakers is the easiest way to dress to stay presentable and comfortable.

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Drop waist dress – ASOS // Sneakers – J.Crew (on sale plus an extra 30% off with SHOPFORFALL) // Jacket – J.Crew (extra 25% off with SHOPFORFALL)

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Skate shoes – Marks & Spencer (old) // Dress – ASOS // Jacket – Zara (old)

Did you buy from the Altuzarra collection? Am I being too harsh?

 

Spring Break…at last…

I’ve been looking forward to this break since Spring Break last year.  We had such an amazing time here in Fort Morgan back then that we hit the ‘Easy’ button and booked the same house this year.  As much as we like adventure in the summer, for this week in April there is something lovely and comforting about returning to the same spot.  Less organization is needed and we know exactly what we are going to get.  We leave the nerves, uncertainty and anticipation for the summer travels!

The weather hasn’t cooperated since we arrived on Saturday but my Husband and I have managed a beach run each day, and we took the kids bowling yesterday at the the peak of the storm.  To be fair they haven’t seemed to notice the rain and they’ve been hanging out with the neighbors on the beach most of the time – they were even in the sea at 7am yesterday!  Brrrrr!

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Today the sun is shining and the bikini will be on!

As for getting here – here’s what I chose to wear for our 6hr drive – comfort was key.

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Birkenstocks – Arizona in blue Birkoflor // Shorts – J.Crew // Sweatshirt – Target // Scarf – Gap (old)

And my outfit from my last day at work last week – I LOVED wearing this dress that I got in the sale – so comfortable, and the M&S blazer is awesome.  If you haven’t looked at Mango for a while you should – their new styling is gorgeous as is their new summer collection.

Mango collage.jpg Mango 3.jpg

Boots – Isabel Marant Dicker // Dress – Mango (similar here) // Jacket – Marks and Spencer // Bag – YSL Roady

 

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Trying on the AllSaints haul, and spotting some Target gems!

Oh good heavens above – I can barely contain myself.  I LOVE it all.  Secretly I was hoping that some of the purchases from the AllSaints sale would have to be returned, but nope, it’s all perfect, what’s more I ordered all the right sizes too!  It arrived in four boxes so I felt like I was opening Christmas goodies all over again.  My UPS delivery man thinks I’m nuts the way I shriek with delight at him at the door.

Starting with my favorite – the Riviera dress.  I’d tried the jersey version earlier in the year but the jersey doesn’t drape as well and was far too revealing – at least on this old bird.  The silk however is still sexy but a little more conservative at the front.  Totally, totally love it.  This is a UK12 and fits perfectly even across the boobs.  All sizes still in stock and reduced from $330 to $132.

Riviera dress Riviera 2

 

Now for the splurge – I adore this jacket.  It is so heavy – such great quality leather and the oxblood is far less severe, yet equally as versatile as black.  It’s a jacket to be worn and worn – the older it gets the better it will look.  Reduced from $700 to $350 – and  again available in most sizes – this is a UK 12.

Oxblood leather jacket Oxblood jacket 1 Jacket close up

 

 

Now the Diego Tee dress in natural marl.  This comes up short – maybe too short for some – but I love it with these grey Newbury boots for the spring.  A fun way to get the legs out.  As a lover of suede I love the lightweight suede detailing.  It wipes clean easily with a dry cloth so don’t be scared of it.  The pocket is a single pocket that goes all the way through – make sense?  Reduced from $260 to $104 and I am wearing a Medium.

tee dress

 

Now I might just live in this over the coming weeks.  The Verna gilet is SO soft and snuggly.  This was a complete outsider when I ordered it – but I am smitten.  This is a M/L but to be honest I think a S/M would have been fine too – it doesn’t fasten so it does’t need to fit across the chest.  Reduced from a whopping $348 to $139.

verna gilet 1 verna gilet 2

 

Finally the Pia jersey dress.  I love AllSaints for their classic draping – and this is just perfect.  The skirt can be lowered or raised depending on how conservative/flirty you are feeling:)  There are several colors still available and I ordered both the gray and navy for a change from black.  It is reduced from $175 by varying amounts depending on the color – and right now it looks like all sizes in all colors are available.  It’s driving me nuts going to their site as there are still so many fabulous pieces in the sale and they seem to be getting more stock online from their stores!  This dress by the way is a UK 10 – I always size down in their jersey.

pia dress

 

I’m so happy with my purchases – all will be great through spring and the Pia dress and Riviera dress can be worn through the summer too.  See – forward planning!

Today the kids were out of school and I managed to nab a couple of hours to myself while they helped Daddy at work.  I was in Target doing the domestic shop when I spotted these gems – Target do some great pieces at times!

A fab sequin skirt – just $29.99

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A great quilted skirt with zip detailing – just $13.98 online now and available in black too. (Check out Fiona in her skirt here – she wore it Christmas day after picking it up on vacation here!)

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A shift dress in a similar fabric – just $24.99 – I love this and it is also available in black.

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This scuba dress is fabulous – no different from those that Zara offers – but a third of the price at $24.99!

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The final dress that caught my eye was this red and black checked shift.  How and why I left without it I have no idea.  The cold has gone to my head.  I can’t see it online anywhere but it was $24.99.

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Here is what I wore today to brave the polar vortex – I went for winter white and monochrome.

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Boots – 5050 Stuart Weitzman black suede // Jeans – Target // Jumper – Boden cashmere polo neck (similar here) // Cardigan – H&M (old)

Then to go out I opted to add my Marks and Spencer checked coat (similar here) and cashmere beanie hat from Nordstrom.

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18 degrees Fahrenheit didn’t feel nearly as bad as I thought it would – it always helps when the sun is shining too!  Stay warm folks.

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I’m in the 0.1%

I’ll admit I have been in two minds about sharing this in a post.  My blog is after all about fashion, family, friends and fun, not alopecia.  I’m sure there are many blogs (I haven’t looked) dedicated to people like me who suffer with alopecia containing lots of medical information and support, but that’s not why I am talking about it.  I decided to share after reading a couple of comments regarding how ‘happy I always look’, and words like ‘self-congratulatory’ being mentioned in forums.  I’ll admit that I am a tremendously positive, upbeat person – I’m a Leo after all, with a lot to be happy about – but now you know I have my little issues to deal with too!  I am real, (relatively) normal, and I sometimes lose patches of hair.

To be honest I don’t really think about it that much and I just tend to get on with it when I have an ‘episode’ – what else can I do?  Worrying over it can just exacerbate the problem.  I actually consider myself tremendously lucky that I can always conceal my patches of hair loss, and, to date, it has always grown back.

I first lost a patch of hair back in 2009 around Thanksgiving.  I’d had an enormous blow out with a work colleague and I was LIVID.  Fuming in fact – so much so I cursed him out on the phone.  He was actually my employer at the time but I felt so let down by him I no longer cared what I said so I told him exactly what I thought.  The following morning I woke up to discover a bald patch the size of a quarter at my hairline.  I was devastated.  I didn’t actually link the two events until after I had visited my dermatologist.  I initially just thought I was dying – I was so gutted by what I saw in the mirror.  Since then I’ve had a couple of patches of hair loss each year and my dermatologist (who is amazing!) has always reassured me that it is purely my body’s reaction to stress, or an autoimmune response.  I never consider myself to be under much stress – I don’t think I’m a worrier – nor do I feel anxious – but stress triggers can be minimal.  There’s never any real rhyme or reason, and certainly no warning that I’m going to lose some hair.  It always occurs in the same place – on the front right hair line – except for once when it was at the nape of my neck at the hairline.

This time I think the the loss is associated with my body’s stress from travel and jet lag.  I am guessing that all the prep and organization that goes into getting the family out of the door and on a transatlantic flight has taken it’s toll.  Fortunately a quick visit to the dermatologist for a cortisone shot in the scalp, followed by regular applications of clobetasol always seems to stop it in it’s tracks.  I’ve already decided that if it ever progresses I’ll wear my bald head loud and proud.  My Grandad was bald as a coot, and my Mum suffers from psoriasis – so maybe it is an inherited autoimmune issue?  Who knows!  Regardless I am at peace with the fact that alopecia areata is now part of my life.  There are far worse things that others are dealing with every day.

Now you see it, now you don’t!

Alopecia Areata

 

I’m really enjoying my outfit of the day today – some of you will loathe it – others of you may be on the fence – but I love it.  It’s the light denim jumpsuit from Zara.  Super comfortable and I even got the seal of approval from Poppy who gave me a ‘wow Mom that’s so cute’.  On second thoughts maybe a 7 year old’s approval shouldn’t be listened to by an almost 42 year old!  This is a Medium so it is generous for Zara sizing.

Regardless here it is in all it’s glory.

Zara jumpsuit

 

Jumpsuit – Zara // Sandals – Nine West // Necklace – Target (REALLY old) // Belt – Target (REALY old too!) // Bracelet – Susie Ho

 

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Flash of neon

I’m actually enjoying the rain this weekend.  It means I get to get dressed on Saturday and Sunday instead of just throwing on a bikini and shorts for the pool.  I ran some errands this morning and wore my harems that I actually didn’t think would get worn again till the Fall, but they are surprisingly light and airy for the summer – or unsurprisingly so, given that the Turks have worn şalvar for years in the heat.

The driveway turned into a river as I was trying to take a photo – the things I do for you:)

rain Neon

 

Harems – Zara (old) // Tank – Target (old) // Scarf – J.Crew linen scarf (old) // Sandals – Tory Burch Emmy (old – love this year’s silver though!)

Before I leave you, if you are hunting for the perfect summer bootie here in the US – I noticed that some of my favorites – the Sam Edelman Petty in smokey praline, are in the sale on Zappos.com!

Petty

 

As are the leopard print ones that I love with shorts – like here.

Leopard

 

Okay – now off to take Poppy to a party for a couple of hours – hmm what to do in the rain with all that time on my hands?

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