Friday, 3 July 2015

Wearing an Old Favourite | A Blue Striped Summer Dress With Black Accents

Blue and white striped midi dress, black heels, black belt
What I love about my summer wardrobe is that the English summer is so brief, all my dresses and summer clothes get so little wear that when I open up my summer clothes storage it feels like I have a whole new wardrobe. I have a ton of summer dresses but each has only been worn a handful of times so I'm still completely in love with all of them. This blue stripe dress is years old but such a favourite: No revelation (where I'm concerned) that it's a fit-and-flare midi. It is of course no longer available to buy, but this one is a really good match - and so's this one - if you wanted something similar.

I've always worn it with a tank underneath as the neckline is far too low (the dress was last seen on the blog with a coral tank back in 2012) but I like that layering adds some interest to it. Layering means it's possible to create lots of different outfits with one dress - usually a hard task with such a "complete" item of clothing. This time was a lot more neutral than last time: I went for black accents (belt and heels) and even got a bit daring with a navy bag... The black and navy police will be after me if I'm not careful.

Is your weather more unpredictable like the UK (meaning summer outfits rarely get an outing), or do you get the chance to wear summer dresses to death? Lucky you if you do... Do share in the comments!

Blue and white striped midi dress, black belt
Blue and white striped dress
Blue and white striped midi dress, black heels, black belt
Blue and white striped midi dress, black belt
Dress: Very (this one and this one are both close matches) | Tank: F&F Clothing | Heels: Asos (similar) | Belt: Unknown | Bag: Debenhams (I'm dying over this Michael Kors one!) | Sunglasses: c/o Lulus (similar) | Earrings: New Look (also available in gold) | Watch: Fossil

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Catherine
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P.S. If you've subscribed to my YouTube channel and are patiently waiting for my first vlog, it's on its way, I promise! There have been several technical difficulties I'd not anticipated that I'm trying to get my head round (I've watched so many videos to swot up on what I'm doing wrong). Thanks for your patience, it's coming soon :)

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Thursday, 2 July 2015

23 Reasons Why Online Shopping is Better Than High Street Shopping

23 Reasons Why Online Shopping is Better Than High Street Shopping
I think I'm going to divide opinion with this post: I think that online shopping is the absolute best thing since sliced bread. I've been shopping online since the late 90s, back when ASOS was known as "As Seen On Screen" and Amazon sold books - and that was about it. I often wonder whether fashion, beauty, crafting, lifestyle or, indeed, any blogs would exist without online shopping. Reading a rave review about a fantastic make-up primer/cute embroidered top from Topshop/can't-live-without-it Nutribullet and then being able to order it online within the space of a few minutes is an absolute miracle in my book.

However, when I tell people I do about 95% of my shopping online (not just clothes but groceries, toiletries and household appliances, along with just about everything else), I often get a reaction of "oh I like to see what I'm buying". Or, "I don't want to make an expensive mistake".

High street shopping can be just as, if not more, hit-and-miss as online shopping. Clothes often look different when you get them home. In those instances you're far more likely to put them in your wardrobe and leave them there unworn, tags still intact, than to return them for a refund. Not everyone is the same, I know that, but when I'm given reasons for why high street shopping is better, they just don't stack up when you look at all the reasons why online shopping is just so brilliant.

I've only ever been given two basic arguments for high street shopping:
"I like to feel the clothes."
Okay, but I'm not going to sacrifice half my weekend dragging myself round the shops just to see what cotton trousers feel like (I kind of know already).
"I just like going round the shops."
I'll give you this one... You either do like going round the shops, or you don't. I'm the latter - for all 23 of the reasons below. These reasons only apply to shopping for clothes; I get that garden plants or a new mattress for your bed really have to be bought in-store. Nevertheless - gird your loins for an online shopping rally, high street lovers!


Why Online Shopping is Better Than High Street Shopping:
  1. You can try everything on in the comfort of your own home, in a flattering mirror and at your own pace.
  2. You can try on what you've ordered with anything else in your wardrobe to see if it works.
  3. There's no embarrassment of "coming out of the changing room".
  4. You don't have to take up half a day looking for one skirt when there are so many other (more exciting) things you could be doing with your time.
  5. You can see how something hangs and fits better than trying to see what things are like when they're hanging sideways on a rack in-store.
  6. You can take a flattering photo of yourself to see how it looks on (no wide-angle selfies in a changing room mirror) and take the time to upload it and view it objectively on a computer screen.
  7. You don't have to drag your husband/boyfriend/partner along or feel guilty while they're waiting outside the changing room for you.
  8. You can search 10 different shops for the perfect pair of trousers in the space of 20 minutes by narrowing your search by style, size, colour, etc.
  9. You can try on new things from different shops all in one go together to create a complete outfit.
  10. There's no queuing for the changing rooms or queuing to pay.
  11. You can order through online cashback websites like http://topcashback.co.uk or http://quidco.com and make money back (I've earned nearly £2,000 cashback over the last few years doing this).
  12. You can search for and use online discount voucher codes to save even more money.
  13. Most (good) websites offer free delivery and free returns so there's no extra cost.
  14. You don't have to pay for transport, petrol or car park charges or rush back before your car park ticket runs out.
  15. You're unlikely to "come back empty handed" and get depressed about it.
  16. You don't have to decide to keep what you've bought straight away - you usually have up to 30 days to decide.
  17. You won't make bad decisions because you bought something in a hurry and now you can't be bothered to return it (it'd mean another trip back to the shops).
  18. You can shop at midnight on a whim if you feel like it.
  19. You can get sale alerts for your favourite items from sites like http://shopstyle.com so you can buy them as soon as they're discounted.
  20. You can keep a check on the total value of your basket as you go and remove things you really shouldn't be buying (online shopping also means less chance of impulse buying).
  21. You don't have to carry loads of heavy bags round the shops and get "shopping elbow" or "shopping shoulder".
  22. If your item is discounted within your returns period, you can order it again and return the new item on the first order to get your discount. I do this all the time because things are always discounted (or you're offered a discount code) just after you buy them. Known as Sod's Shopping Law.
  23. Because getting a whole bunch of parcels delivered is like Christmas. Nuff said.

I know people (women mostly) love the act of shopping, but I'm just not one of them. Don't get me started on shopping at Christmas time: My idea of absolute hell. Christmas was made for online shopping. Or was online shopping made for Christmas...?

I'd rather go into town to have a nice relaxing lunch, people watch, and then do some leisurely window shopping, if I feel like it. If I do see something I like, however, I rarely go into the shop to buy it. I'll just look it up when I get home and order it then. What I'm looking for is simple:

Speed. Free delivery. Discount vouchers. Cashback.

Check, check, check - and check.

The question is of course: Are you an online shopper or a high street shopper? What are your reasons for each? Do share in the comments!
Catherine
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P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy Can You Wear Leather Trousers Over the Age of 40?

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Summer Style | Multi-Coloured Patterned Top, Distressed Denim, Panama Hat

Summer style | Multi-coloured patterned top, distressed boyfriend jeans, Panama hat
Last week I went to the Eden Project in Cornwall (home of the artificial Mediterranean and tropical biodomes and all-round fabulous place to visit) to see Paloma Faith play live at the Eden Sessions courtesy of ASUS UK. I'll be writing about that separately (oh wow was it good), but meantime this is what I wore for a day's sightseeing: Walking, eating, photographing and general touristy stuff.

I thought a little bit of multicoloured florals would be apt, so I went with my Warehouse patterned top (a touch of the 80s, no?) and distressed jeans with comfy flats and a Panama. The tropical biodome always gets really hot once you go up high. We went a couple of years ago and I wore this outfit so I knew the jeans would be a little unwise, but at least they had some ventilation and were a loose fit. You do see people people in skinny jeans who start to look unbearably hot halfway up :(

Are you planning any tourist breaks close to home this summer - if so, where? I'd love to know what's local to you...!

Summer style | Multi-coloured patterned top, Panama hat
Summer style | Multi-coloured patterned top, distressed boyfriend jeans, Panama hat
Summer style | Multi-coloured patterned top, Panama hat
Top: Warehouse (I like this botanical print one) | Jeans: Asos | Shoes: Asos (similar) | Hat: Tumi at Amazon (this one's almost identical) | Bag: Debenhams (similar) | Necklace: Asos | Bracelets: c/o Yosa / New Look | Mickey Mouse watch: Asos (silver version) | Sunglasses: c/o Lulus (similar)

The Eden Project - @notlamb Instagram
(Images above from my Instagram feed)

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Catherine
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