Internet fashion

October 30, 2014

Forget ASOS, Topshop, Reiss and Zara. I see that my job as a fashion blogger is to enlighten you and challenge your everyday get-up, with useful and beautiful suggestions that will get you reaching for your credit card quicker than your husband can shout STOOOOOOP (Sorry about the rather sexist generalisation).
Well here it is – 3 internet stores you probably haven’t heard of that you will hopefully see you turning away from those big brand powerhouses forever more.
n-duo-concept

If you’re looking for original designs that won’t make you look like another high street clone, you need to head to N-DUO-CONCEPT now. They have carefully selected clothes by fab designer brands and their more reasonably priced and perfectly individual own label beauties. You will pay roughly £40 shipping for the luxury but it’ll be well worth the cost to stand out from the crowd in the amazing threads they have to offer.

Plumo

 

Plumo has more of a laid back, country-living vibe. It feels grown up and sophisticated in it’s wares on offer. Prices are mid to high range. Definitely one to seek out for all those long brisk walks you’ll be taking this Winter. Ahem.
Atterley Road
This is probably the e-store you’re most likely to have heard of,  Atterley Road is an every day kind of store with it’s prices ranging from low to mid range. It has some really cracking items, beautifully displayed and easily wearable.
And if this post goes down well I have a loads of other e-stores I NEED to acquaint you with, so let me know if you appreciate the effort and I’ll get working on the next post asap.
Nat x

Christmas time at Bicester Village

October 29, 2014

Last week we were invited to Bicester Village for their ‘Step into the Story’ Christmas launch. I never need to be asked twice if I want to go shopping and this was the opportunity I’d been waiting for as I’d been meaning to go to Bicester Village for a long time now. We weren’t disappointed in the slightest, we were greeted by drummers, stilt walkers, dancers and all manner of performers. The lights were turned on, the ribbon was cut, and we were surrounded by many high-profile fashion bloggers and bemused shoppers. We were given lots of gifts by various designer shops and we were treated like royalty by the press team. There was activities for wee ones including crafting and sing-alongs. Of course I couldn’t resist a cheeky bit of shopping. Stella McCartney and Lulu Guinness were too hard to resist (more of that to come in another post soon). Luckily I didn’t have enough time to peruse every shop otherwise my credit card would have been weeping from overuse and lack of funds.

Bicester Christmas By Alistair Guy 033

Bicester Christmas By Alistair Guy 007

Just some of the fabulous bloggers.

Bicester Christmas By Alistair Guy 107

Loved catching up with youbabymemummy blogger and her gorgeous baby.

Bicester Christmas By Alistair Guy 111

Got snapped sampling the mulled wine. Ha.

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Crafting fun for the kids.

Bicester Christmas By Alistair Guy 065 Bicester Christmas By Alistair Guy 086

Photos by Alistair Guy.

You MUST go to Bicester Village soon it’s bloody amazing, but make sure you plan to spend a good amount of time there as you won’t want to leave. There are a huge amount of things going on for the whole family to do too!

Here’s what going on for the family:

-          Thursday 6 November: Bicester Village guests are invited to experience the magic for themselves. With a host of entertainment, festive food offerings and opening until 9:00pm, the day heralds the start of Christmas at Bicester Village. There will be stilt walkers, drummers, mime and a magician to keep guests young and old entertained. They will pose in front of the Step into the story book and interact with customers from 2:00 – 6:00pm.

-          Friday 28 November: Bicester Village will be throwing open its doors until midnight for Black Friday, where guests can enjoy mulled wine and other treats, discover exclusive offers, and browse the Village’s extensive collection of brands for longer to find those perfect gifts. There will be the stilt walkers, drummers, mime and magician will return for the hours of 6:00 – 10:00pm.
-             Storytelling happens every Sunday from 16th November until they 14th December.
 
Throughout the Christmas period, Bicester Village will present entertainment on Monday and Thursday afternoons. The performances will create a magical photo opportunity where guests will have the chance to interact with the performers and Step into the Story.
 
The Story Museum will be coming to Bicester Village to hold magical storytelling sessions for little ones. 100 golden tickets will be handed out, entitling the lucky recipients to free entry to The Story Museum in Oxford.
See you there.
Nat x
 

 

Someday soon

October 28, 2014

 

 

There’s a cool boys-only brand launching it’s Spring 2015 collection in January, and I’m definitely feeling this laid back, street style look. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a decent boys wear label that will go down well with parents and testosterone-fuelled kids alike. There’s a huge gap in the market that Someday Soon will fill nicely. Keep your eyes peeled in the new year you may just spot them in some of the big, well known retailers.

6 221 239 394 400

 

You can check out their whole range here. Or you can keep up with all the latest info on their fb page. What do you think of this boys brand?

 

Nat x

Nip Tuck by Elaine

October 28, 2014

 

That was my favourite tv show when it was on. All those seemingly ugly people turning into models in just one day, after just one procedure that apparently took no down time. Hollywood at its finest.

I’m vain. Not so much when I was younger, more elastic and naturally collagen-filled. Now, though, I’m VAIN. Not in a high maintenance, skincare routine kind of way. I’m actually despicably lazy. I want something yesterday. I cannot bear waiting for something to start working. I hate looking saggy and worn.

I blame it on my age…and moving to live in the US. Americans do vanity and grooming on a level that may seem ridiculous to some, like me when I first got here…but I’ve been bitten by the bug. Well and truly stung on my wrinkled and droopy parts.

So, this post is about cosmetic enhancements.

People are still talking about Renee Zellwegger’s ‘work’. She appeared in public last week looking like a different person. Not the usual ‘filler and Botox’ clone though. She looked like the antithesis of Hollywood Beauty. Like a NORMAL person. Oh My Gaaaaaahd (Hollywood voice). Who knows what she did or didn’t have done; she says she’s happy in her skin and frankly, it’s none of Joe Public’s business. Unfortunately, when one is in public – be that through showbiz or more commonly through Instagram or Facebook, one is open, it seems, to the judgement of strangers. Oh, joy.

We colour our hair, put on primer and foundation, contour our cheekbones with rouge — all to improve ourselves. There’s bugger all ‘au naturel’ about that. So what is so different when one chooses to have their forehead wrinkles botoxed or the deep lines around the mouth filled? Nada.

Nobody screams at a woman or man with dyed hair. “CHEMICALS ON THEIR HEAD THAT CAN SEEP INTO THEIR BRAIN?? WHAT A VAIN IDIOT!”  Yet, admit to Botox or the like, and WHAM. Judgemental snarks rain in like fire-laden arrows from every direction.

Haven’t we all looked at our face moisturizer or cup of coffee and silently wished “If only you could rid me of the grey hairs, wrinkles, under eye circles and extra fat pockets..”

Talking of social media, who DOESN’T gently filter their face?! I certainly do. Good god, I say make the most of technology. Crop out the spare tyre or chicken thighs = acceptable. Fade out the red eye = expected. Soften the wrinkles with a filter = put the judgy pants on.

I say we should all stop the cosmetic enhancement shaming. It’s so hypocritical. Sadly it seems to be mostly women shaming other women. Go, Sisterhood. Yeah, right.

 

I’ve had Botox twice. The first time, I told myself a) it’s preventative b) it’s on special offer c) I hate my forehead to the point of distraction.

I had TWELVE injections and was told to keep my head upright for the next four hours. If not, there was a risk of looking like a Sharpei dog. There followed the most stressful four hours of my life. Try living a regular life without any bending down. I sneezed and panicked that the Botox had shot downwards into the wrong places. I went down the stairs on my bum. No lying down in case the Botox goes backwards into my ears. Ridiculousness. There was no Sharpei dog face (thank god) but my eyebrows arched up and gave me a Malificent look. Without the cheekbones. Not cool. The Husband was a bit freaked out “You don’t look like you, eeeewwwww.”  I couldn’t move a muscle above my eyebrows. I know that’s the point but it was bloody awful.

The second time (yes, I went to a different dermo after a lot of research and speaking to women with good Botox), I had FOUR injections. Slight difference from twelve… I told myself a) I hate my forehead, stop whingeing and fix it or b) never again use my face to emote expression, ie be Chinese c) wear a fringe til the day you die. I did try options b) and c) but finally, option a) won. Maintaining a fringe is a whole new job in and of itself.

I could move my forehead 50% – enough to look natural. That’s key. However, the deep wrinkles were gone. The job was so fab that The Husband didn’t notice I’d had it done.

I also had filler. Just the once. A different dermo again. It didn’t make any difference. The swelling on days 1 and 2 was hellish but the final effect was unnoticeable. Pfffft. Oh well, now I know, and the urge to give it a try has been sated.

I’ve recently started having my hair coloured professionally. The nights of L’Oreal and the bathroom sink are officially over. I’m a grown-up now. The “I’m going to go gray naturally” lasted a good few years, until my mother suggested I colour my hair this past summer. When a woman who’s spent years telling me not to dye my hair suddenly harps on endlessly about doing it…it was time.

Despite the rumours, I’ve never wanted to be a blonde. I’d look like a freak. Only runway models in a Margiela show can pull off the Blonde Oriental look. I just want ‘healthy’ looking hair. Some women are lucky enough to escape the grays, but not me. If they’d grown in one swathe, making a Cruella de Vil statement, that would have been rather wonderful. Instead, my grays like to flounder all over my head, lending me a Miss Haversham barnet. I now pray to the goddess Michelle and the god Oribe.

The other thing about American Grooming is the way they suck you in… The dermatologist offices are all ‘designed’ and spa-like. Walk in and immediately feel like you’re born to be beautiful. Or at least in the right place to be made so. I went in for laser tattoo removal and came out wanting a full body transformation. Shallow and perfect target audience? Me? Apparently so.

One tiny burst vein on the tip of my nose – a red blob that no makeup could cover. A 2-second zap of the laser and it was gone. Forever.

Fraxel treatments to even out post-pregnancy melasma and lessen acne scarring. Yes, please. Some pain is worth it.

A massive, painful spot on chin, the day before an event. One injection of cortisone and adíos to the teenage angst (and adult acne) memories that used to send me under the duvet and forty layers of foundation for days.

If I see someone who looks amazing but probably has had some help along the way, I silently applaud them. If they share that they’ve had bits and pieces done, I loudly applaud them and hope they’ll share their black book deets with me. If you’ve stumbled onto something that makes you feel fantastic, whatever that may be, why not share it with your friends? That’s Sisterhood. (I’m talking about anything, not just cosmetic stuff by the way.)

There’s NO shame in cosmetic enhancements, any more than there is in having your grays covered, putting a hairbrush through your hair or wearing Spanx.

The saying goes “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”.

Well, I say that if you’re the first person to see yourself each day (Hello Bathroom Mirror), then you’re the Beholder.

 

Fantastic outfit ideas from M&S

October 27, 2014

In a recent post I mentioned that Marks and Spencer’s have tons of great bits on their shop floor at the moment. Now it’s time for me to show you exactly what I mean. I’ve put together a couple of outfits that I’d be more than happy to don myself, in fact I’m using all the will-power I have not to press that add-to-bag button. If blogging is anything like therapy I’m hoping that by sharing my favourites with you, my desire to go rummaging through my bag for my credit card will abate slightly. Fingers crossed.
I could have carried on all day doing outfit collages from M&S but I won’t bombard you with them all at once. Here’s the first two to wet your appetite:
marks and spencer outfit idea

 

Marks and Spencers outfit idea
They also have some great clothes for kids at the minute, so look at for that post soon too.
What do you think of these outfits? Could you see yourself in one of them?
Nat x

 

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Street Style Sunday – A look back

October 27, 2014

This week I’m really behind on my blog work so today we’ll look back on an old Street Style Sunday I did on a day very much like today by the Tate Modern:

Happy Sunday people, the sun in London is shining brightly and we’ve been told to expect temperatures of 17 degrees celsius today, which makes me very happy.This week we took a stroll to the River Thames and pitched up outside the Tate Modern to find some great Street Style Sunday for you guys. It’s a really great spot for people watching.
Here’s me in my every day get up, I usually always wear skinny jeans, these are from Uniqlo, my New York jumper is from Urban Outfitters, I live in these Adidas Originals trainers, coat is from TK Maxx, bag is Marc Jacobs, Sunglasses are from Beyond Retro and were a bargain at £1, necklace is from Banana Republic.
We don’t only show you ladies and kids on Street Style Sunday, this fella shows us how to do laid back style with this coat from Uniqlo, jeans from Reiss, and shoes from Clarks.
This lovely lady was strolling along and had stopped to enjoy the south american music that had pitched up outside the Tate Modern with this little cutie pie wearing her Verbaudet snowsuit. Jeans are from Dorothy Perkins, top is Next, bag is Marc by Marc Jacobs, boots are from a small boutique.
Thank you to the people who allowed us to take and use their photos for this post.
If you like this Street Style Sunday, please comment, like, and share, as you see fit.
Have a great day
Nat x

 

Time to link up your style posts now for Street Style Sunday.

Just tag me and #streetstylesunday on Instagram and/or link up your style posts below by clicking the button. 

Grab the Street Style Sunday badge (left hand column).

Comment on this post and one other post in the link up.

Tweet about it, and remember to tag @stylemesunday and I will always retweet. 

I run this link up in conjunction with the lovely Laura from Side Street Style.


Christmas wish list

October 23, 2014

Is it too early to put my Christmas wish list out there? I think not personally.

So here’s my motley crew of a gift ideas:

Christmas wish list

 

1. Pandora heart ring £ 145

2. Pandora bow ring £365

3. Givenchy dog purse £390

4. Krups Coffee machine £199

5. Patchwork jeans £212

6. Topshop gilet £45

7. Adidas trainers £75

 

Win a break with Pandora

Red Magazine and Pandora have collaborated to give us a chance to win a Pandora Essence bracelet and a trip for two to the Cotswolds with a stay at Calcot Manor or Barnsley House. Which would make an amazing Christmas gift. All you have to do is nominate a friend you think represents one of these three Pandora Essence values – Caring, Dedication to Belief in 50 words max. I know I’ve got one or two friends in my mind that represent at least one of them.  To enter email Pandora.redspa@hearst.co.uk

Tweet about your entry @PANDORA_UK and @redmagdaily #PANDORAessence

Closing date: 11:59pm Saturday 1 Nov 2014

 

Nat x

 

 

N.B- This was a collaborative post.

 

Making coffee with Thermos

October 22, 2014

Instead of getting invited to cocktail-making parties these days I get invited to coffee events. It must be my age. I’m not complaining, I was actually very happy when the Genuine Thermos Brand invited me to a day of all things coffee. I bloody live off coffee these days. That by no means makes me a connoisseur. My coffee consumption is more about necessity, or that’s the way it started anyway. Nowadays I do like a ‘good’ coffee but I probably couldn’t tell you a Grumpy Mule from a Jamaican Blue Mountain.

 

Last weekend I along with some other great bloggers, including they lovely Ruth from Rock n Roller baby, went to a cafe called Prufock on Leather Lane, near Farringdon. Well these people know their coffee and when I say know I mean they have world barista champions among their flock! They carefully and cleverly source, test and weight every single coffee served – that’s how much they care about coffee. The minutiae that goes into making a top notched coffee is just extraordinary but I will not be testing my poor memory skills here with the specific details for fear of getting it wrong.

makingespresso

Let’s just say my I’m not about to give up the day job and turn into a world-renowned barista.

And here’s the result of my spectacular designer latte making skills. I can’t remember what the design on top was supposed to be, but it was a flower or something. Clearly the girl did good!

pouring latte

mylatte

metakingapic

The lovely pictures you see above were taken my a fellow blogger Tom from Daydraem in Blue and edited by myself. Thanks Tom x

They also treated us to some spectacular refreshments including these gooey-in-the-middle brownies.

brownines

At the end of the coffee session we were given two Thermos’ – one large and a small everyday one. The large one was filled up with coffee and they challenged us to drink the coffee 24 hours afterwards and see if it was still hot. As I opened the lid the next day I could see the steam rising off the coffee, it was a lovely and much needed flask of coffee. Especially since I went out drinking with friends after the event (making the most of being unleashed from the kids) and then had a children’s party that day to take the kids to. Thank god I had my Thermos!

I am definitely going to turn into a Thermos geek (I could have easily used another word here beginning with w, but I prefer the term geek personally!), no longer do I have to nip into any well-known coffee shops because that’s all there is around when I get a sudden urge for a caffeine fix. I am going to make up my coffee in the morning and carry around my new best buddy enjoying my home-brew whilst getting on with my daily routine.

So if you see me walking down the street with my Thermos… please just nod knowingly.

Natalie x

thermos

 

P.S I don’t remember Thermos’ looking this good as a kid.

 

 

 

Halloween in the US by Elaine

October 21, 2014

 

Growing up in England, Halloween wasn’t a very big deal. I remember a few parties where I went as a black cat (leotard, tight leg stuffed with tights for the tail and whiskers drawn on with pen). Hardly Heidi Klum standards. Did you see her Halloween costumes?! Incredible.

As an adult with nephews and nieces, pumpkin carving began to creep in about 10 years ago, but it wasn’t done to the levels that it is in the US. Not even close, my friends, not even close…

When I moved here, I quickly saw in the weeks leading up to October 31st, that Halloween is possibly more important for some adults than it is for children.

I was freaking out. Being a thoroughly repressed Brit, there was no way I was going to get dressed up and then go out partying. That was for children. As time passed, I came to realise that as with numerous things, there’s a very delicate interpretation of what passes for “children only” in this great country.

At first I balked. A lot. Then I fell fully into it. What’s more liberating and fun than being encouraged and applauded for creating and wearing a ridiculously inappropriate halloween costume? Not much, it turns out.

When my boy was born, it was positively churlish not to dress him up. Now that he’s a Threenager, he would be appalled if he AND HIS PARENTS didn’t don costumes in public on the hallowed eve.

Last year he was Iron Man Jr. His father, Iron Man Sr. Me? Darth Vader.

photo 1

His very first year, I found him a one-off, handmade ORGANIC elephant costume. I know, what on earth was I thinking. The dog had a matching elephant outfit. They looked hilarious. The year prior, he wore several numbers, all handmade by his crazy mother. A sumo wrestler. A road warrior, Mad Max thing. A little Chinese boy. I painted my face like a Day of the Dead skull. Marvellously effective at making small children scream and cry, it turned out. My all-time favourite that year though, was Frida Kahlo.

photo 4

 

 

The day he was Frida, we had an unexpected trip to the ER. All was fine, but we’ll always have:

Doctor: His cheeks are rather flushed, as are his lips *concerned face*.

Me: Oh. No. That’s his makeup.

Doctor: Excuse me?

Me: This morning he was Frida Kahlo. I took his makeup, poncho and jewellery off on the way here. That’s why his hair is all gelled down.

(The Husband, who met us at the hospital, had had no idea we had been playing Frida at home.)

Husband: Que?! *Latin machismo overload*

Me: Diego Rivera is BORING. We did Frida instead.

Husband: *speechless, unable to make eye contact with the doctor for the rest of the visit*

photo 5

ANYWAY. MOVING ON.

Each year, the neighbourhoods go to town with their decorations. Some (MY NEIGHBOURS) do nothing. Some even turn out their lights and refuse to answer the door. Fie on you, oh funless f*ckers.

Mount Pleasant, our old hood, is incredible. So much so that there’s always at least one tv camera crew filming on the night that the streets are blocked off, and many hundreds of becostumed folk, littles and grown-ups flood the neighbourhood to marvel at the decorated homes. It’s brilliant. There’s always a live band (one of the neighbours gets his friends over and you have 4 skeletons playing rock and roll, occasionally hard rock and even some blues on their front porch).

Over the years, more neighbourhoods are getting into the spirit. In one close to our house, there is an adorable grandpa to be found every October 31st evening, rain or shine, handing out sweets to the littles and champers to the grown-ups. His garden is decorated to the hilt. His wife told us “This is his one night. Every single year. Our children and grandchildren live out of state but he’s done this without fail for the past 50 years. It keeps him young.”  What better reason.

I like to decorate. Before becoming a mother, not so much. Well, not at all really. Nowadays, I am a sucker for it. I’ve done the ground floor with an old skeleton, in a fur, covered in spiders. I feel quite an affinity for her. Pumpkins on the dining table, in the garden, cobwebs everywhere. Last year I even spray-painted a few pumpkins as I didn’t like the hue of their orangeness. Anally retentive? Me?

photo 2

 

This year, my son will be Fantasmagorico. WHO? If you grew up in Latin America in the 60s/70s, you might remember him. My husband has been reliving his childhood through YouTube and our boy is now insistent that he will be Fantasmagorico for Halloween. I just placed my order for a yellow leotard and tights on the internet. I am secretly quite delighted that I get the chance to “make” his costume this year. It felt like a bit of a cop-out last year to stick him in shop-bought action figure costume. Harking back to my own childhood memories, I am weary of making his costume and having him remember it forever as “that time my mother made my costume and I looked like an utter tit.”

The Husband will not reveal what his costume will be this year…He’s been secretly researching and pulling it together this past weekend. I am quite fearful yet looking forward to the big reveal at the same time.

I have no clue what I’ll wear. A mask or witch’s hat is always handy to chuck on at the last moment. You get to say you’ve dressed up and there’s always the bonus that nobody can recognise you.

Elaine

photo 3

 

 

Street Style Sunday – My Sunday Style

October 19, 2014

Last Sunday we went to Columbia Road and here’s what I wore:

Navy Jumper – Cos

Flared Jeans – Paige

Boots – Marks & Spencers

Hat – Jaeger

Scarf – Windsors Wardrobe

Bag – No longer available but  similar here

meatcloumbiaroad meandbrickwall

 

M&Sboots

The boots which you can’t really see in the outfit pictures are from Marks and Spencers so here they are above. Marks & Spencers have so many great clothes at the moment I feel like they deserve a whole post devoted to them soon.

 

The photos of me were taken by my 5 year old daughter, and what a brilliant job she did. You can check out her style on my instagram feed She definitely out-styles me!

Nat x

Now it’s  time to show me your style for Street Style Sunday.

Just tag me and #streetstylesunday on Instagram and/or link up your style posts below by clicking the button. 

Grab the Street Style Sunday badge (left hand column).

Comment on this post and one other post in the link up.

Tweet about it, and remember to tag @stylemesunday and I will always retweet. 

I run this link up in conjunction with the lovely Laura from Side Street Style.


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