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Latest Purchases #79 – A Summery Primark Haul

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! We were back at the Apple shop this morning to fix my smashed iPhone screen which was slight deja-vu having tried to sort it yesterday, but we headed to Bills for brunch so it was well worth the trip!

I went on a little trip to Primark recently and picked up some bits and bobs for summer: footwear, pjs, homeware, jewellery…a little bit of everything.

First up the shoes. I have to admit that I went a little bit mad here (5 pairs!) but I am operating a strict one-in-one-out policy in my shoe collection and I know I will definitely get good wear out of all of them.

Although we don’t have too strict a dress code at work, I do like to wear shoes as opposed to flip flops or sandals so I picked up a couple of pairs of Primark’s slipper-style ballet pumps in black and leopard print.

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I also bought pair of cream crochet pumps which I think are just a little bit smarter than espadrilles.

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I love these black laser-cut sandals which are flat but I think look a bit dressier than usual.

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Finally, I had been after a pair of sliders after seeing them everywhere this season and found these snakeskin-effect ones. They are so comfortable and I think they look very on-trend and much more expensive than they were.

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A few homeware pieces next. I had been after some grey and pink accessories to finish off the look of our newly-decorated guest bedroom and found this grey-striped and pretty pink one. I had been looking at similar striped ones from John Lewis so these were a bargain in comparison.

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Sticking with the pink theme, I got this Red Berry and Jasmine candle. I’m not sure how good Primark candles are but I mainly bought this for the colour.

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I went a bit mad on candle holders too and bought a set of these purple geometric ones and some white ones. I remember reading on an interiors blog that these things always look better in threes so there was a reason for buying so many! My only niggle is that the price stickers on them are so sticky they leave a really horrible patch when you try to peel them off…I hate it when products do that!

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Onto the clothes now and these bleached jeans. I wanted a pair of pale jeans that weren’t white and these fit the bill perfectly. The acid-wash look is very cool and they are light and summery.

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My bargain of the day was this pineapple t-shirt which was reduced to £1! I bought it a couple of sizes bigger and plan to wear it as a pyjama top.

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Talking of pyjamas, I picked up these trousers in the ‘loungewear’ section. I love the print on them and I don’t think they look too pyjama-esque. I have an essay to write this week and I can see myself wearing these as I procrastinate write.

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Finally, a baggy waterfall cardigan in a cool Aztec print. I actually bought this in an XS size as I wanted it to be loose but not swamp me. This is the perfect jacket to throw on in this transitional period where it isn’t quite warm enough to leave the house without a jacket but you don’t want to be weighed down by a big winter coat.

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On to the accessories now and it wouldn’t be a blogger’s summer haul without a flower crown! I jest, but I did pick up this small crown with the intention of wearing it to a summer BBQ – I think these are so pretty.

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Some bracelets next – I like this mix of gold, silver and rose gold.

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This may be TMI but I had to show you these cute pants…they have sausage dogs on them!

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A boring buy next but necessary to keep your feet smelling fresh – some ‘footies’.

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And finally, a new handbag and another item that looks so much more expensive than it is. I love the shape of this bag and the detailing in the design. It isn’t huge but that means I won’t overpack it with stuff I don’t need and I like that I can wear this on the shoulder or across the body.

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Latest Purchases #76 – A Summery ASOS Haul

I may have been a tiny bit excited at being able to be outside without a coat on so I made a little ASOS order for some summery items. I am holding off buying too much for our holiday this summer as a) I have loads b) I am trying to lose a few pounds before we go and c) I plan on doing a lot of shopping when we are in the States too!

ASOS had a mini sale on their dresses and playsuits so I decided it would be a good time to invest.

First up a dress

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Pretty standard for me – I wear a dress to work every day and I like the light material and the print of this although Ian told me it is bordering on slightly gangsta/ bandana material but I think I can pull it off?!

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It is smock-style so not quite as flattering as my usual skater-style dresses but it is so light and floaty that I think it works.

Next, a bit of a daring buy for me…my first ever playsuit!

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Now I have never even tried on a playsuit yet I am now a convert. I thought these would only suit super skinny girls but it turns out that certain styles are really flattering on hourglass shapes i.e. those of us with boobs, a bum and a waist! I love the print on this playsuit and it is made from a really light, floaty, silky material. There are lots of nice details such as capped sleeves, pockets, a tie-waist and pretty wooden buttons. It is really flattering on and will be a perfect summer outfit…the only thing I’m slightly worried about is having to unbutton everything when I need the loo but I’m sure it’ll be fine!

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The final items are footwear. I had been after some of the Chanel-style espadrilles (plain white with a navy leather ‘cap’ on the toes) but whilst perusing ASOS I saw this double pack and thought I would get so much wear out of them.

This two-pack of espadrilles come in a pale denim and anchor print and a dark denim bleached-effect. It goes without saying that they are super comfortable and you know I can’t resist an anchor-print item.

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An easy way to rock the double-denim look too!

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So there you have it – a nice mini haul with a nod towards sunnier days. I am off into Bath today to get my hair cut and coloured then have coffee and cake with my bro in the sunshine x

Latest Purchases #54 – Summer Sandals

I have a fancy-pants new camera! It’s only on loan at the moment from my Dad but I have been looking for a new camera for a while and wanted to see what difference it would make to my blog photos. I have fallen in to the habit of relying on my iPhone for photos when I am out and about but the photography is one of the first things I notice on other blogs so felt I needed to up my game a bit!

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I’m still having a play around with the different settings but here’s a little comparison of the same picture taken with my iPhone:

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And my camera:

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I kind of prefer the warmer light picked up with the iPhone but the clarity from the camera is miles better and I know I can edit and adjust the light and colour so it’s Camera 1, iPhone nil.

Anyway, today’s post has gone someway to helping me answer a long-standing question – how do you know when you have too many pairs of shoes? The answer: when you buy two new pairs and completely forget about them until you accidentally find them 10 months later!

I bought these two gorgeous pairs of leather sandals from Steve Madden last year when we were in Las Vegas and only found them again in our spare room a few weeks ago. While it was a lovely surprise, it did make me feel very guilty for buying then neglecting them like that!

First up are my favourite pair- these gold and tan leather sandals. They are quite practical but the colours make them feel a bit special. I wore these on a long walk recently and can report no rubbing or blisters so they may become my go-to pair of shoes for days out this summer.

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Next, are these tan sandals with gold studs. These are a bit chunkier and have a nice ankle strap which make them unlike any other shoes I own. I have to admit these are taking a little longer to wear in but hopefully my determination will pay off!

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Finally, my obsession with all things anchors continues! I LOVE these sandals which I found on ebay. They are really different and I have had lots of compliments when wearing them. They are really comfortable but I am aware they may result in some interesting tan lines on my feet if I’m not careful!

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Along with my faithful Havaianas and a weekly pedicure, these three pairs of sandals will be keeping my feet looking good this summer…let’s just hope this rain stops and I get a chance to wear them! x

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Latest Purchases #42 – Primark Basics

I am slowly getting myself back in to work mode after my week off. I don’t actually start back until Wednesday but I did pop in to school today to sort out a few things and start to prepare for the new term. I enjoy this time of year as the kids start to get so excited about Christmas which naturally rubs off on me too!

I call this post a ‘Primarks Basics’ haul because I actually popped in to get a stash of socks and tights but obviously ended up leaving with a lot more! I do love a Primarni shop as you never quite know what you will come out with. I bought a lot of tights simply because I can’t seem to wear a pair for longer than a day without getting some sort of hole or ladder in them. I’ve tried lots of brands, including some posh £20 ones from Pretty Polly, and the same thing happened so I stick to Primark ones now as it means I don’t feel quite so annoyed when I have to throw them away after only one wear. (Oh dear, I’ve just read that back and it sounds so wasteful and throwaway!)

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First up, a bit of knitwear. My mum bought me a lovely black and white striped jumper from her holiday in Vancouver last year and I was really annoyed when I managed to ruin it in the wash! So when I saw this replacement for £7 I had to have it. Of course, the first time I wore it, I managed to drop some curry down it and naturally it had to land on the white part!

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These two cardigans were £6 each and great for wearing over a dress for work. I really like the buttons on each of them and picked one V-neck and one round-neck for a bit of variety.

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I bought a lot of new dresses on my trip to the States this year but they are quite summery so I was on the lookout for a more seasonal outfit to wear out in the evenings and these next two items are perfect. I love this black top, especially the lace arms although it is very sheer so you need to wear a vest top underneath!

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I also picked up this navy jacquard skater skirt for just £3. The pattern on this is very subtle but adds some texture and I find this style skirt very flattering. The only thing I’m not that keen on is the black waistband but it’s not noticeable with a longer top. I wore these two items together recently and thought they worked well.

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Right, onto the tights and socks, which was my reason for shopping in the first place. Not that much to say about these except that they were cheap, cheerful and I will be wearing them all winter!

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These frilly ones are my favourites!

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I went a little overboard in the shoe area. I have a real problem when I like something that comes in more than one colour as I simply cannot decide which one to buy so end up buying all of them. I am afraid to say this happened with these £5 bow ballet shoes but in my defence they are super comfortable and I will wear them constantly to work.

Red:

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Navy:

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Black:

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I also love these maroon beauties with the gold detailing.

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I had a quick look around the home section before I paid and picked up this Winter candle (£1) because it smelt like mince pies and this Home sign (£1) – look at the labelling fail too!

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Finally, as I was queuing up, I was stood next to a lipstick stand and picked up this bright pink colour for the grand total of £1. I wasn’t expecting anything special but I liked the Topshop-esque packaging and the colour is actually very nice and lasted a couple of hours.

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So there you have it, a few recent purchases and if I had to pick a favourite then it would have to be the lacy top…I may even have to go back and get it in another colour!

Latest Purchases #27 – Forever 21 Haul

Well, we are starting this weekend with a very grey, cloudy sky which makes it hard to believe that we were outside in the garden in t-shirts this time last week! It is funny how much the weather affects your moods. Last week, I felt I could do anything and wanted to start new projects, cook new recipes and visit new places whereas today I feel much less energetic and am craving comfort food and a good box set with my boy tonight!

Today’s post is sharing some summery pieces I bought online from Forever 21 earlier this week.

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I have only ever bought sandals and jewellery at the Forever 21 store in Birmingham, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the clothes. I bought a mixture of sale and new season items and I have to admit that I had my summer holiday to the States in mind!

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First up, my favourite piece of clothing, from the new season collection, is this pair of black and taupe polka-dot trousers. I wrote last summer about my love for printed trousers and they seem to be everywhere this season! There is a fine line between on-trend prints and looking like you have stepped out in your pyjamas so you have to think carefully about what you pair with these trousers! I absolutely love the silky-soft material and they have a slightly elasticated waist meaning they will be accommodating at those Las Vegas all-you-can-eat buffets! Hehe

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Next up, bought to wear with the spotty trousers, is this beautiful, sheer blouse. I love the folds, the buttons down the back and the bow detail this has and although it is very sheer, it is chic and will keep you cool in the sun. This was a real bargain at just £7.99 too!

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I recently had a good clear-out of my sandals and threw away a gold pair of gladiators that I loved but which quite frankly had seen better days. Therefore I was on the hunt for some new gold footwear because the colour goes with everything, especially a tan in warmer months! I love the cut-out design of this pair and I know Forever 21 footwear is comfortable too so I can see myself wearing these daily on holiday.

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Some slightly more boring things now…cropped leggings for Pilates and a few basic vest tops which I popped into my basket.

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I love Forever 21’s jewellery collection. In their store at the Bullring, it takes up over half a floor and I have often found myself popping in there to have a mooch and coming out with handfuls of necklaces and earrings! I saw this cool gold lightning bolt necklace and at just £1.65 couldn’t resist it.

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Next, some dangly earrings, both at less than £2 a pair. I love the Great Gatsy/ art-deco look of these teardrop earrings and they are just big enough to make a statement without being too heavy to wear all day.

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I also got these pretty beaded earrings which are quite big but delicate too. I can see myself wearing these a lot over the summer.

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Finally, I decided to have a little look at the Men’s sections on the website to see if there was anything I could treat Ian to. It definitely wasn’t his style but they had some cool printed t-shirts so I picked up this blue one covered in little diamonds.

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And that’s your lot – a nice little payday treat for this month! All of these items are available on Forever 21’s website but their sale items are changing daily. There is free shipping on any order over £50 and I have to admit that I hunted through for some additional items to take me up to the £50 mark so my purchases were more ‘worth it’!!! Does anyone else use this warped logic when shopping online?! Oh well, I ended up with a few extra pieces so I’m happy!

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Latest Purchases #26 Matalan Shoe Event

So, I was just turning my laptop off last night after writing a post and an update from one of my favourite bloggers caught my eye. Matalan had just announced they were having a £5 shoe sale and seeing as it is on my drive home from work, I thought that it couldn’t hurt to pop in and have a quick look around!

I have mentioned before how comfortable I find their ballet pumps and for less than a tenner I usually pick up a couple of pairs throughout the year, mainly to wear for work. Today, I managed to limit myself to 3 pairs of ballet pumps but of course picked up a few more bits too!

First of all the shoes…

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Black Suede Loafers:

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Tan Leather Loafers:

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And my favourites, these nude peep toe pumps with gold detailing and a lovely big bow on the front.shoe18 shoe19 shoe20

All three pairs were about £15 full price but I got them all for £5 each. The loafers are so comfortable and look great with tights or bare feet.

I also picked up a few pieces of jewellery. My bargain of the day was this gold ‘lips’ ring reduced to just 50p! I know it’s a kind of love/ hate piece but I think it looks rather rock ‘n’ roll!

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Next, is this double chain with two little sovereigns hanging down. It is a mixture of gold and silver which I wasn’t too sure of but layered over a maxi dress in the summer I think it is perfect for a boho hippy look.

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This three-layered gold chain is decorated in delicate little gold crosses and is a cool take on the goth trend that has been everywhere recently.

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Finally, my favourite purchase of the day and my new favourite necklace…

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This is a real statement piece and I just love the mink grey ribbon that forms the chain. Although it is quite a dramatic piece of jewellery, the gems on it are neutral enough to go with most colours so I hope to get some good wear out of it!

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So that rounds up my little mid-week treat…you can never have too many shoes nor too much jewellery!

Latest Purchases #23 – Feather Shoes

You may be forgiven for thinking that I have a bit of a footwear fetish given how many pairs I feature on this blog and think you may be correct! Before we moved house, I had a good clear out of my wardrobe and counted over 80 pairs of shoes and boots! Although I sent a fair few to the charity shop, I still can’t resist them when I go shopping.

I think it may be because I am between seasonal wardrobes at the moment. It looks as though warmer days are on their way but I am still not ready to pack up my thermals yet, so some new footwear is the perfect way to update a look!

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These feathered beauties are from Matalan and I got them recently reduced to just £6!

I love these suede maroon slip-ons and they are really comfortable too.

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At first, I thought they would be a bit much to wear everyday but the feathers and jewels just make my feet feel a bit more special!

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I am wearing them with black tights at the moment but I can see them looking great with bare legs too…as soon as it is warm enough for me to brave getting them out for the first time this year!

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Latest Purchases #21 – Slipper Pumps

I have been bitten by the baking bug this week! It is my turn to bring in treats for the staff room and so far I have made my White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies, a Lemon Drizzle Loaf, Chocolate Brownies and tonight I have just put the finishing touches to a Malteser Cheesecake…phew! So, needless to say there are some recipe posts on their way to you soon if you feel like a sweet treat.

The shoes in today’s post are a style that I have liked for a while but I have struggled to find a pair that I really love. The problem with these ‘slipper pumps’ is that lots of shops seem to sell them in red, black and purple velvet making them look exactly like a pair of slippers or something Hugh Hefner would wear!

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When I saw this dogtooth print I knew I had to have them… what makes me love these shoes even more is that they were on sale for just £2 in Primark!

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I love the colour and pattern of these and monochrome has been all over the catwalks these past few weeks so they are right on trend too. The black patent piping around the edge of the shoe adds a nice bit of detail and they are so comfortable I have worn them a lot to work and at the weekends.

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What do you think of my latest bargain? x

Latest Purchases #14 – The Sales

As I may have mentioned previously, I love a bargain so I am in heaven when the sales start.

However, over the years I have honed my definition of a bargain and will not buy something simply because it has a large ‘reduced’ label stuck on it!

My golden rules for sales shopping are:

  • Make sure you aren’t buying something that is a fad and will be out of style in a few months. I try to use the sales to buy classic, staple items that won’t date such as a good quality coat, smart black trousers, leather boots etc…
  • Shop smart! I have my eye on various items in the run up to Christmas that I check as soon as the online sales start, like the stripy jacket below. I was going to buy it anyway but decided to wait and see if I could get it for a lower price, and I did!
  • Make sure you buy the right size! It is very tempting to buy smaller sizes during the sales with the intention of going on a diet in the New Year to fit into them. I have done this in the past and it rarely works!
  • Ask yourself if you would buy it if the item was full price. If the answer is ‘no’ then the chances are you are simply buying something for the sake of it, therefore it is not a bargain!

With these rules in mind, I popped into a few shops after Christmas and here is what I came away with:

Black ballet pumps reduced to £5 in Matalan: I actually find Matalan’s ballet pumps very comfortable and black ones go with everything. I thought the delicate bows on the front of these made them look very pretty too and I would wear these out to dinner as well as to work.

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Heart necklace reduced to £1.20 in Accessorize: I love charm necklaces and this red rose one is gorgeous. I have a thing for red accessories anyway so can see myself wearing this a lot.

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Blue and white peacock scarf reduced to £3 in Matalan: This scarf looks a lot more expensive than the £3 price tag and I really like peacock prints. You can never have enough scarves either and this one is lightweight enough to wear through to spring.

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Purple top reduced to £4.99 in Marks and Spencer: This top was reduced from £25 so was a real bargain. It is a very flattering cut so hides those extra festive pounds well! As it is one colour, it will be easy to dress this top up with some accessories.

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Black and white stripy blazer reduced to £9 in Matalan: I have had my eye on this jacket for a few weeks so I was very pleased when I found it for half price in the sales. This is obviously quite a statement print to wear so I will keep the rest of my outfit simple when I wear it – probably black skinny jeans and a plain top.

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Maroon Slippers reduced to £2 in Matalan: I love walking through the door and changing into a pair of slippers and I have them dotted all over the house. These maroon ones will be a lovely addition to my collection and are very comfortable.

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Long stripy t-shirt reduced to £9 in Marks and Spencer: I got some lovely black knitted leggings in my stocking this year and was looking for some long tops to wear with them. This stripy one looks great with them and is just a bit different from the usual black and white stripy tops I always wear.

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Black satchel reduced to £4 in Matalan: I favour satchel bags for work and was very annoyed when I noticed a tear in my current one. This replacement bag is a little on the small side but still looks smart and ‘geek-chic’.

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FCUK lip-glosses reduced to £6 in Boots: I haven’t used any beauty products or make up by FCUK before but these lip-glosses looked so lovely that I couldn’t resist trying them out…I will let you know if they are any good!

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Next Year’s Christmas Stuff: These items come under my ‘Shop Smart’ rule. I always buy my Christmas cards, crackers, stickers and wrapping paper in the January sales. It is so helpful the following Christmas to get all of it out of the loft knowing it is one thing ticked off the to-do list. It does mean you need the room to store it for the year, but if you have the space then I highly recommend it!

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I have also ordered a few bits and bobs online so will probably write about these when they arrive.

Have you managed to bag any bargains in the sales?! x

My Autumn Boots

I went to Bristol last night to see one of my favourite shows with my Mum:

I first saw The Lion King in London and was blown away by the costumes, songs and dances and last night in Bristol only confirmed why I loved it so much…let’s face it, Disney do it best!

Right, back to today’s post which is a fashion-based one:

No matter what the catwalks are doing, there are always certain colours and fabrics that come back into fashion at certain times of the year; florals in spring, white in summer and lovely rich plums and emerald greens in Autumn.

Although it is slightly depressing, I have found myself packing away my ballet pumps and vest tops and digging out my chunky knits and tights as it has got colder over these last few weeks.

I embrace this change in the weather and fashions though and I am actually getting quite excited at the thought of being able to accessorise with lovely scarves and hats again soon!

Because I tend to live in dresses, I change my footwear from sandals and ballet pumps to boots as it gets colder so I can carry on wearing dresses and skirts with leggings or tights.

I own a couple of pairs of knee-high leather boots but I love ankle boots too and when I saw these purple velvet beauties I had to have them.

One style that keeps popping up on the fashion pages is the Chelsea/ Beatle-inspired ankle boot and they look great tucked into skinny jeans or with dresses.

They are feminine but don’t have a high heel which is a must when you spend most of the day on your feet running around after children!

I already have pairs of tan and black ankle boots so these purple ones are a great addition to my collection.

Not the most practical fabric given the rainy weather we seem to be enjoying, but when it is crisp and dry these velvet boots will be perfect and I can see myself wearing these over the festive period too.

These boots are currently on sale in Matalan for £8…a lovely autumnal bargain!

In more exciting news, I have now finished for half-term! We usually work on 6-week terms but for some reason this was an 8-week one so I feel more than ready for some time off!

This time last year, Ian and I headed to Prague for a few days and, while we won’t need our passports this time, we are getting away for a few days in the gorgeous Stratford-Upon-Avon which I am very much looking forward to.