Beach to Bar

I don’t know about you but I am so fed up with this grey wet weather. I am desperate for some sunshine. Which is supposedly arriving next week. I will believe it when I see it.

Until it arrives all I can do is dream about my holiday to Italy in May and browse the shops for beachwear.

It’s been a few years since I last had a proper, lay on the beach, type of holiday. In fact I think it was my honeymoon, nearly three years ago.

I am in desperate need of new holiday clothes and beachwear as I am two stone lighter than I was back then. I have the basics sorted. Denim shorts, simple tees and vest tops and plenty of summer footwear. But I need dresses for both the day and evening.

First I am concentrating on daywear. And simple dresses to throw on over a bikini. To wear to breakfast and so that I can walk from beach to bar with a little dignity. You know the type of dress I mean.

Normally I am quite conservative in my style but on holiday I am always happy to be a little more adventurous and I have found some fabulous dresses online.

The first selection are all from Asos, which I think is THE best place to look for something different for holidays.

I would wear any of these dresses and I currently have four sitting in my basket waiting for me to decide which one to buy.

I haven’t seen as many that I love on the High Street. But here are a small number that I think are lovely.

I have bought the dress above from Accessorize. It’s red for one thing and I wanted a short dress as well as a midi/maxi. It really is a gorgeous dress. I absolutely love it.

Next are always a good place to shop for beachwear. They always haveva great selection. These are just a few. I saw the first dress below earlier in the week. It looks better in store than on the website. It’s quite vibrant and also roomy. Just what you need to hide the holiday belly. And for £18 you can’t go wrong.

I absolutely love these three from River Island. Look at that yellow. Pure sunshine.

I wouldn’t really opt for black as daywear on holiday but I know plenty do. I thought this dress from Matalan was nice if you prefer darker colours. It has lovely detailing on the neckline and a hanky hem and is a bargain at £16

Matalan have a large collection of Kaftans at very reasonable prices including this full length version for £18.

Lastly something completely different from Zara. This looks stunning and very expensive but is only £29.99. I can just picture it teamed with gold sandals and lots of bangles.

So now all I have to do is decide which one (or maybe two) to buy. Which is your favourite? Or have you found something that I have missed. If so please share xx

Love

Melanie xxx

Sleep Deprived in Style

We started Christmas Eve with a two hour drive to Luton Airport. Our flight was leaving at 6am and rather than sitting around at home trying to stay awake we headed off to the airport early. This gave us time to tuck into a big English breakfast at 4am.

I am not a good flyer. Not because I am scared. Because I struggle with having to sit still in a confined space for any length of time. So with this in mind I opted for comfort over style when deciding on my travelling outfit. I also used some leftover Birthday money to buy some new trainers and a sweatshirt for my holiday.

This is what I wore to travel to Portugal.

Slouchy Boyfriend Jeans – old from Next

Oversize Slouchy Stripe Tee – old from La Redoute

Oversize Cream Sweatshirt with sleeve detail – current from boohoo.com

White Trainers with black glitter star detail – current from very.co.uk

We are staying in an apartment at the Four Seasons in Vilamoura and we couldn’t have been happier with the welcome or the facilities at the hotel.

We spent the rest of Christmas Eve wandering around picking up a few essentials at the local supermarket. We didn’t venture far to eat opting for room service as I had been up since 5am on the 23rd December. After the most amazing burger, a small local beer and a soak in the spa bath it was time for bed. 40 hrs without sleep had finally hit me.

Zzzzzzzzzzz

Melanie xxxx

Jazzing up black at Christmas

I love Christmas. I enjoy decorating the house with glittery ornaments and fairy lights. There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than giving presents to the ones I love and I love getting together with friends and family for drinks and good food.

But there is one thing about Christmas that I have always found somewhat stressful. Dressing for all the different Christmas events. I know for some people this is a relatively easy task. If you like all things sparkly, shimmery and full of sequins there is plenty of choice on the high street and online. Also easy too if you are a dress person as there always seems to be twice as many lovely dresses in the shops at this time of year.

But what if you are like me. I am not a dress person and I really don’t suit anything remotely sparkly (I have tried and I just can’t carry it off). Wherever I look, in the shops or on social media, everyone is pushing sequins, lace, body hugging dresses and a variety of colours that resemble baubles on a Christmas tree. Everything that is so not me.

I prefer a understated style. And for a night out I love the colour black. But black at this time of year screams bah humbug, boring, party pooper. And believe me I am none of those things. I just like the simplicity of a black outfit.

In recent years it has not been too much of a problem as I have only had a couple of events to attend over Christmas. But this year we have become more sociable in our new surroundings and so I have a lot more events to go to including my work Christmas do, a neighbours house party, drinks with friends, a family Christmas get together and a meal out with my son’s girlfriend’s family (it will be the first time we are meeting so I need to make a good impression). And finally a New Years Eve party at our local pub.

I am quite excited to be so sociable this Christmas and I want to look fabulous. So I have been looking at ways in which I can jazz up a plain black outfit without breaking my no spend challenge. I have a little birthday money put to one side so I can purchase a couple of small statement pieces but I need to be inventive and use what I have in my wardrobe.

So here are my outfit ideas for the Christmas period. Most of the items listed are very affordable. All but one of these outfits can be put together for less than £100. I don’t know about you but because I don’t wear dressy items very often I begrudge spending a fortune on things that will hardly ever been worn.

Work Christmas Meal
Work Christmas Meal – Total Cost £98.49

This will be the first big work Christmas do I have been to for a number of years. We are going to a local hotel for a meal, entertainment and late disco. Although, as I am Senior Management, I will be leaving at the start of the Disco so the rest of the staff feel comfortable enough to let their hair down. I’m not sure they want me there when things start to get messy. I will be wearing a version of the above next Thursday night.

  • Black leather look Midi Skirt (mine is old from Next) similar here at Asos £45.00
  • Red Ruffle Sleeve Blouse – Matalan £16.00
  • Black Vamp Shoes – boohoo.com £20.00
  • Leopard Print Clutch – boohoo.com £14.00
  • Black Earrings – These are old from boohoo.com similar here at New Look for £3.49
  • Neighbour's House Party
    Neighbour’s House Party – Total Cost £89.97

Dressing for a house party is a little easier for me as I feel more comfortable in jeans and a tee. But the addition of a little sparkle and some velvet turns a casual outfit into the perfect party outfit.

  • Stradivarius Skinny Jean With Ripped Hem – Asos £21.99
  • Red Christmas Slogan Tee – Matalan £6.00
  • Black Velvet Jacket – H&M £29.99
  • Red Glittery Court Shoes – H&M was £17.99 now £11.49
  • Embellished Star Clutch – Asda £14.00
  • Gold Star Hoop Earrings – Top Shop £6.50
Drinks with Friends
Drinks with Friends – Total Cost £90.99

I love wearing black coated jeans on a night out. They are so comfortable and can be dressed up or down. I have two pairs from Noisy May. Both a couple of years old. One pair is a little “rock chick” with several zips on them and the other pair is slightly glittery and perfect for a night out. If you are happy to spend a little extra a faux fur jacket would look great with this outfit and there are some gorgeous pale pink ones around at the moment to complement the black and fuschia.

  • Black Mid Rise Coated Jeans – F&F at Tesco £16.00
  • Black Plumeti Blouse – H&M £12.99
  • Fuschia Court Shoes – M&S £35.00
  • Black Bird Print Clutch – Next £24.00
  • Black & Pink Long Tassel Earrings – Primark £3.00
Family Get Together
Family Christmas Get Together – Total Cost £96.49

We are away for Christmas so will be having our family “Christmas Day” at my house in the New Year with my children, their partners and my parents. It will probably include a walk after lunch to our local pub so I need something that is comfortable but also stylish enough to wear out. I think loose fitting trousers are the perfect answer whether they be palazzo pants, cigarette trousers or smart joggers and teamed with a teeny bit of sparkle and/or animal print they won’t look too boring.

  • Black Ribbed Velour Palazzo Trousers – George at Asda t £14.00
  • Black Blouse with Metallic Neckline – La Redoute £44.00 with current 20% discount
  • Leopard Print Ankle Boots – These are old from Zara, similar here at Tesco £25.00
  • Gold Glitter Envelope Clutch – F&F at Tesco £10.00
  • Black Earrings – These are old from boohoo.com similar here at New Look for £3.49
New Years Eve Party
New Years Eve Party – Total Cost £99.46

This year we are going to our local pub along with some of the regulars who have become good friends over the last 18 months since we moved to the Village. Everyone will be dressing up and I know that many of the ladies will be wearing sequins. Whilst I am not comfortable in full on sparkle I am happy to add a little bling in the form of statement footwear. I saw a friend in a pair of silver glittery ankle boots from Aldo the other day, she was wearing them with a pair of jeans and a dark grey blazer and she looked fabulous. I haven’t decided whether I am going to give in and buy these yet. I don’t want to break my spending ban, so I may just bling up a pair of old black ankle boots that are lurking in the back of my wardrobe with some silver glittery spray paint.

  • Black Coated Leggings – Matalan £12.00.
  • Silver Camisole – H&M £19.99
  • Black Tuxedo Jacket – H&M £39.99
  • Silver Glittery Ankle Boots – New Look was £34.99 now £17.49
  • Mustard Envelope Clutch – New Look £9.99

 

Meal Out with Son’s Girlfriends Family – Total Cost £128.98

Early in January my Son is leaving the UK for an eight month deployment in the Middle East. We are not throwing a leaving party for him but instead we are going out for a meal with him, his girlfriend and her parents. We have booked a very nice Italian restaurant and it will be the first time we have met. I want to wear something I feel comfortable in but that also looks great. So I will be opting for a black faux leather pencil skirt and dressy jumper with statement shoes. How fabulous are these shoes. I will not be buying these but I am thinking of revamping an old pair of black court shoes that I never wear with some coloured gems to recreate this look.

  • Black Faux Leather Pencil Skirt – River Island £30.00
  • Black Lace Balloon Sleeve Jumper – New Look £22.99
  • Black Multi Gem Court Shoes – Top Shop £59.00
  • Mustard Envelope Clutch – New Look £9.99
  • Yellow Bead & Tassel Drop Earrings – Top Shop £7.00

So there is my round up of Christmas outfits. Not a dress in sight and very little in the way of sequins or sparkle. I am now actually looking forward to getting dressed up for my many events. I hope you all enjoy whatever events you have planned over Christmas and I am sure you will all look amazing. I would be interested to hear what you are planning to wear though. I am always looking for inspiration.

I now have a holiday wardrobe to plan. Six days/nights in the Algarve and I am only taking carry on luggage. Now that is definitely going to be a challenge!

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

 

Shopping My Wardrobe – Week 4 


I started the week with the worst cold ever. Unfortunately I didn’t have the option of taking any time off work to recover as I had a couple of members of my team off work. Plus the week leading up to half term is always extra busy and this week was no exception.

This week was all about the black ankle boot. Throughout the week I wore four different pairs. All two or three years old.


Monday – I made no effort at all this morning. I felt so ill I only just made it out of bed. They always say when in doubt wear black. So that’s what I did. Black shift dress, black tights, black blazer and black ankle boots. All from Next. I did add a couple of pearl beaded necklaces, so it didn’t look too much like I was going to a funeral.

Tuesday – Getting dressed was a real effort again this morning. I felt so tired and really didn’t have any enthusiasm for anything including chosing my outfit. I grabbed the first thing I saw when I opened my wardrobe, which happened to be a Red Pencil Skirt (Warehouse) which I teamed with a simple breton top and black blazer (both La Redoute) and black ankle boots from Next.


Wednesday – I felt a little better and picked an old favourite stripe linen shirt to wear (Next). I haven’t worn this shirt to work before as I normally wear it with jeans but today I teamed it with a Navy wrap skirt (Next) and Tan suede ankle boots (Joe Browns).

Thursday – Slowly feeling normal again and decided to wear something a little snazzy to work. This Wallis palm print pencil skirt has a split up the front. Not altogether appropriate for wearing in a Primary School so I turned it around so that it was much less revealing with the split up the back. I added a simple cream tee with lace trim (HM), a black blazer (Next) and Clarks black suede ankle boots.


Friday – I made it to the last day of term in one piece. It has been a tough seven weeks. Most of which I spent recovering from a serious ankle injury which I incurred on the first day of term. The weather is on the turn and it has definitely turned cooler. I decided I wanted to wear something bright today so I teamed my Grey trousers (LA Redoute) with an old 3/4 sleeve hot pink jumper (Next) and Black studded ankle boots (River Island). I did take a grey tweed blazer (Next) to work today although I didn’t end up wearing it. I always try to have one in the office as I never know when I might get called into a meeting with other school leaders or parents.


Initial plans for the weekend were to stay indoors, taking a well earned rest and hiding away from Storm Brian. I ended up venturing out of the house twice.  First an early morning walk to our local Co-op to stock up on beer, wine and chocolate. I ventured out without make-up and threw on the first pair of jeans that came to hand (old Primark), a simple black tee (Next) and blush chunky cardigan (Primark). Later in the day the husband and I decided we fancied a drink in our local pub. So I threw on a pair of skinny jeans (Next), a bright pink jumper (La Redoute) biker boots (Next) and Parka from La Redoute (my last purchase in September before starting this challenge). We battled against the wind for the ten minute walk and found the pub unusually empty. We didn’t expect to stay long but an hour after we arrived a couple of friends walked through the door so we ended up staying until closing time and grabbing a chicken kebab on the walk home. Not exactly the healthiest of days but it doesn’t hurt once in a while!


Due to the late night possibly one too many Saturday night I did not feel my best when I got up Sunday morning. It took a couple of hours to get moving. But after a shower, a couple of cups of coffee and a good breakfast I felt better. With no plans to go anywhere I spent the day in loungewear, which actually consisted of an old jersey jumpsuit that was very nearly sent to the charity shop. I bought it online from Littlewoods a couple of years ago to wear on my honeymoon. But now that I am two dress sizes smaller it is a little big. I rescued it from the charity bag back in August when I decided to take it to Summer Camp to sleep in. It is so comfortable that I am now wearing it around the house either with a vest top underneath or like today a tee thrown over the top (long sleeve stripe tee from HM). The only downside is the fact that you have to practically strip to go to the toilet. Probably best not to drink too many cups of tea when wearing !!

So that was the run down of my week. One of the most tiring I have had for a long time. I am looking forward to half term next week. I am working three days but I still get plenty of extra time at home. I really don’t mind popping into school to work in the holidays as I can get so much done with no teachers and children around. I can also wear casual clothes to so expect to see plenty of denim in next weeks outfit posts.

I hope you all have a good week.

Thank you for reading.

Melanie xxx