Purple Hobbs dress

The sun is getting lower in the sky, but our Indian summer continues and I'm making the most of it. Let's bin the beige and have fun with colour is my motto and today more than ever my look typifies this. For those who are regular followers, you will know that orange is a favourite colour of mine, but this marriage of orange and purple is just amazing - it's a real wake-up call for the eyeballs! I'm always trying out different styles and today's shift dress from Hobbs was in danger of being a bit safe, too conventional for my liking. However I think the injection of the orange accessories has done the trick. 

Hobbs is not one of my usual ports of call when I'm away shopping, but I was lucky enough to find the dress in one of my regular charity shops last year. It was in very good condition, pre-loved as they say and certainly cherished by the owner who had sent it to the dry cleaners before selling. When you consider how much that costs too, it's quite a generous act to make before you donate and send off to it's next life. Thank you to the lady in question, I do appreciate it and promise to love and care for the frock too.

My slouchy handbag was a gift from my friend Bo who lives in Portugal, and my sandals are from New Zealand, so I'm sporting a very international outfit today. My husband and I spent a month in NZ earlier this year travelling across the two islands by Camper van living the life of a couple of ageing hippies. We loved it. What an beautiful country! The driving was easy and the views were breathtaking. It seemed like every corner we took opened up into another fantastic vista, and at times we felt we could have been part of a film set. One day we were just driving along and came across this outlet village. I insisted we stop, even though my husband had no idea what an outlet village was. However, he was the more successful of the two of us that day with his finds of a soft cashmere sweater and some striped beach shorts. We walked the length of the village as I dodged into shop after shop trying to redress the balance - where were my goodies? The final shop was where I found these cute orange leather sandals. I liked the metal rings in the various shades of golds and could see they would be a very useful addition to my summer wardrobe. And now every time I wear them I am reminded of all of our happy memories of our wonderful holiday. 

Dress: Hobbs (charity shop). Bag: Portugal. Shoes: New Zealand. Necklace: old. Bracelets: charity shop. Brass bangle: Rose Cecil. Large and small orange rings: Sam Williams. Small multi col ring: old. Sunglasses: Quay Australia.


Abba or the Sound of Music?

Loving these burgundy heeled brogues.

This watch wouldn't look out of place in an advert in Vogue.

Today's title suggestions are from workmates as to which film my outfit was inspired by. I did give a rendition of "A lonely goat herd" voicing my opinion and think I might have to seek out some Lederhosen next. Isn't it grand to spark up a conversation that just for a moment lifts us out of the humdrum and the paperwork, and puts a smile on our faces? I kinda feel I'm doing my bit for our little community.

I'm delighted to say that the new shoes have given birth to this ensemble, as I've been waiting for the perfect footwear to offset this skirt for years. Yes, really years. This absolute gem of a skirt was an incredibly rash purchase many moons ago and cost me more money than I can bear to say. A proper designer piece, it hailed me when I was fresh off the island and prone to commit the odd, excited, over-the-top retail sin (thank goodness these days are over!) Much as I may have regretted the cost, I've never regretted the skirt. The colours are perfect for my wardrobe and the cotton lawn is light and has a slight sheen, that reeks style to me. There's a full separate slip in the aubergine tone too. Today however, I almost dressed it up in quite a different way, by donning my black 1950's style net underskirt. It did look amazing, but I decided for an ordinary work day it was probably a bit too much, and going by the earlier reactions I think it was a good call. Maybe for an evening out it would be a great move...

The blouse is having it's first outing too. I bought it on eBay a couple of winter's ago, then promptly found it too difficult to place. Looking at it now, I can see lots of opportunities and am delighted at how it looks. I suppose not everyone would see sequins as everyday wear, but working in the art world seems to be the perfect let out clause. And my final mention has to go to the beautiful watch. I've seen sparkly watches like this in the magazines and never for one moment imagined that I might find such a lovely specimen in the glass case of a charity shop. I find it hard to imagine that someone wouldn't want it, would even consider getting rid of it. But hey, what am I saying? I'm so, so pleased that it ended up abandoned in that little glass case - I love it!

Skirt: Philosophy, by Alberta Ferretti. Blouse:Jacques Vert. Belt: charity shop. Shoes: charity shop. Handbag: charity shop. Watch: charity shop. Yellow ring: Martin James. Silver ring: charity shop. 


Weekend in Exmouth

Exmouth seafront on Sunday morning was a hive of activity with these kitesurfers' sails zooming across the sky. We stopped and took some snaps of the bright and colourful display. It looked great fun, a real adrenlin rush.

This blue ring was a find in a charity shop in Exeter. Next time you're wondering if it's worth having a look in your local charity shop, remember this little beauty.

My daughter Sasha and I recently spent a lovely weekend in Exmouth, someplace neither of us had previously visited. We shopped (surprise), ate out and had a lovely morning wandering along the promenade where we came across these amazing kite surfers. The sun shone, and their sails danced across the pale blue sky making a fantastic display. Exmouth was teaming all sorts of exercise addicts - we saw a group out rollerblading and a cycling club was in evidence too. All this fresh air seemed to enliven and invigorate the residents. We also watched a lady emerge from the sea after her morning dip and I did feel a pang of envy as it had been a little while since my last sea swim on the islands.

Anyway, back to that shopping. My blue biker jacket was probably one of my most exciting purchases during my trip away. I seem to have a theme emerging with this shopping fest as jackets keep turning up which are just too good to miss. In addition to this one and my previously featured black leather jacket I also bought a brown bomber jacket, but more of that another time...The obvious styling for the blue jacket was of course to don a pair of jeans and flats for a modern biker look. I haven't tried out the rock chick look before so it did feel like dressing up in a very different way - I like it! 

The jeans were a new (recycled) purchase and nearly broke the bank at £1. In stretch denim with a retro snow wash finish these were allegedly two sizes too big for me, but I knew they were worth trying on just in case. They fit like a glove and the slight looseness in the waist was remedied by my two tone suede belt which adds a great pop of colour. The psychedelic print shirt was the other perfect retro piece needed to compliment the outfit. I finished the get up with my old favourite orange perspex necklace and some rings that I'd found in the local charity shops. This was a fun look, one I'll be sporting again.

Jacket: TK Maxx. Jeans: charity shop. Shirt: eBay. Shoes: Office. Belt: Benetton. Necklace: old. Rings: charity shop. Sunglasses: Quay Australia. Handbag: TK Maxx.


How to do TK Maxx

This leather jacket is a dream of a fit and the softest of leather. I think the puff sleeves are a great homage to the eighties and the flat frill is a cute addition to what is a very feminine shape. I came across the jacket in a charity shop in Truro and was happy to pay £20 for something so original and also because it looked as if it was almost new. The jacket is satin lined, but is still very lightweight. 

And the harem pants. Well I've been hankering after a pair of these for months now. I saw a woman wearing a fantastic pair in the early part of the summer and I thought they were my ideal harem pants. They were that heavy duty linen that's also soft, but really substantial. Hers were a kind of lilac colour and I wished later that I'd just asked her where she got them. Anyway they've been on my mind for months, been my search item every time I've been idling away a spare ten minutes on eBay and still no success. Until my recent trip to the mainland.

I wasn't actually looking for harem pants as I went around town last week. I was on a shopping trip yes, but shopping on a budget is more about looking out for interesting pieces rather than the specifics which you might not be able to afford. For me I'd rather have holidays, meals out and treats than expensive clothes, but if I can find great clothes on a shoestring then it's a win, win situation. So after a good morning in the charity shops I headed off into TK Maxx where I'm often lucky in finding something quirky in the shoe department. This time I hit the jackpot with these amazing black harem pants which were just made to measure.

These are a very fine, drapey material, probably man made, but a perfect shape which hangs beautifully. All thoughts of bulky linen faded the minute I clapped eyes on them. The rivets and studs on the waist are actually poppers as the front is a belt that covers the entire front of the trousers and over the zip too. It neatens the waist making for a snug fit. And best of all they have pockets. That whole slouchy, relaxed look can only be achieved if you've got nice, deep pockets. I would never have found them if it wasn't for my friend Bo who showed me the ropes in that big shopping challenge known as TK Maxx. They were on the final clearance rack, marked as a size 16 and I would have passed right over them without her guidance.She taught me how to "do" TK after I told her I found it all a bit overwhelming - 
1 Pick up a trolley as you go in.
2 Put your coat and bag into trolley
3 Start at the front of the store and go through every rack and every size.
4 If you like the look of it (regardless of the size) put it in your trolley.
5 Finish with the shoes and don't try any on, just pop them in the trolley.
6 Hit the changing room.
7 Try on all of one group ie skirts, tops, dresses. Makes for easier and quicker undressing.
8 Once you've whittled it down to your chosen clothes, only then do you take the shoes in to try with them.
9 Finally be brutal with your decision making. Do you really love it? Does it make your heart skip a beat? Don't squander your cash on something that you quite like. Love it or leave it!

And so I've completed the look with this art inspired polo neck and my favourite silver brogues. 

The jewellery today is my Tiffany hearts necklace and two rings I scooped up in the charity shop fest. 

All in all, my mainland trip provided a great wardrobe boost and I hope will keep me and you inspired over the forthcoming months. I would love to hear your thoughts about any of today's pieces - if you're a fan of harem pants or silver brogues, or if you're not. Any feedback or comments, it would be great to hear from you!

Jacket: charity shop. Trousers: TK Maxx. Top: eBay. Shoes: Office. Tiffany silver necklace: charity shop. Rings: charity shop.

Linking with 
Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb


Shopping, haircut and a fabulous fashionista!

What a bargain!

Eight new jackets - all stocked up for the season ahead.

Just a couple of pairs of shoes to keep me going...

And this is Denise, a fabulous fashionista I met whilst shopping.

Matthew takes a couple of snaps of his handiwork.

I recently had a little jaunt to the mainland which wouldn't be complete without a quick rush around the shops and a visit to the hairdresser. As you can see both of these were accomplished with great success and I even had the pleasure of meeting up with Denise when I was scouring the racks in TK Maxx. I complimented her on her great hat as we were standing side by side, and when she stepped back to speak to me I was bowled over by her fantastic outfit. Now this lady really does know how to put an outfit together! Denise went on to tell me that she wears the hat to protect her eyes as she has a severe degenerative condition affected by the light. When I complimented her on how wonderful she looked she told me she's 62 and says she wants to make an effort every day and how it's a shame that so many older women just can't be bothered. She wasn't sure about being photographed for my blog as she kept on repeating I'm 62, I'm 62. "So what?" I answered, "I'm 57 and clearly should be taking lessons from you." Denise dresses to please herself, and takes such pride in her clothes. She went on to tell me that the suit she was wearing belonged to her grandmother. What a wonderful lady. I hope that everyone she meets enjoys the effort she has taken just to pop out to her local shops. Well done Denise - what a pleasure it was to meet such a fabulous fashionista!


Pink brogues

Cooler days mean adding the extra layer of cardi/jacket/coat and this morning all I really needed was this lightweight trenchcoat. I love the pastel shades of yellow and pink which I've picked up in my accessories. The trench was a unexpected find in Primark. I sometimes have a wander through there when I pop in to buy work jeans for Steve. My initial reaction is often of panic as it's so busy and always stuffed full to the point that I don't know where to start. Anyway this coat was hanging on the end of a rack all on it's own so I didn't have to do much rummaging. I think it's a take on a more upmarket brand and not badly done either.

And the pink patent brogues are worth a mention too. I bought them recently from the online H&M sale and they popped up when I added something else to my basket. What a clever ploy to give you suggestions of what to wear with your chosen items! I wouldn't have gone looking for pink anything, but these just looked so cute. I thought I might take fright when I saw them in the flesh as I was worried that they might be bubblegum pink, but this is muted enough for me to wear. I've teamed them up with a couple of odd things which I've never been worn before. I class these as non outfit clothes, just-in-case casuals which are on standby when I don't know what to wear. I tried the oriental print top on and decided to mix the look up with the straight legged crops. So today I'm doing checks, stripes, flower print and accent colours of yellow and pink. It's pretty much a surprise get-up for me, a real mish mash, but I like it.

Trenchcoat: Primark. Trousers: charity shop. Top: charity shop. Brogues: H&M. Scarf: M&S. Bag: charity shop. Shell pendant: charity shop. Art deco flower braclet and ring: Dorothy Perkins. Multi colour ring: old.

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