You’ve all heard of Bicester Village. I’m sure many of you have shopped there. If you haven’t been for a while then it may well be worth a visit? A lot has changed and there are new units with a swanky new extension to the existing Village. Some of your favourites may have moved and there’s lots of new brands like Joseph, Under Armour and Lululemon. The older I get the more I learn to appreciate what Bicester has to offer in way of a shopping experience. I love going there. It feels like a treat. It a beautiful place to shop and it’s lovely being able to see and touch beautiful things. I’m more than happy to admit that I’m learning to like better quality as I mature. The kids are getting older too so my lifestyle is changing. I no longer have sick down my back…. ewww!! My day is very different now that I’m working and the children are in full time education. I can actually get away with the odd dry clean only item! I don’t believe in keeping anything for best but a few years ago buying anything of quality was just a complete waste of money, emotionally exhausting and silk suicide!! Obviously high street buys have their place. I love buying my holiday wardrobe. Some fun bits to wreck on my hols! For this I tend to take myself off to Birmingham and actually go shopping for myself. Real shopping, not online shopping. I’m sick to death of ordering copious amounts of clothes online only to return. Finding ones size has become particularly frustrating of late on the high street and I find trying clothes on in store much more effective. I find buying a whole outfit much easier if I’m shopping in a real shop. It’s all there on hand to try together. If I buy an outfit I find I wear it rather than having a wardrobe full of white elephants where nothing goes together. Holiday packing is way easier if you pack outfits that work together and find pieces that also make sense in other scenarios too. This also helps to limit packing too many shoe styles. I’ll probably post my outfit flat lays for you soon to illustrate the point. Any way, back to Bicester.
A few weeks ago I got the amazing opportunity to go to an invite only VIP Prada event located in the “Apartments” at Bicester Village. I was a dear friend’s plus one. How super lucky was I. All the pieces were samples so most, if not all, were one off pieces at up to 70% off. We had the most amazing day in the stunning VIP suites. This is just the most beautiful hospitality space for special events and guests of the Village that wish to elevate their day to something more tailor made to their shopping needs. The staff were really friendly and it was a great experience. One I felt hugely privileged to be able to take part in and a day I’ll never forget. Thank you Bicester. After the event we did some extra shopping in The Village. I totally get that we all have very different budgets and what is a daily spend to one person, is totally out of reach to another but I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Bicester Village. If you go with good company and an open mind then you never know what you might find. That’s the fun of it! It seemed rude not to share these photos with you so I hope you enjoy them.
Handbag – PRADA
Thank you for reading. I hope you are all enjoying this glorious weather we are having at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get to do another blog soon, until then, stay safe in the sun! XXX
This seems to be the theme for me at the moment. This is a personal blog so it’s not always driven by fashion but by my journey in life and some of the highs and lows of setting up ones own business. Not completely from scratch because I’ve not had to retrain, I’ve just had to adapt and rebuild a new “brand”. Building a business is very different now to when I did it before over twenty years ago. I’ve mentioned the mine field that is social media and how I’ve struggled with it as a more mature woman to make it work for me. I’m no model. I’m just me, trying to make the best of me with the other commitments that being a mum brings to the table too. Most of us juggle A LOT as women these days and often we have to compromise our goals for the things that are more important to us like our children and our partners. Last Friday I went to a Women in Business Event in Birmingham City Centre run by Headz Up Business. I went on my own to challenge myself and to meet other like minded women. I’m used to working in a one to one environment so I found this to be well and truly out of my comfort zone. I’ll probably talk more about this subject in another blog but I wanted to “put it out there” while it was still fresh in my mind. We are lucky to live in a world where barriers are being broken and issues are being discussed. Balancing family life and ones career isn’t easy and it’s very hard to summarise everything that was said at the expo but I came away with a warm fuzzy feeling that I was not alone and that there are lots of amazing women (and men!) doing wonderful things in local business. I felt encouraged to keep going and felt proud of what I had achieved so far. I also think that a blog about work wear might be helpful? I touched on the subject with Pushpa (the brains behind Headz Up Business) when I met her at the event. I’ve had a few clients lately that have specifically needed help with work wear. Either to feel confident in their clothes to get recognised as the right material for a particular promotion or looking the part for the role they have already. It’s a sensitive subject to tackle and depends hugely on the individuals’ needs and what they are trying to achieve. Whether we realise it or not we “talk” to other people through what we decide to wear. Our clothes send out a message. It’s basic human nature to “read” what we see. “Is it a lion?”, therefore “should I run?” or “is it a cat, can I pick it up and stroke it?” This process becomes very difficult when you are talking about being in business and dressing for work. Work wear choices will depend on soooo many different factors. Still being you is hugely important. Who you are and what you stand for is a positive thing and needs to be reflected in your choices. I realise I’ve started writing a different blog already when I thought this blog was just going to be about camo print trousers!! HA ha. I will open up this can of worms another time! It’s too hot today, thank goodness, to write anything too challenging on my brain. So back to camo as promised in my last blog.
Believe it or not, wearing a pair of camo trousers is way out of my comfort zone. I know I say “buy less buy better” but I’ve also said, if you’re gonna try something new “style wise” then don’t invest in case you hate it!!! Simple! When I saw these cropped camos for £11 in Gap it felt rude not to give them a go. The weather was still a bit iffy and I thought that they’d be a lighter option than jeans and just super easy to chuck on with flats and go. I’m really pleased with them and I’ve already got my eleven quids worth out of them! I’ve worn them with an embroidered slogan T shirt and with pretty tops and heels. In the autumn I may well pull then out with a tailored blazer, crisp white shirt and heels for work. I love mine as the print is dark and foresty (my own word!) so they suit me but if you suit a more subtle colour palette then there’s loads of options on the high street.
TROUSERS – GAP (sale discounts may vary)
BLOUSE – TopShop last year
EARRINGS – Whistles (current sale)
BASKET – Bohemia Design
TASSELS – Bohemia Design
SLIDES – Dune London
cropped – GAP middle – TOPSHOP end right – WHISTLES
I’ve posted some holiday buys to lose, get covered in sun cream or completely trash on holiday in the collage below!!! Oh and a sneaky peek at a fab skort from Zara which is now in the sale! Yay!
Thanks for reading and all your on going support. Social media wouldn’t work without you guys so I’m hugely grateful. Sharing is caring! Next bog? Hmmm I said shorts didn’t I??? There’s a skort above, can that count please?! XXX
My goodness haven’t I been a busy bunny? You may have noticed that lately my blogs are like busses. There are none for months then four come all at once! It’s because it’s the school holidays; there’s time as I’m between seasons and Mr.W is around to take the photos. It’s that simple. When I’m working in the week the last thing I want to do is spend Saturday taking pics and Sunday writing a blog. I’m being honest. The fun goes from it and when it impacts onto family life I feel guilty. There’s another snag and honesty has to prevail! As much as I like to make an effort at the weekend, I do find that I’m usually in jeans so variety becomes a bit of an issue! My blogs are nothing if they are not real; current and believable in their content. So I have made a New Season’s resolution to write my blogs on a more regular basis no matter what! This blog it therefore “What I Wore This Weekend” with a slightly more endearing title to encourage you to read!
The last days of summer. And they were for Granddad. A chance to get the wheat in and a chance for the little people to get into some big machines, and I mean big! It’s a day out that my kids love. It’s a chance to be with Granddad and tell him all their news while hours pass by together in the cab and a chance to sit in a combine with a few tractor rides to the farm thrown in. Mr.W and I get the opportunity to go for lunch sans kids (probably a once a year treat) in the nearest town which happens to be beautiful Marlow. Happy Days! I love Marlow. A great place to mooch around a few independent boutiques and more unusual interior shops or pop into some posh names you may know like Sweaty Betty; Whistles and The White Company. There’s lots of little alley ways with unusual little shops. At Lister Court tucked away behind the High Street we found SATOLLO. A family run authentic Italian restaurant. Part of me wants to keep it a secret but that just wouldn’t be fair. Sat in the sun outside it truly felt like we had been transported to a little cafe in Sienna. We arrived for coffee (and tea) as we had had our lunch. The food looked too good to miss so we shared a Parma ham panini! It’s safe to say that we won’t be having take away sarnies from M&S when we visit Marlow next time. It’s worth visiting the town just to experience SATOLLO in my opinion. Oh, and BTW the coffee was excellent too.
There was the food. Now here is the fashion. As I explained above, the weekend for me does tend to be jeans, jeans and more jeans. So, here we have an outfit for the weekend with jeans! Tah dah!!! I’m a little obsessed with vintage fit jeans and I’ve customised mine. They arrived with raw hems and I just hacked away a bit more at them and left them with a stepped hem to wear with sandals and anything with an ankle strap. It was a little daunting as they were brand new but I just went for it and everything worked out just fine! My basket bag has been a favourite buy this summer and also my espadrilles. I have to admit to a bit of a collection of espadrilles but I love how they make a simple outfit look continental. Appropriate I felt for my lunchtime (OK, second lunch) setting! I did fork out a bit for mine and took the plunge to buy them from Castaner, the iconic Spanish espadrille makers. I know there’s lots of cheaper copies out there that would do the job but I just love how these fit and the cut of the front is just perfect. Pound for wear they have been well worth it and I know that I will continue to enjoy them for years to come and bore you with them on my blogs for the foreseeable summers of the future!
LINEN BLOUSE – The White Stuff
JEANS – H&M ( sale now and limited sizes)
ESPADRILLES – Castaner at NET-A-PORTER
BASKET – Bohemia Design
WATCH – Fossil
RING – Nomination
NECKLACE – Whistles
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog. If you’re reading it on Bloglovin please hit the like button! Social media works best when people interact with it. I hope it’s not too long before I’m able to post again. I can’t believe that the summer feels so over. The fact that we were able to pick blackberries from the hedgerow was a sign that Autumn is arriving fast. I’ll try not to feel too downhearted with the promise of beautiful coats and cozy knits coming my way courtesy of the new season ahead.
When it comes to illustrating what a brand is all about I sometimes think that images can speak loader than words. When a product is as fun and as individually diverses as OBAG it can be difficult to explain all the different ways these bags can be put together to suit your own individual style. That’s why OBAG invited me to come and see their new products. The team are so passionate about the brand and would love you to come and visit them at their showroom to see the bags, watches and accessories first hand for yourself and let them demonstrate all the different ways you can make your bag reflect your own personality. All the bags come fully interchangeable from the body; to the strap; to the interior inserts to the added accessories and bag charms. There’s new styles in house (including a fabulous soft back pack); new colours; new fabrics and new accessories. Visit online too to see the full collection at obagonline.com. The team are excited to introduce their new “Flower Power” styles which feature ditzy little floral motifs in a range of colours. There’s definitely something for everyone and I loved the neutral shade bags this season and I still have a soft spot for my OBAG beach which may feature on the holiday blog with new neutral robe handles! With a massive trend this season for all things in natural shades, Obag has it covered. My personal favourite was this milky coloured large “moon” bag. So, feast your eyes on some of the style options I photographed on my visit to the showroom and please be encouraged to pay the team a visit.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. It’s been a while I know since I sat down and wrote a blog but hopefully over the summer school hols I’ll get a chance to post some more. I’m not a full time blogger as I have a very busy personal shooping business. I do this for fun and to promote local businesses where I can. This is not a sponsored post. It’s done for free so all opinions are my own. You may or may not know that OBAG has closed it’s store in Touchwood in Solihull. As I said above, please feel free to call the OBAG showroom and pop along ( Unit 30 Monkspath Business Park, B90 4NZ TEL: 0845 5196161). They would be so excited to hear from you and would love to explain the products in more detail. Really, the range and options within it are endless. I’ve always thought that some of the bags (especially the Flower Power range) would be so great for young girls. My OBAG Beach was the best beach bag I’ve ever used on holiday. It was totally suncream and kids wet cozie friendly! Nothing phased it what so ever! Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a great summer!
Do you remember that I’d said I would fill you in on the other item that I bought from a new brand I was trying? Well, this is it! I bought this blouse for work so I keep my modesty when I bend down; it’s of the moment with the cold shoulder details; it’s a bit more expensive than I might normally spend but it is made from a nice weight of viscose for easy care over silk. I’ve been trying lately to practice what I preach and buy less but buy better. The brand is “& Other Stories” by the way. I found their sizing a little on the generous size perhaps, so I’d recommend trying your usual size or maybe one down? It totally depends how your like the pieces to fit? There’s not much more to say! Unlike me I know when it comes to ranting on and on about clothes! Everyone loves a good top don’t they?! I’ve found this blouse super versatile too as you can see from the pics below it first came out to play worn with jeans for a stroll around the City on a Sunday with Mr.W and the kiddie winks for a spot of Pokemon hunting! It was a beautiful September day with a hazy light for taking some pics with atmosphere. I have now worn it too for work paired with flowing culottes and heeled sandals. Being viscose it did crease where I folded but I just go with the flow with stuff like that, it never bothers me and like linen, it’s better to not worry it just looks more relaxed that way! Pound for wear, I think I might be quids in with this one.
Love a bargain, hate the sales! Sometimes right at the very end of it all though when the rest of the store is back to it’s tidy self, a little bargain pops up because I can stand shopping again! The mirrored shades in the pictures were £4 from New Look! These green shades “spoke” to me from across the store and at that price why not? I’m a sucker for anything these days that makes for an interesting photo as most of the time I’m Miss Black, White or Grey!!! Rarely doing print, though might do a stripe??!!!
It seemed only right to throw in a bit of Chanel into a blog which featured black toe cap courts! Don’t worry, I’ve not won the lottery, it’s just the lippie!
What? Topshop straight jeans. I absolutely love their straight cut jeans. Either 99% or 100% cotton they are authentic denim at an amazing price. I love everything about them – the denim weight; the cut which goes with pretty much everything (I won’t say everything or Mr.W will ask why I need all those other jeans cuts I have in my wardrobe!) and the different leg lengths that are available so that I can have my fave jeans to wear with different boot or shoe styles. Like all fashion they won’t be for everyone. Not everyone will like the button fly which adds a little bulk at the tummy; not everyone will like the retro vibe they give off and not everyone will like the lack of stretch or the straight cut. The surprise though for me was that what is deemed as a brand for teenagers, became the place where I find most of my jeans.
BLOUSE – & Other Stories
JEANS – Topshop (straight)
SHOES – Office
MIRRORED SUNGLASSES – New Look (bought in store)
LIPSTICK – Chanel rouge allure
Thanks for reading. Thanks for your support and I’ll be posting again soon. x
My off the shoulder top obsession reached fever pitch and I needed to draw a line under the issue! The problem is that I have now developed a new stain of the disease! It’s now the one shoulder breed that is taking over my life! I’m buying into silky ones; plain ones and now FRILLY ONES! I spotted this little baby on line at Topshop when I was searching for off the shoulder tops. I told you it was bad!!! I’ve been umming and arrring over the frilly ones but decided that a frill all the way around was a bit… errrr… Wild West? BUT, the one shoulder, oh my I was in love!!! When the top arrived I was thrilled with the style for the price. Topshop could have quite easily settled for a single frill but the double layer of cotton poplin fabric jut makes it look far more expensive than it is and sets it apart from any others I’ve seen in my price range. It packs a punch and makes a statement. Not for the shrinking violet and be prepared for people to comment! I’ve styled mine with tailored culottes for a grown up take on a trend but as my love affair and confidence grows I may well take it into denim territory?
I’m sure there are some readers who haven’t been in Topshop for years. It’s not all for kids. Some of their jeans styles (which come in petite and tall leg lengths too) give designer brands a run for their money on fit and fabrication and some of their leather shoes and boots offer up to date style at a very affordable price. I love Touchwood (Solihull’s shopping centre) but sometimes what’s on offer in the smaller units can be misleading and be limited by its’ target audience. I think here in Solihull it’s catering for the kids as the shop floor is awash with skinny ripped jeggings. Delve a little deeper and you might be pleasantly surprised? Sometimes there’s a gem that will just lift what you have at home in your own wardrobe out of the doll drums and into next season with very little financial commitment. Happy days!
EVERYONE LOVES A BLOOPER!
There’s a good reason for not wearing lipstick whilst wearing this top! Chin up or get smacked in the face, lots of times! Occupational hazard I guess?
What am I looking at? Well, something velvet; something ballet inspired (maybe a tulle midi?); those elusive basic sweaters; an oversized glamorous coat and a new season shoe? Not much to ask? She laughs uncontrollably at the computer screen!!! Of course I’ll keep you posted! I hope you enjoyed this blog? There’s lots of new exciting things to look forward to. Solihull will see the opening of a new stand alone Mint Velvet store in the high street and I’ll have lots of new season styles to share with you.
NB: At the moment all non- prescription sunglasses are half price at selected BOOTS stores and at boots.com. Ted baker “Blair” women’s sunglasses pictured above were £60, now £30 in store.
….when we need to discuss “transition”. The point at which the season is changing. I was chatting to a dear friend the other day and we both agreed that though it’s hot (as per my previous blog on the hottest day of the year), things “feel” different? There are a few leaves falling from the trees; the days are getting shorter as darkness closes in earlier and earlier and the temperature falls at about 5 o’clock. My wardrobe continues to revolved around our changeable climate! I know I’m not ready for wool jumpers and coats yet even if I’m starting to lust after some of them in the shops! I’m holding onto summer like never before!
I seem to have developed a rather incurable addiction to off the shoulder tops? I need help! I have quite a collection! I bought this black one from ZARA from their new season collection recently. It’s pure cotton with deep ruffle cuffs, which I love, and it’s black! It will make a good going out top as well to dress up jeans. It’s actually surprisingly warm being made from a substantial weight of cotton poplin. All in all it has and will continue to be a great piece to transition through to fall. A versatile piece that I can wear for work; going out and weekends.
Sometimes I feel stuck in a rut. If Zara fails me (which lately it is on quality), I can feel a bit stuck. I love the great British High Street and we are so lucky with the choice and affordable fashion it offers. I can’t justify huge expenditure on clothes but the older I get the more I appreciate and need better quality. Every brand has it’s place and will appeal to different audiences. I realise I expect a lot from my purchases. Fashion-ability, fit, the right price point… When Zara gets it right (like the blouse in the pics) then Zara ticks these boxes for me. With some H&M thrown in and a few other considered purchases I find I get there with my wardrobe. I have been on the look out for “the missing link”. A high fashion brand that won’t break the bank while still offering a degree of quality without being too utilitarian, minimal and bland. I may have found it? It’s a brand called “& Other Stories”. I had spotted a few bloggers wearing their clothes and I wanted to try them out. So try them out I did! I’m a sucker for jeans too so these cream cropped kick flares in the pics below found their way seamlessly into my wardrobe along with one other piece that I will share with you at some point I’m sure. It was nice to find ivory jeans as opposed to white. They are more expensive than Zara but not as dear as French Connection, Reiss or Whistles. They have provided another option for me and definitely worth having a look at as a brand if you’re into your fashion. I was pleased with the fit (fairly true to size, if not a little generous?) and also the quality for the price point seemed very fair. Though it’s a brand that is clearly aimed at quite a young market there are items that are elegant, timeless with that fashion edge that makes me sit up and take notice.
The new season purchases have started then I guess! The next stage will be some clever layering before I completely roll over into Autumn. Until then it’s still shoulders out and sunnies on!
Off the shoulder poplin blouse – Zara
Ivory cropped kick flare jeans – & Other Stories
Embossed Leather Sandals – Coach Pipher Heels
Ring – Nomination
Leather tassel bag charm – H&M (Premium Quality Range)
Ivory Pearl Studs – Claire’s Accessories
Tote bag – Autograph M&S (old, really old! Like pre kids old!)
Sunglasses – Loewe at (TK Maxx)
Thanks for reading
There are so many wonderful parts to my job. Up there with the best is seeing the look on a client’s face when they feel great about themselves again and start to enjoy fashion. One of the other privileges is when a brand invites you to an event they are hosting to showcase their brand and introduce to the world their new merchandise. One such occasion was when O bag in Touchwood Shopping Centre (Solihull) invited me to an evening of fun, fashion and fizz to see their products. Sometimes a successful brand isn’t just about a cool product but is about the whole package, a team with passion and O bag has this by the bucket full. What struck me most was the friendly staff and the enthusiasm they expressed as they spoke about the products and the different styles on offer in store. It’s an in infectious enthusiasm too. You can’t help but find something you like and it might be an unexpected find too. You probably all know me well enough by now to know that I’m a classic girl at heart but I love something different so to quote a cliche then, I guess I’m a sucker for “classic with a twist!” O bag is this in a fun and colourful way. Have a look with an open mind and be rest assured that what they do they do well.
O bags on display at Head Office
The O bag brand was established in Italy in 2009. Italians have style, let’s face it! Already I’m interested as I know that despite bring bright and fun and definitely colourful, it’s still going to be stylish. The thing I liked most about the whole concept of the brand was the fact that every product could be fully customised; from the handles on the bags to the interior; from the charms to the trims and from the size to the shape of the exterior. There is an ageless quality to the products too. I could see my boys wearing the watches or a teenage girl stacking the bracelets on tanned wrists in the sun on holiday. It soon become apparent that there was something for every fashion taste here and I was no exception!
At the event it was clear that the shop front was the tip of the ice burg of a bigger picture. There was a family feel to the team that I met and I was intrigued to learn more about the brand and the products. It’s not just about bags but a whole lot more. I loved the accessories. In fact they started in 2009 with their watches. I loved the fun watches and brightly coloured sunglasses. All fully interchangeable with different watch face options or different lens colours for the sunglasses. A particular favourite of mind was the gold reflective lenses which I might have to go back to buy as I can’t stop thinking about them teamed with a fun colour pop frame!! Oh how I love fashion and it’s endless possibilities! There is an addictive quality to O bag. I could see how it would be easy to keep collecting your favourite pieces or just keep ringing the changes with new components.
Things just got better and better! I was asked if Id like to visit O bag HQ! Well that was a no brainer! Of course, how exciting! So after my rather long winded introduction I have eventually come to the real reason for this blog which is all about my visit to HQ in Solihull. On arrival I was welcomed by Suzanne. I have to say that the staff are superb and made me feel so welcome. If you have any questions at all they would be happy to help. I was bowled over by the sheer scale of the operation. The show room was packed full of samples and exciting new season products. There were draws full of watch straps, faces, sunglasses and bracelets in every mouth watering colour under the sun. There were sky scrapper high piles of bags that I wanted in every shade! How’s a girl supposed to choose?! I went from not knowing what I’d like at our initial meeting to wanting to buy into the brand in rather a big way! As I said before, you can’t like everything in life but there are some hero pieces that stand out to me after my visit.
fun retro inspired Italian shades styled your way!
Lovely Sue putting together one of O bag’s watch faces and straps
Customise your accessories….
O bag bracelets available in colours to match the bags
Real suede bag charm available in other colours in store
The hero from the brand for me has to be the beach bags. Actually it’s the rope handles I guess?! You can put them on any of the exterior bag shells and you instantly have a child friendly; sun cream safe; wet cozzy protected, take anywhere beach bag. Pure genius and looks good too! I found a bag that suited my fashion taste and worked with life style at the same time. One very happy customer!
I just love the rope handles!
The new style – a basket weave option- O bag BEACH
Drum roll please! I’m so thrilled with what we put together at O bag. I chose the new basket weave exterior in lime with black rope handles. I love it so much and I will enjoy using my new O bag over the next few weeks and I will do a blog to show it on it’s travels on holiday!
Also a sucker for a bit of holiday fun jewellery, I went for one of their stretch bracelets in lime too! They are great for the poolside and the gym in these bright colours. I would suggest going into store in Touchwood Solihull and have a look at all the different styles on offer. Make sure you chat to the staff and find out about all the options and ways to customise your accessories. Give something a go and see where it leads……?!
Thank-you for reading this blog and look out for my juicy tote on it’s travels! The next blog may well be some arty shots of my O bag or there might be a cheeky outfit post in between. We’ll see how much time I get now that school’s out! I hope you all have a fab summer and enjoy your hols!