Friday, 31 August 2012

What does your luggage say about you?

After successfully completely this years "Holiday Packing Challenge" where the whole family managed to holiday for a week with just a cabin sized case, I've been wondering "what does your luggage really say about you?" and it seems I am not the only one.

I can't help but think, with carry on luggage only, the answer to my question is "tight wad" but no that is not strictly true, you are not only reaping the benefits of hefty baggage charges (which bring budget airline flight prices in line with scheduled flights anyway) but travelling light also means your luggage is with you at all times, your suitcase won't get broken from being thrown around by uncaring baggage handlers and you will no longer be the only person left, biting their nails, at the carousel whilst the rest of your holiday companions wait, rather impatiently for your case to appear.

Hand luggage only, also means that you can buy expensive baggage should you decide to invest in something so luxurious, as it will be sitting above your head at all times and having done it once, I would be more than happy to take up this challenge again.  My husband says "hand baggage only, is the way forward" but this of course depends on what type of holiday/flight you book.  At this moment in time, flights to Malaga next August are cheaper with BA than with budget airlines and not only do you get free inflight meals and drinks should you book with them, you also get a very generous 23kg baggage allowance. Sadly it is not the easiest thing to be able to book flights this far in advance when your bank balance is still reeling from the cost of this years holiday and the back to school expenses of uniform and in my case, bus passes.

Anyway I digress from my original question and after reading a recent poll where according to Virgin Atlantic, paparazzi shots of celebs arriving at UK Airports with tote bags the size of France, does in fact influence our holiday bag shop with 25% of 16-24 year olds admitting that they would buy a bag based on what their favourite celebrity has been seen carrying at check-in.
One in ten replace luggage when it has worn out (or to make sure it is better than their travelling companions) and a third of women would consider buying new luggage based on their holiday destination.

My "St George" case by Tripp. Always lent it to my girls and easy to spot on the carousel.
So what about you and what if you don't fall into the 16-24 year old age bracket? Do these findings also apply?  If you are a parent travelling with children, do you like everybody to have matching luggage?  Are you influenced by celebrities or your holiday destination?  Personally I'm not, but I do like a nice easy to manoeuvre case and even if I could afford a Louis Vuitton trunk, I would be far too afraid to let it go in the hold!

One thing is for sure, if you have just returned from your holiday and your luggage has taken a beating, its a great time to buy something stylish or that matches your personality with many styles now offering huge reductions, so from bargain buys to high end luxury, shop my top picks for  stylish travelling whatever your budget.

Tripp Hawaiian Medium sized case was £140 now £35. Mulberry Leopard print case £850. Jimmy Choo Glitter Case £2,295. Superlite holdall was £50 now £29. Tripp large black suitcase was £150 now £89.

Having had a Tripp suitcase for many years, I can vouch for both the quality and ease of movement.

So when it comes to baggage, are you budget like your airline or first class?




Thursday, 30 August 2012

All good things come to those who wait.

Sorry to bore you with yet another shoe post, but we all love shoes, don't we? Plus there is a bit of a story to this purchase and just like a real life soap opera, there had to be a bit of drama, after all, this is my life we are talking about, where nothing is ever simple!

So, week ending Friday 17th of August, I ordered the Kurt Geiger "Kracker" sandals.  Oh how I loved these embellished beauties when I first saw them in the campaign pictures, so much so, that I even awarded them a blog post.  It was a case of embellished flats adoration and I was so excited for their arrival, especially as the week I was expecting them to arrive (w/b 20th August) was blessed with warm temperatures and sunshine, see I wasn't being an idiot ordering summer sandals in late August after all.


Obviously I didn't know that the weather was going to be good, I thought I was just doing my usual "savvy shopping" and thinking ahead to next summer, holidays in Spain and footwear that wouldn't date, at a bargain price.  I did get to see them in the flesh when we went to London for Courtenay's 21st birthday in June, but parting with such a lot of money that day, meant purchasing the sandals at £95 would probably have tipped the budget over the edge and my account even further into the red, so I waited, paitently.

The Kurt Geiger summer sale started, they weren't reduced, then suddenly weeks later, an email alerting me of the fact that new lines had been added, saw me hot footing it over to their website and adding the jewel encrusted beauties to my basket before you could say the word, "Sandal".

Now I am not a fan of nude nail polish to be honest but on Thursday 23rd, thinking that their arrival was now imminent, I painted my nails neutral and all because the girl in the campaign pictures had a nude toenail and at the time I was thinking how you didn't need a bright summer colour on your toes, as these sandals surely speak for themselves and don't need anything to detract from their beauty.

Friday 24th I was getting worried, convincing myself that I must have deleted any order confirmation email either from my Spam or from the copious amount of rubbish emails I get every day but rang Customer Service anyway, only to be told that they had no record of my order?

Internet or phone banking you may ask, well the answer is no (that's another long story involving card readers) so I am still awaiting a bank statement to confirm the money wasn't taken when I thought I had ordered them.  Customer Service kindly gave me the number of a few stores who still had my size in stock so I rang around and finally located them in Westfield Stratford who very kindly took my card payment over the phone and promised I would have them by Monday/Tuesday, forgetting it was Bank Holiday. They came yesterday. The sun shone, I put them on, but with no plans to go out, I broke them in whilst doing the ironing.  It is supposed to be 24 degree's on Saturday and I am going in to town to get my hair done and Charlie his back to school haircut, guess what shoes I will be wearing?





The Kracker sandals are still available online in blue and lilac, now from £39 here.

Have you ever had any online shopping drama's?

Kurt Geiger Ltd.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Clarks Dolly Shoes making their way on to my new season wish list.

Clarks, the well renowned Brtish footwear brand have been popping up on my "shoe porn radar" for the past year or more, with many of their fashion led styles being seen on the feet of the best shod fashion bloggers in the UK.


Couple this with beautiful campaign photography and styling "up there" with the best of the worlds top designers, I think these Natural Snake Dolly Shoes will be finding their way on to my new season wish list pretty damn quick!


Crafted from Italian calf leather, free delivery and a £49.99 price tag, what's not to love?



Oh and if you do buy them, never ever throw them out or ebay them like I did with a Snakeskin pair from Prada that had sat in my wardrobe for years.  Snakeprint will come back in fashion at some point, trust me, and I kick myself daily over my stupidity especially as my budget no longer runs to Italian Designer brands!

Get 20% off of all Adult styles until 4th September using code BSTYLE at checkout.



Tuesday, 28 August 2012

French Connection for Fall.


I had mentioned earlier in the year that I wanted to inject a bit of colour and/or print into my wardrobe as my clothes were looking decidedly neutral when I opened my closet door, so when I got the opportunity to choose something from the new season collection at French Connection, it was to a pretty autumnal print that I turned my attention.


As lower temperatures are not to far away, I opted for a long sleeved slash neck tunic in the very popular "Wildfire print" which is described as a "pink tabby" pattern with pintuck detailing from the neckline down to the bust, it skims over the tummy area in a style that is extremely flattering for all body shapes and is a really good length.  


We all need a striking "go to" top to dress up a pair of jeans easily and one that will work with heels for evening or flats for daytime, a signature look of mine to be honest, and when it gets a bit cooler it will layer perfectly under a cardigan, leather biker or cropped "chanelesque" jacket.


The "wildfire" pattern is a print for all ages and is also available in a gorgeous dress as seen on Molly from the Saturdays.....


and also comes in a cut out sleeve version which would look gorgeous belted.......


and if you are looking for a print injection to brighten up any neutral winter outfits, the the "wildfire" print scarf will make the perfect addition to your accessories collection.......

Wild Fire Scarf

The print is much more striking in real life and it was whilst trying on this top that my neighbour called out over the fence and said "I love your top, are you going somewhere?" Her comment only reconfirmed my choice and put a smile on my face, so thank you French Connection for giving me my first piece from the Autumn collection, it is the only thing that is making me look forward to the leaves falling.

Have you checked out the new season collection at French Connection yet?

Top c/o French Connection. Jeans (old) Citizens of Humanity from The Outnet similar here. Shoes (old) Bloch from Net-a-Porter similar here.




French Connection Limited

Monday, 27 August 2012

My week in iphone pictures.


Spotted: A "Pretty Woman" dress in Tesco! Just goes to prove that some styles and prints never go out of fashion.


Wearing the Great Plains sundress which was top of my summer wishlist and checking out how my new top coat was doing over the Chanel "June" nail polish on a sunny Monday afternoon.


Midweek chocolate indulgence.


The gorgeous print on my new season French Connection top.


Using up the last of the Pimms as summer comes to an end.


Back to winter comfort food and good home cooking. I've missed "pie" more than I've missed wearing Jeans this summer. Jamie Olivers Sweet Leek and Turkey pie with Liquor, from one of his Christmas recipes which I substitute with chicken throughout the year.


I never paint my nails nude, I find it a bit boring to be honest and it doesn't do a great deal for my skintone, but there is a reason which I will hopefully get to share with you soon.  

Have a great bank holiday xx


Monica




Saturday, 25 August 2012

Style Advice Service - Going Back to work - a capsule collection for the office and beyond.

When Lindsay emailed me last week saying that she was about to go back to work and needed a wardrobe make-over to be office smart on a budget, I set to work using a tried and trusted formula of capsule pieces that could be mixed and matched to create a range of different looks with just 12 basic pieces but using items that she could also use for other occasions, making each item a great wardrobe investment.

What Lindsay had to say: "I am just about to return to the office after having my second baby. I am a size 8/10, 5'2" and usually just wear a suit. I would like to be more stylish but don't know how I will get myself looking even presentable, along with feeding and dressing two children in the mornings.

Any suggestions you can make would be really appreciated. My budget isn't huge as I've been off for a year and my bank account has dwindled but everything will be considered!".




Linea Black Knot Dress was £80 now £48. Grey Linen Cardigan from Phase Eight was £59 now £35. East Bib Necklace from House of Fraser was £20 now £4.80. Short Jacket from Warehouse £45. Mantaray Black Woven Belt from Debenhams was £10 now £8. Nude Court Shoe from Dune was £75 now £45. Black Draped Skirt from House of Fraser was £28 now £15. LK Bennett Top from House of Fraser was £55 now £35. Basic Long Sleeve Grey Top from Phase Eight was £29.00 now £20.30. Black Cigarette Pants Planet from House of Fraser was £99 now £39. Linea floral scarf from House of Fraser was £30 now £15. Jane Norman Court shoes at House of Fraser was £25 now £20.


The great news is that this is the perfect time to add some new, normally expensive, corporate pieces to your wardrobe with many sales now giving up to 70% off. When putting together a capsule for a Style Advice Client I always try to use a department store to save on postage and packing charges which can work out really expensive if you buy separates from a huge range of websites.  It isn't always possible but I have tried to use as few sites as possible for my selections above.

So how many looks can Lindsay get from these pieces - let me show you:-

Day 1 - Wear the jacket belted over the dress with the statement necklace and nude heels.
Day 2 - Wear the skirt with the ivory top, cardigan, necklace and black heels.
Day 3 - Wear the trousers with the long sleeved grey top, jacket, scarf and nude heels.
Day 4 - Wear the dress with the cardigan, necklace and black heels.
Day 5 - Wear the skirt with the grey top, jacket, scarf and nude heels.
Day 6 - Wear the trousers with the ivory top, belt the cardigan, necklace and nude heels.
Day 7 - Wear the skirt with the long sleeved grey top, scarf and black heels.

Where to begin: Firstly, as Lindsay usually wears a suit to the office, she should go through her wardrobe and separate the two pieces.  It is important to look smart but suits and the "power dressing" ethos of the 80's are so over, now its time to look professional and presentable but with a modern twist.  See what pieces you have i.e. black trousers, jackets and begin to put outfits together  as I suggest above. What tops/cardigans do you already have that can also be utilised to create a range of outfits as per my suggestions?  Sort through your costume jewellery and don't be afraid to wear statement pieces to work.

Where do you go from here:- Once you have the basic building blocks it is easy to add more pieces to your capsule.  Opt for plain tops in a range of colours, colourful print blouses (which can also be worn with jeans and heels for nights out) a selection of silk scarves both plain and printed.

How to utilise the pieces out of office hours:- With two young children in tow, weekend and casual dressing can also be a nightmare, but many of these pieces can be worn for casual wear, a lunch out or drinks with the girls.  The plain coloured tops will work easily with jeans and the jacket or cardigan, wearing either flats or heels depending on the occasion.  Wear the black dress for a well deserved date night, just add a sparkly clutch and chandelier earrings.   


My Top Tips for Successful Office Dressing (first published here a few years ago):-

  • Look after your shoes, keep them clean and get them reheeled and resoled when required. 
  • Swap open toe shoes for closed in styles for autumn and winter.
  • Never wear Trainers for the Journey, they look vile!  If you have more than a few minutes walk from the station to the office, carry a pair of soft flexible ballet pumps in your bag.
  • Unless you are 100% sure it is not going to rain, always carry a small lightweight umbrella, nothing looks or makes you feel worse than arriving at work looking like a drowned rat!
  • Keep a bag at work containing all the essentials you may need, including another set of make-up so that you don't have to carry "everything but the kitchen sink" into work everyday.  The essentials I used to keep at work included:  Mascara, Lipstick, Perfume (sample sizes and freebies are perfect for this) Deodorant, Dry Shampoo (yes I must have been one of the first fans of Batiste, it really was around back then!), hairbrush or comb, Sanitary Protection, Spare underwear, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Painkillers, Plasters, Baby Wipes, Cotton Wool, Nail Varnish Remover, Emery Board.  Having these items to hand will ensure that you can deal with every eventuality when you may be far away from home, broke or both! You will be able to deal with greasy hair, an unannounced period, or ghastly chipped nail polish, all of which ensure you can keep your Corporate image intact when faced with either a beauty or medical emergency!
  • Go through your existing wardrobe and accessories collection to see how many pieces can be reworked for the office or subsituted for any of the pieces above, to save you money. A range of different colour or patterned scarfs, tops and jewellery will give you so many more looks, as will shoes. 
  • We have all read the articles about how much money you would save over the year by taking a pack lunch into work rather than buying one or how much richer you would be if you ditched the Starbucks each morning but I couldn't give up the Latte if I was still travelling uptown!  If you do decide to make a packed lunch, get it prepared the night before.  I never used to have time to do much in the mornings as with a 2 hour, door to door commute, I used to leave home at 6.30am!
  • I also used to get my outfits for the week, ready at one end of the wardrobe on a Sunday, including underwear, as this used to save me rummaging through drawers and waking everybody up with my cursing!  If you think you may forget how to put your outfits together, then make a list and stick it inside your wardrobe.
  • Dry cleaning, Shoe repairs, Beauty treatments etc will all cost more in London than they will locally, so try to sort this stuff out on a Saturday when you are at home. I used to get my hair blow dried every Tuesday and Friday on my lunch hour, as getting home at 7.30pm and having three little girls to deal with, left me little time for a hairwash and the 3 hours it takes for my hair to dry naturally (Its huge if I blow dry it), so I forgive anyone for doing this and it can make life easier if you are due to go out once you get home on a Friday night and a girl deserves one treat right?
  • Put your mobile phone on charge when you go to bed every night, with young children you need to be contactable at all times!
They key to being a full time working Mum is organisation, crack that, and being confident, stress free and office smart will be a breeze! Good Luck Lindsay and make sure you send me some pictures of your outfits xxx









Friday, 24 August 2012

Chanel New Nail Polish colours for Fall.

I had almost forgotten that I had drafted this post a while back when I first laid eye's on the Chanel campaign pictures and was only reminded of their release when the Other Half's "Chanel counter lady" called him this morning to say that she had very kindly reserved all three of the new
Fall nail colours and I am beyond excited to get them and try out the new shades which are named after films made by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. I will be sending OH to London to collect asap!





Vertigo - Almost black but containing red shimmery particles and seen in the campaign picture below.



Frenzy - a milky "griege" with a hint of lavender.


Suspicious - A bright fuschia red.

One thing is for sure, they won't hang around for long, so if you don't have time to go instore they are still online at Selfridges here and Boots here.

Which one is your favourite?




August Glossybox


This months box had an" international superstars" theme with products coming from various countries, Allesandro Pro White nail varnish from Germany, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil from Japan, Vera Valenti eyeshadow palette from Spain, Lipcote lipstick sealer from the UK, a Glossybox lipstick and stick on false nails from the US.


I only ever use brown eyeshadow and that is on a very rare occasion so I think it will be while until my current palette runs out and I get to use this one.  This was a full size product and retails at £3.85.


I've never used this product before but Lipcote has been around for ages. Now that I am wearing lipstick more than gloss it will come in handy when I am going out. This was a full sized 7ml product, which would normally retail around £3.99.


I have used oil cleansers in the past and they are always good for dry/more mature skin, so am looking forward to giving this one a try. This was a sample size 30ml. The full size RRP is £18.50 for 200ml.


I really like the colour of the Glossybox lip colour, a medium pink that will suit all skin tones. This was a 4g product and would retail at £9.50.


Swatched.


I already have one of these products by Barbara Daly and I have never used it.  My nails are virtually always painted so I don't find a whitening product essential.  This was a 10ml full size bottle, the RRP price for this is £7.85.


Um. I have seen in other reviews that subscribers either got Eve's Balm or a Valentino scent sample so I was disappointed with a set of purple stick on nails by Impress from the USA for somebody of my age and who adores nail polish although it seems a lot of young beauty bloggers whose reviews I have read are really pleased with these! This was a full sized product and retails for £7.99

Oh well you can't please everybody all of the time but overall the contents were pleasing although not as good as last months but with three daughters aged between 19 and 23, anything I don't want will find a good home!

Were you happy with your August box?

For those not familiar with Glossybox it is a monthly subscription service which costs £10 + £2.95 p&p.  Each month you recieve your box through the post containing 5 or more luxury/high end beauty products, many of which are full size and worth more than the monthly cost.  You can subscribe by clicking here.