Tag Archives: Trafford Centre

Catching up

I really do love heading back to Bury for a few days. As much as I miss my Husband and children it is really lovely to be a sister, a daughter and an aunty, without worrying too much about being a wife and mommy as well! Last night I got the chance to be a friend too – and an old one at that. I met up with an old school friend who I last saw a couple of years ago. It’s really lovely to catch up and giggle together. Even with all the months and miles between seeing each other it’s still as easy as ever to reconnect.

It was absolutely foul weather – no surprise there – so I opted to wear my cosy AllSaints Haff jumper, M&S flares and new M&S tan pointy toe pumps. I know the flares keep disappearing out of stock online (as of this post 8 and 10 regulars were available online) but both Bury and Bolton had plenty on the racks over the past couple of days. The pumps are gorgeous – I love the cognac with the flares – and they are super pointy with a great mid size heel so they very wearable. They are also available in black and a lovely pale blue.

night out

Today I was woken by my gorgeous 3 year old niece, Alice, who was here to take me shopping again – she’s a girl after my own heart 🙂 We headed to the Trafford Centre where it was guaranteed to be warm and dry!

The other day I purchased Poppy this stunning Next dress, that my Mum immediately said was ‘very Ted Baker’ and I agree. It is a beautiful print and I knew instantly that Poppy would adore wearing scene from the English seaside. Today it was my turn to spoil Alice and I snapped up the identical dress for her. Apparently it is a ‘princess dress’ and she hasn’t taken it off yet! I’ve a feeling these are going to sell out really fast.

Next dress v1 One very happy 3 year old:

Alice shopping


I’d forgotten how fabulous Next are for children’s clothes and I nabbed this dress for Poppy too while I was back in there. It’s lovely and floaty and less than £20! She’s definitely not a pink girl these days so this blue is a little more ‘grown up’ for her.


Of course I had to head into M&S again – this time for restocking my knickers 🙂 Some of their lingerie is gorgeous and their fabulous Brazilians are currently 3 for 2.


I also got a quick snoop around the clothing and fell in love with this camel coat in particular. Boy do I wish I had need of spring coats in Atlanta!

M&S coat 2 M&S coat

M&S is FULL of colour and I fell for this coat – I was so tempted – but once again I have absolutely no need for it in Atlanta…I might have justified it somehow before I head to Manchester on Thursday!

M&S coat lime

I loved this display of bright summer macs too – again the yellow one is stunning.

M&S macs

Another pair of boots caught my eye too – I just can’t walk by the boot section and not look! It’s a problem…They are a gorgeous square toe boot with a buckle across the front. I think these are the perfect shoe boot to wear with flares this spring. They are also available in navy – its great to see more navy footwear available!

M&S boots

While Grandad was perusing the men’s section Alice and I got some selfie practice – she’s a little pro!

Joanna and Alice 2 Joanna and Alice


outfit 1Boots – Dolce Vita Haku // Trousers – Zara // Jumper – AllSaints (old) // Jacket – Uniqlo biker puffer // Scarf – ASOS // Bag – Alexander McQueen (similar here)

Tonight we all feel like celebrating – my Dad has just handed his retirement in, and at almost 67 years old his working days are over…well my Mum has a list for him at home but she might take it easy on him for a while 🙂


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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The sales are on!!

Last night my brother and his family came over for dinner.  I love hanging out with my brother – he’s quite tolerant of my foibles/quirks – or at least he appears to be.  After dinner, once all had left, I happened to be surfing online and low and behold what should I see but the Zara site announcing it’s sale starting at midnight.

For the first time ever jetlag proved handy. I set my alarm just in case, but thanks to Poppy missing her Dad -bless her, I was wide awake at midnight, on my iPad, filling my cart.  As I was about to check out, feeling very happy with myself, I lost the will to live.  The UK site would not accept a US billing address and UK delivery address.  Now for a moment I did think about waking Mum to borrow her card, but I quickly realized that she may not have placed the same degree of import on the Zara sale, especially close to 1am.  Deflated I rolled over and fell asleep dreaming of what could have been.

In the cold light of day it was probably no bad thing.  This morning, as I stalked the site again, I realized that I actually only REALLY wanted 2 items.  Both are actually cheaper on the US site but the dress was sold out in a medium there – so thanks for letting me borrow your card Mum:)

Here are my purchases:

Jacket – $69.99 or 49.99 GBP



Dress – $69.99 or 49.99 GBP



Happy with my purchases we then headed to the Trafford Centre with my sister.  I was not planning on buying anything.  In fact I even went into Zara and came out empty handed.  Louise then dragged me kicking and screaming into Ted Baker.  Darn it – three dresses later we emerged victorious with grins across our faces.

Here’s Louise’s dress – just stunning on her – in a size 1 – after 2 children!! How can that be?!



And mine – another example of how different our styles are.  I’ll never achieve her level of elegance.

The NULA dress – the same style as my taxi print one that Avril kindly sent over for me, but this is the Paris one, reduced from 129 GBP to 90 GBP.  The print is stunning.





The Allysia dress – reduced from 129 GBP to 65 GBP – a proper bargain!



Poppy didn’t come home empty handed either.  I have a blogger in training I assure you.  I adore this cute Marks and Spencer’s dress that Nana bought her for her belated birthday present.



Now I’m off to sit in the garden and relax with my favorite purchases of the day – my vacation is complete now I have my hands on these.




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What to do on a grey Friday.

With tropical storms/depressions passing through the Atlanta Metro all week, yesterday continued with dark clouds, heavy rain and warm temperatures.  The weather in the UK looks far preferable and I never thought I’d be saying that sitting here!  So what to do on a grey Friday?  Why what else but head to the shops?  Just for a browse mind.

Actually I had a top to return to Athleta.  Their return policy is fabulous.  I bought a sweater a while ago, and I’d worn it a couple of times but found it a tad itchy.  It had sat in my closet taking up space so I decided to test their ‘anytime, any reason’ policy.  They gave me a full refund yesterday!  Pretty good hey?

So while I was down in Atlantic Station I popped into H&M for a browse.  I left with nothing.  Nothing I tell you.  The main reason is that I leave for the UK in a week and a half – I know what I’m packing, well pretty much, and I can’t add anything to that pile.  With heading to Cyprus after Bury, I’ll be out of the country for a bit, so there’s really no point in having a ‘new’ item hanging in the closet unworn.  Travel is great for curbing my spending – until I get to the Trafford Centre that is.

I did however spot some gorgeous items on my wander through H&M.  I just wish they wouldn’t try and cram so much on the racks – it’s so frustrating trying to find a size in there!  As they still don’t have online shopping capabilities here in the US here are some snaps of my top picks if I were buying.

This dress was the perfect nude blush – the pattern is hard to make out here – but so subtle and girly for summer.


LOVE this embellished top – perfect with white jeans.


Okay so I’m going to say Marant again – but these jeans are very Marant – gorgeous embroidery on the legs – if it was the Fall I would have bought these.


I love the Divided section of H&M for cheap and cheerful tees – this animal print tank is lovely.


How perfect!  Neon and animal print shorts – a great weight fabric too.


I have several of these tank dresses that I use for layering in the cooler months – they are great under sweaters with skinny jeans.  The new colors they had yesterday were lovely – yet more neon.


This t-shirt is so me – pink and grey, what’s not to love?  Why the pocket – why, why, why do we need pockets on our boobs?  Gap and J.Crew are guilty of doing this too – please NO pockets.  Just $10 though – I could have picked the pocket off at that price I guess.


This maxi skirt was divine – lovely light weight jersey for the summer – but only XS left in our store here.  If I see this in the UK I think I’ll buy it.


After H&M I nipped into The Gap.  As I’ve mentioned I am completely enamored with The Gap at the moment.  Their neons, cuts and fabrics have led me straight back to their door this summer after not buying from them for nearly 5 years.  They just got so boring with their chinos and white shirts.

Currently they have a tonne of t-shirts and shorts on sale, and all weekend in the US there is 25% off online.  My favorite this season are still their sunwashed t-shirts that are now in the sale.  Gap do fit big though, and even with my boobs I’m a small in their t-shirts.

sunwashed tshirt


Browsing done, I headed off to get the kids from camp and take Poppy for her dentist appointment.  We have the best pediatric dentist ever and after two new sealants Poppy was still grinning.  My lovely Husband finished work early and we all trooped off to try Yeah! Burger on the Westside – my favorite spot in Atlanta.  It was perfect.  Great food, great margaritas, great company – sitting on a covered porch as the torrential rain passed over.  Another steamy summer afternoon in Atlanta.

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A girls trip to the Trafford Centre.

So apart from my weekend in London – the other highlight of my trip that I had been looking forward to for some time, took place yesterday.  My sister took the day off work and left her 2 boys at daycare so we head to the Trafford Centre for a girls day out with Mum.  We try to do it every time I’m back but often there are children involved – who it has to be said – can somewhat hamper the shopping experience!

We arrived as the stores were opening and had a blast.  I relished every moment of it.  There is something really special about spending time with your family that you take for granted when they are around all the time.  Mine are not – so it was lovely watching Mum and Louise have fun and get the same thrill out of shopping as I do.

We started at M&S where Louise and I both got a couple of scarves – Mum had some 20% off vouchers so it was hard to say no:)  Plus Mum got a couple of bags that she paid all of 10GBP for what with her 20% off and various vouchers she had collected!

My scarf – the Indigo Flamingo print (I also got a fabulous bicycle print scarf which isn’t on the website):



Louise’s scarf is a gorgeous silk Autograph scarf:

Lou blue


Looking at these simple images of scarves it is evident how different Louise and I are in our style.  She gravitates towards greys, taupes and neutrals – she has very elegant, sophisticated tastes and prefers simplicity to loud eccentric prints.  See the difference?:)  I think it speaks volumes about our personalities!

I then had lots of fun in Ted Baker.  Their store is amazing.  Full of great colors and the decor is very grand and decadent.  I had been wanting to try the Jupi dress since I fell in love with it in Bloomingdale’s.  It’s a lot cheaper here with the exchange rate and sales tax so I knew I had to try it.  Ted Baker do the 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 sizing which drives me nuts as I am always at the 3/4 end.  The store only had a 4 so I tried it and even though it was fine – with my top heavy frame it felt too billowy around the hips.   I put it back knowing Selfridges have a concession that I could check later.  I did, however, know that there was also a t-shirt in the same print – far more practical and versatile.  So I tried the 3 in the top and decided to get this instead of the dress.  End of.  Totally love it.  The changing rooms are a lot prettier than my photos suggest!

IMG_3261 IMG_3260


One thing I didn’t get about Ted Baker is that they will only exchange items – not refund them – I think that is pretty rubbish these days.

So on to Zara – Mum got a fabulous quilted jacket (can’t see it on the website) and Louise picked up this gorgeous white coat.  Both Mum and Louise are really petite so look amazing in everything they put on!

Louise coat


We then headed off for lunch – there’s a huge selection at the Trafford Center.  I knew I wanted a long decadent lunch i.e. one with wine – so we chose Pizza Express.  Now I remember when they were new and lovely.  This one was fine – but PLEASE it is 2013 – can’t we figure out using laminated menus instead of grubby, greasy card?  As a customer experience ‘expert’ I realize I may be overly judgmental, but this is the first thing your customer sees in a restaurant.  Sort it out Pizza Express!  It just makes the whole restaurant feel less than clean.  Regardless, lunch was fabulous.  I love my Mum and sister:)



So finally I had to look in Selfridges.  I love this store.  The whole shopping experience is immediately elevated.  Now yes I had already bought the t-shirt but just for curiosity’s sake I went to the Ted Baker concession to see if they had a 3 in the dress.  They did.  After a couple of glasses of wine it was a no brainer:)

Here’s what I wore for the day.

Jacket – River Island // T-shirt dress – AllSaints Venice t-shirt dress // Trousers – Dorothy Perkins coated jeggings // Boots – Rag&Bone Newbury


See you all when I’m back in Atlanta!!  England it has been a BLAST!


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Knitted jackets.

It’s hard to shop in Bury and Bolton.  Nothing to do with the stores or the towns themselves – in fact both have been greatly improved, though it is a little sad to see more and more empty store fronts.  Does everyone go to the Trafford Center these days?  Maybe we need help from Mary Portas?  Don’t get me started about Bury Market.  It used to be the destination for food – pies, vegetables, deli meats and of course black pudding.  Now it seems to specialize in tat.

Anyway back to why it’s hard to shop.  It is bloody freezing here (though sun was seen today).  It makes it impossible to imagine anywhere being too warm for a jacket, or furry boots for that matter.  instead of lusting after bright colored shorts and skirts I have been drawn to woolly knits, big coats and scarves.  I have to keep reminding myself that these items won’t get worn in Atlanta till Christmas – plus they’re not packing friendly.

On a couple of instances though I have managed to persuade myself that it may get worn through Spring – maybe even in the air conditioned office in the Summer.  Hence I may be found guilty of the following purchases.

There is a plethora of knitted biker jackets in the stores.  I love knits and I love biker jackets so guess what – I am like a bear to a honey pot when it comes to these gorgeous things.  The first I spotted was in M&S.  I was generally unimpressed again with M&S – they are trying to be all things to all people – but this cardigan was lovely and jumped right out at me from the racks.  So lovely I got both the cream and the black.  I had to go up a size, but the only review online also says it fits a bit small – especially the arms.

M&S cream MandS black


Mum and I went in River Island yesterday.  I remember vividly when our Chelsea Girl in Bury became a River Island – so it makes me giggle that they are now proudly displaying their ‘year founded’ on the clothing labels – 1988 – seems like only yesterday when I am back here.  I probably haven’t been in one since if I’m honest – and I only went in yesterday for research purposes.  Well of course I saw something I needed.  Now I might not get as much wear out of this until Fall, but the color, the knit and the style made it too perfect to leave behind.  It is lovely and you might see me in it tomorrow if I remember to take photos when I go shopping with my sister.

River Island Jacket


Tips on TARDIS-like packing are warmly welcome.


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