Monday, 30 November 2015

Oooooh New Shoes!

My name is Helen and I am a 'bootaholic'!  But in my defense Your Honour … boots always fit, boots can make or break an outfit, boots don’t make you feel fat, boots completely cover your skin and most importantly, boots don’t exacerbate psoriasis.  Boots are kind and forgiving and safe and oh, so much fun to buy.  Although I will admit, that things have possibly reached crisis point when the normally oblivious Teen stated, “another pair of black boots?  You know you’ve got a problem, don’t you?”  Pah!  She was soon silenced when I bought her a pair of black biker boots (We now have the same shoe size.  I’m no fool!)  Topshop sale for those who are interested.  ‘Animal’ biker boots, 100% leather and reduced from €89 to €42.  My fingers are tightly crossed that they will be a success when they arrive.

But back to me!!  I recently paid a visit to my sister in Boston which was just the loveliest, chilled out trip that involved a lot of coffee, bubbles and boots!  With the greatest of love and respect to all my Stateside friends and followers, I really don’t bother much with clothes shopping in the US anymore.  The sad state of the euro exchange rate, coupled with the excellent range of high street stores now available in Ireland, has taken the sheen off the once exciting prospect of shopping in the USA.  And to be honest, I think I’m at an age where I no longer get a thrill from a CK label on my jeans or a Ralph Lauren logo on my sweater.  I prefer to leave the obvious labels to the 'Victoria's Secret Pink' obsessed Teen! 

That said, the thrill of a trip to DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) still hasn’t got old.  So what did I buy?  Well settle down and I shall reveal all.  First up my favourite purchase, which were shoes, not boots.  But wonderfully strappy concoctions that will still serve to conceal should the skin decide to play up again on my feet.  A really comfortable height and dressy enough to add a bit of pzazz to a pair of jeans and simple top for a night out.  Adore them!  My only regret is that I didn’t buy them in the nude colour too.  These were from Nine West and I think cost about $70.

So with one bargain found, obviously I had to keep searching and next up were these Steve Madden suede black ankle boots with fringing.  These are clearly not going to be an investment purchase as chances are high that fringing will be frumptastic this time next year.  But at $60, it seemed rude not to take the opportunity to give a small nod to the trend and amazingly despite the low price tag, they are one of the most comfortable pairs of boots I’ve ever worn!

For those looking for a similarly comfortable style ankle boots, there is 30% off footwear today in Coggles with the code CYBERMONDAY at the checkout, which would make these H by Hudson Kiver suede ankle boots a real bargain.  Originally €144 (I’ll leave you to work out the discount)

The next purchase might just fall under the category of ‘not entirely necessary’ but I justified it by deciding that they were exactly what I needed for a Cos dress that I bought in the sales earlier this year but have yet to wear.  I didn’t have the correct footwear y’see!  (I’m now back home almost a month and correct footwear notwithstanding, I still haven’t worn said dress.  I think I need to find my inner dress-wearing Princess!)  I love sock boots as they fit so easily and don’t add bulk to my legs.  They’re also a great alternative to shoe boots if psoriasis is a problem on the legs.  Sometimes even the heaviest of opaque tights isn't enough to prevent flaking breaking through, but with a sock boot all of that remains hidden!  These were also around the $50.  Bargain!

I had a little look online to see if I could find anything similar and these Kassia boots from Carl Scarpa seem to fit the bill beautifully.  €149 and an extra 20% off today with the code MEGA at the checkout.

And that was it!  Sum total of my shopping in Boston, but very happy with my purchases and with the fact that my poor credit card hadn’t got hammered for the sake of needless shopping.  Home I came … and then last week, I fell foul of the Black Friday lure!  This was completely unintentional, but whilst out shopping on the Thursday (see?  It wasn’t even Black Friday yet!) I spotted these Dalhart Salsa shoe boots in Clarks.  Half price people!  Half price!  Wanna’ hear my justification for these?  Well! Firstly, my current heeled ankle boots have a platform on the sole which I think is beginning to look a tad dated.  Secondly, should the psoriasis clear on my legs, then I could wear this with the aforementioned unworn Cos dress (scraping the barrel a tad now perhaps?) And finally, did I mention that they were half price?  €55 down from €110.  Yes, I got well and truly suckered in!  Don’t care though … love them!

I think I’m pretty well covered now on the black boot front.  But there's definitely a dearth of brown boots in my wardrobe ... 

So what about you?  Did you get lured in by the Black Friday discounts as well?  Please say I'm not the only one!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wednesday Wish

A very simple yet glitzy wish for the start of the party season.  In reality I’m pondering the purchase of a silver leather clutch from the high street, but trust me, if not constrained by budget, I know exactly what I would buy …

May I present the Anya Hindmarch Valorie Clutch.  A glittering, sequinned handful of sparkle that would be the perfect festive addition to any outfit this year.  Let the Christmas countdown begin!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Have I Found Itch-Free Knitwear?

Possibly stating the obvious here, but boy it’s cold!  I think we had all got used to the balmy double digit temperatures, because everyone looked completely startled by the bitter winds of the weekend.  But handily, I had a blog post up my sleeve which is just ideal for the current weather, so settle down whilst I tell you about the wonderful world of Paul Costelloe Living Studio knitwear.

Those of you who are familiar with the blog, will know that I have always been a fan of the Paul Costelloe Christmas range for Dunnes Stores.  Each year, there would be an influx of fur snoods, shearling slippers and snuggly dressing gowns, which invariably ended up on my wish list.  But now the range is a year-round offering and this winter, the knitwear is quite simply divine.   I realise that I always preach caution when it comes to woollens, (and have usually advised to shop in person rather than online so that you can try it on) but in this case, I would be truly amazed if any of the jumpers caused irritation.  Despite having completely clear skin on the top half of my body (momentary pause for my little jig of joy) I still find many wools aggravating, but this range is quite simply a delight.  Ranging from a cotton (95%) & cashmere (5%) mix to a polamide (53%) & viscose (47%) mix, it is soft, warm, gentle on the skin and honestly just perfect.

So what did I buy?  Well, for me it was the Melanie Sweater, purely because it ticked all my current boxes, i.e., it’s black (still a novelty), it’s a flattering shape … skims the tummy but tight on the hips, so draped without having too much fabric, and finally (more novelty) I get to show off my clear arms!

In fact I loved it so much that I bought it in the mink shade also, and have plans of wearing this with either black in the winter, or with white skinnies during our ‘summer’ months.

But don’t fret; the range is not just for those with clear arms!  There are lots of other pieces to choose from.  I know that many of you love a nice chunky cowl neck.  I’m not going to lie, these scream ‘Great Aunty Beryl’ to me … all that’s missing is the tweed skirt.  Cannot abide them!  But in the interests of catering to all tastes, I bring you the Gina polo neck.  Soft as soft can be.

Then for those of you who have actually dragged yourselves to the gym this year and not gorged on every carbohydrate you set eyes on, behold the figure hugging Laura roll neck.  (It is unlikely that I will be seen sporting this particular style anytime soon unless I contract a severe and lengthy gastric flu, or develop a serious allergy to wine and Toblerone) Like most of the sweaters featured, it comes in a range of colours and would be fabulous as a layering piece, under a big chunky cardigan and blanket scarf, or indeed under a camel coat with skinnies and ankle boots.

Bless Paul Costelloe, for he has also catered for those of us who would rather conceal our lack of abs under a more forgiving knit, with the Ava Crew Neck.  This picture does it absolutely no justice.  I tried it on (and now cannot find the photo anywhere on my phone), but suffice to say, although lovely it is perhaps more suited to someone a tad taller than my 5ft 3 and a-very-important-half inches.

And finally, with a nod to all things cape-like this season, the cotton cashmere poncho which is the perfect throw-on for days when you know you will be jumping in and out of car.  Mom’s Taxi sound familiar?

So there you go!  At long last, a range of knits that I honestly don’t think will aggravate anyone’s skin.  But clearly, there is no guarantee and as always you will need to try on to make sure.  However, I feel reasonably confident that this will suit most people (she says, crossing her fingers tightly!)
Have a great week.