For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Coloured tights and mini skirts? How old is too old?

How old is too old for Coloured tights and flippy mini-skirts?

Answer: Who cares, if you like them, wear them!

The weather is SO typically Scottish today... one minute sun. 
The next, rain. 
Then both, at the same time!

That means there should be a rainbow somewhere...
And a bright pink umbrella!

This kind of weird weather calls for eccentric tights so these raspberry pink ones fit the bill perfectly!
I have paired them with a dark-navy, flippy, little miniskirt and a floral sleeveless blouse.
I couldn't resist bringing out my Primark jacket again (last seen HERE).

I was going to wear my navy ballerina shoes because they are so comfortable but
my pewter, patent leather, peep toe, shoe-boots or booties are just too lovely not to wear! They are almost as comfortable and a lot more cheeky and fun. 

See my Instagram or Twitter feed for a close-up.

I have to hold my hands up and admit to breaking a very extensive list of 'over-35 fashion rules' today:

  • Bare arms (we should, apparently, be covering them up and hanging our heads in shame)
  • Sheer blouses (yuck, far too old for a hint of flesh)
  • Short skirts (cover those disgusting legs!)
  • Coloured tights (ghastly)
  • Pink, a double whammy here, pink is apparently 'embarrassing' on the over 35's and should NEVER be seen anywhere near red hair...just plain hideous.
  • Not matching shoe colour to tight colour (legs will look stumpy)
  • Peep toes and tights (or worse, socks!!! {which I love, BTW})
  • Cheap costume jewellery (shock horror! Where are your investment pieces?)
  • Tucking in blouses and tops when you have a short waist (cringe)

Oh dear, that is quite a significant list of offences.
I'm expecting a knock on the door from the fashion-police any minute now...

I am, of course, poking fun a the self-appointed rule makers out there.
BUT there is a serious message here.
Unfortunately, this attempted "shaming" of the over 35's does seem have an affect on some women.
They are made to feel self conscious about their fashion choices and sometimes even give up on their favourite looks and styles.
This is a real shame and needs to stop! 
We should be supporting our fellow females, not criticising them and putting them down. Women have a tough enough time in the world without us turning on each other.
Tell your friends how beautiful and fabulous they are...and celebrate each other's individuality.

Anyway, mini-rant over and back to the matter in hand... 

I have to admit that this skirt is slightly (i.e. quite significantly) on the short side for me, I think it is because of the flippy hem that kicks out when I walk.
I do need to bend down VERY carefully. 
But, I am covered up in fully opaque tights (100 denier) and would not embarrass myself too much in public with an accidental flash of hosiery-clad bum!

This style of skirt is also well out of my comfort zone, but trying new and challenging styles regularly is good for you. 
It stops a fashion rut kicking in and gives you a fresh perspective on things already lurking in your wardrobe as well as inspiring new purchases.
Speaking of which...

I couldn't resist this sweet floral blouse when I saw it, something pretty in polyester again!

A cheap and cheerful item, for sure, picked up during a family food shop.
However, despite it's low price point it is still ticking the AW15 wallpaper florals trend (seen at the Erdem, Burberry Prorsum and Mary Katrantzou AW15 fashion shows) quite nicely.
It also clashes, very satisfyingly, with my needle cord floral bag.

The blouse and bag are just a 'nod' to the new AW15 trends, but it is very important to keep nodding as we get older...I certainly don't want to get left too far behind!

Photo credit: Erdem, Burberry Prorsum and Mary Katrantzou AW15 shows.

Some lovely leaf earrings and a pearl collar finish things off nicely.

Do you regularly break any fashion 'rules'?
Would you like to, but are nervous of what people might think or say?

Please let me know in the comments

Skirt: Asos
Tights: Gipsy
Top: Asda
Shoes: Gianni Greggori
Earrings: Steve Madden
Jacket: Primark
Collar: Old (I can't remember where from)


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How to update old-fashioned clothes | Re-working a frumpy jacket with neon yellow and white.

How to stop a tweed jacket looking frumpy.

I have been guilty of discarding some fabulous items of clothing, in the past, in favour of something a little more grown up or appropriate for my age (see an explanation HERE).

Are we all guilty of this at some point in our lives?
How many times have you looked at something fabulous on the rail, in a shop (or online) and thought,

"That IS beautiful!...but not for me, I am too old/ young /fat /thin /short/ tall/ pale/ dark/ wrong shape/ wrong personality/ wrong life"*
*(delete as appropriate)

Then you reach for the same old shapes and colours....ten pairs of black trousers anyone?

Why do we put ourselves down like this?
Why should you not buy that truly fabulous item and rock it!?

This unfortunate problem resulted in me going out and buying some less than exciting, totally uninspiring, and...lets face it, downright frumpy clothes.

Most of them never saw the light of day as I just did not feel like myself wearing they hung, limp and pathetic, with their tags intact, in my wardrobe.

Thoroughly depressing me every time I opened the doors.
Reminding me of how much money and time I had wasted.
Making me miss my old (and much more fun) items even more.

I have now decided to take positive try some Style CPR on my wardrobe disasters.

The first of these sorry sights is a boucle or tweed (ish) Chanel-esque jacket.
It was stupidly expensive (for me)...contradicting my normal spending habits, and adding to the shame!

I know these jackets look amazing on 20-somethings, who wear them with cool irony....mussed-up hair, graphic t-shirts and skyscraper heels.

On 40-somethings,however, they remind me of something my Nan would wear on a Sunday or an outfit more suited to the Queen.

I was determined to give my jacket one last chance before donating it to charity.

Not wanting to go down the easy route of dark skinny jeans, a casual T-shirt and heels...that would be too predictable...I paired it with my white 'girlfriend' jeans (worn HERE) and an almost-neon yellow jumper.

I added a vintage (1970's) gent's leather tie, I'm not sure why, I just loved the idea of it.

My white and silver brogues were a must, as it is impossible to feel rubbish when wearing these. I LOVE the white soles!
My little studded bag finished things off nicely.

To be honest, I am not sure if I completely rescued the jacket from Frumpsville.
But, I do like it a little more....

How to wear a tweed jacket over 40

Black and white tweed chanel-esque jacket, yellow and black.

What and silver brogues

Brogues: Aldo
Jacket: Boden
Jeans: ME&EM
Jumper: JohnnieB


Monday, 27 July 2015

Too old for cropped tops and skinny jeans? | Breaking the fashion rules

Is 40 too old for skinny jeans and cropped tops?

A couple of years ago, just before I turned 40, I had a bit of a wobble style-wise.

I think it was my first midlife crisis (I anticipate more to come!)

And no, I am not talking about going crazy and buying leopard print micro-mini dresses and leather catsuits.
I'm talking about donating my 'too young' clothes to the charity shop and buying some more sensible items...more 'appropriate' for my age.

I still cringe thinking about it.
I would have been better off investing in the leather catsuit.

It all started after a sneering comment from someone regarding a dress I was wearing,
"Are you not a bit old for that?"
 I remember a seed of doubt germinating in my mind, and thinking to myself, 
"You ARE going to be 40...maybe they have a point"
 "How long can you keep wearing student-chic style clothing?" 
"Is it time to ditch those ripped jeans, buy a black pencil skirt and start growing up a little??"
The saddest part of this story is that I was filled with self-doubt about my fashion choices by someone with zero style! In fact less than Zero (is it even possible to have negative style??).

In hindsight there was probably an element of jealousy that provoked this comment in the first place.

Anyone who needs to put you down in order to feel better about themselves should be pitied not listened too.....AND also crossed off your Christmas card list!

So, after this temporary wobble (and the addition of some yawn-inducing items to my wardrobe) I feel like I need to make amends. Especially for those poor items sent unnecessarily into the great unknown (aka, the charity donation bags).

Here is an outfit that would make the Zero-styler's eyes water.
Super-Skinny jeans (actually, jeggings) and a cropped jumper.

Yes, I am over 40.
Yes, I have given birth to 3 children (and been the size of a hippopotamus each time).
And no, my body does not have model proportions and perfect muscle tone.
But I'm not sorry....I LIKE skinny jeans and I LIKE cropped jumpers...and that's the way its going to stay.

Cropped Jumper, skinny jeans and hot pink shoes

Hot Pink Marc Jacobs Shoes

Skinny jeans and hot pink shoes by Marc Jacobs

I know that, for some people, this might be slightly too much to bear.... should theses items not be banned for the over-40 woman?
One article I found agrees... In fact this article has a list of items that anyone over 30 shouldn't be wearing. OVER 30!! Are you kidding?

Well, I say we should be able to wear what we want!
As long as we have due respect for the occasion and we understand the limitations of our own figures then the only thing holding us back is our imaginations.

Do you own any 'forbidden' items?
Please let me know in the comments.


P.S  Please check out the lovely Catherine @Notdressedaslamb. She has a fantastic new post about wearing what you like and uploading it onto sounds like lots of fun! I am looking forward to seeing many more fabulous rule-breakers in action.

P.P.S  I decided to buy leather leggings as the catsuit WAS a step too far.....However, I won't be ruling it out altogether...perhaps for my 50th?

Cropped Jumper: Illustrated people
Jeans: Falmer (@Matalan)
Shoes : Marc Jacobs (very old) Ebay bargain.
Leather Bag: Unknown (a gift from my son, clever lad!)


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Chicken Korma Curry | Healthy family meals on a budget | Nut-free recipes.

A healthy Chicken Korma Curry for a large family.

I decided to do a 'Meaty meal' (well, poultry anyway) for my second food post.

However, once you have made the 'sauce' part of the dish, you could easily substitute the chicken for whatever you wanted.
Meat substitute, tofu or mixed vegetables would all work.
It is very easily converted into a vegetarian dish.

When I think of a Chicken Korma, I think of a rich and creamy sauce.
Yes, it's delicious, but it's also laden with calories in the form of ghee, cream and ground nuts.
No good for my nut-allergic children or my middle aged waistline!

This alternative recipe tastes creamy and delicious but has very little cream in it (and you could leave it out if you needed to).

It is also packed full of nutritious onions, they have numerous health benefits but most children say they "Hate them".... they eat them here without even knowing about it!

Chicken Korma

Ingredients (to serve 6):

1kg of Chicken, breast is easier to handle but thighs are more flavoursome (and cheaper). 100g Natural yogurt
500g chopped Onions (I needed six for this weight)
Oil, for frying
Salt and Black Pepper
5 Garlic cloves (crushed)
40g Fresh Ginger (grated)
8-10 Cardamom pods (seeds removed and crushed)
1 heaped tbsp Cumin seeds
1 Bay leaf
5 Cloves (pinch the little round tops off, they should crumble easily, and discard the stalks)
1 tbsp ground Coriander
3/4 tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp Chili powder
1-3 Chillies (depending on your taste)
4 tbsp Double cream (omit if you want, but it does make it extra tasty)
1 tbsp Flour (or corn flour, if you prefer)
a few strands of Saffron (a finger-pinch full)
1 level tbsp Sugar
350ml Water
Fresh Coriander (optional)
Approx. 500g Basmati rice (depending on how hungry your family are!) The recommendation is 60g dry weight per person but I always make 100g per person because there are some big eaters here....and it allows for "seconds".

Spices for a Chicken Korma

I like to measure out my spices and chop everything before I start, but I don't usually lay them on a plate like this! 
It was just to show you what is needed.
It is, however, really helpful to put them into little bowls so they are ready for use when needed.

Ingredients for a chicken Korma

Cut up your chicken into generous 'bite sized' pieces. 
It is much quicker and easier to use large scissors...less slimy too, and no chopping board to scrub clean!
Place the pieces in a bowl with the yogurt and plenty of black pepper.
Mix it together, cover and pop in the fridge.

Chopped chicken breast

Chicken yoghurt and pepper

After thoroughly washing your hands...Chop your onions, slices are quick and easy.
Don't worry if they are messy, they are all going to get blitzed anyway.
Peel and grate the ginger.
Crush the garlic cloves.

Sliced onion, grated ginger, crushed garlic

Get your cardamom pods ready by crushing them slightly to open them (in a pestle and mortar is easiest).
Scrape the seeds from inside and crush them well. Discard the husks/skins.

Cardamum pods

Place your cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, clove tops, sliced chillies and bay leaf together in a bowl, ready for the pan.

Korma spices, bay, chilli, curry spices

Fry the onions, garlic and ginger for at least 10 minutes (20 is better) over a medium to low heat.
Be careful not to burn them. 
They need to be soft, golden and a little caramelised.

Frying onions

Softened onions
Next, get your saffron, salt and sugar ready in a little bowl.

Salt, saffron, sugarKorma onions and spices

Add your first bowl of spices to the pan, keep stirring and cook the spices for about 5 minutes.

Then add your saffron, sugar and salt mix to the pan and pour in the water (slowly).
Keep stirring.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Making a Korma sauce

Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool a little.
Transfer it into a bowl, remove the bay leaf and blitz it with a hand blender, you can use a food processor if you have one.
Cover and Set aside.

Using a hand blender to make a Korma sauce

Korma sauce

Get a large pan of salted water on to boil, ready to cook your rice while the chicken is cooking.
Place your chicken in a colander to drain off any excess liquid.
Then fry the chicken chunks in a little oil for about 5 minutes, just to get a little colour on them.

Frying chicken for a big family.

Add the cream.

Adding cream to make chicken Korma

Then return the sauce to the pan and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked though.

Chicken Korma

Chicken korma

Drain your rice (which should have been cooking while the chicken was in the sauce) and serve.
Garnish with fresh Coriander.
You can also mix a generous bunch of coriander through the sauce which adds to the flavour and gives a freshness to the dish.

Please let me know if you tried this dish and how it went down with your family or friends.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

How to style evening wear in the daytime | Sparkles during the day.

Evening wear in the daytime?

Surely this can't look good, especially on the over 40's.
Questions sprang into my head:

  • Will I look like I have slipped too far down the road of eccentric-dressing and into bonkers-dressing territory?
  • Is wearing evening clothes in the cold light of day just embarrassing and an unfortunate symptom of "laundry day" syndrome when all other wardrobe options have been exhausted?
  • Will it be assumed that I am on a "Walk of shame"?*
*{Explanation:- I cast my mind back (a few years) to my last walk-of-shame...which is the embarrassing walk home, in the morning, in the clothes you wore to a particularly good night the night before! You get the picture?}

Well, not one to be put off my a clothing challenge, I decided to go for it...

I bypassed my cocktail gown (for the moment anyway) and moved onto what I call my "Christmas Holiday Skirt".
It has many tiny and sparkly, bugle beaded little flaps of fabric all over it and a odd 'raggy' hemline.
Definitely a Marmite item.
For those who don't know, Marmite is something you either love or hate...there is no sitting on the fence and saying "it's OK" for this one!

I usually wear it to cook Christmas dinner, with black opaques, comfortable (and slightly boring) velvet wedges and a sparkly christmasy jumper, not today though!

I decided to pair it with a basic Breton Tee, which can be a little predictable, and see how it worked out.
The clash and contrast was quite unusual and I liked the look of it.

I then added a duster coat in a bright orangey-red which clashed, very satisfyingly, with the skirt (Wearing shades of red head-to-toe is going to be HUGE this AW15, see the Marie Claire trend report).

I kept my accessories to a minimum because the skirt was shouting "look at me!!" quite loudly and I did not want to look like a Christmas tree decoration, BUT I could not resist my blue suede heels and this (slightly over the top colour, but small enough in size) clutch.

I have to admit that a few more heads than usual turned to look at me in this outfit...some with a puzzled expression on their faces BUT I always remember Mae West's wise words,
"Better to be looked over than over-looked".
Anyway, confidence is all you need.
If you feel good and project confidence, then you inevitably look good....irrespective of your outfit choices, shape, size, or age!
A big smile is the best accessory.
Even if you really lack confidence, inside...Fake it on the outside! Shoulders back and a confident stride. Fake being fabulous and people will think you ARE fabulous... they just can't help it.

Would you wear evening wear in the daytime?
What makes you feel confident?

Have a great day.

Breton T-shirt: ME&EM
Skirt: Vintage
Coat : Hearts & Hands by Cecilia Hammarborg
Clutch: TkMaxx
Shoes: Nine West

How to wear sparkles in the daytime


Thursday, 23 July 2015

How to make clothes that don't work, wearable | Layering dresses | Mixing patterns.

Unworn items in your wardrobe?

How do you solve a fashion mistake?
Despite having a great eye for a bargain, and the ability to find a real gem in a sea of rubbish, I still (quite often) make glaring errors when purchasing clothes.

Usually it is because I love the look or the idea of an item (quite often influenced by an image of an 18 year old, size UK 6 with perfect skin and endless legs).

I temporarily lose my grip on reality and think that if I buy said item I will (by some miracle) end up looking like the model in the picture.

What a Fool!

I had bought a beautiful silk dress in a Charity (thrift) shop and just HAD to have it for the wonderful muted autumn colours, unusual pattern and wispy nature of the fabric.

Unfortunately, there were a few problems...
  • It's far too loose on the waist.
  • It clings in the wrong places.
  • It's too short for the weight of fabric.... a bum display in a gust of wind is not cool!
  • It's unlined and without any structure. 
  • It's so thin that you could spit peas through it.
All-in-all a bit of a disaster.

Then there was a green midi-length jersey dress that I paid too much for (stupid money for what is, basically, a long vest top) and can't wear because:
  • I look NOTHING like the model in the brochure.
  • It is too tight (EVERY flaw is on full display...even a tiny wrinkle in my underwear!)
  • It's unlined.
  • It has a strange cut at the neck/shoulders which makes wearing a decent bra impossible (not a good idea, especially over 40).
Oh dear...two depressingly useless items staring out of my wardrobe and gathering dust :-(

I decided to take action!

Thinking outside of the box I decided to put my well-practised layering skills to good use and get these items together.

Bought the 'wrong' clothes? How to make clothes that don't work, wearable | Layering dresses | Mixing patterns.

Bought the 'wrong' clothes? How to make clothes that don't work, wearable | Layering dresses | Mixing patterns.

Mixing patterns

Mixing patterns and rings

Bought the 'wrong' clothes? How to make clothes that don't work, wearable | Layering dresses | Mixing patterns.

Being confident in mixed patterns

Fringed boots

This called out for major pattern mix.

And I felt a jungle vibe....."In the jungle the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight!"

I stuck with a muted colour palette (also making me think of autumn, my favourite season).
The weather today seemed to reflect my mood.

First, I needed a belt for the ill-fitting waist on the silk dress.
This leather one is a firm favourite of mine and is thick enough to give some shape but soft and comfortable.
I then reached for my trusty Topshop vintage jacket (which I wore HERE) and just seems to give everything a lift...putting a happy spring in my step.

My cute little fringed cowboy boots, a grab bag and plenty of rings finished things off nicely.

Do you have items lurking in your wardrobe, unworn and gathering dust?
Could you re-work them by layering?

Please let me know in the comments.

Silk Dress: Nicki Plowman
Bodycon midi-dress: Baukjen
Leather Belt: Topshop
Boots: M Originals
Bag: Hidesign
Jacket: Topshop

Linking up to : Throwback ThursdayWhat I woreBrilliant blog postsvisable monday

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.

A healthy family meal on a tight budget?

This is my first 'Foodie' post.... and I am quite excited about it!

Exploring things you love is good for the soul.

I love writing, so I started a blog.
I love clothes, and shoes, and colours, and breaking the rules, so it makes sense to write about style...but I also love food, can I write about both?

After reading Amber at  Forever Amber and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb's blogging tips I realised that you can write about anything that you want. As long as there is a passion.
And I sure do love my food!

I have to admit to not knowing a thing about writing recipes, but, I sure as hell know how to feed a big family (there are six of us) and I know about healthy eating.

I am basically a lazy-bones, so any unnecessary fussing or faffing about is out of the question. Complicated techniques or potentially failed recipes are out too (I can't afford to waste food), and, I absolutely REFUSE to cook more than one dish.

Who really has time for fussy children (or husbands) and making two or three different options at dinner? Not me!

These multiple-option meals inevitably end up being processed rubbish, and nobody wants to feed their family poor quality food.

Here is a simple meal that everyone, in my house, demolishes.

It just so happens to be a vegetarian dish, but we are not a vegetarian family. 
We like our meat, but, I also like to cook meat-free meals.
Variety in the spice of life after all! (and Veggie meals just so happen to be cheaper to make)

I should point out (at this point) that we have 2 nut allergy sufferers at home (one of which is allergic to egg too). 
I don't really think of this as affecting our eating habits but, of course, it must (even subconsciously) so if these recipes help any fellow allergic families then that is an added bonus!

I call this dish 'Tasty pasta'

It is super quick, super cheap, super healthy and well-balanced....perfect!

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.
Ingredients (to feed six)

500g Pasta (any style will work, I am using penne today)
A large head of Broccoli (bigger the better) or whatever green veg you choose (Savoy cabbage, spring greens and Kale work really well).
Mushrooms (optional)
2 large Onions
400g tin of Chickpeas (Lidl's are great)
Olive oil
A red chilli (or two!)... this is optional, depending on taste.
1 heaped teaspoon of Cumin seeds
Grated Parmesan cheese (to finish)...this is optional but is delicious.
Garlic, I use 5 cloves but 2 or 3 would be enough for non-garlic addicts.
Salt and pepper (don't forget the important seasoning!)

Ingredients for pasta dish

ingredients for pasta dish

First, get a large pan of water on to boil. 

Salt the water well (the salt drains away with the cooking water but makes a HUGE difference to the flavour of the pasta...pasta cooked without salt is pretty 'Meh').

Then chop your onions (roughly will do) and get them into a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (it looks a lot but don't worry, the pasta needs it) and a generous teaspoon of cumin seeds. 

Don't have the pan too hot (make it medium-high), you don't want to burn anything!

Salted water for pasta

Cooking onions

Chestnut mushrooms

I also added mushrooms (only because there were a few sad ones lurking in the fridge)
Don't wash them, just wipe off the dirt and peel any less than pristine ones.
I chop them roughly so my middle girl can pick them out easily without fussing.


Next add the garlic. I always use a crusher because I dislike wasting time. 
Just chop off the rough end and and all!
I recommend pulling the skin out between cloves (it makes it easier to clean).

Make sure your pan is not too hot at this point, burnt garlic can ruin a dish.

I then chopped my chilli into slices, quite chunky again (for the picker-outer).
You can chop yours finer, of course, if it suits your family.

Cook this for at least 10 minutes (I try for 20) to ensure the garlic is cooked, the onion is soft and sweet and the chilli and cumin have flavoured everything.

Season well at this point with salt and black pepper. 

Next,  add your chickpeas (rinse them first) and cook for a further 5 minutes.

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.

Meanwhile, your pan of salted water should be boiling. 
Add your pasta and cook for 5 minutes. 
You will be adding the broccoli to the pasta pan, half way through cooking, so wash and chop it now.


Add the broccoli to the pan and cook for a further 5-6 minutes....or until your pasta is ready.

Cooking Broccoli

Drain the pasta and broccoli mixture well and pop it back into the pan.
Add the contents of your frying pan and mix well.
The broccoli should break up and coat the pasta.
Check your seasoning and then serve.... adding as much grated parmesan as you like!

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.

Here are a couple of pictures of two of the clan (my youngest girl and my son) tucking in.
There was even a request for seconds! 

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.

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