Balancing Act.

The past few weeks have been a personal challenge. A good one but certainly something I will always look back on and remember as a challenge.

Starting a new job was always going to be intense but mine is something else at times. Having spent the first 7-8 weeks between Manchester, London and Denmark it's left my life a little 'work' heavy. Which is all fine and good, since my work life often looks like this:

In Denmark to view AW13 VILA collection.
In Denmark to view AW13 VILA collection.
In Denmark to view AW13 VILA collection.
Yes, we found taxidermy in our Danish head office. Taxidermy.
(I'd like to point out this was after a few bubbles at an evening soiree!)
Discovering some great places when working on the road.
I get to spend some very happy lunch times at quirky cafes around the country when visiting customers.
An enormous poster in Danish head office bathroom. I want this is my house.
But there are definitely times where I have to remind myself I do actually have a personal life and a very lovely set of friends and a wonderful OH who need attention too.

So with this firmly in the forefront of my mind I have been spending my weekends and some evenings now (a big step for me, for weeks it's been bed by 9pm!) with my nearest and dearest and trying to achieve that holy grail of scenarios - a work/life balance. And so far...well, I've not cracked it. But I'm trying!

So life lately has been looking like this:

Spending quality sofa time with my furbaby, Alfie.
Enjoying a Vero Moda necklace.
New reading glasses for work.
Sunny breakfast made by OH last weekend. Mmm bacon.
Last Sunday catching up on work. But while watching MIC. So not strictly working, right?!
Making sure I'm getting the maximum rejuvenation my body needs over night.

New Haircut Freak Out Face - sent this to a colleague who'd asked how the chop had gone and I thought the hairdresser had gone a little mad and too short. Come to love it now, but another example of hairdressers just having a free-for-all with my tresses!
So I'm doing OK. But never one to be content without a full plate I am also signing up to a re-upholstery class in June(ish) that will take up 5 weekends in a row so I can then spend future weekends lazily browsing vintage fares and picking up bargain furniture safe in the knowledge that I can update it any way I like.

I've also started running again. I find it is really helping me switch off in the evenings. Have you ever tried to think about work while running? It's impossible!

So am I alone in this or does anyone else sometimes feel their life balance tipping one way? What do you do to keep the sections separate; past times? workout? cook? I'd love to hear.

Anyway, it's 9.08pm on a Sunday and I have a date with my duvet and an exciting work week ahead (see you on Wednesday, Edinburgh!) Toodles!


Celebration Stitches.

A week or so ago something exciting happened to me. It was my birthday. The day before the 4-day bank holiday weekend to be precise. And I decided that was a great day for it. It meant I could spend the weekend celebrating with those important to me and unwind a little.

I decided to start the unwinding thing a little early and wore the most incredibly comfortable outfit to work that day. I took some pics because a) I loved the combination and wanted to remember it for future reference and, b) because it's been a while since I've posted some 'What I Wore Today...' pictures.

And while I realise I didn't wear this technically 'today' it's as good as you're going to get as today has been spent mostly makeup free in a loose silk shirt and rolled up jeans. And you're not seeing that.

I have a long-standing love for jumpsuits and must own in the region of 20 by now, in all shapes, sizes and colours. But at the moment this is my go-to-guy. Soft grey jersey, with a drawstring waist to create a draped upper half effect, and tapered legs; it ticks all my boxes.

It was one of those great days where the chill in the air is made that little bit better by bright sun. So I wore my jumpsuit with a grey leather jacket, lightweight scarf, wool beanie and sunglasses.

The shoes, while photographing well, had seen better days so after I took these shots I discarded them and replaced them quick sharp with a very similar pair. I'm sure they'll feature here soon.

The necklace is from H&M and possibly still in store. At £18.00 it's not their cheapest but it is one of their most striking and I certainly get a lot of positive comments about it.

So there you have it. That's me another year older and another jumpsuit comfier. Happy Monday!


The Straight And Narrow.

Life lately has been a little hectic. What with a new job and....well, that's it really. My new job has me constantly occupied and when I'm not doing that I'm probably sleeping - I don't remember the last time I've been so exhausted. But it's the best kind of exhausted - the kind that means you've spent all day being mentally stimulated and challenged - and I love it.

For the first couple of weeks I allowed my new role to take precedence and control my waking hours. OH understood - I saw him at weekends - because week nights were for me, the bath and a book (hence my absence from here too.) And it was going well, until I realised I hadn't seen some of the most important people to me for a while. My friends. So last week I decided to rectify this and, as a result, spent a hefty chunk of the bank holiday weekend in the local tapas bar with friends and vino. An excellent choice, I'm sure you'll agree.

It was here that I was posed my first sartorial challenge that genuinely stumped me. A friend asked me for some advice on how to wear her new pencil skirt. Shoe wise. She said she was obviously aware that the general way to do it is with heels but what about day to day? How do you factor any other kind of footwear into things? And you know what? I wasn't sure either. And it's been annoying me since.

So today, free afternoon ahead of me, I decided to face the conundrum head on and really work out a response. I mean, I work in fashion and blog about it as a hobby. If I can't come up with some plausible suggestions then surely I'm in the wrong game. And that, I am certainly not.

So here goes...
Camo print top | Hypebeast | £88.00
Sally Pencil Skirt | Matalan | £15.00
Maddie Neon Laser Cut Clutch | | £18.00
Cranberry Cocktail Ring | | £18.87
Laser Cut Pumps | Topshop | £24.00
During our brief (and disappointing to her, I'm sure) discussion we agreed that ballet pumps were perhaps a little 'ma'am-ish'. But after further thought I wasn't so sure. Y'see, I think Topshop do an excellent line in contemporary ballet flats that keep them up to date and fun while remaining wearable in every day situations so they were my first stop. And they did me proud.

Laser cut has been on my radar for a while now so I picked these little gems and paired them with a plain skirt, on trend camo top and laser cut bag. I'm a sucker for a cocktail ring to finish off an outfit. Slick of mascara and you're done.

Next up we have riding boots.

Navy Jersey Biker | Dorothy Perkins | £30.00
Basic White Tee | Zara | £18.00
Green and Yellow Statement Necklace | Modeets | Sold Out
Francine Pencil Skirt | People Tree | £38.00
5050 Boots | Stuart Weitzman | £390.00

This is a bit more of a work look. We can't deny that the weather's been a little less than Spring-like of late. So most of us are still firmly in our leather boots and could be for some weeks yet, if the weather forecast is to be believed. And with that in mind I decided to introduce you to the world of Stuart Weitzman and his incredible '5050' boots. Possibly the pinnacle of versatile boot styles on the market at the moment. Yes, I know they aren't the most inexpensive but they are the most investment-worthy I've come across in a long while.

I've been wearing my Zara pair, that I blogged about here, a lot recently with pencil skirts and dresses, a-la Victoria Beckham, and I've been roundly complimented for the look. So those of you who are worrying about clashing hemlines and boot tops, don't. However they fit together they're a match made in heaven.

Collarless Blazer | New Look | £24.99
Lace Top | Madewell | £39.00
Stud Handle Bag | | £20.00
Thelma Skirt | Project D at | £195.00
Studded Sandals | Balenciaga at | £365.00
This is in case the sun does decide to appear in England this Spring/Summer. It's easy for people to pigeon hole pencil skirts as slightly more formal clothing because of their structured nature. But I think there's something intrinsically playful about them once you add a print. Which is exactly what Project D have done. I also don't think they always need tops tucked into them. This chic lace tank top would look perfect loosely layered over the skirt and, with a light blazer and sandals, ready for the warmer temperatures. The bag is from Boohoo again - these guys have got some seriously good accessories in stock at the moment so if you get the chance have a look.

Boyfriend Blazer | cozbest | £30.00
Neon Breton Silk Top | Scotch & Soda | £65.00
Black Pencil Skirt | Reiss | £85.00
Bangle Stack | charmandchain | £16.00
Jet Set Tote | Michael Kors | £165.00
Biker Boots | Matalan | £22.00

Biker boots were a suggestion made to my questioning friend when she first posed her dilemma to someone else. But she dismissed them as not really her look. I'm hoping that here I've created something that makes those of you who feel the same way begin to reconsider. Biker boots are such a great way to change the look of an entire outfit and make it all a bit more edgy. Not forgetting that brighter, longer days are coming soon I've made sure there are some vibrant colours throughout this ensemble that make it wearable until we get to sandal temperatures.

Embellished Silk Top | Moschino at | £196.00
Printed Pencil Skirt | Whistles | £60.00
Green Clutch | Boticca | Sold Out but similar here
Strappy Sandals | Steve Madden | £98.00

And finally, the quintessential pencil skirt look - with heels. I thoroughly enjoy an azure colour palette so have gone with it for this look. Some people think wearing brights together is a bit 'too much' but I feel very differently - I love clashing colours and prints. The brighter the better! I used to own an amazing pair of green heels similar to these but they broke through over-wearing. It may be time for a new pair as I found they went with a surprising number of things in my wardrobe and I miss them. The only thing I will say, if you're thinking of going down the bright pencil skirt route, is to keep the makeup palette basic. Nudes and taupes are your friends here. Otherwise you risk merging into TOWIE territory and nobody wants that.

Unless you're going for the 'ironic look' of course.

In which case, get off my blog.