Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Minute Dressing.... on the Cheap and Chic

I'm a big believer in the principle that planning and organising is the best way to keep the spending down but sadly, I am burdened by a  partner who often dumps things on me last minute- ie on holiday...

Him: Oh btw we have a thing to go to the weekend after we get back.
Me: a THING?
Him: Yeah, black tie or cocktail dress or something on the Saturday night.

So when we got back I looked in my wardrobe, nagged for some more details and realised I got rid of everything I used to have that would have been appropriate as it didn't fit. And we're on a budget. Luckily, I'm getting more and more used to this, so here's my tips on doing events dressing on the cheap, and keeping it chic.

Clarks Chorus Voice Black Suede

Clarks Chorus Voice Shoes, c/o

These Clarks court shoes are the single hardest working pair of shoes in my wardrobe, and they should be, they're also the single most expensive pair of shoes I own. But they were worth every penny and they're invaluable. I always work my event dressing around of black heels if I don't have a lot of time, because they're so versatile and these are guaranteed easy to walk in and comfortable to be upstanding for long periods in. If you have nothing else in reserve- a pair of comfortable simple heels are a must. I'm currently loving the look of these Alessie Eve shoes for a shiny patent look too. 

Chloe Likes To Talk Accessories

Most of my dresses for events are black or neutral- especially for black tie. Which is great, versatile, people don't really notice if you wear it again, and they're easy to change up with new accessories which can be much less pricey than new dresses, but  I also have a few safety net accessories and a couple of stand out ones to fall back on . 

My feathery clutch always grabs people and with it's multi-coloured layers, I'm yet to find an outfit I can't make it work with. It's been well looked after- I store it in a cover and then in a separate box, but it wasn't a ridiculously expensive piece from ASOS, and whatever else I'm struggling with, I know my bag is sorted, like my shoes. 

And the jewels. Well I have one or two statement necklaces in there, an easy change and having a fair amount of boob to contend with, a necklace can help balance a high necklace. MY spider ring is always a bit of a show stopper too- super huge, a bit of sparkle, and guaranteed to get people talking. 

Spider Jewel Ring

Unfortunately, for this particular event, I ended up needed a new dress as well. Luckily for me, I had an eBay seller in mind already. I have a few favourited sellers who have quick and reliable delivery that sell discounted or great bargain items. I'm a late comer to eBay, but it can be a real gold mine for factory seconds and great deals. This dress is branded, sold brand new, with tags, in branded packaging, but cost a fraction of it's RRP (£45) at £8.99, £10.48 delivered the very next day. 

Green cocktail dress sleeves yellow band

Green wouldn't everybody's first choice, especially with the jewel tones of purple and red available as traditional winter colours, but I know I wear green well, and if you haven't got time to try something new, sticking with what you know doesn't require time or the mental energy required to make myself presentable- just me? 


And time it took, but I didn't scrub up too bad. 

So- keep stock and have shoes at the ready. A fabulous bag will get you a long way in life, and if in doubt, eBay is not a bad place to start for a bargain dress. 

And now, the *ahem* morning after the night before, I'm going back to this, because much champagne was consumed last night. 

Today will mostly be featuring ...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Black Widow

Since my boring new dress code comes into force on Tuesday, I thought I'd better start phasing in my 'neutral' coloured wardrobe and getting used to 'preferably black' shoes. This dress was a total steal from the ASOS sale when they were offering an extra 10% off, and came to about £12. A simple shift is a useful thing to have, I suppose.

ASOS shift & Lola Basic by Geox

Dress, ASOS - Lola Basic shoes - Geox c/o Spartoo - necklace, eBay

The dress came a little shorter than expected, but I'm still liking a bit of shine and sparkle to set off the slightly charcoal toned of the black, and grasping at the final warmth of the year with no sleeves.

In other news, you might have noticed some VERY excited tweeting from me earlier in the week and that is because instead of Christmas presents, my parents, my grandmother and her partner, T & I are all flying out to Leipzig for a long weekend. I lived and studied in Leipzig and I loved it. It's one of the few places I felt at home. I worked hard, partied hard, met awesome people, and ├╝ber bonus, I was there for the Winter Semester which meant Weihnachtsmarkt! The German Christmas markets are renowned across Europe and Leipzig's is one of the very best.

I'll be talking more about my German plans in the coming weeks, but I wanted to leave you with this little taster for now......



Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Shoes glorious shoes. I have been stalking these beautiful specimens for weeks. Waiting to pounce as soon as my size came into stock. As a creature of habit, it's been a bit strange to check out a new brand, but Geox really seem to have it nailed right now. The perfect balance of quality, style and tech.


Geox Lola Black

Geox Lola Basic

Look at them, all shiny and dainty and oddly chic for me. They're pretty awesome for work, since I should now be wearing preferably black shoes (yawn), and they have all the support I need for traipsing about Chancery Lane and doing lunch cycles to the Post Office- oh my glamorous life! And now, well now I'm after them in this beautiful nude colour as well.

Geox Respira

As often with me, these shoes are about a really good quality basic. Geox have been revolutionary for long time, but their current innovation is a perforated sole for breathable shoes, but they're also waterproof. I have no idea how the tech works, I just know it does. I also value a bit of cushioning and a firmness to the sole, which these babies give me. No crunchy knees for me!

These are the Lola Basic ballerina, and it pleases me greatly that there's a range of colours and finishes to the Geox Lola flats, and they have some other awesome ones too.

A little side note on these Uniqlo trousers, they became a new favourite about this time last year, and now they fit properly once more, I recall why I love them so much, such an easy wear, and super easy for work especially since I don't wear a huge volume of separates. As ever, I'm totally impressed with the high quality of Uniqlo's products- no fading or stretching, these trousers very rarely need ironing if hung with their creases and they still look just as good as when I bought them after lots of wash and wear.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not A Holiday Photo Diary

Yeah, dropped off the radar there a bit. I went off on my (much needed) holidays for a week there. It's a funny thing, because just like moving, neither T nor I realised how much we needed it until we made it happen, and a week of R&R together turned out to be every bit as good as we thought it would be.

David Jones NYC Suitcase

Early doors at Gatwick with my new best friends, both of them. Since buying these black Dainty Converse, I've talked and talked about them, I know, but they're just so comfy, and go so well with everything, and so much more streamlined than the standard ones. I definitely think the autumn lends itself to trainers and sneakers, they make the perfect interrim before I switch from living in flip flops and considering my next pair of winter boots. That said, I think I'm drooling over these beautiful H by Hudson ankle boots.

The suitcase is a new friend, my last suitcase got bashed once too many when I moved from the North to London last year, and this David Jones luggage with it's NYC print (there's a whole range of cool NYC themed cases btw) caught my eye- definitely recognisable on the carousel, as it's got 360 degree castors and a solid combination lock whilst being a hard shell. It's basically my perfect case and it didn't let me down. 

Shellac matching passport

Early start at Gatwick made better by realising my DIY Shellac (first time doing my own hands, messy, messy, messy) matched my passport. 

Excuse me whilst I don't come home.

I consequently spent most of the rest of the week like this.....


Ate a lot of this.... 

(Grilled sole FYI)

Los Gigantes

Proof that on a couple of occasions I did in fact move further than reaching for my Kindle after a dip in the pool.....

Skull print shorts and a loose white shirt- pre airport wiwt

And before too long it was a pre-airport WIWT. These skull print shorts by Sisley (total sale bargain) are basically perfection,meaning I didn't weep too hard at having to finally ditch my old denim holiday shorts. 

Welcome home. Joy.

And thanks to some delays it as back to sunny Gatwick, and we stumbled in the door of the flat here a mere 14 hours after the journey began in Los Gigantes. 

Most of this weekend has been spent (surprise, surprise) washing, ironing, putting flips flops and summer dresses away and generally wishing myself back by a swimming pool. 

I know that laying about reading, eating a lot of seafood and putting the world to rights over local wine is not everybody's ideal holiday, but we had the nicest week. After a passing out ceremony, house hunt, house move and an office move in the last 6 weeks or so, it was what we needed. 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On Getting My Shit Together

I had 2 interesting conversations with 2 different people over the last couple of weeks, both set me reflecting in different ways.

Chloe Aged 18

The picture above is me at 18. It's probably apt, because the clear liquid in that glass is not water. By 18,I was somewhat less of a car wreck than I had been at 16  and 17, but still with a long way to go. Thinking back that far (6 years ago, a little over) has mostly been prompted by chatting to a former teacher of mine. This talented lady just took the assistant head job at a school I did my lower sixth in, and didn't fair well in. She also had the misfortune to teach me both before and after that particular disaster.

As a consequence of supportive parents and some pretty amazing teachers, I pulled through my upper sixth, a lot of resits, a lot of abusing my body and soul, and a lot of indecision, and passed a few A' Levels and got to the next bit, which for me was uni, it was a step I was glad to get to, and a year previous I didn't think I'd get there.

Moral of the story- I can't say don't do what I did- I did a lot of things, but I needed to learn about myself, my limits and what I wanted. I didn't do a perfect job of it, but with some supportive people who saw that I could make it somewhere, I got myself together. A conversation with a friend who will know who she is, who went totally out of character lately and all I could say was- I won't judge whatever you've seen and done in your life, but I don't always think "screwing up" is a bad thing, if you understand the lessons learned. And sometimes we need people around us to help us learn those lessons. My parents are my continued source of support- my mum is the one who keeps me focussed and gives me some of my best ideas, but I also wanted to take an opportunity to remember and thank a teacher who made a real difference to my life, who listened, offered alternatives, and reminded me there's always someone who might have been through something like you. It's a mark of the respect I have for her, and the difference she made, that I still like to catch a tweet or two with her 10 years after she first taught me.

I don't wish I could say that life has been a walk in the park since I left school. Nobody's life is picture perfect, and uni, for me, was necessary but not always enjoyable. I worked hard, I partied hard at times, but didn't leave with very many friends, or a sense of wishing it would continue. One of the few friends I took forward was the Skype date who part inspire the other side of my post, who somewhat ironically, only discovered my blog for the first time that evening. HI DEV!

Chloe Graduating

Me, graduating.

Since leaving university, I've done a few different things and learned a lot more along the way. I had my conversation with my friend as I mosied about the kitchen in the new flat, batch cooking for the next couple of weeks, having started packing for my holiday, done a bit of washing and ironing, and thought about my career and gotten to know the sofa a little as well. And it struck me, that we've become adults. Dev and I have very different lives, in different countries, and we still insult each other and make jokes, but we're doing what we do, and despite not having a masterplan laid down that has rumbled along just like it's supposed to, but we're making it all work.

No matter the mistakes you make along the way, the hard times, and the times you spend thinking you're walking on air because you're so happy, no matter how far from your front door you travel or how much you earn, we all get somewhere. It isn't always the dream job in the dream Louboutins, but I can honestly say that with hard work and a bit of assessment as to what is truly important, I think you can make success in your own image.

Me, last month

Not bad, all things considered. #fotd

Whilst to many, I may not be the vision of all successes, I am a mostly healthy, happy adult, I hold down a full time job that challenges me and I'm in a loving relationship. To me, these will always be successes of a kind. There is no magic secret to pulling my life together, it's just a case of deciding to make things right and accepting the help and knowledge of those around you. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Sauntering

1 more week until we go on holiday, and the first whole month in our new place. T is away this weekend and I'm totally blissing out at being able to do some cooking, potter about and generally enjoy the space we live in.

It's also cooled down enough to pull on my jeans for the first time in ages. I almost just pulled on my uni hoodie and called it a day there and then, but realised I needed to go to the sorting office.

PicMonkey Collage

I hopped on my bike to head out since I'm currently trying to work some excess grease out of the ball bearings in the front axle-  of my exciting life.... On a more exciting note (more exciting to the majority of readers anyway), this black Nica handbag has been a perfect choice. Well done self, for picking wisely. It's not so huge that I can over stuff it, it has an across body strap and it has a zip closure as well as the flap over front. It's still discounted, although not as much as when I bought it, but my experience of Nica is that the cost per wear definitely equals good value. 

Jamie Jeans and Clarks Flat shoes

Topshop Jamie jeans - Topshop shirt (ancient) - Clarks Henderson Band shoes - Accessorize necklace

These Clarks shoes have been a total life saver through the warmer weather we've had this summer, especially for work, as they have a cut out but not an open toe. Even though I needed some neutral shoes at the time, I still wish I'd gone with my heart and not my head and bought the Mint Green versions. They're just so green.

On that note, seems there were lots of opinions on my post about the new dress code coming in where I work,  and I just wanted to say this- Horses for courses. I don't necessarily agree with the content of the new dress code, but I also have to work to keep a roof over my (and over T's) head, and if I have to wear black to do so, I'm sure I'll live. For some businesses, irrespective of size, but ones that are developing or expanding, having a clear point of reference is just a way of ensuring consistency.

AND shoes, clothes, whatever, because I have set me sights on having a freakin' awesome new bike, which will make the Crimson Beast look like an old lady (which, to be fair, it is). I'm sure there's only a precious few of you interested in that, but if you are one of those few, it looks a bit like this, but funked up Chloe Style (read: no pink)

Plus- I have to shout to Bangs And A Bun, who I actually met on my cycle home from work on Thursday night. I recognised her and the super friendly pup Stringer Bell. After my RAF dreams fell apart, Bangs And A Bun really inspired me to get back into being an active adult, pretty awesome to meet a legendary person in the flesh!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kick Ass

Learning to like exercise is... well it's a life lesson for lots of us. There aren't that many people who truly enjoy the volume of exercise required to keep one healthy, and I go through phases.

The Crimson Beast has been a fairly consistent presence here since I got it in February, and just recently, I've bloody hated cycling. Yes, I said it.I dared not to enjoy exercise. I know lots of people are really enjoying pushing themselves, be they runners, swimmers, gymmers or cyclers, but do you know, it's ok to have a week were you detest the sight of your trainers/bike/shorts too.

What have I become?!
I seem to have spent a lot of time like this over the last couple of weeks... More trouble than it's worth?!

I'm not sure there's an easy solution to this issue, I've found that I just need to push through the bad bits- shitty weather, the week last month where something wasn't right with my bike 6 consecutive days, the irritating crunchy knee joint... but ultimately, enjoying it or not, continuing to get on the bike and get on with getting to work and back has been the only way to get through it.

I've bee searching about the web for tips on getting into exercise, and there are a wealth of blogs, pro or otherwise, articles, YouTube videos and opinions on how to get into regular exercise, or the sport of your choice, but precious few with any advice on what to do if you fall out of love with it!

Which leads me to believe, that sometimes, you just have to suck it up and get on with it. Exercise is an important part of being a healthy adult, and I know that I don't want to be another statistic young woman who can't effectively manage their weight or is at risk of heart disease/diabetes/half a dozen cancers, frankly, there's to much life to be living for that!  My only advice, would be this:

Find something that has a purpose.

#todayimwearing HOME TIME
Work bound- I dare you to not see me o the road! 

I know lots of people love running- it's free to do, it doesn't require equipment, and you can do it anywhere pretty much, but most people can't run to work and back. One of the biggest reasons for my foray into cycling for me, has been that it gets me to work and back. Once I walk in the door after work, that's me done with exercise, if I want. I need exercise in my life that I feel has a point and a purpose. That I can partake in aside just for the simple need of exercising. And it's pragmatism is what's driven me through this latest spell of wanting to pitch my bike of a 2 story balcony (no, really). Whether I like it or not, I have to get to work, and cycling in has become as second nature to me as getting the train, so I get on with it. Getting the train to work isn't picture perfect either, so it's swings and roundabouts (or wheels and pedals if you like). And behold, this week I seem to have come out the other side. I'm back to enjoying my bike again, plotting upgrading it to something shiny and speedy and totally more apt for my needs later in the year and generally not feeling all vicious and hurty towards my Crimson Beast.

Has anyone got any better tips than 'suck it up' for hitting a plateau with an activity you love?

Monday, September 2, 2013


I've been working since I was 13, as a kid I worked mostly restaurants and bars, black and whites were as natural to me as my school uniform. During vacation time at uni, I worked a bit of everything from sales to subbing in for my parents with their business through to my internship with a legal practice, I know how to do work wear.

My current 'proper' job has never had a dress code, but we're an office, I sometimes see clients, and generally I try and keep it smart and simple, but I also like a flash of colour and a bit of interest... This is one of my favouritest work dresses

#todayimwearing H&M conscious collection shift and @clarksshoes flats.

I consider this to be perfectly appropriate, especially as I almost always have a jacket to hand should I need one at the office.

And this one...

Dog Print Dress & Cream Jacket 2

Sadly, com October first, neither of these will be acceptable. The original proposition was that women wouldn't be able to wear dresses at all, but thankfully I managed to have that bit scrapped. But it's all plain neutral colours now. Needless to say, I'm feeling a little panic. I don't think green is a neutral colour somehow........ So naturally, everything I have spotted, that I have had my eye on for work wear heading into the autumn is no longer viable, like THIS

M&S Collection Peter Pan Suedette Collar Knitted Dress - Marks & Spencer - Google Chrome 01092013 220001.bmp

I rather like THIS Marks and Spencer for a work appropriate and something with a flash of interest, I though it was a decent price at £35 also, seeing as M&S usually have quality down.

French Connection Marie Dress

This is a French Connection classic, the kind of piece I'd pick in any case, but if this doesn't tick the boxes, who knows what will. 

And last on my AW hit list 

Topshop Chiffon Dress

This dress by Love via Topshop is probably pushing it a little, as it's likely to be on the short side, but for all it's other prescriptions (preferably black shoes, anyone?) there isn't one for skirt or dress length. Can you tell the code has brought me over all subversive? 

I don't have a problem with dress codes, I agree we should be smart in an office for work, but I can't help wondering if it's all a little excessive in our particular session. So forgive me my subversion as I also wonder how often I will be able to get away with this kind of nail polish....

Saturday night sorted.

Anyone suggest somewhere I can ramp up my work appropriate clothing? All hints, tips and suggestions greatly appreciated!