Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Winter Sun (me? jealous? ...yes...sigh)

We may be in the middle of an Indian Summer this week but for some this is the last sunshine we will see for a while. Not so for those booking their winter sun breaks and smiling smugly as their bikini nestles in their underwear draw (instead of being packed away for another year), destined to be dipped in turquoise oceans and dusted in a fine white sand come Christmas.

But heading off for winter sun whilst Britain claws it's way out of another deep freeze can have it's pitfalls. How do you get hold of that all important second perfect bikini in darkest December when you have so many layers on the though of stripping off in a changing room is enough to make you want to cry?

The simple fast is Winter Sun holiday makers have to stock up now. Topshop online and some larger stores do stock a small range of swimwear all year round but if you really want to save yourself time, money and effort before your holiday then hit the mid season sales. They will be launching this week (Debenhams launched theirs today - just watch other high street retailers jump on that money pony) or next week so keep your fashion eyes peeled.

So what should Winter Sun Seekers be snapping up in the Sales?
  • Swimwear, jersey, skirts and dresses - all suitable for a summer wardrobe in winter.
  • Silk - always adds a touch of class and luxury. It may be handwash but it is worth the pain.
  • Dual purpose garments - buy a cashmere jumper now, wear now, then get even more wear when you use it as the base for your plane outfit. Hey presto! First Class is calling.
  • Christmas Party Dress - Your party dress will not only look great on a holiday night out when accessorised with your winter tan, but buy now and by-pass that hideous moment at the staff xmas party when not 2 but 3 of you are wearing the same dress because they all left it too late to buy anything different. Look for 20% off full price stock (hint hint - Whistles in conjunction with Grazia) or raid those sales racks with all your might.
  • Fierce jewellery - a catch your eye cuff or a noteworthy necklace will really set you apart from fellow holiday makers.
  • Suitcase/handluggage and carry-on bags.
  • Suntan Creme - it's BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) in Boots right now.
Happy Holidays! Til next time ...x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sometimes it pays to be cheap.

Wanting is different from needing. With the shops full to bursting with gorgeous autumn offerings you may want loads of things but whether you need them is another matter, especially if your bank balance is running on empty or you've already spent your student loan. So here are my top tips for buying cheap clothes:

1. Hit the charity shops in a wealthy area – labels are invariable top end high street and better quality in the long run. I got a wool, camel coat from Barnardos (Manchester) on Saturday for £14.99 which was an immense find.

2. Wait for the mid-season sales – hitting shops end of Sept/beginning of October. Depending on how desperate retailers are they will slash prices a lot and bring out old sale as well.

3. Hit the outlets – give yourself a day and trawl the shops at an outlet mall. The majority of the clothes will be questionable, however for basics they are actually ok. If you can find a French Connection you are on to a winner as they discount well and the stock doesn't date.

4. Register online for secret sample sales.

5. Register for Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) in your area, post a wanted add for clothes and see what you get in return.

6. Car boots – time, patience and early mornings generally required but well worth it. Avoid trying on trousers (takes too long and no fitting rooms) but try on coats, jackets, tops, bags and accessories.

Most importantly – WRITE A SHOPPING LIST BEFORE YOU GO OF THE EXACT THINGS YOU NEED. Otherwise you will spend money on things you don’t need.
Happy wardrobe, happy you. Til next time.. x

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Soup Kitchen

I love Lakeland (http://www.lakeland.co.uk/Homepage.action) - it is porn for kitchens. Gadgets coming out of its ears, if you look at the catalogue for too long you can convince yourself you really need a banana bag (page 8 if you are interested) and life really will be better with a 3-in-1 pineapple corer (page 11) in it.

There is a soup maker for sale in the autumn edition of the Lakeland catalogue on page 5. It looks something you would make a smoothie in but it makes soup; it boils, simmers then blends. Now I L-O-V-E to make soup but do I love soup enough to part with the best part of £100 for a gadget that does it for me? No way. And do you know why? Because the soup making gadget produces what pretty much the same result as if you were to use your own pans and cooker.
Can you see where I am headed with this soup themed analogy...? The end result is the same whether you use new stuff or use what you already own. Same with your clothes. Instead of buying new all the time by using some of what you already own you will save money and still end up with a great result.

I am really excited to show you exactly what I mean when I keep advocating re-use and re-work for your clothes. My show and tell will be in video format and will be available to view really soon here on my blog. Thanks for reading and see me soon (literally!)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Be your own Knight in Shining Armour

As if Mondays aren't horrifying enough, here are some scary facts for you:

47% of women who aren't retired don't have a pension of their own.
1 in 4 women expect the rely on their partners pension benefits *


As far as I was aware the Job Centre isn't doing a roaring trade in filling their vacancies for Knights In Shining Armour so who do these women think is going to look after them when they hit retirement age? With the average woman earning an average of £1,600 per month she should be contributing an average of 10% of that salary per month into her pension pot. Sorry - there are lots of averages in here today - but you get my drift.

To add to this fairytale gone awry, women spend an average of £1000 per year on clothes but only wear 20% or their wardrobes which effectively meams £800 of the money spent on clothes is wasted.

So...before you hit the shops armed with your September wage packet just think ...can you really afford that £20 you will only wear once? That £20 could sit quite nicely in your pension pot growing and maturing until you are ready to retire. Where will that £20 top be by the time you retire? Lets be honest - it will probably be earning its keep in a landfill dump somewhere. So which would you rather?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Doctor will see you now

Local businesses and getting more bang for your fashion buck: these are a few of my favourite things.
I walk past the Denim Doctor in Manchester pretty much twice a week thinking 'I should go in there' but never managed it. I even took a photo of the sign on my phone last week to remind me to get my arse in gear but to no avail.

Until the stud popped off my black skinnies this morning.

Climbing the magnificently tiled staircase (you should visit just for the decor alone) I was greeted by a master tailor and his son, The Denim Doctor. Handing over my jeans we got to talking about the business of business in a recession and the knock-on effect on trade. Turns out The Doctor is doing pretty well - people are renewing and re-working like never before and in turn saving themselves money. His customers are saving themselves cash by using his service. Why buy more when you can better what you already own?

The Denim Doctor can turn your bootcuts into skinnies, repair zips and studs and even piece your jeans back together when they have split at the crotch (or crutch as I learnt). The crutch is the most commonplace part of your jeans to rip because this areas has the most tension, not because you have gained a few lbs. I'm going to steer clear of naming brand names and joining the denim brand debate for the moment - suffice to say that it doesn't seem to matter which end of the high street the denim has been bought from - all brands have walked through the surgery doors to The Denim Doctor at some point.

Here's the website www.thedenimdoctor.co.uk and as usual - Feast your fashion eyes!