Friday, October 30, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Blog

A friend of mine very nearly lost her business this afternoon due to a catastrophic failure at the company that hosts her websites. You can read all about it here. Fortunately she has her own back ups and the situation turned out not to be as dire as first thought, partially thanks to her army of Twitter supporters that retweeted everything she said about the web hosting company until they did something to sort their mess out.

Even if your blog isn’t your livelihood, think how gutted you would be if you lost it all and had to start over. Especially if you’ve been blogging for several years and have a lot to lose. You may only spend a few minutes a day posting, but over time those minutes add up and it would take a long time to build your blog back up again if you wanted to restore your archives. Fortunately I read this post the other week and made a back up of my HTML last weekend. Struggling To Be Stylish explains clearly how to make a back up – and don’t just save it to your hard drive: what will you do the day you laptop or PC bluescreens? Take the time to save it to a CD ROM. After today I will be doing it far more regularly (having gone over 3 years without backing up at all).

Outfit: Casual Friday

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Matalan Snakeskin

Last night I was home alone so I made some flapjack (the young man’s mother is coming over today to be in when the loft insulation people come so I thought I would try to prove that I am not totally inept in the kitchen), made a cake (and forgot to put in the sugar, thus proving that I am totally inept in the kitchen), cleaned the bathroom and chilled out watching the start of season 4 of Flying Doctors. Tonight we have the fun task of putting everything back in the loft, but at least it means that the spare room will be tidy again.

So, on to the clothes. There are five simple steps to creating a classic & chic outfit for casual Friday. Start with your favourite jeans. Add a sweater. Add some funky heels. Add a brightly coloured scarf. Finish with a pair of hoop earrings and voila! You’re good to go.

Grey sweater – Long Tall Sally
Jeans – River Island
Pink scarf – eBay
Snakeskin shoes – Matalan

Total Est. Cost £79

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Outfit: Blue Boots

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October29

blueboot

I have to say, I am disappointed with the tights I have on today. They are a new pair from Accessorize that I bought last winter but then never wore. I have a purple pair from Accessorize that are super thick and great quality. These, as you can see, are not. They looked the same thickness in the packet and there was nothing printed on the label to indicate that they were a lower denier than the purple ones. For £8 I would have expected better, frankly.

It was a toss up this morning between the blue boots and my grey over the knee pair. I went for the blue pair because of the colour and the comfort factor, but in hindsight, I think the grey would have looked better as the tights are not as thick as I’d hoped and there would then be less leg on show. Ah well, next time.

Grey knit dress – New Look Tall
Blue belt – charity shop
Blue boots – Priceless Shoes
Grey tights – Accessorize
Blue bangle – Diamonds & Pearls
Scarf – charity shop

Total Est. Cost: £46

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way by Winona Diemo-Ediger


It is not everyday that a blogger gets a book deal. (Anyone want to give me a book deal? No? Oh, nevermind then.) But that is exactly what happened to the blogosphere’s very own Winona of the popular and funny Daddy Likey blog. And she has written a Style Guide in her own, inimitable style.

The book is written in much the same way as Daddy Likey and is very funny – I found myself laughing out loud in places. Winona dishes out the great style advice she is known for and includes 50 style lessons which are practical & not patronising.

I found myself agreeing with many of the things said in the book. For example, Winona advises trying everything on – something I am always telling my sister when we’re shopping: you don’t know how something will look until you try it on. Winona also includes personal experience in style and shopping, some of which long time blog readers will remember happening, so it’s like this book was written by your friend. I have never met Winona but I like to think of her as an online friend – we follow each other on Twitter, are FB friends and read each other’s blogs.

Closet Confidential made Amazon’s bestseller list in a week and although I keep seeing 9th November as the publishing date in the UK, you can buy the book now at Amazon.

Basically, this book rocks: go buy it immediately!

Outfit: Skirt Remix

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October28

Next Leopard Print

Yes I am wearing the same skirt as yesterday. A pencil skirt just feels so right at the moment. So I picked out the skirt and the shoes, and then got totally stuck. I am really struggling to put outfits together this week for some reason. Perhaps I will take to dressing in a single colour and adding a scarf or something as my signature look.

So last night we cleared out the loft and now my shoe room is full of suitcases, Christmas decorations, and all the other bits and pieces we usually store in the loft. I finished my book and watched an episode of The Inbetweeners on 4OD with the young man. Tonight is drama group singing practice. I am looking forward to a night in on my own tomorrow – I can bake, watch what I like on TV and generally chill out. It is a real effort to get up this week – just as well it’s half term and the traffic is not too bad.

Black cardi – New Look Tall
Purple top – Dorothy Perkins Tall
Black pencil skirt – Long Tall Sally
Black rib tights – Tesco
Leopard print shoes - Next
Purple belt – Ethel Austin
Purple glitter bangles – Diamonds & Pearls
Whitby Jet cross – gifted

Total Est. Cost £85

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Outfit: All Change!

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redshoes

This is totally not what I had planned to wear today. I put out my purple dress which I was going to wear over this sweater, but when I put it on I just wasn’t feeling it. I thought my pencil skirt would look awesome with such a fitted sweater and so I snuck back into the main bedroom to retrieve it from the wardrobe. Following my ‘if in doubt, wear red shoes’ motto I picked out these shoes and added the Chris Randall scarf to go with them. I am totally loving this scarf at the moment and am glad I changed my mind about what to wear today.

Tonight we are clearing out the loft ready for the insulation we are having put in on Friday. We are very lucky – the local council is providing everyone in the area with free loft and cavity wall insulation if you have the right kind of house for it. So it will be my oldest jeans and high school sweatshirt this evening.

Black sweater – New Look Tall
Black pencil skirt – Long Tall Sally
Black tights – Silkies
Red shoes – Next
Scarf – charity shop
Red & cream bangles – gifted

Total Est. Cost £57

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week I Will Be Mostly…

…wearing something cosy – it’s officially winter now the clocks have changed
…reading ‘The Stepmother’s Diary’ by Fay Weldon
…watching season 3 of The Flying Doctors – I’m hoping to finish this with a marathon session on Thursday when the young man is out
…listening to my MP3 downloads
…eating apple cake
…shopping for my mum’s birthday

Outfit: Blue Monday

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October26

Mustard flats Cherokee

No pictures from the weekend (again, sorry). We had friends to stay and I didn’t get chance to snap any shots. Friday evening I baked a cake, sorted out the spare room, cleaned the bathroom and generally cleaned round ready for our guests. I was then able to catch up with Ross Noble’s Australian Adventure (seriously, if you’re not already watching that, start. It’s so funny.) before my friends arrived.

Saturday we headed into York for the day. It was raining so we looked round the National Railway Museum (my friend’s fiancĂ© is a railway engineer and had always wanted to visit) then headed into the city centre for some dinner and a wander round the shops. As it was so wet we gave it up as a bad job mid-afternoon and returned home for tea & cake. In the evening we ate out at a Mongolian restaurant which was delicious.

Sunday dawned slightly brighter, but still showery. After cooking a full breakfast we headed into the city for a walk round and had afternoon tea in the Victoria Quarter. It was a fab weekend, despite the weather, and lovely to catch up with our friends.

As the clocks went back Saturday night/Sunday morning, it was almost light again when I set off for work this morning. I think that will last about a week and a half, but it’s something. I have to fit in the weekly shopping this afternoon as we have no food in the house, along with my usual Monday night gym & choir activities.

As I was cropping my pictures I noticed that the yellow roses in the background (a gift from my friend on Friday night) match my shoes perfectly!

Blue sweater – Florence + Fred at Tesco
Blue cami – Topshop
Grey wool trousers – Dorothy Perkins Tall
Yellow shoes – Cherokee at Tesco
Blue necklace & ring – Dorothy Perkins
Turquoise scarf – eBay

Total Est. Cost £54

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: Nailene Acrylic Strong Topcoat

A while back Nailene sent me a box of nail goodies and in it was a bottle of Acrylic Strong Topcoat. I used it the last time I painted my toenails and the polish did not chip. At all. I am very lazy when it comes to my toenails – I tend to paint them and then leave them until the polish is chipped beyond repair, then take it off and start again. But the Nailene topcoat made the polish last so long it was starting to grown out rather than chipping. I painted my toes and finger nails on Saturday evening and applied Acrylic Strong Topcoat to both. I am usually fairly rubbish at preserving nail polish and chip it within a day or two. It is now Wednesday and my fingers have not chipped at all (though of course now I’ve said that, I am bound to chip one today). I did apply a second layer of topcoat yesterday dinnertime, just in case, but so far so good. The polish is only a cheap Collection 2000 one and I would usually use Sally Hansen’s Diamond Shine topcoat so it is definitely the Nailene product that is making the difference. I am definitely a convert to this topcoat and will be buying another bottle once my current one runs out.

(NB. This post was written & scheduled ahead of time. I am quite aware that it is not Wednesday today. I am pleased to report that it was Wednesday evening before the polish chipped at all, and Thursday evening before it chipped beyond repair.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Review: Pantene Brunette Expressions Shampoo & Conditioner


Last time I got my hair cut, I was chatting to my hairdresser about colouring hair. I said that I had never had my hair coloured professionally and didn’t intend to start until I needed to cover grey. She said how sensible – she started colouring hers in her teens and wished she hadn’t as now she has grey and has to do it. She said my hair was a great colour but it might benefit from using a brunette shampoo, just to enhance the colour further. I have used the Boots own brand one before, but it has changed in recent years and is now for brunettes & redheads and is not as good as it used to be. On a whim I went to Asda to see what they had in stock and spotted that Pantene do a colour enhancing shampoo and conditioner for brunettes. It was cheaper than the John Freida once I was initially looking for so I thought I’d try it. After 2 or 3 weeks use, I can’t say that I have noticed a particular difference in the colour of my hair. Any apparent highlights that show up on my pictures have more to do with the light than anything else I think. But I like the smell of it – it smells very professional hairdresser-y, and I like that the conditioner leaves my hair very soft and I will probably continue to use it.
Pantene Brunette Expressions Shampoo & Conditioner are £2.99 each and there is currently a 2 for £5 offer on Pantene products at Boots.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Outfit: Friday!

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Matalan Snakeskin

Last night was church choir practice so I spent an hour and a half singing Christmas carols. I had intended wearing what I wore to work, but by the time I came to go out to choir it was bucketing down with rain and white jeans would have been a really bad idea. So I switched them for my dark blue pair in the exact same style and it looked fine.

I am excited today because my friend S and her fiancĂ© are coming up for the weekend. S & I were housemates at university and we don’t see each other as often as we should now as she still lives in the south west.

This is my third and final Chris Randall scarf and as I set out this morning I thought I should have put on a pashmina instead as this top is not very thick and it is cold outside. But I am happy in the one I’m wearing. I always seem to pair these jeans with these shoes – it’s my favourite combination at the moment. I love the buckle on this belt but I am allergic to it (probably my nickel allergy) so can only wear it when I tuck a top or undershirt in so the buckle is not in contact with my skin.

Grey cardi – New Look Tall
Grey t – Topshop Tall (eBay)
Jeans – River Island
Yellow belt – charity shop
Snakeskin shoes – Matalan
Scarf – charity shop
Silver thumb ring – Claire’s

Total Est. Cost: £82.50

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Outfit: Stolen From Allie

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Priceless black suede

I have no shame when it comes to pinching outfit ideas from other bloggers, and I love it when they take inspiration from mine in return. This is pretty much a direct copy of what Allie was wearing last week, and when I saw it I made a mental note to try it out myself. I like the reverse pairing of white bottoms and a black top as it is so often worn the other way around.

These jeans are what fashion magazines and catalogues would call Winter White. They are not a true, crisp white, but they are not cream either. When I bought them (for £12 in the River Island sale) I knew they would be seasonless and as they are the same style as a dark blue pair I already had, I knew they would be fab to wear.

I added another Chris Randall scarf (that’s what I’m going to call this style from now on) and debated whether to wear my red shoes, but as I’d already put on long black socks for warmth they didn’t look right, so I stuck with the black boots I’d planned. I have a love/hate relationship with these boots. I love them because they look great under trousers and the heel is fairly low and they are really comfortable. And they were only £8. But I hate them because the leg part is just flimsy fabric and does not stay up at all, meaning they can only ever be worn under trousers.

Black polo neck sweater – Long Tall Sally
White jeans – River Island
Black boots – Priceless Shoes
Scarf – charity shop
Red belt (on jeans) – Next
Cream & silver earrings – gifted
Red & cream bangles – gifted

Total Est. Cost: £58

Review: Love Label Twist Front Jersey Dress

Littlewoods Dress

Littlewoods Dress2

Last week I was sent a dress from Love Label as I am part of the Littlewoods Fashion Blog Partner programme. As you can see, the dress is more of a tunic on me, but paired with leggings (or jeans) it is fine for taller girls. I love that the sleeves are a fab length due to my favourite sleeve feaure: thumbholes!

The solar system/planets pattern is very unusual and incorporates many colours, making this a very versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. It is also available in black if you want a plainer version. The twist front detail will still add interest whether you choose the print or the black.

The fabric feels good quality and is quite stretchy, ensuring a good fit. All in all this would be a great addition to any wardrobe this winter. You can buy it here for £36.

Outfit: Drama Rehearsal & Coat Love

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Priceless over knee

The drama group headed out to eat at the local Wetherspoons before rehearsal last night, in celebration of one of our member’s 70th birthday. Then it was on to rehearsal in the church hall.

I decided it was time to pull out another of my winter coats. This one is a bit more casual and goes great with jeans. I love the enormous lapels and pinched an idea from Jessica of What I Wore to pin a big flower brooch on it. I bought the coat in the sale for £35 with my Christmas money last year and I am looking forward to wearing it plenty more this winter.

Black coat – Dorothy Perkins Tall
Black polo neck sweater – Long Tall Sally
Jeans – Next (charity shop)
Black boots – Priceless Shoes
Cream pashmina – gifted
Grey flower brooch – Primark
Black & silver earrings – Claire’s

Total Est. Cost (exluding coat): £57