Dressing like Jess from New Girl...

When I was putting this outfit together, I needed something that would work for a nice meal in a restaurant and then the pub straight afterwards. So far, so good until this has to be done in -3C weather... I always find dressing for the pub so difficult but I think this outfit managed to straddle the line between chic and cosy. You must be getting pretty sick of this coat by now but it is so cosy and I like how it looks slightly smarter too, it is definitely my favourite coat at the moment!

Coat: Topshop, dress: Dorothy Perkins via charity shop, top:New Look, tights: Tesco, loafers: Office
Can you tell I have been watching a lot of New Girl recently?! Zooey Deschanel is definitely one of those Marmite people but I do love her and her wardrobe in New Girl is absolutely divine (she is definitely up there with Blair Waldorf for style inspiration!)  Jess is a big fan of cute dresses in bright colours and I knew this satiny style prom dress would be perfect for layering up. There's also nothing better than bright colours when it is gloomy outside, they put such a spring (har har) in your step! I think am going to have to replace this stripey top soon as I wear it so often but the Breton stripes and slouchy fit seem to be the perfect match for most of my wardrobe (and this dress is no exception) ... 

The eagle eyed amongst you will spot that I am not wearing my glasses in these pictures and this is because I forgot to put them on and only realised once we were halfway to Worcester... oops! I found it very bizarre without them as I have finally got used to wearing them (it has only taken me 4 months!) and I can't get used to my face without them, I look completely different! The gorgeous corally/orange lip is courtesy of my latest beauty purchase: the Revlon Just Bitten lipstain in Rendezvous. I can't believe it took me so long to succumb to their allure but I haven't looked back since I did, I am a total convert!

Which characters' wardrobe inspire you? Are there any beauty trends that you are late to the party on?

Madam Rage lace dress: how I wore it...

Trust me when I say that my weekend outfits are usually a lot  more casual than this (an outfit like this is more normal!) but it was my dad's birthday last week so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get all dressed up. This coat is definitely the most glamourous one that I own and ridiculously warm to boot- is anyone else completely fed up of all the cold now?! 

Coat: Topshop, dress: Madam Rage c/o Alex, tights: Tesco, shoes:Marks & Spencer
I won this beautiful Madam Rage dress off the lovely Alex at Christmas and I hadn't had a chance to wear it so it was well overdue an outing! I love lace dresses and the champagne overlay of this one is absolutely gorgeous. The black layer underneath ensures that it is ridiculously easy to wear, too. The dress was sleeveless but it was far too cold to take my wool cardigan off - sorry folks! I swapped the thin black belt it came with for a length of black ribbon as I it was slightly wider and I can get pretty fussy about my belts! 

I paired the dress with some of the best opaque tights that I have found - Tesco's 40 deniers are cosy but not so thick that you overheat when you go inside (yes I'm looking at you Primark 230 denier!) and fit really nicely. They are the one pair I am not having to constantly hoick up, which is always a bonus! Paired with some matte black heels, I got legs that looked much longer than usual! 

It is always difficult to know how to style your hair when you go out. I like to look polished but I hate my hair to look too pristine so I took a leaf out of Claire's book and opted for a messy topknot, which just got better-looking as the day progressed and my hair unraveled.  I used the original belt from the dress as a hair-tie which you can see in these photos and I think they worked much better this way round!

Have you tried anything from Madam Rage? How do you make your legs look longer?

Red, white and grey...

And now for something completely different... After the riot of colour in my last post on workwear, this could seem positively drab in comparison, but interesting details ensure that this outfit is (hopefully!) more fab and also something that more people could wear in their office.  I knew this cardigan would be a wardrobe staple when I bought it and these grey wool trousers are my favourite ones to wear when it is chilly outside... 

Cardigan: ASOS, top: Wallis via charity shop, trousers: NW3 from Hobbs, shoes: Marks  & Spencer, necklace: New Look
This top is one of those that I can only wear with certain items of clothing as it is so short in the body. I like the fact that it is slightly different to your average monochrome striped top and the red adds enough interest to lift an all grey outfit. Paired with this rather summery necklace I felt a lot more cheerful at work! 

Now I know 'kitten heels' are dreadfully uncool so if I call them midi heels instead, will I get the approval of the 'fash pack'?! I picked these up just after Christmas in the M&S sale and I absolutely love them. Red patent shoes will always meet with my approval and the bow on the front is just a bonus! 


What helps to brighten your day at work?

The Jelly Roll Cafe, Tewkesbury... (PICTURE HEAVY)

On Sunday, Mark and I went to the Jelly Roll Cafe which is a small independent cafe in Tewkesbury and one of the nicest places to go for tea and cake or a light lunch/brunch. (They also do a jazz evening but we haven't made it to one of those yet!) We are both massive foodie fans and this is somewhere I know that the food will always be fantastic.  For anyone interested in paying a visit, you can find them at 17 Barton Street, Tewkesbury.

They always have such amazing specials too...
 Trying to decide what to have off the menu- I tend to go for either the Welsh rarebit or the smoked mackerel pate as they are delicious and perfect for lunchtime.

I really like the decor too, the chairs are comfy and paintings from local artists adorn the walls

Mark looking rather excited...

Mark went for the chicken and bacon sandwich with barbecue sauce which came with a lovely side salad and the best coleslaw known to mankind!

In the end I went for the mackerel and horseradish pate which is served with massive doorsteps of granary bread. Heaven on a plate! 

 We also decided to go for another wander down by the river as it was such a nice day, despite being a little chilly (jeesh I sound like my parents!) Luckily my parka-esque coat proved perfect for keeping out the chills even though it's only being a thin layer. It really is the perfect coat for when you need to warm up quickly!

Coat: Miss Selfridge
This isn't the best photo in the world but it gives you a slightly better look at my jumper. I got given it by my friend Matilda as she didn't wear it any more, and despite my (well documented) love for stripes, I haven't really worn it. Luckily it was the ideal jumper for a slouchy Sunday and perfect for hiding my food baby, what more could you ask for?! Expect to see a lot more of this jumper though, I have some red skirts/trousers that would look awesome with it...

Jumper: Seasalt c/o Matilda, top: Gap, jeans: Topshop, shoes:Betty London c/o Spartoo
Have you ever visited the Jelly Roll Cafe? Which independent shops/ cafes can you recommend?

Travel plans...

This year, I am trying to make good on my resolution to visit more places in the UK and I already have some exciting trips planned! I will be staying at the gorgeous Norbury Manor with some blogging pals, I have a spa and shopping weekend in Bath to look forward to, with my two best girlfriends, and I'll be flying up to Edinburgh to spend a few days with another two best friends. And just when I've got my breath back from all that excitement, Mark and I are road-tripping down to Cornwall for your summer holiday. Phew, it sounds like a lot when it is written down like that!

Norbury Manor in Derbyshire. Image from here
Now obviously I am so organised that every day is planned out to the minute... Yeah, that's a lie. I have never been to any of these places and I'm going to need some help with day trip suggestions. So, in an attempt to be more organised - another resolution for this year - I am asking you, nice and early on,  for suggestions of places to go, books to read, music to listen to on my hols.

What are your suggestions? Where are you visiting this year?

Floral print and polka dots...

Emma wrote a post recently about how few posts there are with bloggers showing off their workwear so I thought I would share a few more of the outfits that I wear to work! I am lucky enough to work in an office that is fairly casual but although I experiment with colours and patterns, I would say that my office wear is fairly smart. I think if your office is more conservative, swapping these red trousers for a more muted colour ensures that this outfit could work for most people!

Top: M & Co. via charity shop, trousers: ASDA, shoes: Dorothy Perkins
I spotted this top in the British Heart Foundation charity shop, the last time I was in Tewkesbury and the mix of teeny tiny roses and polka dots, sold it to me immediately! It can be so difficult to find tops that are work appropriate and warm enough to wear in a chilly office so the long sleeves were also a real bonus. Plus who can resist a cute bow neckline detail?! * The lovely Ballistic lipstick is also making a reappearance here as I have been wearing that shade to death recently....

A closer look at the print and my beloved 'M' ring (which has barely left my hand!). I wouldn't usually pair two such bold colours together but the trousers picked up the colour of the flowers so I felt it was tonal enough to work, what do you think? 

I was hoping that by casually tucking in my top and adding some mid heeled shoes, I would somehow lengthen my legs to model-esque proportions, which didn't quite happen, but I do love these shoes for giving me that bit of extra height that is necessary, for me to pull off coloured trousers. The last time I wore these trousers, I went for a (slightly) more subtle pair of shoes but this black pair are becoming a firm favourite for when I want to add a little elegance to my outfit. There's something about that pointed toe which makes me feel like I mean business! ;)

Do you work in a conservative office? Would you wear such bold colours together?

* not me, that's for sure!

The perfect compact handbag?

This weekend was one of those where you just want to hide under the duvet and not get out. The rain combined with a ridiculously busy week meant that I opted for comfort and some of my favourite items from my wardrobe. This coat is one of those favourites (I look so young here, haha!) and is still going strong years after I first got it...

Coat: c/o Tesco, dress: Forever 21, bag: Clarks c/o Spartoo,  shoes: Buffalo flat shoes c/o Spartoo
This dress is so comfy and I find lace dresses so easy to wear.  I just wish I had it in some other colours, it would make getting dressed in the morning much easier! Since having my hair cut, it is much easier to style and I am even able to brush it (something that usually leaves me looking like an electrocuted sheep!)

This necklace is a new addition to my wardrobe and I love the fact that it is black on one side and cream on the other- double the necklace for half the money, definitely one of my best recent sales buys...

The highlight of the outfit is definitely this beautiful bag, though. Clarks do more than just beautiful shoes yet until recently I had never bothered to look at the bags.  If you are anything like me, you end up filling whatever size bag you use, so having a more compact bag stops me from lugging around too much stuff.  Although it doesn't look particularly roomy, I was able to fit all of my worldly possessions in it and it is the perfect bag for a trip around town!

What are your favourite wardrobe items? Which brands do you go to for handbags?

P.S. This post was done in collaboration with Spartoo

Peplum and skinny jeans...

I think bloggers like to think that they are above such trivial things such as trends but for all my snobbery, I fell head over heels for peplums. This particular peplum top is from Matalan and although I have been desperate to wear it, I have found it difficult to style without looking as wide as I am tall but I figured black slim cut trousers will always work with a more oversized silhouette!

Top: Matalan, trousers: Monki, shoes: Office, necklace: Miss Selfridge
Since having my hair cut it has been so much easier to style and I love being able to get so much volume at my roots- I definitely want to try a faux quiff soon...

You know how much I love bouclĂ©  and tweed and this top is a gorgeous mint green threaded through with black. I love the little cap sleeves and the material is so soft, paired with my velvet skinny jeans, this was definitely one of the most comfortable outfits I have worn to work!

I have to admit, I am still not entirely convinced by the extra material in the hem of this top but hopefully a slight optical illusion with my favourite heels helped to distract the eye ;)

Have you embraced the peplum yet? What is your guilty trend secret?

Courgette fairycakes...

There are a few things that you can expect to see on a regular basis over at Frills 'n' Spills, ridiculous poses are up there, bright colours are always popular, but food and recipes are always a given.  I got the Leon 'Family & Friends' cookbook for Christmas and this is the first recipe I have made from it and as ever, Leon have not let me down. Mark and I made these cakes last weekend and they are a lovely light treat to eat whenever you fancy something sweet. (I'm a poet and I know it...) Thanks to the courgette I think you could also count this as 1 of your 5 a day too* - bonus!

Tewkesbury trips and tweed...

For the first time in ages, Mark and I didn't have anything planned for this weekend so we decided to take a trip into Tewkesbury and enjoy the sunshine. If you have never been to Tewkesbury, it is definitely worth visiting for the stunning buildings, and dozens of charity shops if nothing else! I love exploring 'familiar' places and nothing beats being a tourist in your own city... I bought this dress the last time I came to Tewkesbury from one of my favourite charity shops and it is one of my favourite things to wear thanks to the swooshy skirt and gorgeous heavy tweed. 

Dress: Tu at Sainsburys via charity shop, blouse: New Look,  belt: from dress, shoes: Betty London flat shoes c/o Spartoo
 As it is still freezing outside I have been layering it up with my sheer shirts and I think the combination of the gorgeous gold/brown tweed with the cream shirt is fab as the gold buttons co-ordinate perfectly- you know how much I love being matchy matchy! ;) I had to feature my new favourite ring too- I never had anything personalised when I was younger so whenever I see anything with my name or initials on, I snap it up immediately!

These shoes are the latest addition to my wardrobe from Spartoo and like my other Betty London flats, they are ridiculously comfy.I also love the little bow on them, I think all the best shoes have bows on them!  

A bit of an outtake here thanks to the huge gust of wind but I love how well my bag co-ordinates with the barge behind me! 

Running parallel to the high street in Tewkesbury you can walk along by the river and it really is beautiful, especially on a sunny day. Unfortunately it is flooded at the moment as the river has burst its banks again, but luckily the path was high enough for us not to get our feet wet! 

Healings Mill was built in 1865 and spent over 140 years as a flour mill before it closed in November 2006
 The mill has been derelict since its closure in 2006 and I have never been inside but there are some stunning images of the inside here and here

This part here is usually a wooden jetty but as you can see, that has long disappeared under the flood water! I loved having a wander around the back streets and alleys of Tewkesbury and I plan to visit lots more towns and cities in the UK this year as I am not going to Italy again *sob*

Have you ever been to Tewkesbury? Which UK towns or cities do you recommend visiting? 
P.S. This post was done in collaboration with Spartoo