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Ok, so for the last two nights I’ve been wondering what kind of chills I’ve been feeling, and I’m not talking Grease Lightning. Autumn is officially here and I’ve finally gotten around to swapping my spring/summer clothes with my autumn/winter ones into my wardrobe and chest of drawers (and, of course, as standard, stocking up on some new buys). Buuuuuut, the change in weather also means I can wear my favourite boots. Yay!

Top(New Look); Leggings (Next); Boots (Linzi Shoes)

These sexy (in a tasteful way) horse riding style boots are made from soft faux leather and I often team them with skinny jeans tucked in or leggings- a classic autumn/winter look.

Wherever I go, people (friends, family and strangers) frequently ask me where I bought these knee highs from (or at least stare at my feet long enough for me to consider doing a little jig to break the gaze of admiration). Well, the answer is Linzi Shoes, an Essex-based shoe retailer (they’ve also got a store in Westfield, Stratford City).

I love these boots so much that I have a pair in black as well. It’s the kind of love that if they were going to discontinue them, I’d buy at least two extra pairs. I wear them ALOT.

Actually, come to think of it, they’re THE most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned. FACT! They really are made for walking. I used to wear them on long days at uni and to my relief my feet wouldn’t be aching me by the end of the day.

What’s your favourite pair of autumn/winter shoes? Are you all set, wardrobe-wise?

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Is it me or does everyone seem to be having babies lately?! I know at least five people who have become parents within the last four weeks and another three who are expecting some time early next year. So I guess I’m going to be doing a lot of gift shopping. I love shopping for baby clothes! The lil ones grow so fast that you pretty much need to update their wardrobe (well, chest of drawers) every 3 months. Trouble is, I just want to buy almost everything I see (in essence, there’s not much difference when shopping for myself!!).

My heart melted when my husband’s colleagues put money together to buy our newborn a cute matching outfit from Baby Gap a few weeks ago.They bought it in 3-6 months so he’ll be big enough to wear it in the coming weeks.

Babies deserve to be stylish too. Here are my top six favourite stores to shop for baby and toddler clothes simply because of their good quality items, reasonable prices (some moreso than others) and up-to-date trendy styles:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Babies are super cute anyway, but dress them in even cuter clothes and they become adorable.

Have you had a baby recently or know anyone who has?

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Here’s another one of my ensembles I thought I’d share with you lovely readers:

Who: With family

What: Monochrome jacket (Bershka £39.99); Black polo top (New Look £7.99); Short black skirt (Forever 21 £5.25); Black patent buckle flats (Linzi Shoes £20); Patent black croc effect bag (Next £30)

Where: To church

When: Sunday 16th October 2011

Why:  I draw inspiration for styling myself and putting an outfit together from so many different sources such as magazines, films, blogs, celebrities, friends, family, adverts and strangers I see when out and about. Here, it was from a reality TV program.

Like millions of people across the UK, my TV highlight on Saturday and Sunday evenings is The X Factor. This year, I’ve been particularly drawn to the monochrome outfits worn on the show.

Two Shoes(left); Amelia Lily (right)...Images ©ITV

Before her makeover for the live shows black and white was recognised as Amelia Lily’s signature look. She had a unique style and accessorised her outfits really well with an abundance of stylish jewellery.

When Two Shoes auditioned for the first time they did what I like to call a monochrome match. I wasn’t so sure about the shape of Lucy’s dress but I really liked Charley’s jacket. As the two lovely ladies from Essex would say, I thought the look, as a whole, was “totes amazeballs”. Very eye-catching indeed…. Such a shame that both acts left on the first of the live shows. Anyway, I digress….

Had to get this jacket when I saw it in Bershka. It stood out to me and fitted beautifully. The polo neck (which you can’t see very well from the pics, sorry)  was selected because autumn is here (mind you, it wasn’t that cold on the day, hence why I braved not wearing tights), and that style of top generally goes well with jackets/blazers.

So why the short skirt? I wanted to make the look somewhat youthful because one can run the risk looking a little too mature with that style of jacket.

I could have worn this outfit with heels, but in fear of looking tarty ’cause I’d already chosen a short skirt, I opted for black patent flats. I kept the patent look consistant with the bag. Speaking of bag, I’ll admit that I chose to carry this one simply because I wanted something big enough to fit my little bubba’s nappies, milk and mini flask into, nonetheless it adds an office feel to the look.

What do you think of monochrome? Eye-catching or eye sore?

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The bow tie. A retro piece of neckwear but just like skinny jeans on men, wearing one will either suit you and give you an edge or just make you look plain ridiculous. I love a bow tie on a man. Worn correctly it can look really sexy.

Wearers of this accessory are often stereotyped as being eccentric, extremely intelligent, and rigid in character. If you ask someone what comes to mind when you mention bow ties their response will more than likely conjour up images in their head of nerds, comics, magicians, circus ringmasters, scientists, and university professors.

When I’ve been out clubbing recently, I’ve noticed this trend of bow tie wearing has really become popular, particularly in the rnb/hip-hop/bashment/afro-beats scene.

Here are some of my acquaintances who I think pull the look off with effortless suave:

Did you know that there are three general types of bow tie? (yeah, neither did I until I was doing my research on it) :

1) Bat-wing– has straight sides and best worn with a tuxedo;

2) Butterfly/ thistle– has curved sides and is more appropriate to wear during the day;

3) Diamond tip- has pointed tips.

Dress It Up

The most obvious option is to wear a satin bow tie with a suit and possibly matching handkerchief.

Dress It Down

  • Don’t wear it with a suit;
  • Do roll up your sleeves or try wearing one with a short-sleeved shirt;
  • Do try the look with a patterned shirt such as check;
  • Do try it with trousers of a more casual material, such as jeans, corduroys, khaki.
  • Particularly for daywear, do select ones with textured fabrics like wool, selvage denim, straight cotton etc.
  • Do go for patterned ones to avoid looking too formal, such as paisleys, stripes or dots;
  • Do sync the colours of your bow tie with your outfit.

An alternative way to wear a bow tie is to leave it untied and wear it with an open shirt collar and jacket.

All in all, match it with what you think looks good and is suitable for the time of day and occasion.

I’ve selected 8 bow ties in stores that I think are really cute:

1. Carrot & Gibbs Silk Self Tie Bow Tie (Nordstrom £37.70)

2. Duchamp Kluklos StrIpe Bow Tie – (Selfridges £65)

3. Orange Candy Stripe Bow Tie (Topman £10)

4. Black Chunky Twill Ready Tied Bow Tie  (Red Herring at Denhams £9.50)

5. Tommy Hilfiger Bow Tie (Macy’s £20.2)7

6. Drakes Dotted Silk Bow Tie (Mr Porter £75)

7. Purple Floral Bow Tie (Austin Reed £25)

8. Check Cord Bow Tie (ASOS £8)

Do you think you’d look good in a bow tie? Is it a style you’ve thought about wearing before?

Or ladies, why not try to persuade your other half to wear one? You might be pleasantly surprised as to how well it suits him.

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Who : Meeting a close female friend;

What: Cherry skinny jeans (New Look — £16.99), Orange top (Primark — £6); Tan mid-length boots (Barrats — £35); Tailor fit blazer/Jacket (New Look — £29.99); Silk scarf (New Look — £7.99); Fan Hinge Cuff Bracelet (Peacocks –£4); Tan across the body bag (Next — £22)

Where: Lunch date at TGI Friday’s;

When: Thursday 13th October 2011;

Why: I chose this look because I was going on a casual lunch date and we hadn’t picked a fancy restaurant.

I felt like wearing some ‘on trend’ autumnal colours, keep the look quite casual but still go for that smart look, which the tailor-fit blazer adds. I wore a black belt to add a little colour balance to the outfit so that the blazer didn’t look like it was just randomly chosen.

I used my silk scarf as a hair accessory rather than tying it around my neck, for example. It gave a sort of bohemian look to the outfit, which I wasn’t really going for but thought looked nice anyway. Teamed with my chunky gold earings the look was giving off a slight 90s hip-hop vibe.

The boots are actually 3 years old but still in really good condition and fashionable. The shade of brown matched well with the other colours and the buckle detail added to the casual feel.

Lately I’ve been into long necklaces and the rosary that I wore (blessed, just in case you’re wondering, and given a gift) complemented the look well and the bracelet added a touch of glamour and femininity, I thought.

So, in the end it was a hippy-hip-hoppy-smart-casual-urban kind of look (gosh! Try saying that when you’re tipsy!)…Lunch was great, by the way. Thanks for asking.  🙂

In preparation for autumn, I had been looking for a short brown jacket and was delighted when I came across this in Bershka earlier today.

It’s part of Bershka’s Bsk collection and for £29.99 it’s an absolute steal. Oh how they do spoil us! We have a choice of getting it in either orange, blue, green, brown, camel, or black. As you can see, I chose camel.

I like the fact that the fur collar is detachable, even though I’m more than likely to wear it with it on because it adds character and a nice autumn/winter feel to it. Nonetheless, it’s nice to have the option.

It has a floral patterned lining on the inside is thick enough to keep me warm until the harsh winter weather decides to show face.

For a stylish autumn casual look, this would team well with a knitted top/cardigan/jumper, some skinny jeans tucked into boots (knee high or ankle boots accessorised with leg warmers).

Colour matching:

  • Reds: cherry/wine/ burgundy
  • Browns: dark brown/ light brown/tanned orange
  • Cream

I bought a size larger than I normally wear, simply because when going over thick knitwear it’s good to leave extra room so my armpits and arms don’t feel pinched. It fits nicely and hugs my body from the waist upwards.

Have you got your autumn/winter outerwear yet?

I came, I saw, I bought this lovely short autumn jacket and I am a very happy lady!

Yay! The long-awaited Westfield, Stratford City finally opened on Tuesday this week. Located adjacent to the Olympic Park, it boasts three floors of utter retail (and leisure) bliss covering 1.9million square feet and is the largest urban shopping center in the whole of Europe . The £1.4 billion development houses over 300 shops, 50 bars and restaurants (including quite a few of my favourites…Joy!) and a 17 screen, all digital, 3-D state-of-the-art Vue cinema. It has also created 10,000 new job. That’s probably solved a lot of the unemployment crisis in London.

Anyway, I took a trip (a day after it opened because I value my toes and didn’t want to get trampled on by the hoards of crowds on opening day) to see what all the fuss was about and toushé, point made. I totally get the hype and I’m not surprised why the call it “a city within a city”. Quite frankly, it’s enormous.

Everything is so pristine. As you enter, you’re greeted by a massive M&S to your left. Walk a short distance further and there are scores of glass-fronted stores to your, left, right, above and below you and some fancy-looking stalls, restaurants and bars in the centre of the aisles. Nice modern, swanky sofas and chairs- which I predict won’t stay as fresh for long- are placed around the centre for shoppers to rest their weary, all shopped-out feet. I was in sheer awe.

Transport links to get there are fantastic and if you drive in, theres no need to fret about parking- there are 5,000 car parking spaces available with very reasonable charges (first 2 hours are free!). There’s no wonder it brings in consumers from all over London (I’m guessing mainly to window shop though because we all know money’s to tight to mention).

Gone are the days when I’d have to travel into the West End of London to have a shopping frenzie. For me, his is so much more convenient than going to Oxford Street/Regent Street for so many reasons. The main ones being:

  • You’re indoors so the weather won’t ruin your shopping experience;
  • It’s a lot closer to where I live so I can make a quick journey there and back home;
  • It has public toilets. Unlike when I’m pressed while shopping in the West End and feel obliged to buy something at McDonalds just to use their loo, here, here, I don’t have to worry about wetting myself;
  • You can shop later here most days of the week because the majority of the stores close after 8pm.

To some extent, it kind of reminds me of American malls, where a lot of young girls and guys get dressed up and hang out there for a huge portion of their day to window shop, and not purely for clothes or shoes but for talent (#ifyouknowwhatimean).

In terms of supermarkets, I was quite surprised there isn’t a Sainsbury or Tesco (especially as Tesco seem to be opening branches everywhere) in there. After all there’s M&S Food and Waitrose.

Quite worryingly, the escalator stopped suddenly while I was on it, which is a major health and safety risk that management need to look into pronto. Funnily enough, 5 minutes before I went on the escalator I overheard a girl telling her friend about having the same experience but I thought that it was probably a one-off incident. Clearly not.

I feel sorry for  the small Stratford Shopping Centre and the stores and stall holders there that will inevitably lose some customers. It was quieter than usual when I passed through it on my way back home. I’ll still shop there but only at the places not offered in Stratford City like the market stalls or the butchers. I mean, why go to the small New Look store when there’s a larger one in Westfield provide a wider range of options, right?

I was going to have some lunch at Westfield but when I saw the length of some of the queues, I quickly lost my appetite. Fear not, I certainly won’t loose my appetite for shopping there. I’ll definitely be having many-a-day of retail therapy euphoria.

Take a look at the website for more information: www.westfield.com/StratfordCity.