Pay Day Treats

It has been a while since I did any major clothes shopping. If you read my previous post you will know that my financial situation has been somewhat challenging these last couple of years since taking a big pay cut when I left London. I am happy to say that things have now changed this month following a promotion and pay rise, and after six months of having to jump through various hoops the money is finally in my bank account. Whoop whoop !!

Last weekend I had a major wardrobe clear out. I have been making do with old clothes for the last few years, much of which have seen better days or were too big. After getting rid of everything that was no longer fit to wear I made a list of items that I needed/wanted, to replace old favourites or update my style.

Pay day came along on Friday and I didn’t waste any time in getting online to indulge in a little retail therapy. There are some lovely items in the shops at the moment and I could have bought hundreds of new things, but I have tried to stick to my list and only buy things that I know I am going to get a lot of wear out of.

So here is a round up of my purchases.

NEXT – SALE

I didn’t buy too much. Just a couple of items that were on my wish list. Black leather boots to replace an old worn out pair. Red shoes to replace ones that I have but don’t wear because they hurt, red boots… because I have wanted a pair for ages and a couple of work items to replace those that no longer fit me.

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Red Stud Ankle Boots. Was £60 now £32
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Glamorous Black Studded Boot. Was £50 now £25
Red Shoes. Was £36 Now £18
Blue Stripe Shirt. Was £32 Now £14
Black Slouchy Trousers. Was £25 Now £12

 

NEXT – FULL PRICE

Whilst shopping online for Sale items I also may have purchased a few non-sale items for Spring/Summer. A couple of the items are for my up and coming holiday to Italy in May and the others are for work as I have been wearing the same old work clothes for about four years now. I also always seem to struggle to find nice smart outfits for the warmer weather. I am looking forward to wearing the grey crop trousers with the pink jacket and a simple white white top.

HM

I always see things I want in HM and I had to be very restrained when I was filling up my online basket. The few things I bought will all be staple wardrobe items over the next few months. There are so many different ways in which these items can be worn and I know that each one of them will compliment other items in my wardrobe. I am hoping the white polka dot skirt does not disappoint. I am slightly apprehensive to see if the material is thick enough or whether I will be flashing my knickers, I am also not sure if the yellow floral skirt is me… but I thought I would give it a try. You never know it may be the way for me to finally embrace florals.

MANGO

I have been looking for a short chunky cardigan for Summer evenings. I looked at several in neutral colours but I wear a a lot of denim and black or white so I really wanted something colourful. This was in the sale and it will go well with pretty much everything in my wardrobe.

ACCESSORIZE

I could not resist this little summer dress. I was looking to replace an old (too big) beach dress that I bought from Primark over three years ago. This was a little more expensive but it is one of those things that will last and not look too dated over time.

LEVI

Everyone knows that I love jeans. They are my staple wardrobe item and I have so many pairs. All in different colours and fits. The first pair of jeans I bought when I started working at 17 was a pair of men’s Levi 501’s, from a Vintage Shop in Covent Garden. I wore them constantly for about 10 years until they literally fell apart and I have wanted a new pair of Levi’s for years. Last week I had a big clear out of my jeans. Many are two sizes too big but I have continued to wear them with a belt done up tight. But now that I have a little spare money I want to invest in some new ones over the course of this year. So I am starting with replacing my light blue skinny jeans as they are the ones I wear the most in the Summer months. I looked around and nearly opted for a cheap pair from HM then after I saw the lovely @chloelovestoshop wearing a pair of Levis on Instagram I thought I would take a look. These are the ripped skinny and I found them on http://www.very.co.uk in the sale for £46.75 reduced from £85.00. Bargain !!

LA REDOUTE

My final item was purchased while ordering a new rug. As you do!! This was not on my shopping list. It just happened to catch my eye. You can never have too many white tee’s can you. La Redoute have 40% off at the moment so this t-shirt, which is very similar to the Top Shop one, only cost me £7.

So that is my weekend shopping haul. I think my bank account has taken a little bit of a hammering. But I have worked hard over the last two years and I think I deserve a little treat. However, old habits die hard and I am still being very careful about what I buy, which is why there is a definite colour theme going on in my shopping basket. I know which colours suit me so I tend to stick to them. Which means that 90% of my wardrobe is made up of black, white, navy, denim, pink and red.

Deliveries should start arriving over the next few days so I will take a few outfit pics and pop them on my Instagram account, before I decide what stays and what goes back. The trouble with online shopping is I never know what size to buy or what the material looks and feels like. I am hoping there are not going to be too many disappointments.

Have you been making any new purchases for Spring and Summer? If so I would love to hear about what you have been buying. Maybe I have missed a fabulous item that will fit my wardrobe. I am on the hunt for new black and navy slim fit trousers for work. But I don’t want to buy online as I want to be sure of a good fit. So my next shopping haul will be in a couple of weeks when I venture to that shopping haven, known as Bluewater.

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Re-igniting my love of clothes

Over the last two years my love of clothes and fashion has been hindered by my financial situation. We moved out of London to live in the Kent countryside, buying a doer upper in a lovely Village. At the same time I made the decision to leave a well paid job in the West End and embrace a new career, as a School Business Manager, in a Primary School close to home. But this came at a price. A big one. In the form of a double figure pay cut. The reduction in my income didn’t really hit home straight away. For the first six months I carried on spending as normal, most of which was aided by my flexible friend. It soon became evident that this was not sustainable and that I had to change my mindset and my shopping habits. So I went cold turkey and just stopped shopping. It wasn’t easy. In fact it was damn hard not to be tempted by all the lovely clothes being showcased on Instagram. But I dug my heels in and shopped my wardrobe. Sometimes it was fun rediscovering old clothes and finding new ways to wear things. But on the whole, for someone like me who has always loved clothes, it was somewhat depressing and at times did have a detrimental effect on my mental health. I know this sounds silly but my clothes are an extension of me and how I feel about myself. Since a young age I always had an interest in clothes and fashion. My grandmother was always very glamorous. She was also a dressmaker on Saville Row. She would often bring home little scraps of the most exquisite material and make clothes for me or my dolls. I had the best dressed Sindy in town. This is where my love of clothes started and I quickly came to realise how good nice clothes made me feel. I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I was young, my self-esteem was affected by my Mum’s mental health issues and so clothes became a way to express myself and feel more confident. Every penny I earned during my teenage years was spent on clothes. During my Single Parent years when money was tight I used to shop cheaply at Primark and also reinvent old clothes, customising them to make them more relevant to current trends. I had the time to do that then and it was fun. But this time around that didn’t really appeal so much. Much more fun in my late 20’s than when I knowing on the door of 50.

The last 18 months have been a bit of a chore at times and has left me hating my wardrobe. But it has taught me many things. I have discovered that I don’t need as many clothes as I think I do (although I still have far too many) and also that I don’t need to buy into every trend or wear what everyone else is wearing. That said, I have missed being able to buy those statement pieces each season when I have managed to shop for clothes because I have saved a little or been given a gift card, I have had to be more mindful about my purchases. Which really has taken the fun out of clothes shopping.

But I am now approaching exciting times. My financial situation is about to change again. Over the last two years I have been working tirelessly in my new career and I have spent hours studying for professional qualifications. But it has finally paid off. I have been rewarded with a promotion and a pretty impressive pay rise. So from the end of this Month I will be back in a position where I can shop again. I should be over the moon. And I am excited but also a little apprehensive.

Obviously the first instinct when you have been on a self imposed spending ban is to rush out to the shops and indulge in the thrill of buying lots of new clothes. And although part of me wants to do this, the other part is telling me to steer clear from the shops. So rather than let the devil on my shoulder win and end up spending my hard earned cash on a load of clothes that I probably don’t need and won’t wear after six months I decided to take some time to really think about my wardrobe and what I want it to look like. And that is exactly what I have been doing with the help of this book.

I have been totally immersed in it all week. It is probably one of the best Self Help books that I have ever read (and I have read a few). Through a series of questions and research it makes you evaluate styles that you love and works to help you identify your own personal style. It has you thinking about lifestyle, colours, silhouettes and material. It also requires you to review your current wardrobe and think about how to create a new one that reflects your own personal style using key prices but also encompassing current trends through a small number of statement pieces.

It has been a little like studying for an exam but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. And It actually wasn’t that hard to identify my signature style as it’s been staring me in the face every time I open my wardrobe. But I think even when you subconsciously know what you like to wear and what suits you it’s easy to get sidetracked into buying what’s in fashion even if it is not something you normally like to wear.

These are some of the images I saved to my Pinterest Board (aptly named Curated Closet) that showcase the styles I love and will be building my wardrobe around. If you want to have a browse at more images that I chose pop over and pay me a visit on Pinterest. My account name is Wiggle When you Walk.

So now that I have identified my personal style, created a list of outfit combinations and listed all the key pieces I need, the next step is to go through what I already own. And that’s my plan for today. I am going to make full use of the fact my husband is away on business and literally empty my whole wardrobe (including shoes) onto my dressing room floor and start the huge clear out. I will be getting rid of anything that doesn’t suit me or my personal style or doesn’t fit me (I am still wearing old clothes that are one or two sizes too big because I couldn’t afford to replace them). It’s going to be a mammoth task and I anticipate that 70% of my wardrobe will go. Some items will be held on to while I rebuild my wardrobe and will be replaced by the same but in a better fit and better quality, items such as black trousers for work (mine are four years old and too big) and a good pair of dark denim skinny jeans which are my go to item.

At the end of this process I should then be able to compile my shopping list ready for a trip to Bluewater after payday. I will follow up with another blog post after my wardrobe cleanse and let you know how it went. But one thing I know for sure my love for clothes is slowly being reiginited.

Thank you for reading and if you haven’t read the book I can totally recommend it. It is available on Amazon here.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Self Care Sunday 4th March

How is it March already! I don’t know about you but I am really looking forward to Spring, especially after this week. Like most of you we have had snow this week. And not just a little sprinkling. It started snowing here on Monday night and didn’t stop until the early hours of Saturday morning. Throughout the week we had over a foot of snow. And we also had to contend with strong winds at the end of the week which blew vast amounts of snow off the fields onto the roads causing 3ft drifts and cutting off some of the villages on the Hoo Peninsula. We were lucky in that respect, that being the first and largest village on the peninsula we escaped being cut off. But we did endure several hours of having the one main road out of the Peninsula being closed due to abandoned cars and lorries.

Now I love a bit of snow and last year I was a little disappointed not to experience snow in my first Winter living out in the Kent Countryside. We rarely used to get snow that lasted very long in London. When it did snow it would cause chaos for those of us that had to commute to work but by the end of the day most of the white stuff would have disappeared. So it was nice to have a blanket of snow for a few days especially for the first two days when I was ab,e to work at home because we closed the school. But under pressure from working parents we decided to try and get the school back open as quickly as possible and on Thursday and Friday, even though it was freezing cold and windy, we decided to open up for those parents that wanted to send their children into school. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team I had to make the effort to get into school too. It was my job to coordinate staffing and meals and to also liaise with parents. This meant that I had to walk the three miles to school because buses were not running and we couldn’t get the car out. It was an exhausting week, physically and mentally draining. You would think being at home I would have had plenty of time for a little Self Care but no. My time was spent fielding enquiries from staff and parents and making sure that regular communications were sent to everyone via social media and our parent comms system. I was up early every day and working late into the evening. I had to inspect the school grounds and also walk to the local shops after my food shopping delivery was cancelled. Honestly I really don’t know where the time went this week.

I did manage a couple of trips to the Village pub, which was packed all week. Afterall what else is there to do when you are snowed in.

Luckily I had the foresight last Summer to invest in a nice thick Parka, which has been a godsend this week. Along with my blanket scarf which is years old and the extra thick bobble hat I bought last Winter at the Dickens Festival Christmas Market. I have popped similar below.

La Redoute £70.00

The only thing I didn’t purchase on moving out of London was a new pair of wellies. Big mistake. When I retrieved mine from the shed (and yes I did check for spiders… I have made that mistake before) I realised that they were not in the best condition. I have had them for about ten years and never really thought about replacing them, because quite frankly I hardly ever wore them. But with nothing else to wear on my feet I had to make do. They did get me through the week but what I did realise is that they are not actually very warm when you are wading through deep snow.

After checking out what other locals were wearing in the snow I am not going to buy another pair of wellies, I am going to invest in a pair of snow boots instead. I have been looking around this weekend online, although I am going to wait a few weeks in the hope that I can pick a pair up in the sales. These are a few that I quite like.

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Sorel Tivoli
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Millets Alpine Brundall
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MandM Direct Karrimor Alaska
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Decathlon Quechua 
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Sports Direct Nevica St Anton

Yesterday morning the temperatures had risen to above freezing and the snow is slowly starting to melt. I took the opportunity to get outside and meet up with a couple of girlfriends for breakfast. I feel that Girls Breakfast Out could be the new Girls Night Out. We spent a good couple of hours drinking coffee and catching up and I was home before midday and with no hangover to look forward too. It’s so nice sometimes to just get out of the house and spend some time just relaxing and not thinking about work or chores.

I spent the rest of Saturday with my feet up on the sofa catching up with some of my favourite TV shows. I’m hooked on Marcella again and love Life in Pieces on Amazon. Hubby organised a curry for dinner and then I made the most of an early night.

Today I am planning on doing very little. Work will be hectic this week as I have so much to catch up on after last week’s closure. I am also going to take the opportunity to have a little pamper session. The cold weather has taken its toll on my skin and it needs a little tlc. I’m planning a hair mask, face mask and lathering myself in my favourite body lotion.

I’m also still hunting for a holiday for May half term. My husband is very picky and I haven’t found anything that he has given his nod of approval to yet. Plus we also don’t want to spend a fortune. I have come across this fab website that has some amazing deals on luxury breaks. Voyage Privé. Has anyone booked through them before? I’m always a little nervous about spending money with a company I have never used before so I would be interested to hear if anyone has had any dealings with them. Some of the offers seem a little too good to be true.

One last thing I wanted to share was a campaign I came across on Instagram following the Kardashian Weight photo. If you pop over and check out the hashtag #iweigh you will see a whole host of ladies who have posted a picture highlighting that they are so much more than what they weigh in KGs. As someone who has battled with mental health issues for years I know only too well how damaging a photo like the Kardashian one can be to someone’s self esteem. If you want to read the article that prompted the campaign. Follow this link.

Anyway that’s all from me this week. I will leave you with some of the snow pictures I took when I visited my school on Tuesday. Let’s hope this is the last we see of it for this year. Well until maybe December. I don’t mind doing it all again at Christmas time.

Have a great week. Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Self Care Sunday 25th February

This week has been a good week for me. I may not have had the time for my usual beauty treats but I have felt relaxed and content even without spending too much time on myself. On Sunday of last week I decided to start a week long alcohol detox. I don’t drink a huge amount and rarely touch spirits but I had noticed that alcohol had crept into my weekday evenings. I had always been a weekend drinker, it used to be because I had kids to ferry around from clubs and friends most nights during the week, so I only ever had a drink on a Friday and Saturday. But since the kids left home and we moved out from London into a Kent Village, we have found that we have the odd midweek trip to the local pub or have a glass or two in the evenings after a busy day at work. My units have been slowly creeping up and last week, when we were both on holiday from work, we drank alcohol almost every day. Whilst I’m not at the stage where I am concerned for my health (my idea of too much is probably less then most people’s) I do know that I don’t sleep as well when I have had a drink and my skin suffers from the dehydration effects of alcohol.

So I started Sunday and woke on Monday morning feeling very refreshed and started the day with a healthy smoothie which contained spinach, lime, avocado, Greek yoghurt, oats and water. Which, I had with my daily supplements. Even though I eat well I still have to take certain supplements everyday due to going through early menopause.

Each morning I take four supplements. Calcium and Vitamin D along with Omega 3, to maintain good bone density and keep my joints nice and supple. I also take Vitamin B12 as this helps combat tiredness and depression and also helps me concentrate. Since going through the menopause I find that I suffer from brain fog sometimes and my Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms are definitely worse if I don’t take the Vitamin B12 or the Vitamin D. I also occasionally take Magnesium if I am going through a period where I have disturbed sleep, which used to be a lot when in was in the middle of going through the menopause, now I am five years post menopause I find I need to take it less frequently, but I still make sure that I have a supply to hand, just in case.

I buy my supplements online at Amazon, I have been using Solgar supplements for about seven years and I find them to be very good quality. They are not the cheapest, in fact I could probably buy what I need a lot cheaper on the High Street, but I know these work for me so I would rather spend a little more.

Solgar Vitamin B12
Solgar Omega 3
Solgar Magnesium Citrate
Solgar Calcium with Vitamin D

I had a busy few days at work this week, which is nothing unusual for me and I found little time in the evenings to switch off. Even so, I stuck to my detox and ate really well this week which left me feeling a lot more energetic, so I had a very productive week at work. My week was made all the better as after months and months of working my backside off I finally had my promotion and pay rise finalised. I was tempted to celebrate with a glass of something bubbly when I got home from work on Thursday, but instead we avoided the pub and I stuck to water with my dinner. A huge achievement. I also got stuck into some more studying, which meant I actually stayed away from social media Thursday evening and most of Friday. I was so busy I didn’t miss it and it was actually quite nice to have a little digital detox.

I think I might start to unplug one night a week now. Especially as I have more studying to do and I want to find time to read some of the books I received at Christmas. I think everyone should try it. Social Media can sometimes become a little all consuming, you feel like you are missing outif you miss a day. I am sure I am not the only one who feels like this. Instagram is both my best friend and my worst enemy. It is an important tool for those of us trying to promote our blogs and I also run a daily photo challenge which means I feel that I need to have a presence each day, which can become very time consuming, but in all honesty it is good to have a break every now and again as it can also be very draining and when I am not feeling my best it also has a tendency to enhance my feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes it is impossible not to compare yourself to other people. It’s easy to forget that not everything you see on Instagram is real life and is actually often a enhanced version of someone’s life. But although I know this I still get sucked in and allow myself to feel self-conscious. Which is why I practice self-care. It is a way to remind myself that I am special regardless of how I feel I compare to other people.

A coupe of years ago I bought a fabulous little book aimed at encouraging you to enjoy the simple things in life. It is one of those coffee table books that you just dip in and out of when you feel the need. As I have been researching a lot about self care for a future blog post I am working on, I decided to pick it up the other day for a little inspiration. On Friday whilst rushing round the supermarket after work, I decided to stop and treat myself to some flowers. But not just any flowers, my favourite flowers in my favourite colour. It was quite a large bunch so I now have them in three rooms in the house, including my dressing table, which is a lovely treat for the mornings when I am getting ready for work. And they remind me to enjoy the small pleasures in life.

If you want to check out the book. You can buy here on Amazon for £8.99

This week seemed to fly by and before I knew it the weekend was here. And after six days of no alcohol I finally caved and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Prosecco on Saturday afternoon. I spent a lovely few hours with my family celebrating my great-niece’s 4th Birthday. It was the first time I had my family since before Christmas. I sometimes have a somewhat fractured relationship with my sisters, it all goes back to events from my childhood, which left me with some major insecurities, but I have been working through some of these issues and I certainly felt more relaxed on Saturday and more comfortable around my family. It was not easy being the eldest of four children and having a mum with mental health problems.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. I normally try to get all my chores done on a Saturday so that I can just relax on a Sunday. Today was no different.

After a lie in and a lovely cup of tea in bed, my husband cooked brunch while I started trawling through the internet looking for a potential holiday for May. We both work in education and have to take our holidays during the school breaks, which is a bit of a nightmare, especially when you don’t have kids yourself. We are trying to find somewhere that isn’t family orientated as to be honest, now that we holiday without my children we don’t necessarily want to spend our holiday being surrounded by other peoples kids. Plus I spend everyday at work in the company of 400 kids aged between 3 and 10. Adult only holidays are not only hard to find but they are also quite expensive. So I have my work cut out. My search was not helped by the fact that our internet went down for the third time in two days. We were without broadband and phones for 5 hours today and in the end I couldn’t even use the data on my phone as the whole Village were obviously all trying to access the internet via 4G at the same time. So I ended up pottering around the house doing a few odd jobs, it was very frustrating though as I had planned on getting some work and studying done and typing this blog post (which has now had to be posted on a Monday). I felt completely lost without my internet fix. And there wasn’t even anything decent on TV. Which is why we rely on catch or box sets so much.

Anyway it finally came back to life at about 7pm which gave me enough time to jump on and set up a text alert to all our parents ready to send should the snow descend on us over the next few days. We have been issued with an amber weather alert for heavy snow this week. It is certainly freezing cold, but we will wait to see if the weather report is correct. It rarely is.

So that was my week. I’m trying for another week of zero alcohol and I’m in the last two weeks of Cycle 1 of my Bodycoach 90 Day Plan. Next week will be the big reveal in terms of what I have lost. I’m keeping it a secret until then so check back next week for the update.

Have a lovely week and thanks for reading my post.

Love

Melanie xxxx