Sensational Baby Boomers

Friday, 17 November 2017

AUTUMN/WINTER COATS & JACKETS



We are looking at lightweight coats and jackets this week before the big chill sets in as our weather forecasters tell us that the winter in the UK is going to be one of the coldest for many years.


Anne C is giving her trusty M&S Chanel-style jacket another outing before the weather gets too cold.  This lovely jacket was a bargain buy in the sales earlier this year, and works well with either tailored black trousers or jeans and a T-shirt. They don't have anything similar to this style this season, though they do have some tweed-style jackets here.


Her straight-leg denims are a budget buy from Florence & Fred at Tesco, while the boots are black patent mock crock from Faith, and are a couple of years old.



Anne H has for once admitted to a bit of an impulse buy while recently in John Lewis, but then she thinks they are often her most successful buys.  It was a particularly cold day and she was drawn to looking at the various quilted style coats in stock.  She loves these for cold winter days but doesn't like them to be too bulky as it is easy to look like a Michelin Man if you are anything over a size 10.  



This one, however, caught her eye as it is in a thinner material but is still made to keep you warm in temperatures up to -13C, which will suit her fine as she is not planning to venture out if colder than that!.  It is from Ralph Lauren and comes with 90% down and 10% feather filling hence its lighter weight.  There is a hood tucked into the funnel neck and she particularly liked the two buckled waist tabs that allow for a flattering cinching in at the waist. It is lovely and warm and she has had loads of compliments since she started wearing it so she's really pleased with this impulse buy, which was not cheap at £270 but will last year after year.  She has teamed with some Ted Baker jeans and velvet boots from TopShop both of which are from last winter. 



Anne C's  camel coloured coatigan is a recent purchase from Kaleidoscope, and features a lovely waterfall front heavily trimmed with black lace.  She has teamed it with her trusty black lace top from Kaleidoscope (which she wears a lot!) and black crepe tailored trousers from Florence & Fred at Tesco (they originally had bizarre elasticated bottoms which she took out, but bought them because she liked the fabric.  Too often tailored trousers are made from limp fabric which loses shape and doesn't hang well, but these were perfect after a little alteration.)



One of the many advantages of having a daughter who is a blogger (shot from the street) is that you can raid her wardrobe when she is starting to move things out of it.  Generally Anne can't fit into her daughter's clothes as she is only a size 8/10 but she likes bigger sizes in chunky knits and coats so Anne keeps a careful eye out and was really pleased to see she was about to sell this lovely leather coat from COS.  



Obviously it had Anne's name all over it - classic styling, simple lines, great colour .... one could go on and on.  So it never made it to her Depop shopping site (link here in case anyone looking for some bargains)   It is the softest leather and is something they have not had in store for a number of years, (note to COS  - something you should re-consider as everyone loves it, young and old). 



She is wearing with some Uterque boots also handed down from her daughter and some 7 for All Mankind jeans and a merino wool polo neck from COS, both of which did come from her own wardrobe.  The other Anne better not go and look at the Uterque link as there are some very funky boots in this season's collection with lots of colour and jewels! (Note from the other Anne - thanks for the tip-off!) 



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Friday, 10 November 2017

WINTER COATS



Although it is officially autumn, we've had such a lot of storms coming in across the Atlantic in the last couple of months that it often feels very wintry. Time to bring out the heavy brigade - and by that I mean winter coats.  No more coatigans and lightweight jackets, we're now in full cosy mode!


First up is Anne C who is actually wearing a lighter weight bright red collarless coat from Florence & Fred at Tesco, but she got it in a slightly bigger size so she can wear a proper woolly jumper underneath. The statement sleeves are slightly bell-shaped, so ok for this time of year but not when it is snowing and you need straight sleeves so the wind doesn't blow up them!
 

She has accessorised with an inexpensive leopard-print scarf from Dunnes stores.


Anne has teamed the coat with black Joseph Ribkoff jeans bought on a cruise a couple of years ago, which are not denim, though very stretchy so have fortunately kept their colour.The studded, heeled boots are from Office, so no longer available, but MissGuided has some similar ones in their sale here. Being truthful, the boots are fine for walking from car to bar, but very uncomfortable for shopping in.



Anne H acquired her fabulous alpaca mix coat from her blogger daughter's wardrobe.  Lizzy writes  Shot from the Street and Anne runs her Depop shop for her.  This was headed for the shop but somehow got sidetracked into Anne's wardrobe (what a surprise!) but we don't blame her!


The beautiful caramel coat is from Jaeger and is 70% Alpaca and 30% wool, so a lovely soft touch and cosy to wear.  The unusual half belt design is a real design feature and more flattering than a full belt which Anne finds can make her feel bundled up, leaving her looking like a sack of potatoes.  



It was originally an eyewatering £499 but then marked down to £250.  It currently appears as coming soon on the website, so might be one that they will re-stock.  Even at the full price, we think it is a worthwhile investment as the design is a classic that will never date and the material and finish is top quality, so she's hoping Lizzy doesn't see this and ask for it back.



She has teamed with beige trousers from Zara that she has had for an age and a striped blouse from Massimo Dutti that will feature in detail in a post soon.  Her shoes are a budget buy at only £19.50 from M&S and really go well with the trousers. 


The pretty lilac wool coat is from Mango - a shop we never normally go into, but ever on the look-out for colour, Anne spotted this as she cut through a shopping arcade on her way somewhere else! As it's new, it is still on their website, and also comes in pale blue. They actually had some very nice coats this season, but truly, she doesn't need any more!

It is such a very pretty colour and will take her right through to Spring next year.  The unusual sleeve feature includes a pearl pin on each arm.


She has matched it with an almost same colour scarf which she already had, dark indigo jeans from Tesco, and navy suede boots from Primark.





We both have quite different styles and tastes in clothes, but we both agree that you can mix and match quality items with cheaper purchases and still look good.  Not all fashion is made to last, but I think comfort is very much underrated in the fashion world.  Fashion comes and goes but style stays with you, particularly if you stick with a classic design.
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Friday, 3 November 2017

ANNE C AUTUMN HAUL


Last week we saw Anne H's autumn haul of new clothes buys, so this week, we turn our attention to Anne C - me! My first buy was late Summer, with this lightweight floral sweater from Monsoon sales.  In lightweight linen, it is also fairly unusual for me to buy heavily patterned clothes, being short, they tend to swamp me. This one is in off white with a blue floral print, but they now have one in white with a black print, which is fairly similar here.



I am wearing the sweater with some new pale grey skinny jeans from George at Asda.  I am a firm believer in budget buys, since I am short (5'2") so don't have to buy expensive brands because I need the leg length, unlike the other Anne.  I did once buy some Not Your Daughters Jeans which were very good, but much more expensive and which sadly lasted no longer than bargain ones. I tend to go for just colour and fit rather than brands.



I teamed the same jeans with this pretty long-line asymmetrical top also in pale grey.  Made from stretchy cotton and cotton lawn, the A-line suits my pear-shaped body and was bought in a fabulous local boutique in Leeds called New Collection, which I have only just discovered, but which some of my friends have been raving about.  Their lovely casual collection of tops, dresses, jeans, bags, scarves and even shoes means I may have to go back again......


The boots were from Marks & Spencer in the sales last year (no longer available, but there are plenty of alternatives available, including these) and are a a perfect match to the pale grey jeans.

I like to wear one colour from head to toe where possible, because cutting myself in half with different colours can make me look shorter and dumpier than I already am.  Obviously that's not always possible, but with trousers I do try to match the colour of my footwear to the jeans or trousers so that it makes my legs look a little longer.

I don't wear much jewellery in winter since it will get covered up with cardigans, coats and scarves, so I'm just wearing a simple Emporio Armani watch and Pierre Lang earrings, neither of which are still available.  The latter is an Austrian company which used to have agents running jewellery parties, but which sadly seems to have disappeared from the UK though still available online here. I have quite a bit of this range from years ago as I fell completely in love with it, so I'm sad that it's not readily available now.






The photos were taken in Anne H's beautiful garden against a lovely backdrop of colourful Autumn leaves, and while she still has flowering pots, unfortunately mine died off during my family three-week holiday when there was no-one to water them!

This open weave sweater actually looks more blue than grey in this photo, so maybe next time I will style with blue denim jeans instead of grey.  This came from a lovely stallholder whom I see every year at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, where I work for a few days each year.  The stallholder actually has a shop in Romford, Essex, though doesn't have a website because he doesn't keep stock in loads of different sizes.  However, I bought this last winter at a very reasonable cost of around £30, and then subsequently saw the same item while on holiday in Santorini this year, but in cream.  As I like it so much, I wanted to buy it until I saw the price tag - it was 90 Euros!  Unfortunately I think some of the Greek shops are trying to recover some of their own soaring costs through tourism.  I left it there!



I am wearing it with the same grey jeans and boots as in the previous photos.





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Friday, 27 October 2017

ANNE H AUTUMN HAUL




Anne H here introducing the latest pieces that have been added to my wardrobe for the Autumn season.  Autumn/Winter is my absolute favourite time of year for clothes buying and I really look forward to not only unpacking my winter knits and coats but scouring the shops for new additions.



I am really excited by what is available on the high street at the moment and I have started my Autumn season buying with some new tops to wear with smart trousers and with what is now my wardrobe staple,  jeans.  I have started with this lovely striped blouse from Massimo Dutti at £54.95.  I particularly liked the buttoned cuffs with tie detailing and the deep V neck with placket covering the buttons.  It is 100% viscose so doesn't have to be dry cleaned, which is a big plus for me.  


I have teamed with some tailored trousers from Zara that I have had for an absolute age and some two strap, two tone shoes from M&S which were a steal at just £19.50, but sadly no longer available.  



This stunning emerald green top was purchased from John Lewis and is from the Marella brand.  I just loved this colour as it reminded me of Christmas.  And the floaty 100% viscose chiffon fabric makes it perfect for day or night.



The design is the Marella Lucano which is still available in store and online at £105.  The stepped back adds a modern feel and the semi-sheer chiffon sleeves a feminine touch.  



Teamed here with tailored black trousers from Joseph which I can only ever wear after a concerted effort at Weight Watchers!  They are teamed with Dune black suede court shoes. 



Another Massimo Dutti purchase is this lace trimmed, oversized blouse with beautiful split bell sleeve detailing, at £54.95.  Also in 100% viscose it can be hand washed for ease.  I love these style of pieces to wear with trousers and I think they look fabulous with minimal jewellery for a night out.  



Although I am wearing jeans here, they are rather smart ones as they are a flattering wider flare and deep indigo wash.  They are the MiH Marrakesh high rise, kick flare jeans.  Although no longer available on the MiH site they can be found on Mytheresa at £141 reduced from the original £235 price tag.  They are a great length for me and perfect with high heel shoes or boots for a polished evening look. 




The shoes tucking out from underneath the jeans are the classic Dune suede court shoe, that I think they do so, so well.  They have different heel heights, so have a shoe to cater for all tastes and walking ability.  


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Friday, 20 October 2017

GREY COATIGANS


I love this new word - "coatigan" which was sprung up in the last couple of years.  I remember when lightweight coats were called "car coats".  Now coatigans are a cross between a cardigan and a coat - heavier than the former and lighter than the latter!

Actually they are very comfortable, because rightly, a coat is often too bulky for driving, but you need something lighter than a heavy winter coat, particularly if you are in and out of the car, the shops or even the neighbour's home!

We have both splurged a little this Autumn - see upcoming posts - and both of us (unbeknown to each other) have bought grey coatigans, albeit different styles.


First up is Anne H wearing a lightweight pleat neck grey coatigan from Modern Rarity at John Lewis. In 50% wool and 50% acrylic this lightweight piece is perfect for layering over winter knits or lighter blouses. A lovely casual piece with open neck, a relaxed fit, long sleeves that can be worn rolled as shown here and a versatile length for wearing with trousers or over a skirt or dress.  At £100 it is still available in oatmeal and blush but not in the grey shown here.   

Anne particularly likes Modern Rarity and the brand ethos of fewer, better wardrobe staples that create a collection of effortless pieces that complement each other.  



Anne C also has a coatigan, but a completely different style.  From TKMaxx, this is a woollen weave coatigan, which is light as a feather but extremely warm. However, we can both confirm that we are not particularly a fan of the huge press-stud fastenings which seem to be in abundance at the moment, however, not really a problem for a piece which is useful for throwing over a jumper and jeans, and leaving on the back seat of the car!

Incidentally Anne is a huge fan of TKMaxx, though there is no set colour palette or styles - they buy end of lines and one-offs so you have to buy it when you see it as they will often not stock more or even have the same item in a different size!


For our photographs she has teamed it with pale grey jeans from George at Asda, which were a steal at £14.  Fortunately for Anne she is quite short (5'2") so these value jeans are a reasonably good fit, whereas Anne H is so much taller, and can only buy her jeans from those stores selling longer lengths.


The grey suede boots are from Marks and Spencer and were bought in the sales a couple of years ago (similar ones here), while her earrings are from Pierre Lang, which is an Austrian company selling gorgeous jewellery - though it seems to have disappeared from the UK.



Grey seems to be one of our colour palettes this Autumn - so watch out for more grey buys (to match the coming weather, no doubt!)

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Friday, 13 October 2017

A WEEKEND IN LONDON


When my daughter promised me a weekend in London for my recent birthday, I was over the moon when she told me she had tickets to see DreamGirls at the stunning art deco Savoy Theatre.

The pair of us have sung along to the songs from the movie made famous by Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce, and since I love the Tamla Motown era (I've seen that show too), I knew I was in for a treat.

It has been years since I visited London, though in another life I was regularly on the 7.00 a.m. train to The Smoke a couple of times a week to my corporate headquarters in Newgate Street.

So this visit was a whirlwind tourist tour - and we packed a lot into just three days.  Obviously the highlight was the theatre visit - which was fantastic!  But we also managed a quick visit to the shops in Oxford Street and Covent Garden, where we managed to buy a few new purchases!


First on the tourist trail though, was a visit to Westminster - and we were probably one of the last to hear those famous chimes from the Elizabeth Tower, more popularly known as the iconic Big Ben  (which is actually the clock bell), and which has since fallen silent due to a four-year refurbishment plan, so sadly no longer available for tours.


Back to my previous life, as a corporate PR manager for telecommunications giant BT, I also visited the Palace of Westminster - the Houses of Parliament - and even had drinks on the Terrace overlooking the River Thames. Unfortunately you have to be invited and vetted by an MP to go inside the building, and after recent events, security is exceptionally tight.

These are beautiful, impressive historical buildings and well worth a visit, if only to stand outside and soak in the atmosphere - there are always events outside too as it is such a magnet for tourists.  We watched two young women in highland costumes playing the bagpipes, which I have to admit, is quite an acquired taste, though I know the bagpipe is extremely difficult to play.


By the way - love the red phone boxes - I remember we used to sell the traditional red boxes when the glass ones were introduced several years ago (before the era when everyone had cell phones) and they cost around £250 to buy  - now selling at around £3,000!


Another great place to visit is the London Eye, but pre-booking is essential as the queues are very long.  We didn't visit this time as we didn't have time - fortunately for me anyway as I'm terrified of heights.  We have visited on a previous occasion and the view of the Houses of Parliament are spectacular, especially at night.  However, on that occasion I sat on the bench and cried most of the journey because I was so scared, which wasn't a great experience for my daughter who was quite young at the time.



Covent Garden is always a great stop - although there seem to be more bars and restaurants on the lower floor than I remember.  There's always some street theatre to keep visitors amused, and the outdoor stalls sell beautiful artwork and crafts.


You couldn't visit London and not see Buckingham Palace.  A tour round Britain's best-known Palace is an absolute must. Highlight is the Changing of the Guard, but a tour of the fabulous state rooms are just amazing.  This year is the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, and there was a special display in the Music Room featuring her work desk from Kensington Palace, complete with family photos and her own favourite tapes, including those from Elton John and George Michael.



I particularly wanted to see the Princess Diana costume exhibition at Kensington, but unfortunately tickets were completely sold out.  However, since the exhibition runs until February, I'm hoping I can still get to see it - that's a good excuse to go back!

After our visit to Buckingham Palace, it was such a fabulous evening that we strolled around outside the Palace and around Green Park before walking up The Mall, passing by St James's Palace where I once attended a reception and met Princess Anne (name-dropper!!)

Since we stayed at a hotel overnight in Watford, we also managed to pay a visit to The Harry Potter Museum at the Warner Studios where the iconic films were made.  Our children have followed the series right from the beginning (and are now grown up)  so it was fabulous to see the costumes and behind the scenes, and how they have brought the magic to life - literally.  

You can take a trip up Diagon Alley, or visit the Forbidden Forest, marvel at Professor Umbridge's wall of moving cat plates, and watch how they created the amazing quiddich match sequences

The "Night Bus" picks you up at Watford Junction and the magic begins - a fabulous journey for muggles such as us!




Obviously there is so much to see and do during a visit to the capital, that you do need to plan in advance, and you cannot see it all in just a weekend.  Previous holidays have included the Tower of London with the Crown Jewels (the latter is an absolute MUST), and you can spend a whole day in the Science Museum or the British Museum.  I have never managed to get to The Tate, though did the National Gallery, which sits in Trafalgar Square, several years ago, so I now have two good reasons to return.

For those visitors who need help in creating an itinerary, there is a great London Travel Guide giving suggestions on what to see in a limited time - see here. There are also some great special discount offers if you want to see more than one attraction - see here.

Be warned, however, that like most capital cities of the world, it is extremely expensive. Fortunately though, there are still many museum attractions which are free - see list here.

Enjoy your visit!

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