Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chloe Likes Sensible Shopping

When I wrote my recent post about buying better and quality vs quantity, I was super encouraged that so many of you seemed to be having similar thoughts, and as many of the people I interact with regularly are people in their first and second 'proper' jobs, with considerations such as rent or mortgages, savings and the future, it seems also that for many of us, that when we spend money on ourselves whether it's a treat or a necessity, we want to feel reassured that it's money not squandered.

So, on the back of that, I decided to make this short series- sensible shopping. Buying the things you need and love, and spending your hard earned pennies sensibly, getting the best value- whether it's £2 or £20 or £200. This week- shoes! More specifically party shoes.

I've never been to a work Christmas party before. Consuming an extra bottle of wine with my parents on the Friday before Christmas, mostly because we'd just managed to do a couple of weeks work in 4 days, doesn't really count... This year, I have a shiny new proper job (I will stop going on about this, eventually), and with it came an invite to the Christmas party, which has a James Bond theme. Sounds great, I think it'll be a fab chance to get to know a few colleagues outside of 'could you pass me the portable scanner please', but my first thought was....

WHAT am I going to wear?! Having had a mental flick through my wardrobe, I remembered a suitable dress. Black. Sparkly. Easy. It's just shoes. The shops are full of Party Shoes, with a capital P, but what happens when you don't want to buy cheap shoes because you know how much your feet will hate you, and those strappy feathery expensive ones, well they're pretty, but will you really really get £100 of wear from them before they become boring/impractical/water damaged? Hmmmmm?

House of Fraser recently got in touch to tell me about their selection of shoes, and so I thought I'd bring you my favourites- party-worthy shoes that your feet won't whinge about, and that will work hard for their worth.

The Sale pick:

Nine West Donthate Court 

Loving the flash of colour these would add to a black or a deep purple dress, the suede is something a bit different, but a sturdier heal, a platform and a closed toe mean these would also be fabulous with the trusty black shift and blazer for a meeting or with my favourite ankle grazer trousers for a dinner date or drinks with friends. P.S. These beauties are in the sale for £65, and if red isn't your thing, then this Black version by Dune are great too, against a pair of coloured tights for impact or great for daily wear, at £45, they should represent excellent versatility.

The Flats:

Carvela Lieutenant flats

If you're heel averse, these flats make an amazing statement. But they're also bang on trend, and are the kind of shoes you could pull on with skinny jeans and a fine knit jumper to hit the shops. These are, without a doubt pricey shoes at £95, but I also know that they're the kind of shoe that you can rely on whenever you're stuck for an interesting flat.

The Designer Splurge

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Rylie shoes

I've seen a lot of adversity flying about, towards those who pride and describe themselves as being thrifty and have purchased an expensive gadget or designer handbag, but as an adult, if you earn your own money, that means you're entitled to spend it as you wish, and whether your vice is going out at the weekend so you can let some steam off, or buying the latest iPad to enable you to run your life on the move as well as watch the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy, or enjoying a designer purchase to provide your wardrobe with lasting pieces that you love, well frankly that's your business, and all these things can constitute money well spent from the discount on your handbag or the exclusive deal on your gadget. Being green, these caught my eye straight away, something a bit different, but a lasting pair of solid shoes means they'll be fabulous for wear after wear and although an unusual colour, the classic style gives them the versatility to cover a multitude of occasions.

And lastly, my personal favourites.

Steve Madden Intrude-S shoes

I bought a pair of Steve Madden boots back in 2009. They were, I won't lie, full price, and my first truly *expensive* purchase. But, they're currently seeing me through a 4th winter, making them the longest lasting boots I've ever had, and I've worn them roughly 6 days of 7 for 12-16 weeks of the year, meaning they've work out roughly the same as buying a new pair of £60 boots per year even if they didn't last another winter, which is precisely what I used to do, and that cost is decreasing with every wear.

It shouldn't be a surprise that I view the cost of these beautiful shoes as justifiable. They're on trend, they're PRETTY, I can't think of anything in my wardrobe, except one pair of slightly short wide leg trousers, that they wouldn't work with. Teamed with my black dress, gold nail polish and some serious curling and pinning of my hair,I think these are my Bond Girl shoes sorted.

What do you think of my House of Fraser picks? I was really pleasantly surprised by the volume of brands that are stocked and you can visit House of Fraser for more designer shoes

*This is a sponsored post, but all content except the images which were provided at my request, is created by me, all opinions, views and reviews are my own*


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Light Entertainment

So this week I'm stuck back 'up North' as I'm business sitting for one last week in my old job. It's a lonely business at this time of year because the weather is, frankly, miserable- I've just had to text everybody working tomorrow to remind them to leave time for weather interference and plan for flooding. Joy. I spend the day in a subterranean level office, I leave home in the dark, and return in the dark. I work in the office alone, we do not take visitors, and I have the flat to myself too. Naturally, I've spent a lot of down time watching television and reading, it's what I do when I'm alone, and not working.

I like the X Factor. I also read all 3 of the 50 Shades trilogy in fairly rapid succession, I watch the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, and I'm a fan of Grey's Anatomy  and Made in Chelsea too. I don't usually pay too much attention to the usual rounds of 'I don't wtch/read that rubbish' type tweets etc that go around on a weekend or whenever aforementioned items are merely mentioned in passing. To each their own, and all that, and lots of people don't enjoy those kinds of things- fair play. But over the weekend, one comment, openly stating that people who do like a certain trilogy by a certain E.L. James, must be stupid, really, really set the red mist descending. Add insult to injury, the person making this comment is the owner of a small business, and they were using an instagram account under the name of their business.

After resisting the urge to point this person in the direction of the lovely Sarah from Temp:Sec, to show them how you can be personable and friendly and generally wonderful, whilst remaining professional, I got REALLY cross. Not just because this person openly admitted they were only reading the books because they'd spent so long stating how awful they were without having read them, that they really ought to see for themselves (I'm staying well clear of the WTF moment this causes me), but well, I think they were wrong, and unbelievably insulting.

Here's my issue. I don't think I'm stupid. I have a triple major BA Hons and speak 3 foreign languages. I have a qualifying law degree. I just accepted the job of my dreams, which was offered to me, despite the role not usually being open to graduates. I am writing this at a time when I have (not by any stretch for the first time) been entrusted to manage a business, on my own, and I have a minor addiction to Scrabble and Sudoku puzzles. And I am more than competent in the art of laundry, food shopping and booking my own dental appointments.

A regular sight just 6 months ago- I received a mark of 76% for this essay.

All of those things I've mentioned liking? I read or watch or enjoy them because they're entertaining. The don't require me to exercise my brain to heavily, which is great when I'm reading at almost midnight in an attempt to switch off from the business calls I was still taking at 2330, or watching something on a Sunday afternoon whilst ironing and listing things I need to prep for the coming working week- no seriously, outfit planning has become a stressful military style operation. For me, they are mindless, easy, and they are comfortable. I do not always want to do something that requires me to concentrate 100%. There is nothing wrong with this, it does not lower my intelligence, it does not make me stupid.

My message is this- firstly, small business owners who use social media- think before you type, and maybe consider a personal account separate from your business? Particularly if you like to debate divisive issues. Secondly, to each their own. I am well aware that the XFactor really isn't some people's idea of entertainment, that's cool, I don't mind that- I can imagine nothing worse than all the Twilight movies back to back or a Lord of the Rings marathon, but I don't think it makes you a better or worse person with higher or lower intellect than me if that's your weekend sorted. But don't expect me to roll over if you insult me on the back of my simple Saturday night in (so long as there's an open bottle of wine to accompany it *ahem*). Think that 50 Shades is a misinformed binding of utter bollocks masquerading as soft porn? Well, you know what, I probably wouldn't disagree, but if I wanted to read something to have an intellectual debate about, well, I have a bookshelf full of classics, most of which I could give you an intelligent opinion on, and most of which I did not elect to read solely for entertainment value.

My best 'I'm intelligent, give me a job please' face- it worked. 

So, nameless online business owner, yes I have unfollowed you, yes I challenge you to look further than your own misinformed opinions before putting them out there under the name of your business, which unsurprisingly I would now avoid on principle, and if you're reading this shaking your head, thinking that I really am thick as 2 short ones, I'm very seriously interested to hear your perspective, this is a topic I find fascinating.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recently I'm Wearing

A special edition of Recently I'm Wearing... from all the good wishes I received on Tuesday, a lot of you have seen my tweets, and know that I had my first week in my shiny new job. I'm now based in East London, and even got a bit over excited when I found out just how close I am to a blogger I rather admire (shout out Big Fashionista) and got even more excited when I received invites to a couple of blogger events. Sadly, the Clothing At Tesco preview I was very kindly invited to on Wednesday, I didn't end up making because I was late leaving work- and so it begins. But I'm super excited to be a bit closer to 'the Action'. 

 First Day Face.
First Day outfit. I opted for this printed shift dress from George @ Asda (some time ago) and a gunmetal glittery belt from F21, and unseen, but unsurprisingly, Clarks flats.

Another working week outfit: ASOS dress (c/o a voucher from an Aussie giveaway last year), Spanish Scar and Clarks flats.
Details- the crochet inset on the dress, glittery nails and my Shaun Leane ring from the Blackthorne collection. apple headphones optional.

I have to admit, I was a little concerned about dressing for a proper job. Although I've been working in an office for a few years, it's beyond relaxed- as in leggings and a jumper is perfectly acceptable. There's also my penchant for glitter- glittery shoes, glittery accessories, glittery nails, glittery hair clips... you get the picture. It was super difficult to tell from my initial interviews how conservative or not my office would be, because I was interviewed entirely by male staff, and I didn't see any of the female staff when I briefly got a tour of the office. Shirts and ties are all well and good for guys, but as a girl- and one who wears a dress and jacket better than a suit, I was left wondering how well or not my style hodge podge putting together of glitter and simple dresses would go down.

I decided to front it out on my first day. In the end I decided that it's better to start as I mean to go on- with accents of my personality, but keeping it modest and professional. Blood red nails with gold gradient glitter and a skinny gunmetal grey belt... how offensive could it possibly be?

I'm glad I stuck to my guns, turns out the other 2 women in our office, who are lovely BTW, follow the same theory as I do. Professional, smart, but with a bit of personality through colour or lanyards decidedly more interesting than the ones we are issued by security for our passes.

I'm interested to hear about your office style- I could do with all the help available. I realised this week, that I really really need some more work appropriate clothes. Thankfully the ASOS sale has come to the rescue, and I'm hoping my couple of purchases will be the top up required. Now just to wait on their arrival...

Despite only starting my job last week, I find myself back in the North now. No, I haven't sacked it off just yet, my new employers very kindly agreed to give me a week's leave to cover one last holiday for my parents. I got up at STUPIDOCLOCK yesterday to leave with them and get the train up from Birmingham international. I've never been so pleased to see this...

The largest cup of coffee I could buy from Costa Coffee. Birmingham 0445.

And right now, I have a roast for one cooking up, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD playing, and a huge cup of tea in hand. It's nice to have some down time, but having moved in with T, it's now a bit strange having a whole flat to myself up here.

Happy Sunday everybody. Keep warm.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ask Her Friends

Recently a rather friendly email arrived introducing me to a website named AskHerFriends.com

The basic premise is that guys often get gift buying for their better halves/mothers/nieces/sisters horribly wrong or decide that throwing money at the problem is a good way to solve it. AskHerFriends.com is a virtual way of, as the name suggests, getting help as if you were, for instance, asking her friends.

I had a good poke about on the site, and found it an interesting concept. You can input characteristics of the person you're buying for, based on her relation/connection to you, or what they might choose to do on a free weekend or day off. Great if you have a partner or brother who is not in tune with what you like or your taste.

I have to admit, I tried putting my own details in, and it didn't really throw up results that I'd want T to buy for me, but then T and I are very lucky in that we seem to get gifts right, and T has a bit of a knack for knowing what will make me smile, whether it's my birthday or because transport made me too ill to go out anywhere for a whole weekend (yes, that happened).

That said, I've often spent longer trying to source a Christmas gift from my Dad to my Mum than sourcing my own gifts. There's also the memorable story that my mother tells, of the year he bought her pans for her birthday.... FAIL.

So whilst I'm not sure that AskHerFriends.com is something I'd use personally, or direct my partner too, I will be sending my Dad in their direction, as well as my male best friend whose taste in gifts is borderline disastrous.

This website is a fab tool for a starting point for the men in your life who need some direction. To make it clear that if you're the girl planning her next half marathon, perfum or Touche Eclat may not be the gift for you, as the newest generation of Nike Fuelband might not be for you if your free weekend is spent catching up on Grey's Anatomy and a whole handful of your favourite fashion blogs.

AskHerFriends.com may not be the answer to a truly personal gift giving hand, but it's certainly going improve the smiles and general Christmas present opening for a whole host of women whose male relative are not quite in tune with what we want.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Furry Find

About a month ago I went to put on my much loved H&M biker jacket. It's faux leather goodness has seen my through a seriously cold German winter, 3 universities and is my go to for the autumn and early winter as an easy wear style of jacket that goes with so much. You can imagine my dismay, when upon turning it around, I noticed that it really was beyond being simply 'well loved' and was in fact worn out, with the faux leather coming away at the seams and bits of the stitching giving way.

Not only did this fill me with dread because I was relying on said jacket to pull together the contents of my suitcase for a short trip away, but also because, much like the perfect pair of jeans or the black dress you know will flatter you on any given day, it's a bloody nightmare trying to replace something integral to your wardrobe, as my biker style jacket is to mine. Cue much despair on my part with thoughts of being unable to find a new jacket for many months. 

It is in fact by chance that 2 weeks ago I found myself in Topshop Oxford Circus. I was due to meet my grandparents for a brief lunch nearby, but had some time to kill. And why not, I thought. The search has to start somewhere. 

Lo and behold...

Faux leather jacket with detachable faux fur collar, Topshop £58

This is a little more than I wanted to spend, especially as it's faux leather, but having tried it on (a size up from usual FYI) and realised that I loved it, it fit beautifully and the detachable fur collar was a MAJOR sell. On trend, and easy to switch up... helllo! On reflection, I also think it's better value to spend more on something that you wear frequently, because it should last the course. Cost per wear has become increasingly more important to me- check out this post I wrote earlier in the year on buying better.

I'm also rather fond of the detailing on the sleeves. I don't usually go for quilting, but the single straight lines bring a contemporary non tacky feel to the technique. The jacket is lined with a simple cotton- much appreciated as it doesn't cause static with the other synthetics, and those are good sturdy zips too. 

All in all, it's love. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Recently I'm Wearing

It's official, I'm now moved in with my partner in the big bad city, and the red carpet is set to become the new feature in my What I Wore Today pictures.

So, what have I been wearing recently... behold

Steve Madden boots, H&M coat, Shaun Leane pearl ring & cat ears ring c/o the lovely Daisy Chain Dream
A cold day outfit, the day I decided it would be sensible, recommended even, to move the vast majority of my belongings from Cumbria to London, using public transport. Yeah... I wouldn't recommend it. 

Topshop cat slippers, Uniqlo ankle length trousers, Topshop flecked tee, moustache ring c/o the lovely Temporary:Secretary, ASOS necklace
All dressed up, nowhere to go, I was due to meet my aunt, but she wasn't feeling so great. I ended up changing and painting my hideously scruffy nails instead. 

Topshop leather jacket with removable faux fur collar. More on this to come since I've been reunited with it!

Topshop peter pan collared tunic, Steve Madden boots, Unknown waterfall jersey cardigan
My final 'proper day' in my old job. I'm actually covering some holiday very soon, but I'm not really counting that, as I will have started my shiny new proper job. The meltdown following the realisation that leggings and tunics won't cut it in a proper office has hit. Any suggestions on affordable work wear that is more interesting than a skirt suit would be much appreciated.

Huge thanks to Daisy Chain Dream and Skinnydip. I seem to be on a winning streak just at present, and this little beauty couldn't have come at a better time as my old phone case went walk about at a house party a couple of weeks ago. And this one is SO much better.

Another giveaway that I won was a wonderful collection of 5 rings from Temporary:Secretary. She really is the sweetest, and this 'tache ring is just perfect for Movember. I was fortunate to win a third giveaway just this week too, and I'm looking forward to sharing the prize. I think you'll agree that it's both generous and beautiful!

Happy weekend folks. I have tomorrow to prepare before starting my shiny new job on Tuesday. I'm a touch nervous now it's rolling round, but excited too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chloe Likes To Eat

Upon returning from our weekly (not for much longer!) journey North, my suggestion for something to eat last week was this. Inspired if I do say so myself. Very tasty. You just can't beat them.


Monday, November 5, 2012


First off, I'd wanted to thank everybody for their lovely messages on my last post Moving On Up. I'm really excited about all the progress flying my way, and can't wait to share more once I'm sorted. 

Tonight being November 5th, I wanted to share a couple of the 300 pictures I managed to take this weekend. T & I went to Blackheath for the display put on by Lewisham Borough Council. To say they were good, does not do it justice. The display is HUGE and the fireworks were plentiful and amazing. It was also free, with cadets collecting donations. Having seen displays at £10+ per ticket, I thought this was much more budget friendly. T & I put a decent donation together as we thought it was well worth it, and would happily venture back next year. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Moving On Up

My week started with train entertainment....

I put my game face on... this is my version of 'Professional, personable, presentable!'

I did a lot of trekking across London from the Docks, through the City and up to leafy North West London.

I made a purchase from Topshop... which I'll be sharing very soon. MY PRECIOUS!

I dressed to impress... and make a memorable impression.... 

and it must have worked... 

Because this is the view from my new bedroom window. 

Thank you to everyone who wished me well on Twitter this week. If you missed it- I have been offered, and have accepted a really exciting job. It's my first 'proper job' and I start within the next week. Elation doesn't cover this feeling, after 4 long and soul destroying months of job searching, I'm so pleased to finally be getting a foot on the career ladder. 

My job is going to see my based in East London, I'm going to be living with T, certainly for a couple of months, more permanently if it works for us. This is a huge deal for both of us as this time last year there were over 300 miles between us and we saw each other once a month/6 weeks. 

I've spent most of the weekend celebrating in various guises- we went to see Skyfall on Thursday- the day I was offered my job. Turns out going to the cinema was the perfect thing to do. If we hadn't had tickets booked T & I might have gone a bit crazy going out, but instead we enjoyed the film, and dinner afterwards and didn't wake up to a lost Friday. On Friday I went to a house party with T, hosted by his friends. Unfortunately a total disaster for me. I had been looking forward to meeting some new people but I ended up feeling like a fish out of water and my impressions were not favourable. Thankfully, all is redeemed as tonight we're headed to a big firework display. I'm a huge fan of bonfire night- as a properly British (well... English) 'holiday' I love that it's unique to us and I adore fireworks. I even enjoy wrapping up warm and being outdoors as it chills down. There's something very reassuring about it all. 

Thanks again everybody for all your supportive words and congratulations. It's about to become very hectic for me, but I'm sure I'll be around and about if not necessarily very present on the blog. 

Happy Fireworks Weekend- stay safe and enjoy.