A girl can never have too many shoes!

A girl can never have too many shoes!

Monday, 30 August 2010

The back up plan

When in doubt, wear red. ~ Bill Blass

So this bank holiday I suffered the age-old problem that women face - a night out with the girls, a wardrobe of clothes but nothing to wear!

All the girls had their outfits planned (various versions of the LBD) and had bought something new to wear for the night.  I had my heart set on finding a dress but with limited choices available in Blackpool my search failed.  I am, what you would call a plus-size girl, not through choice, so finding a style that fits and is flattering can be a struggle. 

Having endometriosis has had an impact on my body shape; a resulting large stomach operation has meant that I have little muscle tone in my midriff section. So finding a good, tailored outfit to flatter my figure is a priority but is this what the shops offer?  Sadly no,  its really limited, you might find the perfect dress available in sizes 6 - 22 but as the sizes increase, so the style of the dress is altered beyond the initial design.  Why do most plus size dresses resemble sacks rather that include tailoring that can flatter or enhance aspects of a figure like a small waist?  Just because you are plus size doesn't mean you don't deserve to wear fashionable clothes.  I know that there are stores providing fashion for plus sizes including Evans but I still don't feel that you can still buy that perfect dress unless you are under size 16.

After a fruitless search of the shops I decided to use my 'fall-back' dress, a £16 bargain dress bought from Matalan around four years ago.  Its black with a lovely red and white flower print on it.  I've worn it in winter and summer, for weddings and parties . . . its served me well.  I've even loaned it to friends.  As the sun was forecast to be out for the day, I decided to wear black tights and treated myself to some red patent heels to brighten up the outfit - as Bill said when in doubt, wear red! Sadly I'm a bit disappointed with the survival rate of these shoes on the Blackpool street.  Fair enough at £25 from Dorothy Perkins, they were a quick and cheap fix to a wardrobe dilemma but they have been easily scratched and and are already marked. I do love high street shoes, and haven't had many problems with Dorothy Perkins shoes until now but wouldn't recommend these as a future purchase.  I love patent heels and have a few in my collection, even cheaper than this pair, that are in better condition.  Its made me realise that the quick option isn't always the cheaper option.  I need better willpower to save money that I would normally spend on high street and invest in more expensive shoes that have a better shelf life!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sharing the love

This pair of heels I acquired on my search for the perfect pair of nude shoes (I've yet to find a pair I'd really like but perhaps I'll renew my search when its my fortieth next year, maybe my husband will treat me to some Jimmy Choos!?).  Anyway, I've had these shoes a few years now but they've been languishing at the top of my wardrobe and I've not really used them.  These shoes lasted through a long girl's weekend in Majorca  so it seems a shame to just leave them on the shelf.  Luckily my younger sister is a similar shoe size to me and has taken the nude trend to heart, so my shoes are getting a second airing.  Usually I only get rid of shoes when they are basically not fit for purpose but its nice to pass this pair on for a new lease of life! 

As its the bank holiday, I'm off out with the girls for a few drinks, the outfits have been planned and the nude shoes are making an appearance too.  I hope you are all having a glamorous and fab weekend too!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Shoe of the week

I'm nominating these beauties available from Debenhams.  The Black Cairo High Heels  by Miss KG and priced at £70.  I'm not usually a fan of wedge heels but I spotted Drew Barrymore wearing a similar pair with skinny trousers on the Alan Carr show the other night and really liked them.  I think they'll be fabulous with your Autumn outfits!

I have a real style crush on Drew, she can do casual or chic glamour so easily and she looked gorgeous at her latest film premiere.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The philosophy of car boots

I must write a disclaimer to this post first, this is a tongue-in-cheek post based on a couple of experiences I've had recently at car boot sales. I know that a lot of people can find great bargains at these sale and are just regular normal people but my recent stalls has had some quite quirky customers . . .

We've probably got a few more weekends this year to take advantage of the almost sunny weather, clear out the clutter and make some money at local car boot sales.  I've recently done two car boots and now know how to make the most out of a car boot sale.  The first car boot sale I would say was my litmus test and then, by the second sale I really got my sales technique perfected.  These are my tips for a great sales day:
  • price up your merchandise before placing out for sale, it reduces the haggling of prices, customers have a firm idea of what you want them to pay and you more often than not you get the price you want. It took my niece and I hours to label all our items but it did the trick!
  • clothes, costume jewellery, handbags, and shoes are key items that sell at car boots, as long as they are in a decent condition then someone will want to buy them;
  • don't expect to sell stuff for big amounts, if you've got something that you want to make a profit on then that's what's ebay is for;
  • Be pleasant and make small talk, not only does it make the day go quicker but it also helps build up a customer relationship;
  • To make more out of your sales, match up items to create outfits, this worked for me and generated more sales.
  • Make labels to provide more info on your item eg Monsoon 100% silk, this again helps create a sale and sometimes explains why you want a bit more cash for it;
  • Don't go alone, it helps to have someone manning the store while you put to the loo or someone to share the fun with;
  • People will visit your stall and forget that they are at a car boot sale and expect that you will have the same pair of shoes in various sizes, it happened to me!
  • People will also ignore the fact that your products are laid out of paste tables, held in assorted boxes and feel that they are visiting Harvey Nicks and expect first class service while displaying few manners themselves,
  • That sometimes you won't make a sale because you have standards. One visitor to my stall completely complained and disrespected my products then proceeded to tell me how much she was going to give me for them (far less then I wanted) I politely told her that I would rather throw them in the bin than sell them for that price! On my second sale, I sold the items for the price I wanted to a far nicer customer;
  • prepare for all weather condition: take wellies, take flip-flops, wear layers, take sun cream and have a float made up of pounds and silver coins;
  • take a cooler bag of food and a hot flask of tea to last you through the day, unfortunately those freshly made donuts and hot carvery sandwiches will both tempt you and make you spend your well-earned profits!
  • Look around your home and your wardrobe, if its not tied down or you've lost the love for an item then get it in the boot!
Now with the August Bank Holiday approaching this might be one of the best opportunities to get to a sale and sell, sell, sell! So enjoy the weekend and happy car booting!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

In your dreams

The current Heineken advert makes me chuckle, its a couple who moved into their new home and are showing their friends around.  It involves the girl showing off her walk-in closet while her boyfriend shows off his dream 'closet' to his mates. I love the friend who is skipping and clapping his hands with joy!

Have your better half suggesting converting a room to house a Heineken closet?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Ending a weekend on a high

It sometimes amazes me how much you can achieve with so little. This weekend has been extremely hectic, I've helped move my sister and her two boys into their new home - furniture, clothes, etc with just two cars, a few people and lots of determination!  With my mum, sister, Aunt and good friend Linzi we put together furniture, unpacked boxes and navigated stairs with cumbersome beds.  I have to say that the star of the show was my nephew Thomas, at sixteen he is the 'little man' of the family (although nearly hitting 6', perhaps he's not so little anymore).  He's a bit of a maths genius and he seems to be able to apply this to putting together television cabinets or working out the right angles to get a bed base up a narrow staircase.  He handled himself well with the gaggle of women he had to work with!  My dad would have been very proud of him.  It was exhausting but rewarding work, providing my sister and the boys with a great new-beginning after the past few years of heartbreak and hardship. 

Sunday afternoon became my day of rest, I treated myself to a movie catch-up and watched The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock. I've posted the trailer below.  Sandra received an Oscar for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy who takes on a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Both Tuohy's family and 'Big Mike' benefit from this experience, with Mike fulfilling dreams that seemed impossible -to receive an education, succeed in American Football, to have the love of a family and be understood.  The film is uplifting, makes you believe in fulfilling dreams and that 'family' can be unconvential and still important.  If you haven't seen the film, I dare you to watch and not be moved!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Match made in heaven?

Jimmy Choo is collaborating with Uggs, with their collection launching this October. It looks like Nicky Hilton got her pair early and tweeted a picture. To be honest, I'm not sure if I like her pair, that are embellished with stars and has fringing detail but I'd be interested to see what the full collection looks like.

Looks like you'd get the glamour of Jimmy Choo and the comfort of the Uggs for a price tag of £695, too high for my pursestrings I'm afraid but let me know if you're planning a purchase.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Bag of the Week

For this week only, I've replaced my Shoe of the Week with the Bag of the Week.

 Inspired by another item spotted in Grazia, The LoLA clutch from Notting Hill Design is just simply gorgeous and is rather expensive but has that bit of red-carpet glamour that every girl needs.  Sorry I couldn't post a picture but I've done a little bit of research and found the Notting Hill Design blog where there's a post explaining the inspiration behind the bag. 

While I can't afford a LoLA clutch (sadly I would have to sell my car three times over to match the price) I liked reading the stories behind the design, maybe you will too.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Put on your dancing shoes

My friend Jo passed me the latest copy of Grazia and its inspired a couple of posts, so here's the first!

How I wish I had a trip planned to London in September, there's a new show that sounds right up my street and matches my blog theme!

Shoes is a new show by the Sadler's Wells Dance Company.  Inspired by woman's love of shoes from Louboutins, trainers, platforms to crocs, there are 32 song and dance numbers inspired by shoes written by the man behind Jerry Springer the Musical.  You can book tickets online and there are a couple of video clips worth checking out that explain the story behind Shoes. The gallery pictures of the dancers are fabulous and I would definitely want some of the shoes featured in the show.  It would have been great if they'd done an X-Factor style audition, I've have applied but I would probably have struggled to choose what pair from my collection would be my perfect dancing companion.

Is anyone being a dancing queen and going to Shoes?

Monday, 16 August 2010

No limit to grief

It's been over three and half years since I last saw my dad, after he lost his battle against lung cancer.  I miss him just as much today as I did those first few weeks after his death.  Its particularly painful when I am stressed, I forget that he isn't around anymore to talk to, I actually forget that he's dead.  Losing such a close family member is such a tremendously hard and life-changing experience that sadly all of us will go through during our lifetime.  My dad was relatively young when he died, (six months short of his 60th birthday), it seems unfair that he didn't get to live out and enjoy his retirement years with my mum. 

This past weekend and week have been painful reminders of how bereavement effects those left behind.   I visited my grandma, who will be 90 next year.  She misses my father so much, due to the early death of my grandfather, my dad helped bring up his younger sisters.  He was a key part of her life that's missing now, there's not a simple fix that exists to fill that gap.

Another friend has lost her father this week, I struggled to at first find words of comfort, my own father's death seemed so raw, that I didn't want to impose my own feelings of grief with hers.  It didn't seem right that I have had three years to deal with it while she is suffering now.   It made me realise that no matter the length of time, it doesn't determine how long you will grieve, anyone who tells you different - ignore them.

Sorry for such a downbeat post, sometimes writing down words than expressing them is somehow easier.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Shoe of the week

It's that time again, time to nominate my shoe of the week!

It gives me great pleasure to nominate these bad boys from Aldo,  The Geringer is available in three colours Ice, Taupe, and Dark Brown.  The Taupe pair are priced at £85 while the other two colours have been reduced to £47.98.  Nominated due to my love of a buckled shoe . . . Its as simple as that!

Keeping up with the trends

With my obsession with shoes, I'm always checking out what everyones wearing on their feet.  I thought that I might do a few mini interviews every so often, to find out about everyone's shoe habits. 

I haven't really fallen in love with the clog trend this year (although I can confirm that I did have some red clogs growing up in the seventies). but I spotted my friend Linzi sporting these chocolate brown clogs with her skinny jeans.  These weren't a new purchase but a pair she'd bought a couple of years ago but now with this summer's trend for the wooden heels she's had the perfect excuse to try them out.  They're not the most comfy of shoes so more like taxi-to-bar-taxi-to-home event planning is needed if she is going to wear them.  Some shoes are worth keeping just in case there's a chance that the trend will come around again!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

To read and write is precious

The other night I watched the film Precious, I missed this at the cinema but I'm really glad to have watched it on DVD now.

The film is about a 16 year old girl who's pregnant with her second child, has been abused, is illiterate and thrown out of school as they simply don't know what to do with her.  She's sent to an alternative school where the possibility of a better life can finally be seen, where creating a new family isn't about a bond tied by blood.  The words brought to mind after watching this film are hopeful, bittersweet, inspiring, heartbreaking . 

While its not based on a true story, its based on a book written by a literacy teacher who met girls like Precious and wanted to write a story behind the statistics that people read about, to make them think about the person behind the statistic.

It made me think about the things I take for granted, the power to read and write without thought or struggle -  I truly believe that knowledge is power.   That I can read and share knowledge with others is a privilege, its hard to consider that still now in the age of the digital generation that there will be people who don't have this luxury.  So next time i put pen to paper or read the written word, I'll count my blessings

The film may not be everyone's cup of tea but I do recommend that it is worth a watch.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Can anyone lend me £500million pounds?

I read this article today, its rumoured that Tamara Mellon is gearing up to sell Jimmy Choo.  I'm sure I'd make a great shoe-shopkeeper, although I'd be concerned about my profit margin mainly because I would want to keep all the shoes to myself.  I'd probably want to move into the shop too so I could surround myself with shoes. 

If I could find some fellow shoe-lovers who are thinking the same thing, then perhaps we could club together and buy Jimmy Choo.  At this present time, I've got £10 to kick-start my funding bid, I just need to find at least 500 million shoe-lovers to put in a £1 each and we are on our way! Hey a girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Practice makes perfect

This weekend, I've been concentrating on my plan to become a domestic goddess.  I thought I would get a bit of practice in baking cupcakes, before baking a batch to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Action Cupcake Break campaign.  The campaign is encouraging people to bake cupcakes and arrange social events to raise money.  As I have an obsession with cupcakes, I thought this would be an ideal way to raise money, while enjoying one of my favourite food groups!  I'm planning to bake some cupcakes and sell them to people at work to eat during their coffee break.

I made two batches of cupcakes using the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook which I can highly recommend for easy to follow and scrumptious recipes.  I think its about £4 in the shops so a bargain buy to help trainee domestic goddesses!  I think that the UK Hummingbird Bakery is in Soho, perhaps one day I'll be lucky enough to visit for a cupcake or two - has anyone visited it?

I made two batches of cakes for family and work colleagues to test, I'm pretty pleased with the results but I'll wait and see what my test-audience thinks!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Shoe of the week

Its time to nominate my favourite shoe of the week!  These
    ALICE Denim Pleat Leather Boots are available at   ASOS for £110.00.  I can't explain why, even my husband doesn't agree, but I just like them. 

Maybe its because if I got them and wore them, it would be like I was doing the whole 'shoe and sock' trend thing (like Fearne Cotton and Blair Waldorf) and getting away with it at my age!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Ode to Mad Men

I have to admit that I'm not an avid follower of Mad Men, but I do love the style and fashion used and inspired by the programme.  Since the new season has just been launched on US TV, there's been loads of press and magazine coverage about how you can emulate the 'Mad Men' style. So I looked at a couple of vintage items to see if I had anything to work with.  I've had this vintage bag (bought from a Barnados shop) residing at the top of my wardrobe for a couple of years now.  Its a quite old but in fantastic condition, very lady chic. 

As fashion is taking inspiration from Mad Men,  I've finally got a great excuse to give my bag a proper airing.  The magazines seem full of similar style bags, so perhaps I don't have to indulge in retail therapy to meet the trend and channel my inner 'Joan' (Mad Men fans will know who I'm talking about).  I just added a scarf and was ready to go!  I'm just grateful that the our office has computers rather than typewriters, I don't think my words per minute would be up to scratch for Sterling, Cooper and Co!

Is anyone else taking inspiration from Mad Men?

Monday, 2 August 2010

Total Film Weekend

As we are still waiting for the glorious British summer to begin, I spent the weekend in, rather than enjoy drinks is a nice pub garden or  a BBQ in the sun. With torrential rain on Friday evening and the rest of the weekend dull and overcast (I'm starting to sound like a weather girl!)  I decided to indulge my inner film geek and catch up on a couple of new releases.  Friday night was spent at the cinema where my friend Kath and I watched The A Team.  This film is exactly what I expected  - just fun, loud explosions and over the top stunts.  Its what I like to class as an 'easy listening' film - you don't have to think about the message that film is trying to bring out or that the plot is so twisty you need to focus entirely on the film so you don't miss anything (word of warning that a friend has just seen Inception and taking a loo break mid film does mean that you will lose the plot trail!).  The A Team starred Bradley Cooper who can definitely rock a three-piece suit!  We complemented the film with some Ben and Jerrys ice cream - Fairly Nuts their fairtrade flavour is definitely one scoop to try or maybe two scoops is you really want to treat yourself.

Saturday night, I spent with my sister, friend Linzi and nephews.  We had a bit of a retro night as my nephew requested having a fondue for tea, surprising choice for a ten year old, I honestly expected KFC or pizza.  If you haven't had a fondue before, its a really sociable way to eat.  Its something that my parents did with me and my sisters as young children and its seems to be a small  family tradition that is carrying on.  The evening entertainment was The Bounty Hunter with Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston and Clash of the Titans with Liam Neeson.  Both were okay films, not brilliant but a good way to pass the evening.  My sister and Linzi were both pleased to get their Gerry Butler fix.

Okay now the films I watched this weekend will never be critically acclaimed so I'm hoping that I can plead redemption with my final film-type thing I did this weekend.  I recorded a documentary on the Bio channel called Jaws:The Inside Story.  This two-hour documentary explained how Steven Spielberg brought the film to life.  I'm a big Spielberg fan with Jaws being in my top ten list of all-time favourite films. Jaws was the first summer blockbuster movie in the Seventies with its special effects, story of the everyman small town sheriff saving his town from the unseen menace.  My parents and aunties went to see Jaws and the pictures and recall jumping out of their seats at the key moments in the film. To be honest, it still makes me jump now despite countless viewings.  The documentary is worth watching, showing how this young director brought together all these talented people to make a film that set the trail blazing for films with special effects that we watch now such as Jurassic Park.  The only problem I have today, is that perhaps we are all spoilt and expect the best effects so that the surprise element that those cinema audiences in the seventies got when watching Jaws is something that we will never experience.  As a bit of nostalgia, I've posted the Jaws trailer for you to enjoy!.