28 October 2013

The budget busters!

It was bound to happen! I was doing so well wasn't I? But budgets are meant to be broken...no? I might of known I would be powerless to turn my back on a bargain and my challenge would go out of the window because of a discount! That's the best excuse I can come up with in my defence anyway! Although I have just flogged a load of stuff on EBay and have netted myself just over 200 quid so you could say I was looking for trouble! Any more justification needed?!

So what was it that tipped me over the edge?? There was in fact one wish list item that I was waiting (with baited breath) for November 1st to roll around so that I could buy! I have been trying to hunt down the the perfect pair of black boots (having just sold......ahem! 2 not so perfect pairs)! What I really wanted was a pair of Ash Jalouse but my 100 quid per month budget was not gonna stretch to those! I did a bit of research and well......it lead me to these from Office called Untouchable! And what luck that a voucher for 25% off just happened to pop up in Grazia this week! Who on earth in their right mind would be able to pass up on an offer like that if you were planning on buying them anyway!! See......I said powerless!

These are a brilliant homage to the Ash boots and with discount a great price at £51. I've gone over budget by £28. Not too bad really for the first month of the challenge and let's face it, there are only another 4 days of October left anyway and I've managed to fill another gaping black boot shaped hole in my footwear department! I promise to do better next month which shouldn't be so hard now as I have a little more than I expected as I had thought I'd be paying the full price of £68 for the boots thus eating up the best part of the £100!

Now, November could prove to be a tricky month as we have a Christening so I am going to have to get seriously creative in the closet! As you will know if you have read some of my previous posts I am not a fan of buying dressier clothing that will only end up languishing in the back of the wardrobe! I won't be using what precious little I have to last me through the month on buying something new just for this occasion! But I would like to try and find something to update an outfit and to possibly carry me through the festive party season. Any ideas from you as to what to go for would be gratefully appreciated! What would you wear to a November Christening? I don't want to go too formal but I think it is an occasion where I need to look smart so I've been thinking jacket and heels or boots.......can you get away with trousers do you think? Well here goes anyway.....new mission set, it is now back to the pin board for me to glean some more inspiration!

Just a couple of outfits from the past few days to share!

First up was my Saturday daytime look

I have been up to my old tricks with this look as I had tried to replicate another on of my Pinterest favourites here

Have a Saturday evening look to show! Another tricky scenario to dress for as it was a house warming for our lovely new neighbours....what to wear?? I was trying to decide what to go for with a fuzzy head.....the starting of a cold! Went with my new boots from Office with Dorothy Perkins coated jeggings, Topshop cami, Zara jacket and New Look necklace.

Onto Sunday's outfits.....all about comfort. Luckily no sore head......I'm proud of myself for pacing it with the vino but I could have done with some matchsticks as we ended up rolling in at 4am again! Yawn! Donning my Topshop parka, H&M sweater and scarf, Gap outlet skinny's and Steve Madden boots.

Sans jacket here

What have I got in store next for you? Well I may have a little print themed Christmas wishlist on the go.....I'm trying to make things easy for the DH so it's a one stop shop! Can you guess where?? Not my usual stomping ground just to give you a clue but I have found some fab pressie ideas to tantalise myself with!
See you soon Michelle x


23 October 2013

Taking inspiration!

I've made no secret of my recent obsession with Pinterest.....there is no doubt it has helped me heaps in my recent budget challenge! It's certainly made me look over my wardrobe with a fresh set of eyes and it has helped to re-ignite my passion with some of my old faithfuls and favourites! So over these past few days I've been putting together a few ensembles which are loosely based on some of the outfits that I've pinned! These are my interpretations as I haven't been able to completely copy! It is fun pulling things together which you may not have thought about putting together and getting wear out of some items you may have overlooked or forgotten about! I recommend that you go forth and play!

Here is my first attempt. As you will probably have gathered I am loving a shirt and sweater combo at the moment!

My version which consists of Mango sweater, Gap Shirt, Zara jeans and ASOS loafers

Next up the inspiration was found here

I love this look but have previously struggled to work mixing the stripe and check look.....it's so out of my comfort zone! But hey.....now's it's another one of those clothing fears I have overcome like I did with the double denim a couple of posts back!

My adaptation.....bling and all!

Here's the complete look adapted for the school run!

Here I'm wearing Topshop Parka, Uniqlo shirt, H&M Breton, Zara Jeans, Converse hi-tops and Mulberry Seth bag.

And lastly this lovely outfit

Here is my copy

This is a DKNY leather biker jacket with, H&M stripe top, Topshop Baxters and H&M pumps.

Although I did actually end up wearing it like this purely as it was a tad more conducive to the weather!

This version is Whistles biker jacket, H&M top, Topshop Baxter jeans, H&M pumps and Oasis scarf.

So now you can see the inspiration for some of my recent purchases! I have spent a fair few hours pouring over the looks getting ideas. If you would like to peruse my pins you can do so here.

Are you feeling the Pinterest love? Does it give you lots of inspiration? Does it tempt you or help you put looks together? Has it motivated any new purchases you have made? Would love to hear how you use it!

Look forward to hearing your comments as always! Michelle x

19 October 2013

I'm a total sucker for a jacket!

I'm on a budget and I've managed to acquire 3 jackets this month and not a single sweater bearing in mind that's what I set out to buy at the beginning of my challenge! I may not have been sticking to the original plan but I think I've ended up with a better strategy!! All the challenge items I've purchased do go so perfectly with what I have that I see them all as being brilliant investments! Oh and let's be fair it's not really been cold enough to warrant buying sweaters just yet........but I am sure I will be panic buying some jumpers soon!

So this next purchase was a whim purchase.....I saw it, wanted it and bought it! Just like that! I was out shopping with a friend and she was like a whirlwind around Gap, whilst I loitered by the doorway hoping not to be too tempted! But there it was calling me........it had my name all over it! I knew instantly that it would go with so much I have that it was a total no-brainer! It's charcoal with navy trim which is one of my favourite colour combo's this season and it's such a great little shape! Just one of those items that slots so perfectly in the wardrobe. The Gap Academy Blazer

In store the blazer is reduced to £34.99 and lucky for me the day I visited the store there was a further 20% off thanks to being on the Gap VIP mailing list.......so if you haven't already done so sign up!! You don't want to miss further discounts especially as there is a further 20% off on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October! I must point out that for some reason on their website the jacket is still full price at £54.95......strange! In any case I totally bagged myself another bargain as I paid just £27.99! Still leaving me £23 in my budget for October!

These other blazer offerings online have also caught my eye.......

This spotty one is reduced to £34.99 so with the further 20% down to £27.99, a good buy what with spots being the new stripes this season.

They have even catered for the die-hard stripe fan!

Even more of a bargain at £26.41 with the discount!

And of course there is good old monochrome! Classic black blazer with white trim.

This one works out at £29.61 with the discount!

Some great blazers to be had from Gap and all for under 30 quid.........shame there is not room in the budget for at least one more for me!

Here's how I'm wearing mine today!

Gap Blazer
H&M Kids Breton T
Gap Outlet Navy Skinny's
Rag & Bone Newbury Boots
Primark Scarf

What do you think? Any of the blazers tickle your fancy? I would recommend perusing the reductions in the Gap sale as there are some other great pieces....they have some cool and funky camoflague jackets and trews, some great pieces of knitwear and some fab shirts! It's definately worth a look! Would love to know if you find any brilliant bargains that I have missed. I love hearing your thoughts so let me know what you think of my latest acquisition! Michelle x


16 October 2013

Am I a birthday treat cheat??!!

Ok, so maybe October wasn't a good month to start my £100 budget challenge as my birthday falls on the 6th!! Or maybe subconsciously it was the perfect month as I knew it might come with a few extras in the way of vouchers or gift cards thus easing me gently into budget mode?? Should these be included in my monthly allowance or would that just be conning myself?? I did have a little conversation with some if the lovely ladies on Avenue 57 and the general consensus was that gift cards should be treated as a bonus! So who am I to argue?

At this point I should also divulge that apart from the added birthday vouchers I have also been 'gifted' a couple of other wonderful items.....honestly how lucky am I? First up, the darling DH came up trumps a few months ago. Long story short I was promised a trip to Bicester as I wanted to procure some Rag & Bone boots. Alas trip was cancelled at the last minute but as fate would have it....said boots came up greatly reduced on The Outnet. With the hubby's consent I snapped up the boots but I promised that they would be my birthday treat albeit that they were purchased 3 months in advance of my big day.

Also my lovely mum (my shopping partner in crime!) bless her is having a major sort out at the minute and has given me the chicest, classic white Aquascutum shirt from her wonderful clothes collection and that's not all! Years ago when I left school I was lucky enough to gain employment in a lovely family run designer boutique Kimberly which is still going strong today. Around 25 years ago whilst working there I bought a lovely Ferragamo navy short sleeve sweater with gold buttons around the neck, another really lovely classic piece. My mum loved it and when I left the store to move onto to pastures new I gave the sweater to her. Guess what?! She has looked after it all these years and has now given it back to me!! What joy! It still fits!! And boy has it stood the test of time and style!

The Ferragamo sweater

The Aquasctum shirt didn't photograph well so I've left it out but I'm sure you will see it modeled in the very near future!

More birthday good fortune came my way as I had vouchers from T K Maxx to the tune of £40 and a further £10 in gift cards for H&M. In T K Maxx I netted myself a gorgeous navy 7 for All Mankind biker jacket.

I did say there would be more stripes didn't I??! I realised I also had a whole in the wardrobe needing to be filled with a black and white stripe top so I used the H&M voucher on this little number....

Whilst in H&M children's section looking for an outfit for mini-me's school disco this week, I stumbled across a great Breton in the sale section reduced to the princely sum of just £3. I did have a chuckle with the young chap manning the fitting room whilst trying it on......who'd have thought a 44 year old would be buying age 12-14 clothes!! A bargain with the power to give you a good laugh....bonus!

Admittedly I feel a bit of a cheat but you know what who could turn down all these lovely extras and the brilliant bargains! What do you think? Would love to know how you would have treated the extra vouchers?

So how is the budget faring? I've done a quick tot up of what I've spent so far and I'm doing good! I spent, £11 on the red & white stripe top from French Connection, £35 on the Mango jacket and £3 on the H&M kids Breton so I've not even hit the halfway mark yet and there are still 2 weeks to go! Anyone else in on the challenge?? Have you blown your budget yet? What purchases have you made? Would love to hear all about your shopping tales!

So what have I been wearing these past few days?

First up a slobby Sunday outfit

Topshop Slouchy T
Gap Real Straight Jeans
Converse Trainers

The first wear of my new Rag & Bone birthday boots and some more shirt and sweater layering

Jaeger Vintage Silk Blouse
Topshop Sweater
H&M Jeggings
Rag & Bone Newbury Boots

A day at home with a poorly chick just called for something comfy

H&M Sweatshirt
H&M Boyfriend Jeans
Primark Smoking Slippers

Now today, I had planned to wear this......however the rain scuppered all that and meant I actually ended up wearing something far more practical as it was lashing down! But I thought I'd show the Birthday jacket in all it's glory! Ta-dah!

7 for all Mankind Jacket courtesy of T K Maxx
H&M Kidswear Breton
Topshop Leigh Charcoal Jeans
Rag & Bone Newbury Boots
Primark Scarf

In reality.....this is the outfit that went down today! My H&M parka got it's first airing as practicality prevailed!

H&M Parka
Zara Grey Sweatshirt
Gap Outlet Skinny's
Converse Brown Leather Hi-Tops
Mulberry Seth Bag

Off into town to run some errands.....will it get me into any more budget trouble?? Michelle x


12 October 2013

A rest from the budget talk!

No purchases to divulge to today.....just fessin' up to stealing style! Oh to the joy of being able to cobble an outfit together without spending a penny!!

This is something I would never have envisaged putting together....it's double denim for a start, which is a look I've really struggled with! I've just recently fallen in love with layering a shirt and sweater so when I saw this shot of Olivia Palermo, well I thought I'd give it a whirl......and I am pretty pleased the results!! When the husband says 'you look nice' you know you must be onto a good thing!

Simple....yet so chic! Here is my version consisting of H&M sweater and denim shirt, Gap outlet skinny's and New Look pumps

Here I've added H&M coat as the temperatures are certainly dipping!

So what do you think? How have I done? I think I could really smash my challenge if I could throw a few more looks together like this where I have found similar items in my wardrobe! I've had more fun and more of a buzz putting this together than I have acquiring anything new this week!! I love getting inspiration.....it comes from everywhere! Where do you get you inspiration?
Michelle x

8 October 2013

A perfect black blazer.....well within budget!

For those of you who have been on this blogging journey with me from the start you may remember that one of the items on my Autumn/Winter wishlist wayback on my first post was a black blazer. I did feature a Zara blazer which I had had my eye on for a few months. I never did get around to buying it because I just couldn't justify the price for something that I wasn't sure that I'd get the wear out of, which could in part could also be due to the fact I have an alarming amount of jackets already! That coupled with an unreasonable fear that a black blazer would also feel a bit 'work' like even though in my job I would never wear a blazer as it just doesn't fit in with what I do....it'd be way too smart! Anyway I've bought and taken back a few jackets as they have just not been quite right. After stalking other peoples style on Pinterest I've realised that there are quite a few items in my wardrobe that are crying out to be worn with a blazer and I can see that I could make up many of the looks I love if I could just find that one elusive article!!

As luck would have it I have stumbled upon my ideal jacket whilst perusing around Mango looking for something entirely different! This is one piece could really have blown the entire £100 budget but the best part about it was that it was reduced in the mid season sale to £34.99!! What a result! Probably best to put aside the fact that I am almost at the half way through the budget and I am only a week into the challenge! On the upside I have made 2 great purchases that will be wardrobe staples. Chuffed to pieces would be an understatement!

So here it is

I love the fact that the hardware is silver, it has a little velvet collar too. I didn't think I'd go for double breasted having tried a few on but I think as this one is on the shorter side length wise, the proportions are better for my shape. I've styled it up here for lunching with the ladies!

I've no doubt this is a jacket you will see me flogging again and again now that I've found 'the one'!

Going back to the first purchase that kicked off my challenge.....the French Connection red and white Breton style top arrived and is a complete success! I must credit the French Connection outlet on eBay. The customer service was absolutely fantastic and delivery was super swift.....what more can a girl ask for?!

It's fair to say that I'm really pleased with how I'm doing with the challenge so far. It pays to have a proper plan which I do feel that I have now with the help of tools like Pinterest! I'm full of ideas of how to really utilise and update what I already have! It's really made my mind tick and actually the whole shopping experience much more enjoyable. Do you think I have spent wisely so far?

Anyway onto the array of outfits I've been wearing over the past week.

First up! Getting with the preppy look

M&S Crew Neck Sweater
Gap Shirt
H&M Skinny Cargos
H&M Pumps
Episode Bag
An outfit for some Saturday chores and a trip to the park
DKNY Biker Jacket Courtesy of T K Maxx
French Connection Top
Gap Original Fit Jeans
Converse Trainers
Scarf - eBay
Saturday night party outfit
French Connection Jacket
H&M Camisole
Topshop Leigh Jeans
M&S Sandals
New Look Necklace
The morning after - hangover look
H&M Sweater
Gap Outlet Skinny Jeans
French Sole Pumps
Necklace - Present
Monday school run fun!

River Island Cardigan
Gap Outlet T
Topshop Baxter Jeans
Ash Genials
Longchamp Bag
Well that's all for now folks! I have a few ideas on next purchase that may take place....it could be a long month as at the rate I am going I will have to hold tight until November for some things!! It's tough as we are just not used to having to wait for anything these days!! Question is....do I have the resolve?? What about you?? Any one joined me in this challenge? How are you doing? Finding it hard?? Look forward to hearing your comments! Michelle x


1 October 2013

Ready, steady.......go!!!!!

And we're off! The 1st October has been and almost gone and so how have I done on the first day of my challenge? Have I bought anything? Hell yes.....but more about that later!

Do I think the challenge is do-able.....yes indeedy I do! I must admit that I got paid last Friday and so immediately went shopping (this is the only way to celebrate payday and Friday....yay!). Off  I headed to House of Fraser (20% off brand event!!) Zara and H&M.

Bet you are dying to know how I fared??!! Sorry but I came home with zilch!! Nada! But my head was frazzled with all the ways in which I could spend 100 quid. I went out looking for sweaters and there were plenty of lovely knits around but not one that would have me part with my hard earned cash there and then! I did go home buzzing with ideas about getting this and that but I have to admit that the following day......everything was all but forgotten and Friday's wishlist was scrapped! Prey tell, I hear you ask? Did I need any of it? Did I love any of it? No. Not nearly enough. However (you know you can always count on one of them!) it did make me start really thinking about items that would really work with what I have.

In truth I did get a fair bit of inspiration from my normal stomping ground Avenue 57 and so came up with the idea for this first purchase. Not that I don't already own enough stripes.....out of the last 4 days, 3 days I have worn stripes but they are all navy/white or navy and cream combo....with a bit of black and grey to mix things up a bit!! So I had my head turned by this. I had seen someone wearing something similar to this and just knew I had to have one! Admittedly not an item to set the world alight but definitely one that would bring some wardrobe joy for me!

Who would believe that it would be so hard to find such a basic item as a red & white breton?? Gosh did I trawl......for hours and absolutely everywhere I could think of!! When I did manage to find what I wanted....a 'Captain Corsaire' Alexa Chung style-y Breton on eBay I was outbid....boo-hoo! But that lead me down a path! I remembered the lovely Andrea's of Cous Cous & Cork Wedges post a couple of weeks back about the eBay Boden outlet so I checked there.....but to no avail :0( Then I turned my attention to the French Connection outlet......low and behold success at last!! The above little beauty is on sale for just £9.40 and 99p for postage......hallelujah!

So what will be next? What other items have I identified that are missing from my wardrobe??? You will just have to wait and see??!! I have to say that I now have some proper planning in place thanks to the gorgeous Jo Sidley aka @FashionPassion on A57 as she unwittingly re-ignited my interest in Pinterest!! My Husband may have lost me forever as I am now scheming away about my next purchase.....let's just say there are more than a few ideas rolling around now (all secret at the moment of course)!!

So onto the looks I've been displaying these past few days!

A swift after-work drink

Zara Jacket
Gap Top
M&S Outlet Lounge Pants
Oasis Pumps
New Look Necklace
Saturday chores ensemble
Next Biker Jacket
Gap Outlet Stripe Top
Gap Outlet Navy Skinny's
Ash Thelma's Navy Canvas
Furla Bag
More stripes for a slouchy Sunday!

H&M Breton Top
Gap Real Straight Jeans
H&M Pointy Flats
Time for a cuppa with a lovely friend

Whistles Blazer
Zara Blouse
Gap Skinny's
ASOS Loafers
Mulberry Araline Bag
A day of appointments and airport runs!

Whistles Biker Jacket
Gap Stripe Sweater
Gap Outlet Skinny's
New Look Loafers
Marc Jacobs Bag
My first frugal purchase of the challenge made......are you still believing I can do this?? There are a whole 'nother 4 weeks of October to go....yikes!! Hold tight....this could be a rollercoaster of a ride!! Michelle x