Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or treat?

Do you remember these H&M cobweb tights that I blogged about at the end of August? OK, the picture is a little blurred, but I thought I'd share it with you because it makes me smile. I look like a crazy bird about to take flight!

Anyway, I was gutted when said tights had a run-in with the washing machine and were ruined beyond wear. RIP o lovely punk-goth, Rodarte-esque hosiery. You looked so good.

But, as a slight consolation, I sought comfort from the Urban Outfitters' spider-web tights that I mentioned recently. I have to admit, they're not as good as the H&M ones (which had finer cobweb strands and were more elasticated for a snug fit around the legs), but as a replacement they're pretty good. Plus, they were just a fiver in the sale (reduced from £12).

Cobwebs = the new fishnets, don't you think? What's more, they're perfect for Halloween. I'll be wearing them with this fab 'BOO' tee from French Connection (below, £25). I love the ghoulish font. There's also a monochrome long-sleeved version with 'EEK!' (a word I use often, though I don't think it's appeared in this blog until now) in ghoulish red letters.

Oh, before I forget, as a Halloween treat (as opposed to trick), Urban Outfitters is offering free shipping on all UK online orders. But you have to be quick - the offer ends on Sunday 1st November.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cheap Ugg boots

Remember my Ugg stockist of choice, Shudoo, that I blogged about last week? Well, I've got some good news for you... this internet shoe retailer has extended its 20% discount to include ALL brands. Yep, no exclusions, not even on Uggs.

The offer has been extended to 2nd November, too. But hurry, orders need to by placed by 12pm on Monday at the latest. Just enter MYSHUDOO at checkout to get the reduction.

Right, I'm off to get some more tall Uggs. Black? Grey? Or navy? Hell, I just can't decide!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pump up the volume

When my friend Claire emailed me a picture of her new Zara ballet pumps (below), I headed straight to the store... and fell head over heels for this electric-blue pair (above). Made of leather, it's snakeskin-style texture reminds me of a Lanvin shoe but at the more reasonable price of £49.90. Its vibrant colour is both a winter pick-me-up and reassuringly expensive-looking.

Zara's velvet pumps in the vivid shades of electric blue and regal purple are similarly luxurious and just £19.90 a pop.

As for Claire's leather pumps (£49.90), I love the contradiction of those rock'n'roll studs with the elegance of the shoe, the criss-cross pattern of the metalwork imitating this season's popular quilted styles, and the fact that they look strikingly similar to a pair by Jimmy Choo for H&M which aren't even available yet! (But take note, the Choos are £49.99 and go on sale on Saturday 14th November).

French Sole and Pretty Ballerinas should take note. As the go-to labels for ballet pumps, and charging a premium for the privilege, maybe they should be extending their repertoires to include studs and a little bit of attitude. I'd like to see some exquisite beading, too. We've had the statement necklace, so how about the statement ballet pump? I'm picturing a luxe gold silk shoe embellished with crystals and paste stones. What do you think?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This weekend I'm rocking...

...these Fair Isle socks from Uniqlo. I was bitterly disappointed when I realised I'd missed out on the knee-length version (sooo cute) of this style, but gladly snapped these up instead. They'll be the perfect accompliment for my new shorter Uggs. Sweet, aren't they? Made of extra-fine cotton, they're satisfying thick and just £6.99 for a pack of three. Bargainous.

It's Ugg season

My friend Em and I are divided when it comes to Ugg boots. She's a chestnut girl, while for me it's black all the way. But one thing we're agreed on is the classic tall version. Extra sheepskin to keep us cosy? Yes, please!

But, breaking with tradition, I asked the Stickman for a pair of classic short Uggs... in chestnut for my birthday (back in March) and now it's time to see how we get on. Hell, if we don't, they'll be a rather expensive pair of slippers - or Em, they'll be heading your way!

If you're wondering why on earth I'd be asking for a pair of Uggs in springtime, it's simple:
a) My Ugg boot dealer, Shudoo, was offering 20% off
b) I know, from previous experience, that Ugg stocks get depleted come this time of year, so you could call it forward-planning

Anyway, let me share my top supplier of Ugg boots with you, as I've discovered 20% and 30% discounts from this internet retailer in the past. Launched last year, Shudoo quickly became the place to go for cheap Uggs - thanks to its promotions and also recommendations from Martin Lewis' website,

As well as stocking Uggs and its own line of sheepskin boots, called Jumbuck (cheaper than Uggs and just as cosy, with cute braiding on its short and tall versions), Shudoo offers lots of big-name brands such as Dune, Carvela, Bertie, Converse, Birkenstock, Havaianas, FitFlop, Hunters, French Sole, Pretty Ballerinas... you get the picture.

And, for the next week (until Friday 30th October), you can enjoy 20% off! Just enter MYSHUDOO at checkout to get your discount. Sadly, Ugg and a few other brands are excluded.

I'd also recommend signing up for Shudoo's newsletter as each time there's a deal going down, you'll hear about it first. And, if, like me, you're happy to stock up on Uggs out of season, I noticed that it ran some great reductions on sheepskin boots this summer.

Oh, and did I mention that Shudoo offers free delivery? Beats traipsing to the Ugg flagship stores in Manchester and London's Covent Garden and Westfield - the latter had to draft in extra security to deal with the queues when it opened last year!

Next on my Ugg shopping list? I'm tempted by the new Ugg Bailey Button style, but I think it will have to be some more classic talls - grey or the new shade of navy perhaps? Or maybe just black again!

PS. The socks are from Gap from a few years ago - with big fat hearts creating an alternative take on the argyle pattern (I'm a hearts and flowers girl through and through!).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Almost vintage

Sweater dresses. They're everywhere. But this is no ordinary sweater dress. Thanks to antique-style lace and tiny pearl beads, this simple cotton-knit dress is a far more elegant creature.

Of course, it helps that this LBD has a flattering V-front and back and the merest hint of sleeves to discreetly cover up the shoulders. The pretty lace embellishment on both sides accentuates the decolletage and the flash of flesh below the nape of the neck. And the stretchy fine-knit fabric gently hugs the figure to create a sexy silhouette.

For me, it's the perfect day-to-night dress. I'd team it with a biker jacket and boots to give it a dressed-down, grungy daytime look and swap for heels and a hero jacket for evening.

And for those of you who are pregnant (like my friend Amanda), I think this chic yet understated dress could be your party season saviour. Not only does it deliver on the comfort factor, it offers a flattering fit - and one that will make the most of your baby bump.

With it's vintage look, you'd never guess it was just £40 from Topshop. And, if you're loving the exquisite detailing, £40 will also get you the matching cardie, which uses the lace as a intricate collar around the front and neck. A cool classic.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sports star

I was browsing my local House of Fraser store this weekend when I noticed it now stocks Adidas by Stella McCartney. Alongside labels such as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Jaeger, it's like shopping at Selfridges (almost!).

Given that I'm not a very sporty person, I haven't paid much attention to this particular designer/high-street collaboration, which started back in February 2005 and is, by all accounts, going from strength to strength. But, laid out on House of Fraser's shop floor, even I had to stop and look - and I was tempted to kit myself out and take up exercise on the spot. Why? Because Stella has the knack of making workout sweats look sexy - and soooo appealing.

While I didn't stock up on her skimpy runny shorts, I was instantly drawn to the vivid cherry red of this hoodie. If I'm slobbing out, I want to do it in style - in this! I love its voluminous hood (in the style of the Scottish Widows cape) - perfect for bad hair days, the fat shoelace hoodie strings - tied in a chic bow, the extra-long cuffs - ideal for pulling over cold hands, and concealed side pockets - so much more chicer than a kangaroo pouch. And, because it's Stella, it goes without saying that it's made out of 100% organic cotton.

All for £65. Not bad for a piece of Stella McCartney - especially as the designer rates her Adidas by Stella McCartney range so highly it hangs alongside her fashion label in her boutiques. Which I like.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Naughty but nice

You gotta love Lily Allen. Just the other week, when Rihanna wore, let's face it, some rather uncomfortable-looking suspenders with her thigh-high boots during Paris Fashion Week, Lil worked the underwear-as-outerwear trend in a far more practical manner - with a pair of Chantal Thomass tights designed with a trompe l'oeil suspender motif - and pulled it off with such aplomb she looked as sexy as hell.

Now, while Lily's hosiery from the chic French lingerie label will set you back £42, I've stumbled upon a cheaper, fun alternative (while searching for those elusive mustard-yellow crocheted tights!) and it has all the hallmarks of a designer/high-street collaboration, too.

House of Holland has teamed up with Pretty Polly to produce a collection of tights, including Henry Holland's own version of the mock stocking (above). Launched at London Fashion Week in February, the tights are distinctly House of Holland in their branding, style and attitude and have been worn by the likes of Agyness Deyn and Pixie Geldof - and they're yours for just £10. Now that the big chill has come, I think they're really coming into their own. I mean, what warmer way to wear suspenders, eh? Just add stilettos for a sexy secretary look, or go grunge with Doc Martens or biker boots.

And, if the Chanel s/s 2010 catwalk show (where Lily Allen sang) is anything to go by, we'll be seeing more decorative hosiery next season - Karl Lagerfeld presented us with tights printed with tattoos and ballerina-style ribbons. Time to show off those legs!

(Btw, this isn't me modelling the tights - I have the lovely people at Pretty Polly to thank for the picture!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hitting the right cords

Corduroy is my guilty pleasure. It's comforting and casual. Which is maybe why I honed straight in on this dress in the Gap sale, reduced from £36.50 to £19.99.

Like all good smock dresses, it has the prerequisite pockets (an essential in my book). And the empire-line smocking detail (both front and back) and on the sleeves gives the dress shape and definition. Add the velvety softness of cord and it's a winner of a day dress.

With a choice of softest grey or deepest purple, I'm in corduroy heaven. I love the rich opulence of purple, so intense it's almost black, but I've got a thing about mustard and grey for autumn, so I'm picturing a pair of pretty yellow crocheted tights perking up the sombre grey. Who says cord can't be cool and chic, eh?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Animal attraction

I'm slowly but surely finding the animal within me (see my August blog, The Marmite effect). And, unlike a leopard, I'm changing my spots - or rather I'm embracing them. Which is how I found myself with this leopard-print cardie from M&S's Limited Collection. It's loud and rather un-me, but I like it. And it was a bargain in the store's mid-season sale (they're starting everywhere, with M&S's beginning this week), down from £25 to just £12.

Colour is the way to wear animal print this season - the brighter, the better. I'm taking my lead from Christopher Kane's s/s 2009 collection, where leopard-print cashmeres were served in cheerful colour combos; my favourite was orange and yellow, which has surely influenced my penchant for red.

In fact, I'm after a pair of red leopard-print leggings next (though not to wear with the cardie - that would be too OTT). I saw a shop assistant wearing some Topshop ones and they looked really cool. Sadly, they were seasons old.

I also spotted a pair on the tube that would have been perfect for a beginner like me. With baby leopard spots in grey on a paler grey background, it said animal print without being too shouty. I asked the wearer (who had teamed hers with cute shoe-boots) where they were from. Uniqlo it turns out. Yay! But, after traipsing to four different stores, it seems they were on sale weeks ago. Boo!

I guess I should have jumped onboard this animal trend a whole lot earlier. But how was I to know that I'd learn to love leopard print? As it is, we're still in the courting stage!

Btw, this is my neighbour's cat, Rose. She had a liking for leopard print, too, when I was trying to take photos in the garden this afternoon!

One for the weekend

I'm a sucker for stripes. It wasn't always this way but, lately, when I look into my wardrobe, I've got enough Breton stripes to turn my closet into one giant barcode! Still, I couldn't resist this latest addition - the waffly cotton, the soft jersey cuffs, the contrasting grey trim...

It's just £6.99 in Gap's mid-season sale, which started last week, reduced from £14.50. There are some great buys (I noted some cute stripy tees and checked shirt dresses), with up to 50% off - although a further reductions sign has appeared in the window in the last couple of days, signalling even better bargains to be had!

I feel like I should be in Prison Break in this black and white number - just give me a pair of matching leggings (ooh, how cosy would they be? Gap, do you do a pair?) and that's me sorted for the weekend. I'm picturing moi in prisoner chic, curled up on the sofa with the fire going. Bliss.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Little Blog Awards winner!

Look what arrived in the post yesterday! My egg-cup trophy from Dorset Cereals! It's official: is the Little Blog Awards winner for September!

So a heartfelt THANK YOU to all you lovely people out there who voted - and who return again and again to read this blog. It's very much appreciated.

x x x

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hello sailor

Remember last year's sailor coat from APC? Available in gold or white stripes, it was as cute as a button and as rare as gold dust, flying out of stores the minute the delivery hit the shop floor and selling out online.

Well, if you missed out, Topshop's only gone and issued a fairly good copy (above and below). And, at £70, it's a fraction of the price of its APC predecessor. Flirty and fun, it's the perfect antidote to the wet weather.

While I'm on the topic of replicas, the high-street giant has also done a pretty decent interpretation of Sonia Rykiel's a/w 2008 navy duffle coat (Lily Allen had one). The Topshop version (£80) has the same bright red toggles and comes with tartan lining. It's slightly longer, making it more Paddington Bear cute than Lily Allen cool, but duffle coats are always a winter winner and this one's as cosy as can be.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jil Sander for Uniqlo

Spring/summer 2005 was the last collection the fashion world saw from Jil Sander - until this Thursday. In November 2004, she walked out on the company she founded in 1973 and the label (then owned by Prada) has, since 2005, continued under Belgian designer Raf Simons.

Fast-forward five years and Jil Sander is back and collaborating with Uniqlo. The minimalist design, clean lines and subdued colour palette are all still there. The only difference is the price - Sander's +J collection for Uniqlo sells for a fraction of what her once own-label would have cost. So, for shoppers like you and me, who wouldn't have been able to afford one iota of the Jil Sander label of the 80s and 90s, we can now dress in her designs from head to toe.

So, what of this latest designer/high-street collaboration, coming as it does from a woman who, a year and a half ago, wasn't even aware of the global Japanese high-street chain?

Well, it undeniably says Jil Sander. As I emerged from the red-roped queue at Uniqlo's London Oxford Street store, a sea of utilitarian black, navy and grey greeted me - as distinct to Sander as the one-in-every-colour cashmeres and tees are to Uniqlo.

The cut is simple, the tailoring is smart and the fabric is reasonably good quality. It is a coup for Uniqlo to get Sander on board - if only to broaden its expertise from casual clothing to tailoring. But, like many designer/high-street collaborations, the prices are a tad inflated. And when an androgynous single-breasted jacket is selling for the same price as some of the coats, it doesn't take a genius to recognise the collection's best buys.

If you want a piece of Jil Sander, the smart choice is the coats. Selling for between £79.99 to £89.99, there's a wide range of styles from the classic trench to the pea coat to the long military styles and - my personal fave - a beautiful knee-length, double-breasted wool number (below, £89.99).

Other items like the skinny jeans (£29.99) and merino-wool sweaters (£24.99) are nice enough, but take away the +J label and these are classics that you can get elsewhere on the high street. No, the coats are the real steal. A Jil Sander winter statement for just two figures? Now that's a bargain.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

+J at Uniqlo launches today

Jil Sander's +J line launches in Uniqlo today. So sharpen those elbows as the German designer's mens and womenswear collections go on sale at 10am in three London stores: the two on Oxford Street and the one at Westfield.

But don't worry if you can't get to one of those shops as, not only is +J launching globally, it's also available online. So, for the price of delivery (£3.95), you can beat the stampede and shop from your desk.

With Sander's signature style of pure, simple design and minimalist, sharp tailoring on offer, this is one designer/high-street collaboration not to be missed. I've got my eye on the coats (from £79.99), especially the one in the promotional shots which is styled so-this season with a leather belt. There's also a tux jacket for £59.99. I can't wait to check it all out!


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