I’d say Happy New Year but I think I’ve missed that boat, I’ve only just got round to writing my first blog post of 2020. Time has just run away with me and I’ve lost all track of what day it is.
Since my last update, there’s obviously been Christmas and New Year. We had a quiet few weeks with just Adrian and I most of the time. A lot of my friends were either working or away with their families. It was hard this year as it was the first Christmas without my Aunt, who we sadly lost last January. I honestly didn’t feel like celebrating much, we had a wonderful roast dinner, ate too much chocolate and watched all the festive movies.
On January 5th I celebrated my birthday, as each year goes by I’m less worried about going out and concentrate more on the people around me. I get enjoyment out of the smaller things, such as the pink roses I treated myself to and the extra large Thorntons chocolate cake Adrian got me (which was totally yummy).
My half sister, who lives in Canada, sent me a DVD of The Rockettes and The Nutcracker, I watched both of them in the evening while sipping a couple of glasses of Prosecco and a takeaway.
If you’re a regular to my blog, you may have noticed I have a slight obsession with hats. One style I’d been wanting to try was a beret but didn’t have the confidence. I think I’ve posted a photo on my insta stoies of me wearing a dark pink knitted one, but I never made it out the front door. This year I treated myself to this beautiful wool felt baby pink beret from a brand called Lisa Angel. I styled it with a cream coat and pink accessories and felt extremely chic.
My post Christmas cold has struck again. On top of a neurological illness, the common cold usually knocks me for six so today I’m taking it easy, my duvet and hot water bottle are currently my best friends. I’m using some of the body treats I got for my birthday to make myself feel better and sipping on huge mugs of hot chocolate.
Thank goodness for those little luxuries that make being stuck at home more bearable. I’m also thankful to the two amazing friends I have, one popped in with a few beauty treats and the other bought me a stack of magazines and a basket of fruit. .
I have been well and truly spoilt for my birthday this year, I thought I’d share some of the amazing gifts I received. I love looking though these type of blog posts or vlogs as it gives me inspiration on what to buy people.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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