Finds of the week!

Being back on wifi has it’s pros and cons.  Under both pros and cons lies sale shopping – it’s great to see what is out there, but at the same time I need to resist temptation.  It’s far too easy to hit the order button sitting in the sunshine with a glass of sangria!  I have, however, found some amazing bargains to share with you!

First up the iconic MiH jeans.  Bloggers everywhere have been singing their praises and Sue and Annmarie both have them.  They were favorites of Jane Birkin and Farrah Fawcett and apparently the denim and cut feels supportive – holding you in, not leaving you short for air!  ASOS.com have several styles left in the sale at incredible reductions.  Keep checking back if your size isn’t available they do keep coming back in stock and ASOS updates regularly.  My favorites are:

The Casablanca – reduced from $314 to $70:

I love this wash – so retro and great for summer.

Casablanca

 

The Breathless (reduced from $453 to $82):

This raw Japanese selvedge is stiff to start with but with wear becomes beautifully soft, aged denim.  Every review says size up in the Breathless so you’re not left breathless.

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The Jane Jean (reduced from $362 to $68):

My personal favorite – I love the wash and the cropped, flared cut.

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The totally trendy Phoebe jean is no longer available on Asos but I found them half price on Amazon here – included in their Prime shipping program too!

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Next up shoes – and I know this may be problematic for UK readers but Zappos.com have some GREAT discounts in the US.

My Nine West Oslos are now just $63.99:

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These Angellicas are perfectly on trend with their lace up and will look perfect with dresses or jeans (reduced from $119 to $77).

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Another of my favorites is the Kurrious – available in black or taupe.  A great heel height for every day wear (reduced from $119 to $77).

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My favorite Sam Edelman Reeves are now on sale too.  I ‘ve worn these tonnes on vacation (reduced from $100 to $69.99).

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I don’t need these Katarinas at all but they are sitting in my basket on Zappos right now – I love the putty shade – again reduced from $100 to $69.99.

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These following dresses are not in the sale but are still great prices so I wanted to share them with you!  This sleeveless swing dress is the same I have in grey, white and black – it is perfect for day to night on vacation and I have also worn mine as a beach throw on.  I’ve just ordered it in navy.

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This version is gorgeous – the pussy bow could be left looser for daytime, and I love the lower neckline.  The green and navy are stunning and are great vacation evening dresses.

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Finally don’t forget the Nordstrom Anniversary sale has started.  People in the US go crazy over it and they ship globally.  It is a sale of NEW fall season items so you can stock up and be ready with your boots and coats!  There are some amazing brands available at great discounts before they sell out in September!

 

 

White shoes.

Okay nearly every celebrity has been photographed wearing them and yet they are the most difficult item to find in stores and online here.  Are they still just too 80s?  Is it still too early in the season?  White shoes – I have been looking for them everywhere.

Solange Knowles started my obsession:

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Then one of my favorite bloggers, Sheree from It’s Not That Deep, wears them frequently with absolute cool and aplomb, like here and here.  She claims they can be worn with anything and go with everything and she is on a mission to prove it.

So the search began.  There are few criteria they must adhere to – they must be white white – not cream or off white, and they must be pointed, single sole pumps/courts.  Easy hey? – Surely every cheapo shoe store must carry them for those whose fashion sense we question, if not for those fashionistas who are giving them a new lease of cool?  Not so.  Unless I want a pair of YSL – sorry Saint Laurent (why mess with a brand??) or Manolo BBs I cannot find any that fit the bill.

I thought I had.  I ordered the Odette from Asos.  River Island is having a resurgence (even Kat has seen the light) and I saw these when I was back in Bury.  I thought they would work a treat.  But oh no – my toes (inherited from my Dad) are too curly and sticky out to fit in this vamp shoe – so off they go back to Asos:(

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Mango have another great alternative but in the time taken for Asos to deliver (yawn…) the 39 sold out…but still $99.99 seemed steep for a pair of ‘on trend’ white shoes that may be resolutely off trend next summer.

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So on a rainy wet Saturday I dragged the family to Lenox Mall white shoe shopping.  Oh how they leaped with glee at the prospect – NOT.  I did return with a pair though which I was planning to wear tonight till our babysitter called sick.  Now I’m drowning my sorrows in a glass of white, anticipating a Chinese takeaway instead of getting my glad rags on.  Oh well there is always next week!

So these are what came home with me – the BCBG white patent pumps.  Patent – yes – I was doubtful too – but the fit of these persuaded me I should get them.  They cover my toe cleavage perfectly with no risk of the freaky little toes escaping over the front.  Plus the heel height and the vamp are not so crippling that I can only do ‘car to bar’.  I got mine from Macy’s but can’t find them online – so here they are at Zappos.com.

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Now I also have my eye on these – but who needs TWO pairs of white shoes? I LOVE the lucite heel – but the guy in the shop was trying to persuade me I needed a US 8 1/2 – I know I don’t – I need an 8 which they didn’t have.  ALDO stop commission based sales – do you really think ‘the 8 1/2 will be perfect with an insole’??? I want my correct size please, not to help Mr Salesman out with his weekend drinking money.  Anyway, I can assure you these are gorgeous in the flesh and I may still order them…

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Now these don’t fit the initial criteria – in fact they are a brogue and they are flats – but when I saw them on the Massimo Dutti site I NEEDED them.  Now I have them here I know I don’t.  They are gorgeous, but not $200 gorgeous.  In fact they are a slightly distressed leather and in the light the shoes didn’t even look like a pair – one was slightly grayer than the other.  So back they went.

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While we were out we had fun – it’s rare we all go shopping together but now the kids are older it is a little easier and the Mall acts as a confined running area for them – much to the chagrin of other shoppers.  MM even tried on some Nudie jeans in Bloomingdale’s – he didn’t buy – we have VERY different shopping habits fortunately.

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Leather jacket – Zara // Scarf – Primark // T-shirt – Zara (old) // Trousers – Zara // Sneakers – Converse // Bag – Boden

 

 

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Spot the mannequins: 

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Doing it Gangnam style – this is their job – they do this dance ALL DAY:

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I’m a lucky girl…

…because I got another night out with MM last night!!  That’s two nights out this month already, and a couple of lunches – I should plan solo trips abroad more often!  I leave for Blighty in just over a week and to say I am excited is an understatement.  I’ve already started laying out my clothes in the bedroom to try and plan my capsule travel wardrobe.  Never fun – there’s always more I want to take.  I wish I was a good packer.  The UK weather also complicates matters as I need layers and I want to take suede boots – but that’s just madness for Bury in February no?  How do you pack?  Do you have it down to a fine art?  Tips please!  You’d think I’d be a pro by now but not so.

Yesterday I was begging for more warm weather – the sun shone but I think I was overly ambitious in my J.Crew shirt (some colors, including this neon rose, are in the sale) – it was still pretty chilly.  The scarf is an old H&M one and the jeans are Gap.  The flats are the VInce Camuto Fawna that I got in the sale.  I had to return the pink ones as the glitter came off after one wear – let’s hope these last a tad longer.

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So last night we headed to our favorite bar that overlooks the downtown skyline.  I ate oysters and drank prosecco – it was lovely.  I wore my Hudson Leeloo jeans that I got on sale at Zappos.com.  I LOVE them – so stretchy and comfy – the ‘bone’ color is perfect – not too white if you know what I mean – cream in fact!  The blouse is Zara as is the jacket, and the boots are the Nine West Buster that I got on sale. The clutch is and YSL Belle de Jour, a present from MM for our anniversary a couple of years ago:)  Oh and my nail polish is Chanel black satin – gorgeous color but doesn’t wear well, regardless of a great base coat and top coat.

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Okay back to the packing while the kids are at the park – wish me luck!

 

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Preppy in pink.

First there is very exciting news from Boden – this week they are offering a Catch of the Day!  Each day, this week, a new category of clothing will be on offer at 25% off!  Today the deal is on women’s dresses, and boy’s and men’s shorts – grab them while you can!  The drop waist dress that I love is included so it may end up in my shopping cart today:)

Other emails that appeared in my inbox this morning included one from Net-a-porter.com.  It can be quite a dangerous thing being on email lists.  Sometimes I just try not to look – this morning I looked.  Fatal.  Rag & Bone have some beautiful new grey nubuck Newbury boots that I am lusting after.  I love how they have styled them on Net-a-porter.com with a dress.

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I also adore these Rag & Bone brogues in white.  Very cool looking for Spring.

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At $495 though, for the Rag & Bone brogues, this Boden option maybe better value – plus with the 15% off using my banner ads they are just $142.80.  Tempted, very tempted.

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Today I’m switching gears with my look.  After the 80s look from Friday I’m shifting today to a more refined, preppy look.  It’s nice to change it up a bit occasionally:)  The trousers are J.Crew café capris that I got for $30 in the sale, and the blouse is Target and absolutely fabulous for $20!  The belt is also Target and the shoes are Nine West from Zappos.com – currently on sale at $56, reduced from $69.

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So what do you think of the more refined look?

 

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Something old, something new.

Phew I made it to Friday – my last day home alone with the children.  Seriously, I admire all stay at home mums/moms/dads – their job is so much more difficult than going to the office.  As a treat for our last day together I took us all out for a late lunch at a local taco restaurant.  It was fun and the skinny margarita was a nice treat for me.

Organizing my new closet has reminded me of some lovely pieces I have that have been stored downstairs since the renovations started.  I found this lovely J.Crew jumper yesterday from 2010 – it has a lovely slit neck and is 100% cashmere.  I have to admit it looks far better without a t-shirt underneath but it was freezing yesterday and I felt the need for an extra layer.  It’ll look even better after I lose the last few pounds around my middle.  I’ve been in the gym every day this week and and can feel it starting to have an impact – I’ve even signed up for a free weight orientation next week – I’m going to start pumping iron!

Anyway – the J.Crew jumper is the something old – the something new are the Newbury charcoal suede boots.  No I have not broken my New Year’s resolution already – they have in fact been in my closet for over a month unworn.  After buying my leather Newburys and loving them to bits – I actually vacillated between the Isabel Marant Dickers and these suede Newburys.  I ordered them both and darn it ended up keeping both.  There is something really special about the Rag & Bone Newbury – which accounts for it’s immense popularity.  They are incredibly comfortable and worn with these black Gap jeans they made my legs feel like they go on forever.  Even though they are ‘charcoal’ they are much more of a ‘black’ suede and I love the contrast of the wooden heel.

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Before heading out I put on my Boden Chic leather biker jacket and my H&M sparkly scarf.  Lovely and toasty.

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Mr. UPS turned up in the afternoon with my fabulous sales haul (again bought before the end of the year!).  It was like Christmas all over again!

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My Vince Camuto fawna flats are just gorgeous!  If you are in the US I encourage you to order on the Vince Camuto website – I discovered an Extra25 code off sale items!  I had initially ordered them from Nordstrom – but one pair was canceled before shipping due to lack of inventory and then the pair that arrived were really disheveled looking – not happy but they are responsive on Twitter so the CS is making up for it.  These are the ones that arrived directly from Vince Camuto – with the code they were just $33 each!  Obviously I ordered the croissant color (pink/silver) too and they are on their way.

Caramel fawna:

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Cloud fawna:

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I’ll post on my other bits and bobs soon but needless to say the J.Crew velvet jeans are gorgeous as are the Hudson Leeloo tuxedo jeans that I found reduced on Zappos.com!

Happy weekend!! x

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Wish it was time for school!!

We’re climbing the walls here.  MM is back at work and I am going stir crazy with 2 little ones at home.  Yesterday we spent the morning at the Y and then had a play date to keep them busy.  Today we headed out to Zoo Atlanta.  Far too cold for most animals to be out but at least my animals got to run around and let off some steam for a couple of hours.  They are now in front of The Aristocats for the afternoon:)

It was nice to get dressed after a day in work out gear – though it was definitely a day for layering.  I chose the emerald green Zara jeans – in the sale at $30 – (I dreamed about wearing them – I must be outfit planning in my sleep now…), paired with my H&M stripe t-shirt dress with my fab Boden Off Duty jumper.  I really do love the neck on this – really snuggly for a cold day like today – though I had to de-feather it after wearing it under my puffa the other day in NYC.  The boots are some old favorites – Frye Shirley over-the-knee.  They are buttery soft and super comfy because they are nice and flat – a beautiful riding boot that I also own in taupe.  Hurry quick to Zappos.com here as they’re reduced by nearly $100!

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So before we headed out I donned my J.Crew cashmere hat, H&M wrist warmers and a favorite coat from last year.  It’s a faux sheepskin waterfall coat from Marks & Spencer.  I bought it in their coat sale last December when I was back home.  I love it – really warm and stylish.  This might be the one that comes to the UK with me in February.  This is the closest to it I can see online, and online it is sold out, at just 30GBP in the sale.  If you are in the UK there may still be some in store – worth checking out!

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Now please send oodles of patience my way as I resolve conflicts over movie preferences….

 

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Tinsel and Twine.

Yesterday was so festive!  After taking Hugh for his haircut, which according to Poppy took ‘soooo loooonnng’, we headed to the Westside Provisions District just down the road from us.  We’re so lucky to live near this area.  When we first arrived in Atlanta the Westside was home to Atlanta’s finest restaurant – Bacchanalia, with it’s store front Star Provisions, – but that was about it.  It is an area of old lofts right next to water works, but with Bacchanalia as it’s cornerstone and fabulous views of downtown Atlanta, it has been revived and invigorated by new stores and restaurants.  It’s where I feel most at home in Atlanta as it reminds me so much of Spitalfields, our home back in London, which was once neglected and now has had almost too much investment in recent years.

Anyway yesterday the Westside hosted ‘Tinsel and Twine‘ with Santa, a capella singers, and just a general festive theme.  We had lunch at Taqueria del Sol and I was thrilled that both children ate chicken tacos – yay more Mexican eateries for us:)

The usual shenanigans at the dinner table:

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Poppy and Hugh were enthralled by the singers:

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I wore my festive colors (unintentional I have to say) – the coated trousers are H&M, paired with a long line tank, also H&M, layered under the AllSaints Char jumper (this is the closest I could find though mine isn’t cropped).  The scarf is Zara and the sneakers are the Ash Alex.

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Here’s me trying to get MM to take a quick photo, as people crossing the bridge wait impatiently!:

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In the evening MM and I went back to the Westside for a bite to eat before heading off to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to listen to Handel’s Messiah.  The tickets were a lovely surprise from MM in the lead up to Christmas.  All I can say is amazing.  I blubbed my way through much of it.  I feel like I’m still teetering on the brink of a meltdown after the events of Friday.  Many of those children were born in 2006, like Poppy, and it has really hit me hard.  It felt good to shed some tears for all those grieving parents and say a little prayer while listening to some moving music.

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I managed to persuade MM to take a photo of me – I didn’t get the memo about wearing red and black – EVERYONE else was in their festive colors!  I wore my Dorothy Perkins coated jeggings – these are the most amazing, sexy feeling leggings and are currently reduced to $29.  The sleeveless top is H&M, worn with my Zara jacket and Nine West Blissfully shoes (currently reduced here on Zappos.com) – the bag is the YSL Roady – we were in such a hurry to get out once the babysitter arrived that I didn’t have chance to downsize!

How are you all getting in the festive spirit?

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Free therapy.

Some weekends just turn out to be so much superior to others.  Not that the others end up as bad weekends but for some reason this weekend has just been…well…perfect.  Odd thing to say given that on Friday night I was up at 3am with a 4 year old refusing to sleep and 2 dogs with weak bladders.  Fortunately Friday had been a great day so it made the to-ing and fro-ing on Friday night more bearable.

I have to start with a confession – I cheated on my hairdresser.  After years of going to the same salon I have been introduced to a new salon by a friend.  Both Poppy and Hugh have had very successful cuts there recently and I really like the ambiance.  It’s a lot less pretentious than some of the big salons here and the senior stylist is also the owner so it feels a little more intimate and relaxed.  Given the success of the two trips with the children I decided to dip my toe and try a color and cut there myself.  I’ve given up trying to color my own hair and am now resigned to spending crazy money keeping the greys at bay.  I daren’t risk hair dye in the new bathroom!  Anyway I have to say it was a good trip – I did feel a ridiculous amount of guilt being in a different chair, but the owner of  A la Mode, Chad, was great and happens to be a runner and cyclist so we had lots to talk about after the Lance story had broken that morning.  Just wish the salon wasn’t called A la Mode – sorry just seems a tad cheesy to me.  I’m moving towards this style that Ginnifer Goodwin rocks – it reminds me of the 90’s – I just need to get mine a bit longer on top then we’ll get the trimmers out!

The afternoon was spent at the pool again – we’re trying to hang out there as much as we can before Labor weekend and the weather is just perfect here right now – the calm before the storm I think as Isaac is on his way.  MM and I had the perfect evening – great music and great, simple food – a fine Chianti, rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and crusty bread – we sat outside in the summer evening watching the kids play – it was brilliant.

Yesterday was a bit mad with parties, swimming lessons and pools so an early night was in order but that, quite frankly, meant my run this morning was AMAZING.  With the perfect weather and the perfect running pal I didn’t even notice the miles.  It’s like an hour of therapy each week but free – I have the best routes to run on and the best conversation around…I feel on top of the world right now.  As a treat we’re off to the OK Cafe for pancakes then back to the pool – nothing too taxing today!

Here was my outfit briefly yesterday before the bikini – my Zara t-shirt which I adore – pinks and greys and animal print and just $20!  Worn with my Hudson jeans and Sam Edelman Louie‘s in rose taupe – I saw from a press release that they are increasing the number of colors these come in including ivory and gold – they are gorgeous and so comfortable.  While we’re talking about shoes if you are in the US check out 6pm.com – they are owned by Zappos.com but have GREAT prices!  They have my Carson button Fryes at half price and they aren’t seconds!

 

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Bon voyage!

So sorry for the lack of recent posts – it has been bedlam getting ready for our trip!  I’d have thought by now I would have packing for a trans-Atlantic trip down to a fine art, but oh no, this time I have some how managed to fill 2 enormous bags for 3 of us whereas previous years I’ve managed with one bag alone.  The unpredictable British weather does not help – plus I need black and taupe ankle boots, and black and neutral ballet flats, casual sneakers, running sneakers and flip flops just in case:)  I reckon if I could carry it all I’d make full use of our allowance of 3 bags but I’m not entirely sure they would all get in mum and dad’s car back in Manchester – in fact I’m not even sure 2 will…I’ll just have to sit on the roof…I’m sure as hell not sacrificing my closet.  MM did ask when I thought the leopard print capris would get worn in Bury…well you just never know do you?!

I also have 3 iPads, 1 iPod touch, 1 shuffle, 1 MacBook and 1 iPhone to carry – Steve Jobs really was a genius.

So here are 2 outfits from over the weekend that I shared by FB and Twitter in lieu of posting the blog – lazy I know.  The first is from Friday.  I went to get a haircut in the morning and knew I’d be running errands for most of the day so comfort was key.  It’s the first time I wore my Sam Edelman leopard print Petty boots and I adore them – they are on sale on Zappos.com right now – you must have these in your closet!  They looked fabulous (note overwhelming modesty here) with my orange J.Crew shorts, black Express tee and Zara black jersey jacket.  I’m embarrassed to say I now have this jacket in black, off white, fuchsia and jade.  I just love them.

Saturday night my fabulous man took me out to our favorite place for dinner, Abattoir, for a farewell dinner.  One too many prosecco cocktails were imbibed and too little food which resulted in a stonking hangover on Sunday – hence no photo from yesterday as it was spent horizontal on the sofa in sweatpants, watching recoded Euro 2012 matches:)  After a good sweat this morning and a mani pedi with my girl I am now throwing the remaining items into my bags ready to leave for Atlanta’s new international terminal.  I believe there is a new El Taco there where the kids can have some nachos and I might have a cheeky margarita!  See you in England on Tuesday!

Saturday evening’s attire: Zara jade jersey jacket, Zara harem pants, DSW Levity peep toe boots, white Express tank, YSL clutch (cardboard courtesy of contractors!) – photo a bit fuzzy given MMs haste to get out of the house!

Tipsy:

My girl and her mani pedi:)

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A convoluted path.

After the Daily Mail article yesterday and some of the comments made I was struck by how many people assumed that any woman who blogs is a stay at home mom spending all her Husband’s hard earned cash.  The comments were obviously made by people who didn’t read the article in detail as Beth was a lawyer and now works as a stylist, and Avril used to work in banking so earned her own money – and I’m sure she’ll be earning more of her own money given her business savvy and the success of her blog.  More to the point though why is staying at home seen as being less of a commitment than working out of the house?  The time I have spent at home during my maternity leaves has only demonstrated to me that staying at home is the hardest job in the world and not one for me.  Working is easy in comparison.

These days I am lucky – I really feel I have struck the balance between time at home and time working.  I spent years trying to climb the corporate ladder and as the offices got bigger and the titles got grander neither the compensation nor the satisfaction increased proportionally.  “More responsibility and time in the office please, but you’re only going to get a small bump in pay as you were already being paid a lot.”  What???  No thanks.

The key thing I learned during my PhD was that I no longer wanted to work in a laboratory or academia.  I yearned for the ‘glamour’ of travel and business meetings.  In 1997 I started work as an IT Consultant for PwC.  I loved it – we were all new graduates embarking on our first ‘proper’ jobs.  We had money at last and 20 of us spent about 12 weeks together on a coding crash course – it was like being a student again but I was actually getting paid!  Of course there was no glamour involved whatsoever.  We sat in our office in London Bridge waiting to be assigned a project, bored then deflated that we’d be working around the corner in Holborn, not Barcelona.  I soon realized though that being London based was quite exciting and I loved the thrill of being in the City.  I jumped ship and went to work as a Business Analyst at an investment bank.  It opened a world of opportunity to me – one I never knew existed.  For a while I felt like a fish out of water surrounded by spread collars, Windsor knots and cufflinks but I soon found my bearings.  I would have stayed there – I had good friends and I was having fun – but MM came home one day and told me we had the chance to move to Atlanta.  Of course I was going to go – but I wanted to work too which back then meant that I needed a job that would provide me with a visa – so off I went back to PwC.  I was taking the risk that as a global company they would transfer me to Atlanta – and they did.

Moving here was far more of a culture shock than I ever imagined.  My first project was in Manchester, New Hampshire so every Monday I was commuting via a 4 hour flight.  I hated it.  I hated the travel and the work culture was far more disciplined than I had experienced in the past.  Plus everyone seemed to have an MBA – my PhD suddenly meant nothing.  After getting out and starting my MBA I knew I had to get out of IT all together – jobs were plentiful and it paid well but it just wasn’t for me.  My MBA allowed me to make a career change into strategy and marketing but it seemed that with every job I started something happened – Mirant went bankrupt and then at The Home Depot the VP who hired me left and the team was dissolved.  I soon became disillusioned with corporate America.  I contracted for a while as a consultant which was fabulous especially while I had my daughter – I relished the flexibility.  After a while though my ambition drew me back to a corporate career and I worked in brand management for IHG.  It was brilliant working for a British company over here.  Everything suddenly seemed more comfortable and more familiar and for the first time ‘the World’ was not the 50 States, and my accent was just one of many European accents.  As with all companies though changes came and I was struggling with the fact that my children were getting older – I wanted to be around them more instead of dropping them at daycare from 8 till 6 every day.  Fortunately MM’s business was going from strength to strength and, as reluctant as we were to put all our eggs in one basket, I quit IHG to work with him almost 2 and a half years ago.

Yes it’s a bit weird sometimes being in the office with MM – I felt like an intruder to begin with – but we keep out of each others way.  I can now work four days a week and be home for 3pm when my daughter gets off the school bus and best of all Friday is My Day!  It took a few risks and a convoluted path to get here but I have reached my personal utopia when it comes to work/life balance.

So in general many of us bloggers have lots of other stuff going on too.  Blogging in many cases is something we make time to do because we enjoy it – just like going for a run or watching a football game.  Many of us started it with no expectations and so like me we are thrilled and a little overwhelmed with the great positive feedback and comments we receive.  I am very happy if I can distract you for 10 minutes or so everyday with my little post and outfit of the day.  Thank you xx

Today I had to dash to the dentist with my daughter before work so threw on my Hudsons and this cute top from J.Crew from a couple of years ago.  The shoes are Sam Edleman from Zappos.com. The black beaded bracelets are H&M and the earrings were dirt cheap from Target.  (Sorry for the poor quality it was dark at 7am!)

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