Friday, 20 October 2017


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!)


Friday, 13 October 2017


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!


Friday, 6 October 2017


If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will know that hubby and I have holidayed in Santorini for the past 16 years, so I am not going to write a travel blog following this year's visit, as I did that last year - see here and here.

Obviously we just love the place, the people, the weather, the food and just about everything else.  We have persuaded Anne H and her blogger daughter Lizzy (shotfromthestreet), my daughter Louise and her boyfriend, and several of our friends to come along too, and so far no-one has said they didn't love it!

This time I am going to showcase my summer evening outfits (daytime ones consisted of swimming costumes and shorts which is not my most flattering look since I am rather curvy!)

In the first photo I am wearing a bardot in pale blue striped seersucker which was a bargain buy from Florence & Fred at Tesco, which I have teamed with cutoffs which I bought in the now defunct British Home Stores about ten years ago!  I think Anne H mentioned in her Tropean outfits blog a few weeks ago that some items only ever come out of the wardrobe for holidays, and the latter was definitely one of those items.  The sandals were bought in Thassos  (another Greek Island) earlier this year, where I was lucky enough to spend another holiday.

I love this archway of bougainvillea which is just outside our room, so you will have to forgive me that many of the photographs are shot there.

The cobalt blue top was a new purchase this year from a shop I never go in - until now - and that's Quiz.  It has wide flounced, pleated sleeves and a shaped hemline which suits my curvy hips.  The top is still available in the sales here, and in a variety of colours. I am wearing black chinos - one of my all year wardrobe staples also from Florence & Fred at Tesco, which I think should be ankle-grazers, but because I am just 5'2" they fit me as full length.  The gorgeous gold and silver bead necklace - which can be worn with a knot or with loose ends, is from Simply Devine in Tadcaster, which not only sells hats, but fantastic jewellery, pashminas and evening bags.  The sequined beach bag is also a very old one from Next, which I have had repaired with new handles because I love it so much, and it comes out every year.

I love this stretchy lime green top from Next, although I think it looks like yellow in the photos.  This was a new purchase this year and is super comfortable to wear - and still available in their clearance section of the website at an unbelievable £5 here, though only in small sizes. (I have again teamed it with the trusty black trousers seen earlier, and the same Next sequined bag).

Over the past couple of years I have lost a little weight, though I am still going to Slimming World as I need to lose more.  But I still wear those clothes which are a little baggy on me because I hate tight clothing when the weather is too hot - hence why much of my summer wardrobe is not new.

This is another top I have had for years, in an animal-pattern chiffon from Marks and Spencers, which is lovely and comfortable.  This time I am wearing with M&S white jeggings, which are stretchy so although quite skinny, are still cool enough to wear when the temperature rises.  The flip flops were a 42nd anniversary gift this year from hubby, in rose gold from Ted Baker, and are still available but only in silver or gold here.

Staying with Marks and Spencer, I bought this top in the sales at the beginning of the year and I love it.  Unfortunately I can't say that for much of M&S women's wear at the moment, which I find mostly drab and frumpy, with a selection of awful prints.  However, they are still fabulous for undies and I love their shoes, boots and accessories but the clothes......

I have included this slightly scary face to show off my lovely Santorini necklace in black lace and dark gold beads which I bought this year.  I have a favourite shop in Thira called Byzermani and they have the most amazing costume jewellery which I love.  Every year I make a point of visiting and always buy a beautiful necklace, so have quite a collection now. Unfortunately I don't think their website does their jewellery any favours, or maybe something has been lost in translation!

Thira is a fabulous place to visit for the evening, but we don't stay there.  There is a fantastic view of the sunset from the top of the Caldera, overlooking the volcano, but everything is incredibly expensive - from the cocktails to the clothes to the hotels.  Still, it offers a great photo-opportunity and for me the sunset is stunning - a view I never tire of seeing.

In the final picture I am wearing yet another dress I have had for so long it is positively vintage, although you can't see the detail, it is in navy floaty chiffon with sequinned anchors and neckline and came from Evans.  The watch I am wearing in all of the pictures is rose gold from Swarovski, since I love a bit of bling, and the sunglasses are a luxury purchase from Chanel, which are also positively vintage!


Friday, 29 September 2017


We have recently discovered Madeleine, a fashion brand with  operations in eight European countries including Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria, Netherlands, Greece, Belgium and the United Kingdom. 

Specialising in high quality garments and accessories, it is not the cheapest, but the styling is gorgeous - and if you're new to Madeleine, there is a £10 voucher off your first order.

Don't laugh, but Anne C is actually wearing a nightgown! However it is of such superb quality it is incredibly heavy, as the top is fully lined and the beautiful lace is so wonderfully crafted that she would have no hesitation in wearing it as a dress (plus she would never spend so much money on a nightie!)

(Actually I will let you into a little secret here - Anne's daughter remembers wearing Disney pyjamas as a shorts and T-shirt set when she was younger too.  Anne swears that you couldn't tell it was originally PJs).

Her Mary-Jane taupe shoes match perfectly, and her accessories include her late mother's pearl necklace, and silver earrings she has had for years.

Anne H is wearing the first of her Madeleine jackets which she purchased in last years sale, so sadly it is no longer available.  She would normally steer clear of double breasted jackets as she believes they make you look wider than you really are, but so liked the cut and weight of fabric in this jacket that she bought it.  It is a cotton polyester mix and is the perfect longer length that Anne favours.  

It is a really versatile piece to wear casually with jeans or dress with smarter trousers for an office-ready look.  In these pictures Anne has teamed with flared A Pocket jeans from 7 for All Mankind which are available in the sale in black, Dune black suede court shoes, similar here,  and a top from French Connection from a few years ago.

Anne C's pretty white summer top was the perfect accessory for summer holidays, and also came from Madeleine.  She is wearing it with jeans here, but it was perfect with M&S white linen trousers when the weather was warmer.

Accessories include pretty pearl earrings and diamante watch from Monsoon, but bought from TKMaxx.

The second of Anne H's jackets is a single button short coat that she purchased in this years sale.  This jacket is still available to buy on-line at £149 and is a perfect silver grey melange that goes with pretty much everything.  

The textured fabric is a mix of polyester, cotton, viscose, wool and polyamide - pretty much everything you could think of, and is a perfect weight for transitional dressing being quite a cosy addition to her wardrobe. It is a great oversized fit to add jumpers underneath and includes drop shoulders, slanted welt pockets and a long line cut.  

In the shots above Anne has teamed with Rozie straight leg jeans from 7 For All Mankind and a simple round neck jumper from COS in merino wool.   Her velvet boots are from Top Shop and stolen from her daughter's wardrobe and handbag is Kate Spade.  

In these final shots Anne is wearing a printed long sleeved cotton jersey top from COS which is available in these burgundy tones but also lime green for £39.  She has teamed with silver jewellery, with the silver pendant from The White Company who tend to stock a wider range nearer Christmas and the floating locket necklace from Pandora.

There are still some great bargains to be had on the Madeleine site and Anne H is seriously looking at the following to add to her wardrobe for the Autumn.  

Frock Coat for just £99.95

Jacket for £119.00


Friday, 22 September 2017


As the weather turns a little chillier, it's time to dig out those jackets and light coats again as we move to a transition wardrobe.

Anne C here, and I have a staple Autumn/Winter style - usually black trousers (of varying styles), black top, black patent wedge shoes, and a colourful jacket or coat.

The red long jacket was a budget buy from Primark.  I love bright colours, and next to pink, red is my next favourite.  Clearly this probably won't stand the test of time, but I think this would work well with a dress too, so I think I will get my money's worth from the £18 I spent!

I have teamed it with skinny  black jeggings, and a beautiful black lace top which I bought from Kaleidoscope probably 15 years ago, but they currently have a similar one here.  It was quite expensive at the time, but has washed and worn and been a staple and favourite in my wardrobe for many years.  I also have the same top in cream.

The shaped hoop earrings are nearly as old as the top and I can't even remember where I bought them!

Anne H's taupe waterfall duster coat was purchased from Zara last year and she particularly liked the length and flow of the material although having had it for a year now she does find it creases rather easily, it must be the 14% linen content because the rest is Lyocell (whatever that is!).  There are lot of this style of coat available on the high street and on-line including from ASOS as here  and Zalando here 

She has teamed it flared 7 for All Mankind jeans which they sadly don't seem to stock anymore.  Her top and necklace are from her favourite of all shops - COS.  COS are renowned for their simple architectural styling and they have some fabulous pieces available at the moment that have taken Anne's eye including this and this and they are only £19 a real bargain.
Her chunky bangle was a gift and shoes were purchased from Dune and are the Jany block heel buckle design, still available in the sale here for £55. 

Back to Anne C who has just swapped the coat, and kept the same basic outfit as before. This voluminous stone-coloured linen coat was bought on holiday this year in Thassos, and has already become a firm favourite.

With a drawstring hem (though I won't use that) and asymmetric styling, it is currently still on trend and perfect for covering up.  Linen is notorious for creasing, though, and I made the mistake of wearing it on the plant on the way home from Greece.  BIG mistake!


Friday, 15 September 2017


This week we are taking classic navy and white separates and showing just how different they can look - with Anne C going for a casual look and Anne H  taking the same colours but creating a much more sophisticated impression.

Clearly still in summer mood, Anne C has gone for one of her favourite linen staples with a navy top which could be worn as a short dress, but she has teamed it with white skinny jeans and plain white tee, leaving the buttons undone on the top.  The top is from a local boutique in Leeds called New Collection, jeggings from Florence & Fred at Tesco, and comfy white pumps from Primark - all very inexpensive!

Anne H chose an asymmetric top in cotton jersey from COS which is has a pleated front and deep V which gives a flattering silhouette.   She liked it so much she also bought the lovely baby pink one as well,  an unusual colour choice for her.  At only £49 it is top that she will get loads of wear out of both for day and evening. 

She has teamed it with Rozie jeans from her favourite brand 7 for All Mankind.  The length is just perfect for her 5ft 8inch frame and she is always watching out for the sales to stock up on their jeans, whatever the colour.  Having retired she finds that jeans are a real day to day staple so worth a level of investment for a good fit and comfort.  Her shoes are from Dune and sadly no longer available, although they do have a similar one in the Jany design that is now in the sale at £55.00 
Jewellery wise she has chosen silver tones with a necklace that was a gift from a friend, a cuff that was from The White Company and silver bangle from Pandora.

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