Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hats off to Marc by Marc Jacobs

I thought I'd make it a hat trick of blog entries today with this, er, hat. Yes, I know it's the hottest weekend of the year so far, but this bargain was irresistible, even if I'm not going to be able to wear it until the autumn comes around.

This cute beanie hat by Marc by Marc Jacobs was just £3! Yes, really! It's from the 'Special Items' range at the new Marc by Marc Jacobs London store which opened last month. At 56 South Audley Street in Mayfair, it's just a stone's throw from the main Marc Jacobs store.

I've only just managed to make the pilgrimage there, but walking into the store is rather like entering a sweet shop - or a deluxe pound shop. As well as the Marc by Marc Jacobs fashion line, the store is filled to the rafters with Special Items. These bargain buys are too numerous to list, but range from cute lipstick pens for just £1 and heart-shaped compact mirrors for £3 to cotton tote bags with some playful/ironic Jacobs branding for £14.

If you're liking the beanie, hurry as there weren't many left - yep, they're selling like hot cakes, even when the weather doesn't demand it! Oh, and did I mention that the hat's reversible, too? I'm looking forward to working stripes one day and plain steely grey the next. One designer label, two looks - all for £3. It's Christmas come early!

Four buttons and a Breton top

As Hollywood's best-dressed hit Cannes last week, I decided to work a touch of Riviera chic myself. Cue more Breton stripes from Gap. This time, a cute boatneck style for just a tenner.

Inspired by a nautical version from French label Petit Bateau (which was 38€!), I raided the button tin I'd inherited from the Stickman's grandma Ellen and set to work customising my Gap number. Two navy buttons stitched into place on each shoulder and the top was transformed. Simple, easy and quick.

All it took was four little buttons to make this top my own. Plus, it's given a casual jersey an air of Gallic charm. Très chic, non?

This season's white T-shirt

You can't beat a cool white T-shirt when the temperatures are soaring. And this oversized tee from H&M fits the bill nicely. Here's three reasons why:

1. Its metal square embellishment taps into the futuristic trend - a look that's set to run from this season into the next. I love how the op-art pattern looks like giant paste gemstones from afar, helping to up the ante on the T-shirt's luxe factor.

2. Its generous sizing rocks an 80s vibe, too - harking back to the decade where XL T-shirts were de rigueur. Reaching down to almost mid-thigh length, it's perfect for pairing with floral leggings by day or wet-look leggings by night, especially if you opt for the black version of this tee.

3. It makes a cool minidress (if you dare!) - certainly for the beach and on holiday, if not on the high street.

Oh, and it's made of organic cotton, too. Not bad for just £19.99.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Smalls for small change

For a cheap treat, how about these cute cotton knickers from Gap? The pretty print reminds me of Orla Kiely's designs and the colours are so summery. At just a fiver (well, £4.89 after the VAT adjustment), they're also part of a 3-for-2 offer - or if you've got a copy of this week's Grazia (just £1), use the Gap 30% discount voucher to knock the price down to a mere £3.42.

If you're loving the print as much as me, there's a matching bra, camisole and shorts, too. Plus, the design pops up in Gap's beach collection, on everything from bikinis and swimsuits to sundresses. With more retro-chic colours to choose from, just pick and mix.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fab finds for under a fiver

These two vintage bags have got to be my best bargains of the year so far. I got them both from eBay and, even with postage, they easily came in at under a fiver each. I kid you not! The tan leather satchel was just £2.70, while the black woven leather bag was a mere £1.24.

The adjustable strap on the satchel is genius - it allows me to use is as a shoulder bag or to carry it slung long across the body. With three compartments, one zipped, it's great for keeping my belongings neat and orderly.

As for the black bag, it may not hold much but I love its quirky charm. It's garnered many an appreciative glance and much comment, with people either wondering how to open it (the top flips up) or comparing it (favourably, I'd like to think) to a binocular case!

Their cool designs and gently lived-in state (a little worn, a lot loved) is what I like most about them - that and the price!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Little Blog Awards

I'm soooo excited! The Stickman secretly nominated my blog for the Little Blog Awards, run by Dorset Cereals, and my entry has been accepted. What a great surprise!

I'd love it if you could spend a few seconds to vote for me. As a thank you for voting, you could win yourself a whole case of yummy Dorset Cereal! It would be fun to win the prize trophy, or rather prize egg cup (with a seriously cute egg cosy!).

Just click on the egg cup below to vote...

Dorset Cereals little awards

Thanks so much! x x x

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pushing daisies

Excuse me if this comes across as a bit Gok's Fashion Fix, but I wanted to share my first make-do-and-mend project with you.

Take a plain bra and some lace trim and with a few careful stitches you've got yourself a pretty piece of lingerie. Easy! Or, to imitate Gordon Ramsay: Bra. Lace. Sew. Done. All in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea!

Whether you want an instant update for your existing underwear or need to buy bras on a budget, it really doesn't cost that much for nice undies.

This little project cost me just over £6 - for both the bra and the daisy lace trim!

Marks & Spencer is offering 25% off all bras until 25th May, so my already bargainous £15 two-pack was reduced by £3.75 and, after the VAT adjustment, it came in at £10.93 - that's just a couple of pence shy of £5.50 per bra!

As for the daisy trim, that was a mere 65p (£1.30 per m) from John Lewis. I was on the scout for a more luxurious lace, but couldn't scoff at such a cheap frill! I'm liking the mauve and white contrast (I tested the trimming wouldn't run in the wash by running a swatch under the hot tap first!). Maybe the second bra will have to benefit from a sexier (lacier) revamp, too.

Sweet hearts

Tried the Tabio heart tights with my M&S T-bars yesterday. Don't they look sweet? Thankfully, I didn't snag them, either. Phew! Am loving how the teeny-tiny hearts look like polka-dots from a distance. What a nice surprise when you see them close up!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I heart these

I had a bit of a mid-week splurge today. Blame it on the weather. One minute, it's gloriously sunny, the next it's cold and drizzly. It's just not warm enough for bare legs when the skies are having an off day, but not too cold for 60 deniers, either. Sheer tights are what I need.

So when I stumbled upon these sweet tights in the Tabio concession in Selfridges this lunch time, my heart almost skipped a beat. They'll look so cute with my M&S T-bars. Plus, they're exactly like the Viktor & Rolf for H&M ones (which came in red and in black).

At £8.50, they're not quite a bargain. But hey, 20 denier is the right direction towards bare legs and a teeny splurge of under a tenner doesn't really count, does it? Let's hope I don't ladder them on their first outing!

A word of advice: the sizing comes up small on this Japanese brand so buy bigger. And take your pick from brown and beige, too (although Tabio, red would be good!).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Summer dresses

There's nothing quite like the purchase of your first summer dress to bring the promise of sunshine, bare legs and good times ahead. Right now, my favourites are these from H&M.

I love the pop brights on the strapless number, the hidden side pockets and the price - just £24.99. Don't worry if a strapless dress isn't quite your style - the coolest way to wear this is over a tight white tee. Alternatively, with a little bit of sewing, you could turn the belt into a halterneck. This is the perfect summer festival frock.

As for the dress at the top, it's the graphic print I'm crazy about. Even more so, the pleat-front skirt. It's this tailored detail that makes the dress so special and worth every penny of it's £34.99 price tag. Oh, and the fact that it's got adjustable bra straps, a boned corset-style top and is fully lined. This dress is the perfect figure-shaper and definitely one for cocktail hour.

All that's left to do is add a tan!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sale shoes

Finding a pair of shoes when the shops are awash with summer sandals is a bit of a nightmare. But, on the plus side, stores are likely to be doing the hard push on out-of-season footwear. Which is what I discovered in (whisper) Marks & Spencer.

On the hunt for simple black shoes to go with my outfit for a wedding this weekend, I trawled the whole of Selfridges, finding nothing more than a boring court shoe and hundreds upon hundreds of sandals. A last-ditch attempt to buy something, anything, led me to M&S, which is where I discovered these sweet leather T-bars from its Autograph range.

OK, they may not be über-stylish, but they are a classic that will see me through many a season. And understated and elegant is just what I'm after. I'm liking the red ones better, especially as they have a contrasting wooden heel, but they clash terribly with my wedding outfit (a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress with orange crocheted flowers, which sounds mad/bad but is actually the most beautiful dress I own - after my wedding gown, of course - and is an amazing bargainista story I'll have to regale you with at some point).

Anyway, I decided to take both red and black T-bars because they'd been reduced from £45 to just £19 a pop! So two pairs of shoes for less than the price of one seemed like a very good deal to me. Let's hope I can wear them in before tomorrow!


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