Experimenting with denim

A few weeks ago everyone was talking about these H&M wide leg jeans.

H&M

 

They are a cheaper version, or tribute to the Rachel Comey jeans worn brilliantly by Leandra here.

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They were unavailable online in the US and I managed to try a pair on in Manchester when I was home. I’d heard they came up tiny so tried a UK 14 but couldn’t even pull them over my butt! Hoping that they were miss labelled (glass half full and all that) I ordered a pair online too. Well what do you know they fit! Certainly still snug but I was quite relieved that I hadn’t piled on as many pounds as I was being led to believe – though I could have believed it with all the Monster Munch I consumed while back in Bury 🙂

Having got them back to Atlanta I decided I was very unsure about them – lets say they are not exactly leg lengthening – but the rebel in me still loves how different and wacky they are. I trawled through images looking for inspiration on how to wear them.

 

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H&M wide leg jeans inspo 1H&M wide leg jeans inspo 2H&M wide leg jeans inspo 3 H&M wide leg jeans inspo 4 H&M wide leg jeans inspo 5 H&M wide leg jeans inspo 6 H&M wide leg jeans inspo 7I’ve played it pretty safe with how I have styled them today – toning it down with ballet flats and a blazer. I am feeling quite courageous though and have some more radical ideas for future outings – be warned!

IMG_0711 IMG_0705 IMG_0694Jeans – H&M // Flats – Tory Burch Eddie (no longer available – similar here) // Top – Mango // Jacket – J.Crew

While many of you will think they are hideous, I thought this was the perfect time to share some very wise words from The Man Repeller:

           “I like — nay, love — these pants. They’re me. I know they don’t look good but I think they’re cool. They make me feel like a more interesting version of myself and that, to me, is what style is about: presenting a difficulty and attempting to unpack it or make sense of it. I can’t tell you exactly why I like them but I can sharply recall having never really cared for pants that do the things we’re supposed to expect of them: flatten our stomachs, tighten our asses, makes our legs look longer and leaner, yadi ya. Maybe that’s a function of my believing that fashion is not about what’s flattering and vice versa or maybe this is simply a matter of style. And the thing about style, like with everything else, is that if you believe in it, you have to be willing to fight for it.”

What to buy in the UK vs. the USA.

As part of my preparations for my trip back to the UK I collect a few shopping requests from family and friends here.  I think it is commonly perceived that most goods are much cheaper in the USA.  It’s true that many are – but there are also several brands that are FAR cheaper in the UK.

I normally have a little list of places to go when I’m back in the UK on the hunt for a bargain.

1.  Many European brands/high street stores simply multiply by 2 when converting £s to $s instead of using the exchange rate.  Plus our sticker price here is not the final price as we add sales tax on at the register, which varies from county to county and state to state.  This can make brands like Zara and H&M far cheaper to buy in the UK.

2. Classic UK brands such as Barbour, Hunter, Ted Baker and Paul Smith are usually far cheaper in the UK.  My Husband has sized himself for a Barbour here which I can then collect in the UK at half the price.

3. There are many books and music titles that are not available in the US.  I can’t find Take That’s Progress on iTunes – nor The Pete Tong Collection (I did manage to buy the latter on Amazon.com).  Again my Husband orders several books from Amazon.co.uk and has them delivered to my Mum – why he thinks I’ll have room in my bags for books I’ve no idea!  I am much more shallow, as ever, and make sure I get my hands on Grazia, Hello and the Sunday papers.

4. In the US we don’t have Primark – now it’s definitely at hit or miss store – but the bargains that can be found are amazing.  I bought my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans there for £12 last year!

5. If only we had the same power and sockets in the US and UK I’d be sorted.  My ghd hairdryer cost a fortune here compared to the UK.  We also unfortunately don’t easy access to other European brands like Parlux.

6. Of course you’re not supposed to travel with some types of food and import it back to the US but I always return with custard creams, galaxy chocolate, pickled onion Monster Munch and Bisto gravy granules:)  I eat as many pork pies and M&S sandwiches as I can while I’m there!

Now for things that you should definitely buy when making a trip the US:

1.  Makeup is far cheaper here – from drugstore brands like Revlon and L’oréal to department store brands like MAC, Clinique and Chanel.  OPI and Essie nail polishes are also only $8 a pop here – my Mum always stocks up:)

2. Sneakers/trainers are much cheaper here – though I think the choice is more varied in Europe.  They normally just switch the £ for a $ making them dirt cheap compared to the UK.

3. My FIL always pops into the Apple store to upgrade his iPad when he’s here.  The fact that Apple use universal power, meaning no transformer is required, makes it far cheaper to buy here – though it has to be said that prices are coming down in the UK.  My Mum and Dad bought theirs at John Lewis – paying slightly more – but having the comfort of the John Lewis warranty made it worth it to them.

4. Housewares are cheaper.  Want a good potato peeler (yes I’ve been asked to take TWO back to the UK), or a good apple slicer?  Buy it here at Target.

5. Designer goods are generally much cheaper here.  My Rag & Bone Newbury boots are cheaper, as are most designer bags.  You will find however the focus on labels varies significantly.  I NEVER see Mulberry here, yet I would never buy Coach or Tory Burch here as you see their logos EVERYWHERE.  One thing to note is TheOutnet.com stocks widely differing brands here compared to the UK so if you are here long enough to receive a delivery it might be worth checking out.  For example this Alexander Wang Rocco is 45% off here and yet it’s not even on the UK site.

Rocco

6. US brands that have traveled across the Atlantic are far cheaper here – J.Crew being the most obvious, but Banana Republic and Gap are also much cheaper here.

7. Here in the US most states have fabulous outlet malls.  One word of caution though stores like J.Crew and Coach often make items just for the outlets – so that bargain you think you are getting may not be so much of a bargain.

Now for my outfits from the past few days…I adore these new H&M trousers that Eve alerted me to.  The fabric is lovely and stretchy but I still needed to size up to a US 10 – the waistband is tiny – no vanity sizing here!

Allsaints leather

Sneakers – Adidas Samoas // Trousers – H&M // Sweatshirt – AllSaints // Jacket – AllSaints // Scarf – Uniqlo

I’ve been trying to wear some fur before it gets warmer.

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Boots – Isabel Marant Dicker // Jeans – ASOS Saxby (just $20 now!) // Jumper – Boden cashmere crew neck // Jacket – Forever21 (old – similar here on sale) // Scarf – Hermés (gift from my Husband)

It was cold but REALLY sunny yesterday!

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Sneakers – Isabel Marant Bobby // Jeans – Zara (old) // Jumper – Boden St. Ives // Gilet – Boden JohnnieB

My first port of call in the UK is normally Marks & Spencer – more for nostalgia – but I do love a bit of M&S!  What stores or brands would you miss if you relocated to a different country?  I’d love to know!

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Bra shopping.

Having worn my Topshop camis a few times I came to realize that I was in desperate need of a new strapless bra.  I hate bra shopping.  Not that I mind being measured or anything – I just really dislike spending money on something that will never be seen by anyone except by me.  Having said that the results of a badly fitting bra are plain for all to see, as you will see from my photos today!

I had already tried to order 2 strapless Wonderbras from Figleaves.com but it was one of the most painful experiences ever.  Firstly as Figleaves are in the UK I was charged a bank fee for my transaction – a flipping hidden fee I knew nothing about until it appeared.  Then the bras never arrived and I had to deal with Figleaves’ Customer Service.  I have to say they were the rudest, most patronizing, most aggressive, most evasive CS representatives I have EVER dealt with.  Most unpleasant.  Thank goodness I eventually got a refund – I shan’t be ordering with them again.

So that meant I was stuck with my strapless bra that I last wore pre-kids – why it was even still in my lingerie drawer I’ve no idea.  Today I braced myself and headed into Victoria’s Secret – not a pleasant experience for someone who has carried and breastfed two children.  Perky my boobs are not.  The service in the store was fabulous.  They couldn’t do enough for me and I walked out with two multi-way bras and two bandeaux bras, very happy indeed.

I’ve been suffering from a miserable head cold all week and today I needed something vibrant to wear to cheer me up.  Pink was obviously the color of the day, even the lighting in the VS changing rooms was VERY pink!

VSTrousers – Topshop (now on sale here) // Sandals – Tory Burch Emmy (old) // Top – TopShop cami // Neckace – Macy’s (old) // Bangles – H&M // Bag – YSL Roady

I also may have popped back into Diesel to try on the Jogg Fayza jeans again.  I love the Fayza’s I won on eBay – but the Jogg version, with the jersey lining, is still calling my name.  I’ll just keep trying them on until I cave.  If you do decide to buy be warned the come up HUGE – I tried these 25″ and they were perfect.  These are the 807 wash which is a lot lighter than the 601 – I think I prefer the 601 myself.

I swear there aren’t that many creases in my cami – bad lighting again.  See what I mean by the bra though?  The nips were on full show for the poor guy helping me in Diesel.

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Finally here’s an outfit from the other day.  It got mixed reviews from the Husband.  In all honesty I was going to wear a blouse with the skirt, but found a hole as I was putting it on, so quickly made the decision to try the double denim look.  The husband thought the skirt was sexy but the top not so much.  Oh well we all learn the hard way:)

IMG_7477Skirt – Zara (old) // Top – Zara (old) // Shoes – Lotta of Stockholm

 

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Changing diets.

By diet I don’t mean diet as in losing weight, I mean changing the nutritional content and fabric of my daily food intake.  I have to say I’m always very skeptical about diets that remove items or restrict foods – like the Atkins diet etc. – but I’ve recently been reading a lot about food intolerance.  As a scientist I have to say some of the data and reasoning is quite compelling.  So I thought I’d give it a try.  After speaking to my doctor about it she recommended trying the Virgin diet where you remove gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, corn and sugar from your diet, then add each one back into the mix to see which, if any you react too.  Our food can impact all sorts of things – obviously our physical health, but also our mood and energy levels.  Even though it sounds a bit fadish I thought I’d give it a go – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I’m quite lazy, though not terribly unhealthy, when it comes to food – a quick bowl of pasta for example.  I lack inspiration.  One of the unexpected positive effects of trying this diet is that I have to plan my meals in advance, meaning I am much more prepared at meal time, ultimately resulting in far more enjoyment from cooking and eating.

I’ve only been following the plan for 3 days and yesterday I was EXHAUSTED.  I could barely keep my eyes open and I started to question the alleged benefits.  Today, however, I feel AMAZING.  I have so much energy and feel so alert – and that was at 7am this morning.  I’m starting to believe there may be something to this food intolerance stuff.

For you nay sayers who claim it is boring – ok it’s only been 3 days – but I am really enjoying eating fabulous fresh fruits and veg and great lean meat, and I’m tasting all the flavor.  I’m using Gwyneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Good (recommended by a friend – thanks S!) for inspiration.  I can’t say enough great things about this book – I always think of Gwyneth as being a bit up herself and self-righteous – but in the book she comes across as a lovely, down to earth mom – dare I say just like us?  All thanks to great editing and PR I’m sure – but still I am really enjoying this book.

I’d love to hear if any of you have tried eliminating certain foods from your diet.  How did you feel?  Did you stick with it?  Do you think it’s a fad?

Another benefit is that I already feel less bloated – my clothes are a little looser already.  Apparently it can also make your skin look years younger…we’ll see.

Palazzo and camo

Trousers – Zara palazzo trousers (old) // Top – Zara long sleeved tee (old) // Shoes – Tory Burch Emmy sandals (old)

Bowie tee

 

T-shirt – Asos (similar here) // Shorts – DvF TheOutnet.com (old) // Shoes – Marks & Spencer (old)

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Sip and See.

Have you ever been to a Sip and See?  They are becoming more and more common outside the US I think, but yesterday I felt like a true Southern lady attending my first Sip and See here.  They are similar to a shower, only at a Sip and See you ‘sip’ your cocktail and ‘see’ the baby.  My great friends across the street, who already have 4 children (their third pregnancy produced twin boys – can you imagine!), just adopted a beautiful newborn little girl.  I tell you some people are just wired to be Moms and she is one of them, while I have to search for my maternal genes most mornings! I am beyond thrilled for them and indeed I’m very proud of them, though they insist that although they are providing a loving home and family for their new addition, their daughter has also impacted and changed their lives for the better.  I can’t wait to see her grow up and blossom into a beautiful girl.

So yesterday required a couple of changes.  I spent the day in the following outfit – these jeans are fabulously comfortable so I’m not sure why I haven’t worn them since our blogger meet up back in February!  I started the day in white heels but the heat soon made me regret that decision.

Trousers – Zara (old) // Top – Zara (old) // Sandals – Tory Burch Emmy (old)

black and white

 

Later that evening, for the Sip and See, I took advantage of having an occasion to wear my Ted Baker Allysia dress that I got back in the sales at the Trafford Centre.  My new Boden clutch was the perfect accessory and I wore my Tory Burch Eddie flats to respect the host’s floors!

Ted Baker

 

It’s a big day tomorrow – I turn 42!!  I LOVE birthdays and I’m so excited to head out for lunch with the family and then dinner with my fabulous Husband.  Another year, another year wiser?  Maybe not, but who cares!?  I’m having fun and that’s what counts!

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Rain, rain go away.

So Georgia has apparently had 25% more rain fall than usual this summer.  It’s always extremes here – extreme drought or extreme rain!  The peach crop is suffering with enormous swollen peaches that are having their sweetness diluted – who knew hey?  I am suffering with frustrated, cranky kids…roll on school.

I just took them out for lunch to get us all out of the house, and now we’re home they have immediately started screaming at each other, arguing over which movie to watch.  Telling them ‘in my day I was happy to have a movie to watch’ oddly doesn’t seem to have much impact.  I might have a goblet of red now they seem to have called a truce.

We’ve all had our back to school haircuts and I’m now sporting a true bob.  Gone are the sun bleached, dry ends – my hair now feels lovely and sleek with no grays in sight – thank you to the lovely Lauren at Plum Salon.  We made her earn her money yesterday with 3 haircuts and a color!

By the way I did ask him to smile, not grimace.

PlumSalon

Mango and Zara

 

Jacket – Zara (not online but I have seen it appear in stock clearance) // Pants – Mango sale // T-shirt – Gap (no longer online but was in the sale here) // Sandals – Tory Burch Emmy (old) // Bag – Alexander Wang Rocco

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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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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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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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