Sheep in boots

Yes, I know that’s the wrong animal. But “bear” with me. I’m not “barking” mad.

(sorry, not sorry)

Sheep in boots

So, a few weeks back, the husband asked me if over the knee boots were “in”. The reason being that I’d ordered some, and he’d seen Caroline Flack (his celebrity crush > good taste!) wearing some on Twitter.

He thinks I’m a fashion follower.

Of course he doesn’t realise that I’ve been trying to get some for about 5 years. He doesn’t realise because I hide all the boxes and parcels and bags as I try to find the right pair.

And also, I know I’m not.

The problem I have is slim calves. Which sounds like a real first world problem. But actually is a ballache. I can’t buy off the shelf long boots, and I’m too tight fickle to pay for high end or custom made. I want Primark prices but not Primark fit.

The solution is stretch legs. Not my legs. The boots. I need some that are made from shrinkwrap fabric. Elasticated legs.

This year’s escapade started with an order from Deichmann. After the success of my stompy ankle boots, I thought that was the way to go with long boots.

Deichmann over the knee boots

They turned out to be slightly too baggy round the legs, but apart from that were lovely, if that’s the look you’re after. For me they were a bit too stompy. I wanted something a bit more delicate (like what I am, ha!)

Then I tried a pair in Prmark that seemed everything I wanted – from the front.

Primark over the knee boots

When I turned sideways there was a big flap of unfilled fabric around the calves. I don’t blame Primark. I blame myself…

After that, I turned to Tesco F&F. I ordered a flat pair and a wedge pair. The flat pair were a little bit principal boy.

Tesco flat over the knee boots

The wedge pair had some elastication but were a strange mix of fabrics. And I didn’t really want wedges.

Tesco over the knee wedge boots

So I turned to ebay. Good old reliable ebay. And I found a pair described as “stretch”. With calf measurements that suggested they would fit.

So I took a punt.

Ebay over the knee boots

They’re not skintight, but they’re pretty good. better than anything else I’ve seen or tried. And it means there’s space underneath to wear tights, leggings or jeans.

Plus they’re round toed, so I don’t¬†look like I’m auditioning for Pretty Woman (the over 30s version, obvs).

So, is this a happy “follower of fashion” ending?

I wouldn’t know. Ask the sheep ūüėČ

 

 

Fringe benefits

I love fringing. It’s so carefree. Obviously you have to be careful not to go too far – Texan cowboy or 80s throwback is not a good look! But in moderation, fringing is my friend.

My favourite way to incorporate it into an outfit is in a bag.

I think I’ve blogged about this bag before – in fact this is my 4th one; exactly the same! You can pick them up on ebay for ¬£6 to ¬£10 and they come in various colours. But I always come back to the black.

Fringed bag

It’s my go to bag for outside of work – it dresses down a fancy outfit for when you want to be a bit more casual but looks great with jeans too. It fits in so well with my current 70s/hippie obsession as well.

This bag is from Peacocks. There’s a dearth of the usual High Street shops in my most local town, so I regularly have a wander around Peacocks. Pricewise they’re probably on a par with Primark, maybe a little bit more expensive, but the quality is incomparable, and they often have some nice bits and pieces that you won’t see everyone wearing.

Peacocks fringed bag

Peacocks fringed bag close up

Their website isn’t particularly user friendly, but they do offer free delivery over ¬£30 and free returns to stores (you have to pay if you want to return by post). They also do discounts fairly regularly too, like 20% across the store or ¬£5 off if you spend ¬£30, that kind of thing.

I like that this bag is a mix of leather and suede (both faux, obvs) with a chunky silver chain. It’s smaller than¬†the other fringed bag¬†and doesn’t hold as much, but sometimes that’s a good thing!

I got this waistcoat in the H&M sale, reduced from £29.99 to £9.

H&M fringed waistcoat

H&M fringed waistcoat back

It’s a thick twill fabric with silver embroidery and tassel fringes. You may have spotted it on my weekend post a few weeks back. I think I’ll be wearing this a lot.

Here’s some fringing inspiration.

Fringed v-back festival boho dress

Fringed suede skirt fringed clutch bag

Olive green fedora fringed jacket cut off denim shorts

Black fringed suede jacket black fedora skinny jeans

Fringed western suede beige ankle boots

Fringed tan suede bag with peacock feather trim

(images from pinterest)

Thanks, as always, for reading!

My current favourites

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts. Here are the things that are currently dinging my dong.

Favourites

ASOS 70s clogs
Do these need any words? They’re just lush. Which is why I got both colours! I’m hoping they’ll work with thick tights so I can wear them through winter too. They’re my favourite addition to my shoedrobe this year.

ASOS black clogs 2

ASOS tan clogs 2

Voucher websites
I’m perpetually skint right now, all my own fault (and with lots of good times to show for it!) so anything that helps me save cash is good. I have a couple of Groupon and LivingSocial deals in the bag that will help me on those weekends where it’s still forever until payday but I don’t want to stay home.

Ebay
More specifically, selling on ebay. I’m all for giving stuff to charity, but when there’s potential value in that stuff I need to at least try and sell it first. Especially when it’s never been worn. I have a credit card bill to pay, doncha know!

Pie
It’s rare that I eat pie due to the calorie content, but last weekend I bought these beauties which we had with mash and onion gravy. They’re from Higgidy – feta cheese, spinach and pine nut on the left, and chicken, ham and leek on the right. I’m going to make a pie at some point, with filo pastry to make it more healthy.

Higgidy pies spinach feta pinenut chicken ham leek

Higgidy pies spinach feta pinenut chicken ham leek

Substituting rice for cauliflower rice
Beat the carbs – lower fat and lower calories means you can eat more of it! (that’s how it works, right?) Plus it opens up more mid week dinner opportunities where you just need that type of accompaniment (I try not to eat carbs in the week).

Blue cheese
I used to hate this stuff as a kid. But now I love it! On it’s own, on crackers, on burgers. Yum. Check out this lamb recipe which it works with too.

Tesco flavoured sparkling water
Such a nice mixer for vodka (you didn’t think I meant to drink on it’s own, did you?!)

Tesco sparkling peach and passionfruit water mixer

Pansies
Now that the leaves on the trees are not long for this world, it’s important to have some colour through winter. I planted these pretty pansies on my balcony yesterday; they’re such cheerful little flowers that always look like they’re smiling!

Purple pansy balcony pot

What are you loving right now?

Parting is such sweet sorrow (aka the clear out update)

Following on from last week’s inspirational article read from Stylist magazine, I decided to put the concept into full practice. Ruthlessly pulling things from my wardrobe, at times I was discarding based purely on gut instinct – the fact that I didn’t say “oooh” was enough to realise an item had to go. It was pretty satisfying to see the charity bags filling up, especially with things that I know have escaped previous culls by a hair’s breadth and still haven’t been worn since.

The process was somewhat helped by my change in work circumstances, and the fact that I now have a casual dresscode. “Work” shoes that maybe had slightly scuffed heels but were still good enough to wear to the office have gone. Pencil skirts that are too tight but I’d convinced myself would fit me again at some point are out the door. Auf Wiedersehn to t-shirts that have gone a bit bobbly. Au revoir to dresses that are past their best. Ta-ra a bit to jeans that are so low rise I can’t believe they ever fit me. And, to anything that doesn’t totally ding my dong, a big fat feck off!

Even my underwear draw got a look in.

I now have a pile of stuff hung on my spare bedroom door waiting to be ebayed (I have, at least, taken the photographs, just need to get round to writing the descriptions and actually listing them).

20150521_073222

Plus a bin liner stuffed with the real rubbish, and bags full of cast offs for the charity shop with more still to come.

20150521_073316

Did I feel liberated? At first, yes. There were things that I was aware should have left the safe haven of my wardrobe a long time ago, that were taking up valuable space and just not being worn. And that bit’s great! But it also made me slightly sad. OK, a lot sad. Sad to the point where I was so sulky I went very quiet and withdrawn and didn’t talk much for the rest of the night. Because it felt like an admission that a part of my life has ended. Disposing of dresses that I still really like but are probably too short for me to wear these days.¬†Trousers that are too tight around the waist. Things that just don’t fit my wardrobe because I’m not in my 20s and going out partying like I used to.

I guess, ultimately, it made me feel old and fat. Which is very dramatic and I feel like I should be putting my hand to my brow and throwing my head back in consternation. Because, at 37 and just under 10.5 stone, I’m neither of those things. But I’m also not 25 and 9.5 stone anymore. That’s the real problem!

I’ll get over it, of course. I rediscovered some things I’d completely forgotten about which is good. And it did give me the kick I needed to stop being such a greedy pig and actually start working to lose the half a stone I need to feel better about myself (instead of just hoping it will happen!) With a tidier wardrobe I’ll actually have space to store my new trainers, so I can go out for a run rather than spending half an hour hopping round wearing just one and cursing my untidy self for losing the other one.

Having a clear out – have I been doing it all wrong?

Like many women / people, I have too much stuff. Specifically wearable stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I like stuff. I like choice. I don’t want a capsule wardrobe, shoes that go with everything and a colour palette theme amongst my clothes. But I do want to have enough space for the things I do love, so I can stop draping things over doors / stacking stuff in piles on the floor¬†and having my husband threaten to put everything in a bin liner and chuck it out (he wouldn’t dare, but it’s a recurring conversation).

Clear out

(needless to say that is not my wardrobe. And if it was I would not be having a clear out. EVER.)

Contrary to my husband’s seeming opinion, I don’t like being untidy. It’s only because I have too much stuff. Trouble is, when I have a clear out, it’s never as thorough as I’d like. And I think the reason is because I’m looking for things to get rid of, not things to keep.

It sounds like a very similar process, but there is in fact a difference. And this is the article that made me see that difference.

http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/the-golden-rules-of-tidying-up-to-joyfully-de-clutter-your-house-life-and-mind-clear-out

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to¬†take each item in one‚Äôs hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’.¬†If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.¬†This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”

I always look at what to get rid of. And then I split it into categories – ebay or charity shop. Ebay stuff invariably sits in a bag for ages, waiting for me to get round to the arduous task of photographing, measuring and listing. and then, when it doesn’t sell straight away, the bag of stuff clutters up valuable space.

But the stuff that’s left behind, well. Based on the advice above –¬†‘Does this spark joy?’ – I could clear out¬†a lot more. There’s stuff that I keep because it’s “too good” to part with. I may have only worn it a couple of times and feel bad about getting rid of it¬†(especially if it’s doubtful that it will sell on ebay, or more likely I can’t be bothered). Or it’s just not me anymore. But, in truth, when I pick it out to wear, it often goes straight back. Because it doesn’t make me feel fabulous, and who wants to feel anything less than amazing? And so it sits there, taking up valuable room in my overstuffed wardrobe.

This can also be exacerbated by being a bargain hunter. Because sometimes, something is just a really good bargain, and that can totally affect my judgement. I know the “rules” – don’t buy something unless you’d buy it full price. But I find that impossible, because my heart gets all of a flutter. So I’m my own worse enemy.

What a palava! I’ve actually bored myself with this post. But I am going to try and take the advice and actually apply it. Stop hoarding stuff with the intention of ebaying it and never getting round to it. Donate it to charity shops and don’t regret it.

Donations

And don’t fill the space I create with brand new stuff!