Striping a Balance


You’ve noticed the stripes haven’t you? You’ve seen them popping up in magazines and shop windows and you’ve tried to ignore them. You’re horrified and want nothing to do with them and that’s fine because stripes are scary.

Striped top £25.99 at Zara

Go faster (possibly) trousers £25.99 at Zara

It’s fine, but it doesn’t mean they’re not there. Stripes are here for spring and they’re not going anywhere. And these stripes aren’t subtle; they’re not nautical and they’re not your standard Breton, these stripes are irregular, brightly coloured and might even make your eyes go funny.

Shirt dress £260 at Sandro

Don’t worry though because I share your fear, I’ve never been brave when it comes to prints. Although I can stomach a small daisy print or a polka dot, I’ve been indoctrinated (and who hasn’t?) by the largely incorrect belief that vertical stripes lengthen while horizontal stripes widen. It isn’t true, or at least it isn’t always true but perhaps you also believe that a ‘go-faster’ stripe down the side of your running leggings does actually make you run faster.

Midi dress £199 at Karen Millen

Maxi dress £25.99 at Zara

But ok, let’s take this striped midi Karen Millen dress. Yes, it’s head to toe monochrome stripes – on paper (or tablet) it sounds pretty much like a zebra onesie. But look at it – it’s fabulous! If it’s too much fabulous for you then slip a skinny rib black sleeveless tank top or cardigan over the top to break it up a bit.

Asymmetric dress £29.99 at Stradivarius

Floral dress £39.99 at Stradivarius

For a gentler introduction to this trend, look no further than new name on the high street, Stradivarius. It’s from the same stable as Zara and the majority of their stuff is aimed at the teen market but if you can hold yourself back from the pom pom key-rings and flatform trainers then you will unearth some really fantastic, ridiculously cheap dresses and skirts. FYI I went in there looking for a present for my neice (I did!) and came out with a pair of knee high red suede boots reduced from £85 to £25. Yes, they are comfortable and no, I didn’t need them one bit.

Pleated skirt £29.99 at Stradivarius

Shirt dress £69 at Arket

If you can’t get your head around the Karen Millen number, you’re not going to like what’s coming up I warn you. When I first starting researching this blog a couple of weeks ago I had noticed the beginnings of a trend. However now I am massively overdue in posting it, the stripes are everywhere, each piece bigger and bolder than the last. I have to admit I am completely sold on it, so much so I am even considering the pyjama trend. This is an unfortunate development because it has hung around for several seasons now and I have repeatedly refused to get involved. Also, although it didn’t seem possible for the pyjama trend to look more pyjama-ish, now it comes in vertical stripes, there is absolutely no difference at all. Looking on the bright side, you could in fact wear pyjamas and save yourself a bit of cash and in this freezing weather, it’s not such a bad idea all things considered.

Palazzo trousers £35.99 at Mango

Striped jacket £79.99 at Mango

Seriously though, adding this Mango blazer to a pair of jeans and red boots or a tight polo and heels to the palazzo trousers and you’ve got an effortless yet up to the minute outfit. Equally, a denim jacket or tux style black jacket and boots will water down any one of the dresses. Spring feels a long way off still (I’m actually sitting at my desk in my coat) so this is a good way to pep up your wardrobe without breaking the bank or wearing pastel florals. Have a great weekend and go buy stripes – you’ve earned them!




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Snappy New Year

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It’s freezing cold, Donald Trump is still president and there are at least two weeks to go until  pay day. It’s a bleak outlook – I intended to start with a rousing ‘Happy New Year!’ Sorry about that.

On the other hand, the sales are still on, restaurants are doing special offers to tempt us out of our Dry Januarys and into their establishments and there’s lots of good stuff on the telly. This year I decided against doing the most miserable month without alcohol and as half price steak within walking distance of home is too good to ignore, I’m actually feeling quite excited about the year ahead. Happy new year!

Asymmetric pleated skirt £34.99 by H&M

Meanwhile over on Planet Fashion it’s almost as if they’ve got the memo about austerity measures because a handful of 2017 trends have been given a free pass into 2018 – excellent news for the post-Christmas wardrobe budget. So while there are things we won’t be sad to leave behind in 2017 (the return of Crocs and blue lipstick to name just two) there are plenty of others which you can get more life out of. “Oh but I didn’t invest in those things last year when you told me to!” I hear you cry. Well, that’s where the last of the sale rails come in; you’ll still find what you need at a fraction of the original price. You’d better be quick though, out there in the department store trenches serious consumers don’t hang about, no matter what you’ve read in the news. There are people trailing suitcases around the shop floor for the sole purpose of filling them up with bargains (and saving approximately 30p on carrier bags), it’s a tough crowd I warn you.

Pink ankle boots reduced to £69 by Dune at House of Fraser

Not to worry though because if you’ve already done the sales and retreated back to your sofa with a cuppa and a packet of Jaffa cakes (hidden under a cushion so you’re not forced to share), the new collections are starting to filter in. Phase Eight have gone full blown mother of the bride overnight and Monsoon are ready for the keenest prom queens. It may be hat and glove weather at street level but the tropical climes of the department store are urging people to think about their spring outfits. Here’s what to take with you into the next season while still being sensibly dressed for winter:

The lengths we’ll go to…

Zimmerman Spring Summer 2018

Long shirt dress reduced to £75 at French Connection

It doesn’t have to be impractical and eveningy and you don’t have to spend a lot on it. Keep the fabric lightweight and add layers, either under or over and downplay the whole floaty aesthetic with trainers or lace up boots. I am completely in love with this look and have at least three long dresses none of which have cost more than £40.

Sheer madness…

Elie Saab Spring Summer 2018

Sheer dress £180 at

This time sheer is actually rather prim. Although some designers sent head to toe sheer down the catwalk, if flaunting your pants and bra while popping to the corner shop for a pint of milk isn’t your thing, there is this. Use sheer to your advantage – perfect for upper arm and crepey cleavage coverage.

Juicy Fruit shades…

Versace Spring Summer 2018

Coat reduced to £115.50 by Jasper Conran at Debenhams

There’s going to be a lot of colour out there – some of it quite frightening – so make sure you pick your shade wisely. Sticking with one colour all over is fab in theory but be careful you don’t look like a carrot.


Stable Jean-ius…

Tom Ford Spring Summer 2018

Denim jacket and playsuit by Vale at £44 and £60

It looked like we were moving into faded, washed out, distressed, whatever territory for a bit there didn’t it? But fear not because for 2018 our denim is to be sleek and heavily dyed. You’ll have blue legs like a corpse when you take them off but it’s arguably better than doing that unflattering eighties Bros denim again.

Laid back Florals

Vilshenko Spring Summer 2018

Floral dress reduced to £59 at French Connection

OK, so florals in spring are about as inspired as Tess Daly’s Strictly script, but this season’s floweryness, a staple for most of 2017 and cropping up on everything from jeans to boots, has a classy vintage feel so you won’t resemble a charity shop three piece suite.


I’ve already put out my work outfit for tomorrow: long pretty dress half price at H&M worn with an ancient Ralph Lauren longline cardigan bought at TK Maxx and Steve Madden boots bought a couple of years ago a size too big and therefore conveniently ideal for thick socks in this rubbish weather. It’s all about comfort in January. Speaking of which, I’m off to stuff my face with pie and mash. Have a great 2018 lovely readers, here’s to our sixth year together!

Dark jeans £45 at River Island

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Desperately Sequin Season

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Silver dress £150 at

Silver kimono £100 at Top Shop

It’s that time of year again. The invitations start pouring in (apparently) and suddenly that stylish navy shift dress simply won’t cut it. People who are fairly sensible for eleven months of the year dangle Christmas puddings from their ears and sprinkle glitter on anything even vaguely sticky. And then there are the sequins – I love sequins. Not everyone does though and I’m well aware of the arguments against the wearing of sequins…

  1. They’re for middle aged women trying to look glam at the office party. (This, from my boyfriend who brings it up every December when the first sequin appears).
  2. They’re terribly unflattering, what with being so shiny and reflective an’ all.
  3. One falls off and then it’s just a matter of time before they’re all over the house.
  4. They look cheap and nasty.
  5. I’m too old for sequins (I think my mum uses this argument just to wind me up).
  6. I’ll look like Shirley Bassey.

Socks £8 at

Blue strappy dress £99 at Warehouse

Here’s what I think: No they aren’t, and well yes, maybe, but live a little, it depends how you wear them and finally, no you’re not – no, you won’t! And if that doesn’t convince you then consider this: sequins were discovered in the tomb of King Tut who died in 1323 BC. Tut’s garments were covered in gold sequins and it was believed that they would guarantee financial stability in the afterlife. In Egypt and India, sequins were also believed to ward off evil spirits. Ohh yes, they’re appearing a little more practical now aren’t they?

Heels £28 at Dorothy Perkins

Ankle boots £150 at

I’m pro sequins and I’ll wear them any time of the year. If you’ve read my book* you’ll know that my friend Nina, once the only female in an I.T. office, wears sequins to work. And not just any old sequins; Nina wears mini skirts covered in the big versions, technically known as ‘paillettes’. Now that is my kinda girl. FYI, what Nina doesn’t know about the cocktail bars of London isn’t worth knowing, but that’s a whole other story.

Pink dress £385 at LK Bennett

Green shift dress £99 at Monsoon

My dislike of Christmas jumpers is well known by now, I don’t consider them an option. I just think there are better ways to be festive and draw attention to your chest than reindeer noses flashing on it. You could, for example, fall down the stairs blind drunk in a boob tube at your school drinks evening, or drop a brie and cranberry parcel down your front having burnt the roof of your mouth on scalding melted cheese. Both of those things would genuinely make people laugh without you having to buy a hideous Christmas jumper.

Sheer top £40 at Top Shop

Strappy top £99 at Karen Millen

I will talk you into sequins. All of you. Just look at these lovely shimmering things, how can you not want to look like a disco ball on new year’s eve? Seriously though, you don’t have to wear them head to foot and this year there’s so much choice, you can pick your colour, so take another look before you write this tiny shiny piece of plastic off completely.

A few suggestions for successful sequin wearing…

If you’re tall, skinny and don’t have to worry about lumps and bumps then you can embrace the body conscious sequin look without a care in the world. The pink LK Bennett dress will add curves to a slight frame while the green Monsoon will show off your long limbs and frankly no-one else will get away with this style quite as well.

Scalloped top £55 at

Black jacket £199 at Zara

For figures which are heavier on the bottom, try a sequinned top and wear with something dark and neat on the bottom half – a pair of tuxedo trousers or a pencil skirt for example. Far better to have the eye catching glitz on the top half. Perfect if you’re attending an evening which involves being seated at a table all night.

If you are bigger up top then do the opposite and wear your sequins below the waist. The Miss Selfridge midi skirt is gorgeously fifties in style, features flying birds and is now reduced to a fraction of its original price tag which was fully justified for such a unique piece in my opinion. Wear with a plain dark top or shirt and keep jewellery to a minimum. The skirt also comes in electric blue and crimson pink as well as the green featured here – I want all three.

Green midi skirt £45.50 at Miss Selfridge

Black midi skirt £49.99 at H&M

There are some amazing deep jewel shades to be found on the high street and online at the moment. Both Debenhams and Very have incredible purple dresses in classic shapes while Zara has mixed them all up and has at least two pieces with a sequin rainbow effect. The real problem should be how to choose what to go for.

Purple dress £65 at

Wrap around dress £69.99 at Zara

Then there’s always the shoes… personally I’d put sequin shoes with just about anything but if you really would rather a minimal look then nothing brings a little black dress or a trouser suit to life than a sparkling foot or two.

Right I’m done, I have a nativity performance to go to. But just one final thing before I go. If you do find yourself tempted into the supermarket for that Christmas jumper, why don’t you get one of these sheer dresses instead – £30 by George at Asda – I know! Have a great weekend everyone.

Sheer maxi dress £30 by George at Asda

*Shopped by Emily Stott available to buy on Amazon:

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Be Cool in the Cold

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It’s getting colder. You’ve got your jumpers out, your scarves, gloves and hats are by the front door and your boots are in a huge pile in the bottom of your wardrobe. None of them are quite as fabulous or as cosy as you’d remembered are they? There are moth holes and bobbles on the knits aren’t there and – sharp intake of breath – that is mud dried onto those soles isn’t it and not… not dog poo? Initially it’s so exciting at this time of year to get the first whiff of fireworks and mulled wine and to feel that tingle of anticipation that actually, it would be rather nice to have a bit of autumn/winter (not too much obviously, maybe until the end of January when you get paid would be doable) and to snuggle up in cashmere socks while eating biscuits in front of the telly.

Bobble hat with net veil £18 at River Island

Pom pom gloves £17.99 at Zara








But then you glance at your heaps of nibbled knitwear and tired grubby denim and you think, sod that, I haven’t got the time to think about keeping warm, layering and not looking like a bag lady. It’s around about the end of November that I scrape my longest coat off the floor of the Hoover cupboard (where it annoyingly appears to have been since March), because I can’t really be bothered to get dressed for school drop-off and a long coat will hide whatever dreadful outfit I’ve thrown on underneath – or on a particularly bad morning, the pyjamas I haven’t managed to change out of.

Embellished turban hat £15 at Aldo

Faux fur scarf £8 at Primark








So this winter I’m throwing out all the un-amazing stuff; anything with holes, anything that doesn’t really flatter, anything that looks like I felt the day after my sister in law’s 40th birthday party when I consumed a bottle of prosecco on a stomach empty but for a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Then I’m investing in pieces that will give me a boost and make me feel pleased it’s winter – even when it gets to April.

Patterned jumper £28 at Next

Jumper with pearl sleeve detail £45 at River Island









2017  is after all the season of the jumper. Never have jumpers been so bright, big and brilliant. And cleverly, there is a style for everyone even though a huge sloppy knit might seem to be the very worst thing you could put on to look stylish or slinky. Some of this autumn’s turtle necks (see the River Island one above) are beautifully shaped so as not to add bulk and the length is perfect; not too long and not too short. I’m planning to wear big jumpers with absolutely everything. At this point, when it’s still fairly mild (at time of clicking on ‘Publish’ anyway), a thick piece of knitwear and a scarf and you’re good to go, save the coat for when it’s genuinely cold.

Faux fur coat £79.99 at H&M

Quilted velvet coat £95.99 at Zara









I don’t know how many coats is too many but for me it comes down to space. You’re always going to get your money’s worth in terms of cost per wear with a coat in London, but then it should be a thing of beauty shouldn’t it? You won’t ever feel guilty about splurging on a great coat if you love it and everyone asks you where you got it. Didn’t you spend at least twelve years of your life wearing a regulation navy blue overcoat or black blazer? Exactly. You’ve done boring dreary outerwear to death by this stage so live a little. That’s my reasoning for the utterly fantastic pink fur number above and I’m sticking to it.

Sheepskin lined ankle boots £160 at Boden

Fur lined Converse boots £44 at Kurt Geiger








Finally, prompted by my friend Clare who this morning mentioned feeling conflicted after someone referred to her as looking as if she’d ‘stepped out of a Boden catalogue’, I went and had a look at what indeed this might look like. Where Clare feared for the image she was currently projecting to others, I suspected the description suggested she looked healthy (a glow courtesy of moving out of London), wealthy (enough to afford Botox but not actually needing it) and wisely clad from head to toe. A pair of the most impractical lovely shoes caught my eye on the Boden website but alas, they had sold out some time ago. The sheepskin lined fold down boots above though… sensible and yet still kinda sexy – just look at the little yellow tag – those boots will take you from dusk to dawn, in trousers or skirts. They may even go with my pyjamas and long winter coat.

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The Witch in your Wardrobe

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Leather gloves £19.99 at Mango

Like Christmas, Hallowe’en arrives earlier every year. Although the full blown American-style Hallowe’en hysteria has taken a good twenty-five years to get here, now we’ve caught up with our friends across the Atlantic our children are wanting costumes far more grotesque than the ghosts or pumpkins we used to dress up as. When I first had my son I remember thinking mini skeleton babygrows were a bit inappropriate, now I am helping said son cover his clothes in pints of blood and googling ‘walking dead make-up’/’does fake blood ever come out’ just to keep up with the one night of the year when we turn a blind eye to minors taking to the streets to beg for sweets. Luckily, our patch is between two screamingly middle class schools meaning every household situated in the middle has little choice other than to embrace 31st October with the kind of enthusiasm and imagination seen in ET and countless other American films, or (and this would be an option for the very few in our area who are blissfully child-free) you could fake your own death.

Tulle dress £39.99 at

Ankle boots £69.99 at Mango

It’s safe to say you can’t avoid All Hallows Eve these days and the fashion industry has reacted accordingly. This year is the first in a long time that black isn’t taking a back seat. It’s definitely back this season whether in the form of shiny vinyl spray on trousers or lace ruffle Victoriana blouses (ooo those two pieces together though – very Adam Ant circa 1982…), pointy boots or velvet dresses. There is no excuse not to unleash your inner Goth on the world come Hallowe’en, and any day either side for that matter. Although I’ve been championing a more school uniformy navy in recent years (yikes, I sound about 92), I’m sorely tempted by many of the fabulous black pieces on the high street and am thinking of breaking my own rules. All in the name of looking witchy. 

Midi dress £55 at Warehouse

Ankle boots £119 at Massimo Dutti

If you don’t fancy the idea of head to toe black then a slash of red lipstick or flash of sparkle at the neck or ears will break it up a bit and keep the look contemporary – nobody wants to really look Goth in 2017 do they… or do they? I always associate that particular fad with split ends and Marlboro Lights in the late ’80s but then I was always far too cheesecake to carry off anything remotely dark and brooding so what do I know.

Jumpsuit £110 at Phase Eight

Earrings £20 at Phase Eight

On the other hand, if black is your thing then this is your season! The Phase Eight jumpsuit and Warehouse dress are simple and yet stylish options and I would pair with nothing more than a pair of the spikiest, witchiest ankle boots you can find. Sock boots are the latest thing and although they may look a bit flash in the pan, I once had something very similar and wore them to death because they were unbelievably comfortable and went with absolutely everything in my wardrobe. A pair in red or purple would probably be equally as useful. The colour pop is still going strong so you could kick two trends with one boot.

Coated skinny trousers £49 at Warehouse

Star body £38 at Top Shop

Fashion’s love affair with stars (my favourite print) continues well into next year so there’s still time to invest in it. Again, the one shoulder body from Top Shop is a two in one trend so you’re getting your money’s worth there too. Failing all that, do your bit on 31st October by digging out those shoulder grazing earrings and novelty tights, switch all the lights off and scare yourself witless watching Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. And scoff all those mini bags of Haribo yourself. If I wasn’t being dragged around the streets of Battersea by a seven year old zombie high on sugar that’s exactly what I’d be doing. Happy Hallowe’en lovely readers! xx 

Star bag £29.99 at Zara

Star tights £17 at Calzedonia

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Unzipping the Velvet

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This won’t be the most timely blog I’ve posted since one look at the weekend weather suggests we’ll be back outside the pub sipping aperol spritz in our sunnies by Sunday. However, it’s good to be prepared and since you may be clearing through last year’s winter clothes right about now, there is one thing you should be holding onto – and it’ll seem far too heavy in this muggy weather but stay with me – VELVET.

The days of velvet being only for sofas and Christmas day are long gone. By all means sit on a velvet sofa wearing velvet on Christmas day (preferably not in the same colour) but this season you should view velvet as you would cashmere or silk; you can get it for a snip in H&M and M&S and it looks fabulous dressed down with denim on any day of the week therefore it can be taken out of the ‘special occasion only’ drawer. Oh but try not to spill anything down it because like the afore-mentioned cashmere and silk you really don’t want to be washing it too often.

Longline velvet coat with scarf £115 at

Military style velvet jacket £69.99 at Zara









There is a wealth of velvet on offer currently and unlike the old days when your choice was limited to a stuffy blazer or a stiff looking pair of black trousers, now the high street has you covered from head to toe. Don’t fancy your back view encased in stretched velvet (thoughts of that sofa again…)? Opt for a pair of gorgeous boots, almost every brand is doing them and they’re ridiculously priced. If a velvet skirt makes you think of school birthday parties in the early ’80s (I insisted my mum made me one in royal blue) then go for a dress with a more daring neckline for a sexier take on velvet – you don’t have to look like Princess Anne, really you don’t.

Teal velvet midi dress £55 at

Velvet dress £49.99 at Mango









The other thing about this autumn’s version of velvet is the colour. Yes, a bottle green or a midnight blue is lovely for a trouser suit in the evening but consider a mustard velvet (if mustard is a colour that suits you) or a teal because a pair of shoes or a camisole in these shades will be a real scene stealer and will bring a simple suit or dress bang up to date.

Velvet jeans £85 at French Connection

Velvet skinny trousers £39.99 at Zara









There’s no getting away from velvet jackets but if you do invest in one I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth. Wear it like Romee Strijd (above) dressed down with a t-shirt or nip it in at the waist with an obi belt or embellished sash for a more glam night time look. Such is the luxurious texture of velvet that jewels sit beautifully on it, wrap yourself in a jacket a size too big, secure it with a leather belt and just add something sparkling at the neck or on the lapel – no layer underneath even needed.

Flat velvet shoes £90 at Boden

Velvet ankle boots reduced to £19.60 at Dorothy Perkins









Ultimately though, a touch of velvet in your outfit is a great way of looking like you’ve made more effort than you in fact have. I walked past the John Rocha jacket in Debenhams this week and all I could think was how much time it would save me when getting ready to go out in the evening – throw over a floaty dress or a pair of jeans and a white shirt and you’re good to go. Velvet shoes and boots will have the same effect. And is it me, or do even the £19.60 Dorothy Perkins boots looks quite expensive?

Velvet jacket £55 by John Rocha at Debenhams

Velvet bag £35.99 at Mango








So once this mini Indian summer is over, fold your t-shirts and shorts away once and for all and consider velvet. If you’re still not convinced then start with a trainer piece such as a choker or a bag or a pair of flats like the oh so cute Boden flats above. You never know you may love velvet so much that by Christmas you’ll be doing the school run in these over the knee boots…

Velvet over the knee boots £150 at

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All You Need…

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This morning I locked myself out of the house. We were on our way to school on our bikes and the door closed shut behind me with the keys in the lock on the inside. Thankfully I had my mobile phone and purse with me but that was about it. I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet and was dressed for my yoga class so it was a little drafty as I cycled with my son to school. As I awaited the locksmith in my second coffee shop of the day, I realised I had unwittingly become one of those middle class mums who gets dressed in leisure wear as if on their way to or on their way back from some sort of physical activity. I felt self conscious going around like ‘Exercise Barbie’ all day but it did give me the opportunity to try out the must-have autumn trends and work out exactly what will offer the most bang for our buck. And there’s nothing like wasting time in a warm fitting room when you’re feeling a bit chilly around the trainer socked ankles. Actually, it turns out that all you really need is a little help from your friends, your phone and a coffee shop app this autumn but if you’re up for a wardrobe refresher course then here is what you need:

A Checked Coat

Checked coat at Mulberry AW17

Of course you already have a coat, you may even have two or three but this look heralded by Mulberry amongst many others, is very relaxed so you don’t need a big thick expensive style. I’ve got my eye on this neat coat from Debenhams.

Coat £75 at Debenhams

A Pair of White Boots

White boots at Narciso Rodriguez AW17

I bought a pair of off-white boots last winter and although I felt a bit space age in the playground, I can’t stress enough how much wear I got out of them. They go with everything! Hopelessly impractical in the rain but so much more interesting than boring old black. Will you just look at these M&S ones – I’ll race you to them…

Boots £79 at Marks and Spencer

A Long Floral Dress

Floral dress at Roland Mouret AW17

I’m sure I suggested this piece last winter so if you ignored my advice a year ago then more fool you because a long flowery dress will be soo useful. Dress down with a big knit (see below) and lace-up boots or dress up with white boots (see above). And if you’re not convinced  by the length, you can always shorten it at some point. You have nothing to lose. If only you’d listened to me the first time.

Dress £59 at Warehouse

A Big Knit

Big knit at TopShop Unique AW17

Yes, yes, I know this was around last year too but these knits are even bigger this season. Go for brights, go for big sleeves and something clashing in colour or style underneath. The look you want is louche rather than student.

Turtle neck jumper £49.99 Mango

A Trouser Suit

Trouser suit at Daks AW17

Again, this is a slouchy laid back kind of vibe, you don’t need to be Madonna in the Express Yourself video (been there, done that – I’m not joking) although with what’s out on the high street, you can if you want. In the office wear with a Victoriana blouse, out of the office wear with Adidas trainers and a t-shirt.

Suit £123.95 at Massimo Dutti


A Pair of Statement Earrings

Statement earrings at Balenciaga AW17

No-one’s saying wear odd earrings as shown here but this is your chance to adorn your head with the chandelier replicas previously only associated with Bet Lynch or Pat Butcher. Now’s the time to do it and be classy. This opportunity might not come around again until your ear lobes have drooped down to your shoulders, so seize the day.

Earrings £19 at Coast

Something, Anything Red

All red at Fendi AW17

It started last winter with the red boots and now it’s worked its way up, via the show stopping red dress in late summer, (see my post: ) to pretty much head to toe red this season. Don’t let that put you off (although I think this Zara look is fab I have to say) just pick one eye catching piece and wear it with denim for a look that’s totally now.

Blouse £69.99 at Zara

So there you have it. You may be interested to know that I have finally gained (£100 later) entry back into my home while my son has cycled his bike through dog poo which I am endeavouring to get rid of with boiling water and an old toothbrush. In the nine hours I have been locked out I have consumed more cafe chain food and drink than I dare think about. Have a great weekend and enjoy the new collections!

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The September Edition

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There is something about the return from a lovely summer holiday and the healthy glow you bring back which kick starts a longing for change. Perhaps it is the inevitable blues which you unpack along with all the sandy swimwear, or maybe it is simply the change of season and the one thing which makes the end of summer seem bearable: new autumn clothes.

Wrap Blazer Dress £69 at Top Shop

Check trouser suit at Zara
Trousers £69.99










September is clearly a better time for resolutions than the start of the new year so officially labelling  it ‘the new January’ is long overdue. In January we begrudgingly swear off alcohol and try to eat more fruit and take more exercise when in fact what we really crave are calories and sleep (in that order). There is no spare cash for new season clothes and besides who in their right mind is thinking about dressing for spring in January? I’d be in my pyjamas until March if I could. In fact ever since my son informed those gathered in the school playground that “Mummy is dropping me off in her dressing gown” (fyi, a fabulous long knit cardigan by Ralph Lauren but whatevs) I feel I might as well be.

High neck blouse £34 at Top Shop

Star blouse £25 at Debenhams









New fitness regimes, new eating habits, new jobs, new outfits – they all feel right at this time of year so blend yourself a smoothie (and a face masque while you’re at it) fling open your wardrobe doors and let me help you decide what to keep and what to invest in for your winter workwear. Whenever I returned to school after the summer holidays, I wanted to appear somehow changed – either tanned, newly bobbed or shod or well, somehow wiser. I rarely achieved any of this. One year it chucked it down with rain for our entire fortnight in Devon so I had sunbeds (yikes, I know, it was the ’80s) and then applied my mum’s very basic wash-off fake tan to my face on the first day back – I was orange from the jawline up so that was indeed something new.

Checked dress £45 at M&S

Shift dress £149 at Hobbs








Weather-wise, the start of the autumn term was an extension of the summer so we often went back in summer gear anyway. It’s not so different now – you’ve heard my rant about not even looking at my boots or coats until October. Seriously though, in London you won’t need a full on overcoat for another couple of months and even then the chances are you’ll spend at least 80% of your working day inside or on public transport so a lightweight trench or jacket is adequate. This is brilliantly timely as the blazer is the must-have item for autumn, get one in a Prince of Wales check and you’ll be soo London Fashion Week. Buy the matching trousers too and people may actually faint with the OTM-ness of the new you. With the versatile Top Shop wrap blazer dress above you may not even need an outer layer at all – if you’re worried about being cold on the way to the tube then wear a layer underneath it instead. If you’re off out for drinks after work, add a statement necklace or brightly coloured scarf in the neck. Personally, I love a shirt under a dress or jumpsuit for daytime and it’s the ideal solution to a lack of sleeves on an otherwise perfect piece like the Hobbs one above. As the temperature drops, swap the shirt for a skinny polo neck for a smart yet edgy silhouette. You’ll notice I’m not trying to talk you into buying into jumpsuits anymore – by now, you should all have a jumpsuit in your arsenal, and if you don’t, WHY ON EARTH NOT?

Sleeveless jumpsuit £39.99 at H&M

Trousers £70 at Cos









I put my work clothes out the night before as I would rather spend those precious five minutes doing something other than panicking first thing in the morning – for example, applying more make-up to the shadows under my eyes or repeatedly saying to my son “have you brushed your teeth?”. I also have to allow five minutes each day, usually on the way out the door, to listen to one or more whinges along the lines of “these shoes are too tight/my jeans feel scratchy/can I go as Andy Murray today?”

Tank top £45 by Cos

Shirt £65 by Kitri








The shirts on the high street currently are nothing short of fabulous so if you won’t or can’t do a ruffle (which by the way tarts up a trouser suit no end) then do a sleeve. This one by Kitri has an understated cuff detail but still has a classic fit. You can wear it with anything and when it gets colder bung a sleeveless jumper on top; I swore by these during pregnancy when my burgeoning boobs were threatening to pop my shirt buttons across the office. My tank tops stretched with my three bumps right up to six months when it was May and too warm for knitwear.

Jacket £215 by L’oeil

Skirt £59 at Other Stories










Whether your job requires sombre attire or you can get away with pretty much anything (I’ve seen boob tubes, slippers, even a competitor’s brazenly branded t-shirt at Thomas Pink HQ), this season’s edit lends itself nicely to a comfortable yet stylish 9-5. Shoes and boots are clumpier and therefore can be endured for far longer than the pointy spindly variety. Fifties in style and readily available in the bright red shade, they will add a feminine pop to a mannish suit or a modern twist to a ladylike skirt. Your post beach pom-pom sandal acclimatised feet will thank you.

Shoes £125 at Cos


Shoes £69 at Other Stories








Lastly but most importantly, the work bag. I’m not as obsessed with bags as some but I do like a bag to be practical as well as attractive because until that day I finally remember to take a spare bag for impromptu purchases, it needs to be roomy. Yes, I’m the person who would rather have a bottle of orange juice wedged in my waist band and a pizza balanced on my head than pay 5p for a plastic bag. As soon as I get close to a Zara I am having this Prince of Wales check shopper, I absolutely love it! Meanwhile Reiss’s smart leather bag has the zip from top to bottom rather than left to right so you can easily find the tampons, lipsticks and chewing gum you always knew were in there but couldn’t ever find before because they gathered in the bottom corner and everything else sat on top of them. I love this one too. Blimey, perhaps I’m becoming a bag person…

Check bag £19.99 at Zara

Zip up bag £275 at Reiss








I hope you’re now excited about the onset of autumn, I’ve even convinced myself I think. Out with the old and in with the new, it’s a great time for a change – just make sure you have the perfect outfit to do it in.

Don’t forget you can now shop these pieces directly by clicking on them! ♥



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How To Be Well Red

→ You can now click on the images to buy! ←

Whether you’ve already been away for your holiday or like me you have yet to go, there is still at least a month, probably longer, of summer left. It may not currently feel like it but we are a long way off the nights drawing in and scraping ice off the car, even if Grazia has this week urged us to invest in a winter coat.

As I piled up dresses to take away with me, an eclectic mix of maxis, midis and minis, those with patterns and those without, new styles with ruffles and layers, old styles which I don’t part with because year after year they prove so darned useful,  I couldn’t help but notice how many of them are similar to those pictured on the autumn winter 2017 catwalk. Sure on the catwalks, there was an oversized mannish coat here and a long cosy cardigan there; wonderful woollies thrown casually over the top and bits of gossamer and cashmere delicately layered underneath punctuated with witchy boots and runkled socks, but the mainstay… well the mainstay seems to be the lovely ladylike dress, the likes of which I’ve become rather attached to.

So since it’s still summer (say it enough and you’ll start believing it) and the sales are making way for the new collections, be on the look out for a statement dress, one that you can wear now with a tan and a glass of rose and then later with a few more layers and probably a cold or cough. There’s just one stipulation – it should be red.

The red dress has sneaked up on us through all the floral and tropical prints and I wouldn’t have realised it was a thing had I not last week been approached to source a red dress for an evening do. It didn’t take me long. In fact I found so many in the space of just one episode of Horrible Histories (it’s OK, I’d seen it before) that I’d stockpiled at least ten within hours of the request being made – and that was just the good ones. So here, lovely readers, for your delectation are the best of the red dresses.

The red dress for the ‘rectangle’ shape…

Lucky you, you can fully embrace the ruffle trend which just won’t go away. A bit of frill or ruching on the bust is flattering for you so go for it. Embrace skirts with a bit of flounce or pleat.

Whistles £179

Uterque £115

Other Stories £49












The red dress for the ‘hourglass’ shape…

You’ve got the curves so make sure your dress hugs them. An open neckline is most flattering and make sure your waist (you have a waist!) is defined. Ruffles only in small doses. £58

Other Stories £89


Other Stories £69












The red dress for the ‘triangle’ shape…

Pick a dress with a feature on the top half to show off your slender shoulders or decolletage, you can go for any neckline. Skirts that gently skim the hips are most flattering for you.

French Connection £95


Zara £59.99

Zara £29.99

The red dress for the ‘circle’ shape…

This is a great season if you’re a circle body type because there’s plenty of loose fitting gorgeous red dresses on the high street currently. Go for something floaty and light and avoid ruffles. You’ve got fab legs so show them off in something a bit shorter.

Mango £69.99


H&M £39.99


Zara £29.99

You could do a lot worse than use the dancing lady emoji as your inspiration – she always looks good – and failing that, if you are over the age of 40, then think Kelly Le Brock. Have a magnificent August everyone, I’m off on my holidays so see you in a couple of weeks and don’t forget if you didn’t take my book on holiday last summer, you can buy it here:



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Top Twelve Picks for a Tropical Trip

*** ⇒ You can now shop from this page – Click on the image to go straight through to the brand’s website! I know, I can’t quite believe I’ve made this happen either… ⇐ ***

It’s usually at about this time of year that I post a bossy boots blog pretending I know all the answers to the perfectly packed holiday suitcase. Well, if you would like to read one of those then you should look back over the previous ones because this summer I’m so over excited by the abundance of glorious accessories, I’m sharing those pieces which will instantly update your holiday wardrobe instead – in other words giving you more things to put in your suitcase, rather than fewer.

Shoes reduced to £65 at Whistles

Surprisingly, given the fairly mean spirited mood of just about everything in the world at the moment (even Andy Murray’s hip gave up the ghost last week), the fashion world has gone all out for joyous, primary coloured graphics, and there’s nothing but positive connotations here.

Pineapples, watermelons, flamingos – what’s not to like? They all make you think of sunny climes and they all make you smile. Perhaps it’s because they all tend to hang out on the rim of beach bar cocktails.

Sandals £22 at Top Shop

Meanwhile, if bits of fruit aren’t your thing then you can’t have failed to notice the wealth of pom poms and tassels attached to anything and everything this year. At the start of it all I couldn’t get my head around those trainers which looked as if someone had butchered a rabbit and stuck half its bum on the front. My friend Cesca and I texted each other ever more ridiculous pom pom pics back and forth until suddenly it wasn’t funny anymore and I realised I had to have something with pom poms. That’s how trends work though isn’t it; they creep into your subconscious, you try to ignore them because you think them absurd and not for you and then you realise they just won’t go away. Next thing you know, you simply can’t help yourself. I have to say, it was exactly like that for me with the whole Justin Bieber thing too.


Cover-up £50 at Next

Bag £9.99 at H&M

You’ll find this pineapple bag in the kids’ department at H&M but so what? It’s neat and consequently even cheaper. I deliberately didn’t buy it for my two year old friend Viola’s birthday because I wanted it for myself. Don’t worry, I bought her a strawberry one instead.


T-shirt reduced to £20 at Oasis

Mini basket bag £12 at

My mum had a fabulous watermelon bikini in the eighties and she wore it to death. And it’s never not funny when you can say “Do you like my mum’s melons?” at every available opportunity. I discovered the gorgeous website on Instagram recently. It’s full of lovely Moroccan pieces so you’ll find plenty of pom poms there too – make sure you check it out.


Beach bag reduced to £20 at Oasis

Swimsuit £45 at Next

There are some very dubiously placed flamingos out there so be wary. That said, embrace this trend wholeheartedly because these lovely bubble gum pink feathery creatures won’t transition into your autumn wardrobe. It’ll be slugs by November. Or something.


Pack of Bracelets £9.50 at M&S

Necklace £17.50 at M&S

Tassels were the thing I was least sure about because I’m really not a happy clappy floaty type. However it then occurred to me that you can wrap a tassel scarf or long tassel necklace around your big straw hat and it doesn’t look hippyish at all. I know it’s usually only Victoria Beckham who keeps still enough to wear excessive jewellery on the beach, but this year I am sorely tempted.

Pom Poms

Straw hat £8 at Asda


Pack of hair bands £2.99 at H&M

When I said I stopped finding pom poms funny, that’s not strictly true. Pom poms on top of pom poms and pom poms stuck on top of boobs are still utterly bizarre for a grown-up in my opinion but add them to accessories and they’re quintessentially summer 2017.

It’s been an amazing summer in London so far so the plethora of citrus fruits and fluffy appendages are appropriate somehow therefore I won’t be waiting until I hit Spain to put on my pom pom sandals. Besides, if you can’t pluck up the courage to go around looking like a pina colada when you’re in your forties, when can you? Last day of term finally, have a lovely juicy weekend everyone!


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