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Let’s Catch Up: What I’ve Been Up To This Month

Well here we are, almost at the end of the month, year and decade. How scary is that? So much has changed for me in the last 10 years, I’ve met some amazing new people, visited exciting places, lost loved ones and started my blog. I’ve changed as a person, I’ve become stronger, more confident and finally accepted my current situation. Maybe things will be different in years to come, I can’t see into the future, no one can. But who knows what’s round the corner.

I’m a bit late writing this post so it does include November and half of December. Let’s find out what I’ve been up to lately.

I was reduced to tears one morning after opening a parcel from my wonderful friend Maggie who lives in Derbyshire. She’d arranged for her work colleague to make this beautiful memorial stone for my cat Pepper, who I sadly lost in October. Maggie and Debs work at a cat rescue centre and have one of these made every time they lose a cat. Thank you so much ladies, this honestly means the world to me.

On the 16th November I went to see my friend Rhian perform in the N.E.Dance end of year ballet show. It was absolutely fantastic, with a mix of classical and chart music and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute, I sat right at the front and was able to see all the beautiful adult dancers alongside children ballerinas and their beautiful costumes. Rhian very kindly sent me some photos after the event so I could see everything in more detail. The show was put together by Nicola, who runs the dance school and I think she did an amazing job. Money from the ticket sales helped raise £300 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Well done to Rhian and everyone who was involved in the evening’s performance, you did yourself proud.

To get in the festive mood, I put my tree and a few decorations up in my bedroom. I bought the tree from Amazon about three years ago and each year I’ve added a new bauble, this year it’s the gold star and yes, you’ve guessed it, to remember Pepper. Most of my decorations are form B&M or Wilkos, both places are reasonably prices but don’t look cheap. And of course, my pink and white “Santa Baby” hat and jumper has made an appearance again, it wouldn’t be Christmas without them now.

At the end of November Adrian and I went into to town to see the Christmas Lights Switch on. We got down there super early, not only so we had a good view but to watch the entertainment that was on throughout the afternoon. First there was a local choir singing carols, which was followed by another local act, the New Town Centres and they performed a mix of Christmas songs and chart music. Both were amazing and yes, I did sing along to any of the tunes I knew. Luckily we were right at the front to see Santa, and his helper, turn on the Christmas lights. It was absolutely freezing but thankfully I kept warm with a jumbo hot chocolate from Starbucks and long sleeve thermals. The outfit I wore is in the main photo of this post, everything was bought secondhand and has to be one of my favourite outdoor festive outfits.

You know those impromptu get togethers that end up being so much better than if you’d spend weeks planning it and stressing over every tiny detail? Well that’s what we did for Adrian’s birthday on the 24th November. Our friends Stephanie, Wayne and Gerry came round with birthday cake and we added a few mini cakes. Normally I would have baked Adrian a birthday cake but as he hadn’t planned on celebrating in any way I just didn’t have time. We all had an amazing evening and everyone left with us all having had far too much sugar!

What have you been up to this month? What will you be doing over the Christmas holidays?

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Gift Guide and Stocking Fillers For Her

I absolutely love the festive season, I look forward to all the family and my friends coming together, enjoying each other’s company with a glass of mulled wine and a large tub of Quality Street. I look forward to making the house look festive with Christmas decorations and enough fairy lights to beat Blackpool illuminations. The Christmas tunes will have been on repeat from the start of November and I’ll most probably be singing them in my sleep by mid December.

Having said that, it can often feel like one of the most stressful times of the year. The shops are extra busy and you have no idea what gifts to get your nearest and dearest. I thought I’d put together a last minute gift and stocking filler guide for the ladies in your life, especially those who are ultra girly and love all things pink.

Sanctuary Exquisite Bath Salts Boots / Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry Luxury 2 Wick Candle Baylis & Harding / Luna 3 Sonic Cleansing Brush Foreo / Laura Mercier Paint with Light Radiant Face Illuminator Trio John Lewis / Baylis & Harding Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry Mini Stack Gift Set Temptation Gifts

Zipped Jewellery Case Ted Baker / Ted Baker A5 folio ASOS / rose gold wireless earbuds with charging case Skinnydip / House of Marley Head Phones in rose gold ASOS / Glitter Water Bottle Skinnydip / Swarovski Crystal Heart Stud Earrings and Huggy Gift Set ASOS

Cashmere Bed Socks The White Company / Piped Silk Pyjamas The White Company / Satin and Lace Kimono (colour Vintage Pink) H&M / Fluffy Cross Over Slippers Boux Avenue / Christmas Cookie House Party Gift Set Too Faced / Hooded Pink Robe Boux Avenue

Jo Malone Rose & Magnolia Cologne John Lewis / GHD Platinum+ Straighteners Limited Edition Gift Set in Rose Gold John Lewis / GHD Platinum+ Air Limited Edition Deluxe Set NEXT / Vanity Case Ted Baker

monogram beanie hat / studded cliptop purse / rose gold colour diamante chain watch / diamante bow scrunchie / faux suede cross body bag – All from River Island

Burberry Check Cashmere Scarf Harvey Nichols / Blush Pink Jewellery Box Stackers / Rose Gold Earrings Monica Vinader / Rose Gold Mini Nugget Cluster Bracelet Monica Vinader

Paris: Through A Fashion Eye and The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments In Fashion Both by Megan Hess on Amazon / Tea and Cake Bath Slab Duo Miss Patisserie / Phone Case CaseApp / Wax Melts Glam Wax / Bath and Shower Gel Kathleen / Body and Massage Oil Kathleen / Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum John Lewis / Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Collection – Eyeshadow Pallette / Blusher / Lipstick / Lip Liner

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My Guide To Buying Secondhand Clothing

You can pick up some absolute gems when searching through racks of pre-loved clothes, all it takes is a little patience. I’ve been doing it for years and love creating outfits with beautiful pieces I’ve bought either on Depop, in a charity shop or vintage store. There’s something to suit everyone’s style. Here are my top tips for buying secondhand clothing for this seasons wardrobe.

Forget Any Preconceived Ideas

Charity shops have come a long way over the years and aren’t full of stained or moth eaten clothing that no one would ever dream of wearing. The stores are stocked with carefully chosen pieces that have already been washed and everywhere is laid out in sections, either by colour or style. The staff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, just as you’d find in a high street store.

Minor Problems Can Be Fixed

You can easily sew on a button or put on a complete new set to jazz up a blazer or coat. Broken zip, no worries, a new zip can simply be sewn in, either by you or anyone you know with a sewing machine. A hem can be taken up to make a skirt or dress just the perfect length and if a top or dress is slightly too low cut across the bust, a few stitches are all it takes to protect your modesty. If there does happen to be a slight mark it can easily be removed by one of the many fabric cleaners on the market. Failing that take it along to a local dry cleaners, which is well worth doing for a one off vintage or designer garment.

Always Try It On

Clothes may look fabulous on a hanger but can look absolutely hideous the minute you try on what you thought was the perfect looking dress. The same rule applies the other way round, it could hang like a sack on the hanger but once you slip it on the dress could give you the most stunning shape and drape beautifully across the body.

Always Check The Returns Policy

This is definitely worth checking if you’re buying on Depop, Ebay or Oxfam On Line. Imagine how heartbroken you’d be after ordering a stunning piece of clothing only for it to arrive and it didn’t fit. Or there was a hole in the garment that wasn’t shown in the photo and the seller wouldn’t give you a refund.

Trust Your Instinct

If you know an item will go with at least 3 outfits in your wardrobe and you know you’ll get lots of wear from that piece then it’s worth having. Does it suit your personal style or are you buying it just because it’s something that’s on trend? Also don’t be a label snob, if you think you will wear the item then buy it.

Don’t Rule Out Accessories

Hats, jewellery and bags all add those perfect finishing touches to any outfit. You may stumble across a 1950s bag that looks brand new and you’re unlikely to see one of your friends with the same one. If you can’t quite stretch to a full price designer handbag, then buying secondhand is the best way to go, especially if it’s a classic design that’s never going to go out of style.

Have you found a great secondhand bargain?

You may also like to read My Autumn Charity and Vintage Shop Haul

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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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