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8 Autumn Pieces For Every Day

It’s finally time for chunky knits and knee high boots! As much as I love floaty summer florals, I’ve been excited to start wearing cosy coats and autumnal outfits for weeks. If I’m honest, I’m still not ready to wear thick tights, I’m hanging on for as long as I possibly can. I’ve not bought too many new things this season, last year I added quite a few classic, timeless pieces in neutral shades and you’ll see me wearing them a lot over the next few months. I mix and match my outfits, making sure I get the most wear out of each item.

This year I thought I’d switch things up a bit and go for designs I wouldn’t normally wear, but the silhouette is very much in keeping with my personal style. I thought I’d share 8 pieces from my wardrobe that I’ve already had great fun styling up and will continue to do so for many years to come.

A Long Coat

A warm coat is the ultimate wardrobe staple that everyone needs during the colder months. Choosing a classic style means you can wear it with so many pieces, even a floral dress and thermals underneath yet still look feminine and super chic. Most of my long coats are in camel or beige so they literally go with everything. This year I fancied a change and fell in love with this gorgeous pink herringbone coat* from Topshop. After having a try on session at home I quickly realised how many great outfits I could style. It looks amazing worn with chocolate brown or burgundy items, I’m especially excited to start wearing it with over the knee boots and a chunky roll neck. I love the over size collar and large belt, which I can always swap to a brown one for a different look. It’s super warm and snuggly while looking chic and stylish for an everyday look.

Thin Roll Neck Jumper

A long sleeve, thin roll neck jumper is a great basic item to have during Autumn. It’s extremely versatile, great for layering and looks different with every outfit, from jeans, skirts and dresses. I pop a thin roll neck under summer dresses to get even more wear out of them through Autumn. Neutral colours, camel, cream and black, look chic and go with everything. A thin knit can smarten up a blazer and jeans, or look super cute worn with midi skirts and ankle boots.

Ankle Boots

As the temperatures begin to drop I’ll start replacing my summer sandles with ankle boots. For me, they give any outfit an instant lift. This year I’m obsessed with this nude pair* from H&M, the pointed toe and stiletto heel gives my outfit a touch of glamour. The design and colour is so versatile they look great with jeans, midi skirts and dresses.

Bow Blouse

A pretty blouse is a wardrobe staple all year round for me, I have a number of different styles but I love this bow blouse which I picked up in a vintage store. It not only looks chic worn with a skirt or trousers but it’s great for layering when the temperatures drop. It suits my feminine style and because I’ve chosen a neutral shade it’s extremely versatile. You’ll see me wearing a pretty blouse whatever season we’re in.

Maxi or Midi Skirt

Midi skirts are an ultimate wardrobe staple, especially in Autumn. They come in various styles from pleats, checks, florals and faux leather and a midi skirt looks great worn smart or casually. They look chic and stylish paired with knee high boots and a roll neck, a blouse for work or a sparkly top and heels for the office party. It’s the type of skirt I wear on an occasion when I’m not sure what the dress code is. I’m currently in love with this black, gold and cream pleated midi skirt* from the Richard Allan collection at H&M this year, I’ve been constantly wearing it and had so many complements every time.

If you’d like to see how else I’ve been styling this stunning 60s inspired midi skirt then I’ll leave the link to my blog post here.

H&M X Richard Allan Collaboration

Chunky Knit

I can’t get enough of wearing a snuggly chunky knit during Autumn, although in the UK it’s not been cold enough for me to pull them out of my wardrobe. I’ve still got quite a few gorgeous styles that I’ve bought previous seasons, they still look good as new so I won’t be investing in any news ones. A chunky knit looks great paired with midi skirts or over a floral dress. I’d usually opt for one in cream, beige or nude, that way I know it’s going to go with everything in my wardrobe.

Knee High Boots

There will always be a special place in my Autumn Winter wardrobe for over the knee boots but this year I’m getting even more wear out of these tan knee high ones. I’ve had them for so long and they come out year after year. They’re extremely versatile and instantly make any outfit look pulled together, from jeans and a chunky knit to a midi skirt and bow blouse. There are so many on the high street right now, I’d always go for a neutral colour like brown or tan as I find I’ll get a lot more wear out of them.

Midi Dress

I adore midi dresses, they look feminine and chic. It’s your outfit sorted, just add a coat with a few accessories and you’re good to go. It’s such a versatile piece for every day, they come in many different designs but I happen to love florals and polka dots. If the weather turns chilly just add a long sleeve thin knit or a thermal top underneath, I’ve been doing that with a few dark floral summer dresses to make sure I bring the cost per wear right down. A midi dress can also take you from day to night just by adding a clutch and strappy heels. My absolute favourite this season is this wrap style from the Richard Allan collection* at H&M. It’s a beautiful design and the material is soft and flowly, I’ll be wearing this for many years to come.

If you’d like to see what else I’ll be wearing over the coming months, then head over to my 10 Winter Wardrobe Staples. They’re classic, timeless pieces that will be in my wardrobe for many years to come.

What's New In My Wardrobe

*items have been gifted in return for a blog post

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Styling A 60s Print Midi Skirt This Autumn

You’re guaranteed to see me in at least one new midi skirt each season. They’re super versatile, making them a key piece for any wardrobe. I’ve always been inspired by the fashion from the 60s and 70s and many of today’s trends have been inspired by that era. When I think about clothing I already own, such as a pair of Knee High boots, mini skirt, baker boy hats and patterned tights. they’ve all started out in the 1960s.

The “Swinging 60s” in London is such an iconic era, from music, the social scene and, of course the fashion. Richard Allan was a British scarf designer from that time and known for his bold prints and vibrant colours. The brand have now teamed up with H&M and have created a collection of fashionable pieces using classic vintage prints from their original 60s scarves.

The collection is absolutely gorgeous with autumnal gold, orange and brown tones. There are midi skirts, dresses and tops which have a definite retro feel about them. The design details are feminine, yet chic, with soft pleats, high neck lines and wide cuffs. I’ve been trying to get my hands on the collections gold patterned scarf, but to my frustration it keeps selling out. I think the H&M and Richard Allan Collaboration have got it so right with these pieces, bringing the 60s bang up to date.

I chose the midi skirt from the Piccadilly Collection which is inspired by the neon lights of Piccadilly Circus in London in the 1960s. Each piece works in harmony together, yet for me this stunning pleated mid skirt is the most versatile. The material drapes beautifully over the body and feels elegant and swishy when you move.

I first styled the skirt with a pair of camel knee high boots (on show thanks to a gust of wind!) and are on trend now just as they were back in the day. They go beautifully with this camel top handle bag I found in a vintage store and the cream pussy bow blouse adds to the feminine, retro look. I finished off the outfit with a gorgeous velvet baker boy cap to add to the 60s feel.

My second look is perfect for when the weather gets cooler. A black roll neck jumper has been a wardrobe staple for many women over the years, I’ve certainly gone through a few. This one was an investment piece a couple of years ago, it’s made from Alpaca wool and keeps me super warm.

This time I completed the look with a pair of suedette black knee high books and a golden, light brown cross body bag. The gold chain strap of the bag goes perfectly with my large hoop earrings for a real retro feel. I’m absolutely head over heels in love with this midi skirt. I love the print, the pleats and the material. It’s a piece that will see me through the whole year, dressed up or down.

If you just want to buy one thing from the collection, play it safe with the scarf (let me get my hands on one first before they sell out again!) It can be used in a multitude of ways to jazz up an outfit, especially if all over bold prints aren’t usually your thing. This collection really does have something for every kind of vintage lover, it’s an absolute dream.

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Autumn Charity Shop Haul

I have been shopping in Secondhand and Vintage shops for ages, usually the odd piece here and there. This year I thought I’d challenge myself to finding at least 3 outfits and a coat that would fit perfectly with my Autumn style. I know a lot of people aren’t keen on buying from Charity shops, but there’s no difference between shopping there or on Ebay and DePop. I’m giving a new home to pre-loved items and will definitely be getting a lot of enjoyment out of wearing them.

I went into HItchin town centre to complete my mission. Among the shops I visited were Age Concern, Keech Children’s Hospice, Garden House Hospice and RSPCA. I’m so excited to show you what absolute gems I picked up.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love a floral dress. This gorgeous knee length one with an Autumnal print was hanging on the mannequin in the window of Age Concern. I was over the moon when I tried it on and found it fit me beautifully. It’s double layered with an elasticated waist and wrists. I love the frill detail down the front and around the cuffs and the print is perfect for this seasons Dark Floral trend. There isn’t a label in the dress but it’s beautifully made and cost me £5.99.

I couldn’t resist this 1960s brown leather bag. I love the design, especially the gold hard ware and it suits my personal style. It’s in really good condition, considering it’s age and cost me £10 from Garden House Hospice Vintage Shop.

Also in Garden House Hospice Vintage Shop, I picked up two beautiful floral dresses. The first is a red floral number with a tie waist. I love the pattern as I can accessorise it in so many different ways. The dress is knee length in a fit and flare style with flute sleeves. Originally from Tu and cost me £3.99.

The brown ditsy, floral print dress just screams Autumn. I love the frill detail around the neck and down the front. It’s quite sheer, so I’m wearing a black slip underneath. I can always wear a long sleeve thermal top, thick tights and boots when the weather turns chillier. Originally from F&F but I paid £3.50.

Keeping with the dark prints for Autumn, I picked up these two gorgeous skirts from Age Concern and both are made from a thick cotton. They’ll look fabulous worn with knee high boots and a range of different tops or blouses I already own. The striped print skirt is originally from Betty Jackson and cost me £4 from Keech Children’s Hospice and the floral skirt is originally from M Butterfly and cost me £5 from RSPCA.

I also picked up this fabulous faux fur, faux suede jacket in a rick chocoalte brown colour. It’s super snuggly and roomy enough to fit a chunky jumper underneath when the temperatures do start to drop. It’s the kind of jacket that goes with everything, smart or casual. I already have a couple in other shades so I was really excited to pick up this one for Autumn. It’s originally from Next and cost me £8.

I found this fabulous Hobbs check print coat in Age Concern and fell in love with it straight away. It’s fully lined and made from 100% wool. It’s such a classic style and can be worn in many different ways in both Autumn and Spring. The jacket is in such good condition and will be a wardrobe staple for many years to come. I paid £10 and think I got my money’s worth.

The blush nude wool blazer is simply divine. It’s 100% wool and extremely soft. The neutral shade means it will go with practically everything in my Autumn wardrobe. I’ve loved styling it with a thin roll neck, cream jeans and a pair of brown boots for a super casual look. The label is from Daniel Hechter and cost me £10 from Garden House Hospice Shop.

An outfit challenge wouldn’t be complete without a few accessories to finish off the look. I fell in love with theses moc croc, burgandy ankle boots in Age Concern. They’re perfect for Autumn and will look beautiful paired with some of my new outfits. These boots are in really good condition and have hardly been worn. They cost me a grand total of £6 and will be getting a lot of use over the coming months.

I’ve always been a lover of sparkly things and have built up a collection of costume jewellery over the years. I bought these gorgeous bracelets from Garden House Hospice Vintage Shop, the pearl ones cost £1 and the diamante one cost £1.50. They’ll always help to jazz up an outfit.

Finally, I had to feature this beautiful suede cross body bag which I found in the same vintage store for £10. It’s in excellent condition and was marked up as being from the 90s. I love the neutral shade and gold hard ware, making it extremely versatile. It’s the perfect size to fit my daily essentials, including two zipped pockets inside to keep valuables secure.

I hope you enjoyed my Autumn Charity Shop outfit challenge. I absolutely love everything I picked up and think they fit in perfectly with my personal style.

Have you snapped up a secondhand bargain? Where’s your favourite place to shop for previously owned clothes?

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My Illness Doesn’t Define The Person I Am Today

Illness isn’t a defining role in my life, it may have shaped me but it isn’t who I am. I’m a wife, sister, friend, fundraiser, blogger, and cat lover amongst many other things. These are how I define myself, I just happened to have a neurological illness. I am no more defined by my illness than I am by my blonde hair or the fact that I survived an abusive childhood. Having an illness or being a survivor of abuse doesn’t define my character, it’s what I’ve done afterwards that’s made all the difference to the person I am today.

Every time I have a bad day there’s an overwhelming feeling that hits me like a slap in the face. Irrational thoughts of I’m a failure or I’m not good enough come out of nowhere. The frustration that follows a neurological relapse is unreal, parts of my body no longer work as they’re supposed to and stop me from physically doing things I once took for granted. I’m willing my legs to move, my speech not to sound slurred and my hand to un-clench, but without Harry Potter’s wand it’s never going to happen.

On the outside I “look so well” but on the inside I’m trapped while the world moves on around me. I feel so alone. The fear hangs over me like a dark cloud. What if something happens to Adrian and I can’t get out of bed for days and no one knows I’m there? A million “What if” questions run through my head and bring on a panic attack. I can’t breathe, the walls are closing in around me and I want to scream but no sound leaves my mouth.

I’m both mentally and physically exhausted.

Life has been difficult at times. I had to give up full time work due to my physical disability. My eyesight is failing, I have tremors and lack of sensation in my legs, arms and lower back. I suffer from seizures that leave me unable to move for days and often I’m crying in agony because the pain is so severe.

With the help of a counsellor, a physiotherapist, an alternate therapist and, of course, Adrian, I’m making the best out of life that I possibly can. I had to re-evaluate how I did things. I joined a support group for people in the same situation as me, eventually becoming a “buddy” for newly diagnosed members to talk through how they were feeling. I began raising money for the charity by doing a sponsored wheelchair push and arranging a pamper evening for all the ladies. I developed new friendships as well as strengthening life long relationships. I also gave a presentation to health and social care workers where I talked about the advantages of using a day care centre or charity support group from a clients’ point of view.

It gave me a sense of purpose again. My anxiety improved and I felt mentally stronger. It was one day a week but I was making a difference to someone else’s life, not just my own.

I started writing my blog which allowed me to continue my love of fashion and beauty. I began talking to people on line who had similar interests to me, we’d have a laugh, a moan or support each other in whatever way we could. I learnt new photography skills by working my way round the manual settings of a camera, all about lighting and the use of props to tell a story. I stepped out of my comfort zone by posing in front of the camera and (hopefully) inspiring people on what outfits to wear. I’ve explored local places I perhaps wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for writing my blog. I’ve even learnt how to bake cakes which I especially love doing for friend’s birthdays or baby showers. I find it very therapeutic mixing the ingredients from scratch and creating something that tastes delicious.

I still have bad days, both mentally and physically. I’m proud of all the little things I’ve achieved despite having a disability. I’ve learnt to understand what triggers a neurological symptom to flare up or what causes my panic attacks. Everything feels a million times worse if I cannot control a situation, however much I try to use my coping techniques. Yes I need the help of carers and cannot leave the house on my own or go to the ladies without assistance. But I won’t give up living life and doing the things I enjoy.

I’m incredibly proud of the small things I’ve achieved and won’t let it hold me back. I take life at my pace and still need to hide in my sanctuary every so often, but there’s nothing wrong in that. We all need to a day or two to recharge, no matter what we’re going through.

However bad life gets, I won’t let my illness define who I am, I’m more than just medical appointments, tablets and a wheelchair. It doesn’t make me a failure just because I’m not able to do something the way I once did. My illness isn’t a barrier to stop me doing the things I want to achieve in life, I just have to do them slightly differently.

If you’re in a dark place, remember there’s always someone you can talk to and get help. Most importantly, remember you’re not alone.

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A Celebratory Picnic At Hitchin Lavender

I’m extremely lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the UK with places such as Hitchin Lavender practically on my doorstep. I didn’t need to think twice when it came to deciding how we’d celebrate our anniversary this year. No fancy meal in a restaurant, no weekend break or a big family party.

I wanted to enjoy a picnic, surrounded by a sea of stunning purple flowers and feel relaxed by the divine smell of lavender. Adrian and I packed up the hamper with pasta, fruit salad, a Victoria Sponge and a bottle of wine to toast our happy day.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, the sun was shining and the skies were blue. The lavender fields were extremely busy, yet so peaceful with everyone going about their business, getting lost in their own thoughts. We were both given a paper bag each on the way in, so we collected as much lavender as we could to take home. I love to let the flowers dry out and make lavender bags for my wardrobes and drawers, they keep my clothes smelling fresh and the moths away!

Naturally, we had to take plenty of photos, I’ll be popping one in a frame to remember the day. Our actual wedding anniversary is in April when the weather can be a bit hit and miss. Instead, every year on 4th July (the date of our first night out together) we do something a little extra special rather than just watching a film and having a take away.

I felt super feminine in my white broderie anglaise mini dress, a straw hat that’s so old I can’t remember where it’s from and a basket bag I picked up from a charity shop for £4. My pearl jewellery is from a local vintage shop and made the perfect finishing touch to a pretty summer outfit.

We both had a wonderful afternoon, extremely full from all the food we ate and a little merry from the wine. I certainly slept well that night!

Have you been anywhere to celebrate a special day? I’d love to hear about the place you visited.

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