The Long and The Short Of It

Our trip to the Amalfi Coast was everything I hoped it would be.  Picture postcard scenery, beautiful weather, delicious food.  It was a real treat and I’ll write up a blog post with all the details of how we got on soon.  In the meantime, as I know a lot of people have their holiday plans ahead of them, I wanted to give you feedback on the clothes situation and in particular what I felt I didn’t have.


Obviously, I had done a little bit of shopping before I went away and had focused on dresses and swimming costumes mainly.  However, when I got there I found that the most worn item, apart from two blue dresses, was my trust pair of denim shorts.


They’re just the easiest item to pack and perhaps the pair above are getting a little short for me now (!), but I still reached for them nearly every day.


To be honest I wished I’d taken more pairs.


I didn’t expect that to be the case, but for sightseeing, general trudging to and from the beach, having a pair of shorts was the handiest, simplest and coolest item to pair up with T.shirts and strappy vests in the day and dressed up with light flowing blouses or crisp cotton shirts and piles of jewels in the evening.


Daisy dukes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  I understand that. But I’ve taken a look around and retailers this season have taken this on board and introduced longer length denim shorts.


If you don’t want to reveal your thighs to the world then a length that ends just above the knee can give you a more flattering silhouette.  Takes me back to the cycling shorts of the eighties!


Marks & Spencer has even introduced a Sculpt and Lift Denim Short. Made in cotton, the denim has added stretch so that it is kind to your curves and helps accentuate your figure.  See the red pair in the reel below.


It’s worth trying on shorts with a nice pair of wedge espadrilles. The perfect summer shoe, they generally are easier to wear than strappy heels and can elongate the leg.


What do you think?  Fancy trying some on?  Here’s a selection of shorts on the high street.


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx

The Modern Shopper

The young shopper buys from her or his mobile phone.  I know that I will sound like I’m stuck in the dark ages, but when I read this (source. Elle) I was partly awestruck by how things have moved on, and partly sad, because it seemed like such a joyless act.  Of course, we live in busy times and I’m open to change – I like “being down with the kids” as SP says.  So, I decided to get with it and try out online shopping.


I still remember my first shopping experience, without Mum.  I was with Kim, in Chelsea Girl, with a pocketful of birthday money.  Kim was my best friend.  We were in the same school year and she was 10 months older than me, which meant that my mum thought I was with someone sensible.  I was, but boy did Kim like her fashion.  I came home with a dirndl skirt, check shirt and knitted waistcoat – in a green matching ensemble.  I can’t remember the rationale behind these choices, but I would put good money on it being Kim’s influence, she had bought exactly the same in burgundy. What?  We were best friends!


I felt pretty “fly” walking in to the youth club, Friday night, and the thrill of choosing my own clothes has never waned.  I still love walking around the shops, eyes like saucers, palms open and touching everything in sight.  Back then, my excitement quickly dissipated when I took in the vast open plan changing room.  With no cubicles, you needed to learn the rather tricky art of undressing, without undressing.   It’s as hard as it sounds and the teenage years are angst enough without getting naked in front of (grown up) women.  Thankfully, stores don’t have these any more, but back then it was torture and I guess we all like to check ourselves out before we reveal all to a friend or partner patiently waiting outside the changing room. Oh, how the worm has turned, nowadays I willingly take photos in changing rooms and share what I’m wearing on social media!


I still enjoy “going into town”, as you know.  I rarely buy online, unless I have to, e.g., if something is only available via a website.  I don’t like the idea of having to organise returns.  I know only too well that clothes sizes go up and down, as does my weight, so I’m roughly an 8-10 on the bottom and 10-12 on the top, but that just gives me an outline of where to start.  On speaking to other online shoppers (I’ve asked a couple of mates), the way to get around this is to find a store, suss out its sizes, and stick with it.  That’s a minus on the score sheet for me.


I chose Next (really having a good season), Zara and H&M.  I had good reason for Next, I was handed a £10 off voucher in store, to use online and wanted a trench coat (see recent post).  I went with H&M, as they have a duvet set I’d like to check out and the nearest Home store is Cardiff and then lastly I went with Zara, as they had lots of new clothes in and a bag I couldn’t find in store.


First off, I ordered from Next on a Sunday afternoon, my parcels arrived by Monday lunchtime.  I ordered the trench (see here) and a blazer (see here) and these three items:


Red top from Next, cropped jeans (also Next, but purchased in store) and silver pumps from Marks & Spencer (£19.99 bargain).  I chose this top because there is a very similar blue one that is really popular, but I suit red more and thought I would give it a go.  I ordered medium and it was way too big for me.  It’s tucked in and pulled back for the pic, otherwise I would look like an elephant.


Pink short worn here with my trusty old daisy dukes.  I loved the fabric and the colour.  I can’t wear light pink, but this, more developed shade, would, I think, be okay.  However, I don’t like the cap sleeves on me, because they make my already wider upper half, appear more wide.

Blue shirt, worn with jeggings and snake skin-like heels.  I kept this shirt.  I really like the fabric and feel of it and I will take it on holiday with me as a beach cover up.  It’s a lovely rich blue that will go well with a tan and you can’t see, but the bottom has a slightly frayed edge.


So, I kept two items and then had to work out how to take the rest of it back. I didn’t want to wait in for a courier and opted for returning to store.  As it would happen I needed to visit another retailer, for work, and could pop in to Next with my returns.  Returning was super easy, I handed over the garments and the girl smiled back after a minute or two with “it’s all back on your card”.  Done.


Next up, Zara.  Delivered  in a box with tissue paper, it felt like a present.  I couldn’t wait to try everything on (the bag I wanted wasn’t available).  So here goes:

Yellow poplin shirt with bell sleeves.  I fell in love with this as soon as I put it on.  It was a last minute choice, based on looking in my wardrobe and seeing the ‘black sea’.  I put it on Instagram and lots of people loved it.  I kept this one.

I ordered a medium and it was too big, but this top was super pretty and will be popular.  However, it was too big and had to go back.

I also sent this dress back.  I really liked it, but I didn’t know where I would wear such a bold design.  However, I’m going out for afternoon tea today and wish I had it.

When ordering online goes wrong.  I ordered a small and it was.  But that still doesn’t help with getting the order right first time as I obviously need a medium, but the yellow top was a medium and fitted and the lace was a medium and was too big.  So I will have to keep an eye on the cut and fit before ordering.

This dress was a hit and miss for me.  I loved the sky blue colour, but in one view I felt a bit SJP and in another, Enid Sharples.  Enough said, it went back.  Again available in small, medium, etc., I ordered medium, but it was a little too loose.


Returning items couldn’t be easier too. You receive an email with your receipt and again I opted for returning in store, which I did and since returning on Wednesday have received another email to say the money is heading back to the bank.  Coolio.


Okay, so I didn’t use my mobile to buy clothes.  That’s a step too far for me.  I don’t trust the privacy of my phone with so many downloaded apps on it.  I probably should, but I don’t.  I guess I’m not ready for that change just yet.  However, I wouldn’t hesitate to order from my laptop again.


The pros for me were:


a) easy to order

b) liked trying new items on with my own clothes, so I could get an honest picture of the final look

c) I could try on at my leisure, so didn’t have to make a super quick, my husband’s waiting impatiently outside for me, decision

d) returning and refunding went smoothly


The cons are:

a) would I trust online ordering for an emergency garment.  No

b) sizing is an issue

c) yes, you will buy more, because once you like it and it’s close to your wardrobe, a magnet pulls it in


Overall, I really enjoyed it.  I now have three new items in my wardrobe to choose from, what’s not to love.  Of course it’s not all plain sailing.  You might be wondering what happened to the H&M order?  Well, it never came.  I forgot my password and have clicked on the link for them to send me a new one about half a dozen times and I’ve not had a response.  Lucky I wasn’t disparate for that duvet cover eh!


What is your experience of online shopping?  Like or loathe?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Have a lovely weekend.


Gail xxx


P.S.  Sorry this post is a day late.



The Bag Lady

Last weekend a friend came to stay (hi Spilly!) who told me that she hadn’t been able to access the rolling items that I include at the bottom of the posts each week. She was using her mobile to read the articles, so I think maybe I’ve attached a file that’s too big. I’m so sorry if this has been everyone’s experience. It’s not supposed to happen and if you’ve only seen one example of shopping ideas, then you’re missing out, as I add lots of items. I’m trying to rectify this error, so please let me know if this continues.


On to another ‘bug’ of mine this week. Handbags. For the past few years I’ve purchased handbags with the view that there could come a time when my bag addiction might come under attack from another recession. I’ve saved up and bought a few designs that I think/hope will last. Here’s my current collection, excluding summer beach bags.


Clockwise (top left): Mulberry, Zara, Top Shop, French Connection, Russell and Bromley, Coccinnelle (centre)



Clockwise (top left): French Connection, Mulberry, Mulberry, Mulberry, French Connection

Clockwise (top left): French Connection, Mulberry, Mulberry, Mulberry, French Connection


Those eagle-eyed among you will realise what I’ve come to learn this week, without thinking it through I’ve just bought black and beige! Nice but *stifles a yawn* bit boring isn’t it? If you read my posts regularly then you’ll know that I’m on a mission to try and add more colour and style to my appearance. So wearing black and then adding black – is whack! If my intention has been to disappear then I’ve succeeded.


Handbags have been my thing forever. I’m way more interested in the swag on my arm than I am of what’s on my feet. I used to switch up my bag to match my outfits daily when I was young and though those days are over I would like a few more colourful option to choose from.


I’m thinking of a print design and a red or green bag would, I think, also be good choices. They don’t need to be big shoppers, but maybe small to medium across-the-body designs that will lift my outfits a little. I’ve been investigating and found a few that I really like.  There’s a great leopard print bag that I like in Top Shop and a red clutch in ASOS, which is just £25.00!  I’ve added them in the roll of ideas below.  See what you think!


One thing is for sure, I will definitely be adding at least one bag to my collection before the nights draw in and I disappear again. On the point of shopping, I just wanted to share this website with you that I came across during my search – Hardlyeverwornit – is a great place to find designer items at reduced prices, just in case designer goods is your thang.


Have a lovely weekend.


Gail xx