I’ve been growing my cashmere collection for years. It’s a great way to buy knitwear because your early investment pays off many fold if you look after it well. I’ve lost count of the cheap sweaters that have lasted one season and ended up in the bin, so now, it’s cashmere whenever possible (with the exception of the occasional sparkly Xmas jumper).
I’m always on the lookout for great cashmere basics and until recently, didn’t know that Damart has a great range of purse friendly cashmere. They sent me this fabulous edge to edge long length cardigan to review and I have to say it is a (Christmas) cracker! Warm and cosy, yet light and very wearable, I just know it’s going to be a wardrobe staple, not just this year, but for a few years to come. What I like best of all is that it has pockets! Who doesn’t love a cardi with pockets.
My oldest cashmere piece is seven years old and I’ve kept it soft and bobble free by hand washing and using a cashmere comb. I aim to increase my stock by one piece a year and usually buy in the sales as it can be pricey. Good cashmere tends to keep its shape so no baggy sleeves or shapeless garments.
I chose grey because it literally goes with everything in my wardrobe. As we have just moved house and most of my stuff is in suitcases, I’m working on a capsule wadrobe (for the first time in my life!) of black and grey with the odd splash of red and gold.
PS: I know some of you have been asking for photos of our new home. Well BT only got our internet started yesterday (a three week wait in this day and age!) so I’ve not been blogging. However, I will soon be posting pictures of our stuck in the seventies home for your amusement!
We are going on a cruise with Celebrity next month and I have to pack two outfits that meet the criteria for ‘Evening Chic’. In previous years I would have chosen a full length gown or something blingy, but as I’ve matured, although I still like a bit of sparkle, I favour a more toned down look.
For my first outfit I’m packing this Phase Eight sleeveless dress. I am wearing Wingz underneath to give the appearance that it has sleeves. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, at 55, my arms are not as firm as they used to be. Secondly, cruise ships are a bit chilly in the evenings and as pashminas seem a bit passé now, I need a cover up. The Wingz were sent to me for the purpose of review and I think they look pretty good with this dress, so I’ll definitely be packing them.
Onto the shoes. These are the Charlotte Olympias that I won last year and try as I might, I just can’t do anything but totter in them. I look ridiculous. If anyone wants to make me an offer they are size four and have never been worn (apart from trying on!). They won’t be making the edit that’s for sure, but I have some black spiky Carvelas that will work.
I think it’s quite tricky to pack for a hot weather city break because you have to consider temperature, comfort and of course, style. You can’t simply pack as you would for a summer holiday as you may want to visit churches and museums but on the other hand, you want to be put together as opposed to any old t-shirt and jeans.
Here, I’m wearing a cotton tunic from White Stuff which is cool, but covers up a fair bit. The silk scarf is from East and is great for holidays as it weighs nothing and can be used for day or evening.
I usually take a cross body bag when in big cities as I like to feel that my purse and camera are secure.
I take both flat sandals and trainers if we are walking around a big city, so that I can swap to sandals early evening and give my toes some breathing space!
We’ve just spent a blissful few days in Bardolino on Lake Garda, Italy. No sightseeing, just getting away from it all. On Tuesday night we went to the opera so I chose a pretty frock from Debenhams Collection and my trusty white linen jacket from M&S. The weather was scorching, so the jacket was surplus to requirements really.
The dress is one of my charity shop buys – it cost me a fiver and no doubt after a couple of wears it will go back for someone else to stumble across it. That’s the beauty of charity shops. You can shop guilt free, have lots of different outfits, then give them all back at the end of it to make room for more! I never tire of it and happily spend hours browsing. I also don’t give a monkey’s about who owned it before, or any potential stigma attached to second hand. To me, a charity shop is like a dressing up box: just full of sartorial opportunity! This dress actually came with matching green strappy shoes, but no way I was walking more than a mile in them, so they stayed at home for a more suitable occasion.
Phase Eight is one of my favourite shops for when I need a frock. As we were staying in a posh hotel I figured I could get away with dressing up a bit, so I chose this nautical stripe from this summer’s online sale. The dress is jersey, but lined, so it gives you a bit of structure. It’s also flattering for big boobs and the folds at the waist draw attention from a big tummy.
The jacket is an old favourite from M&S which pulls together pretty much any outfit for when you want to smarten up.
The silver leather clutch is from a boutique in Mallorca and is great for travelling as it packs flat and goes with anything.
The photo is taken at the Old Swan & Minster Mill in Minster Lovell.
I thought I’d give a jumpsuit a try on holiday. It didn’t work and has been immediately consigned to the charity shop. Firstly it’s a boring look, I probably needed a stack of bracelets to lift it. Next, it is too high at the neck and does nothing for my boobs. Instead, it shows my arms which are not my best feature. Thirdly, it was a pain in the neck to wear as it all has to come off to go to the loo. This is a Wallis jumpsuit which I only paid £4 in a charity shop, so as experiments go, it wasn’t the greatest disaster, but I’ll know for next time!
Such a lot is said about double denim that most of us shy away from it as the ultimate fashion faux pas. However, I think it can work if you get the proportions and colours right. I wouldn’t wear the same shade of denim top and bottom, nor would I wear jeans with a classic denim jacket, but I think this shirt dress looks OK over a pair of dark boot cut jeans. The shirt dress is from Gap and is a great piece to have in your wardrobe for layering. The jeans are M&S and the striped tee is Henry Holland at Debenhams. Both shirt and top are long enough to wear as a dress, but, as they say, ‘not on my watch’. My knees are staying firmly covered up thank you very much. The bag is from Jasper Conran at Debenhams and the superlight trainers are from Hi Tech. I’m dressed here to go walking along the seafront at Torremolinos. We stayed there last week at the Riu Nautilus. The weather varied between 15-25 degrees from one day to the next, so layering and walking shoes were the order of the day. Anyone else like a bit of denim?
I’m partial to a fair isle sweater and this F&F one is perfect for brightening up a January day. I took the train to Manchester today to do some product testing for Boots and although it was fairly mild, train stations are notoriously parky!
The grey jacket is Tulchan, the black jeans BHS and the black patent boots are M&S.
Whilst in Manchester Piccadilly, the alarms went off and the station was evacuated so we made our way to Oxford Street to get home. Not the best day out!
I’m an unashamed shoe lover and have a pair for every occasion. I wrote earlier this month about my resolution to get my travel mojo back and of course, I’ll need the right shoes for the job! These are some of my travel choices.
Malaga Winter Break
We’re off to Malaga next month for a sightseeing break, so I’m packing comfy shoes. No dressing up in the evening means casual chic with these nude suede Chelsea boots from M&S which go beautifully with jeans and any top. The gold pumps are from JD Williams* and will be perfect for days out as they’re cushion soft, but sturdy, plus I love a bit of bling in the daytime for holidays!
Girls In New York
I’m really excited about my girls only trip to NYC in April and I think I’ve chosen the perfect shoes for the trip (although there’s sill time to acquire another pair). I’m starting with red suede Chelsea boots from M&S which will give my evening outfits a bit of an edge, while ensuring that I can walk in comfort. I’m just loving my Clarks calfskin walking shoes – I used to have shoes like these with seams on the outside, at sixth form and as soon as I saw them I knew they were coming home with me. We’re going to be walking miles in NYC, but I still want to be stylish and I’m not a fan of trainers outside the gym. These will go with my holiday colour scheme of black, grey and red. Finally, the sparkly pumps are an essential for slipping your feet into something comfy at the end of a long day when you just want to pop downstairs to the hotel bar for a quick nightcap. I aim to always pack a pair of soft pumps in my bag wherever I go. I’d like to be telling you that these are Pretty Ballerinas, but they are cheapies from New Look. They do the job though!
Cruising The Eastern Med with Celebrity
I wrote recently about getting back on the ocean wave, so this is where glamour really comes into its own. Cruising means dressing up to the nines, so enter my fierce stiletto Carvelas. These are fabulous and (nearly) comfortable. The calfskin pumps will be perfect for scooting round the ship during the day. I bought these in a fantastic shoe shop in Malaga – they are super soft and were reassuringly expensive!
So this is my new year resolution illustrated by shoes! JD Williams have some great shoes for taking you to where you want to be for 2016. Take a look at the link here for some ideas.
Never one to let a seventies throwback trend pass me by, I invested in this poncho by Tommy Hilfiger (from TKMaxx I might add). It’s really warm and cosy, but hasn’t had as much wear as I’d hoped as we’ve had such an unusually warm winter. Worn with dark M&S denims and my Dune cowboy boots I feel very happy in it.