Category Archives: Fashion

Back to School: Tough school shoes from Jake Shoes

Year One has been HARD on my son’s school shoes. I have no idea what he does during his school day, but he’s worn through the top of every single pair of shoes he’s had this year. Admittedly they’ve all been cheap supermarket shoes made of pretend leather, maybe that was part of the problem. Some pairs barely lasted a month, I think I’ve been making a false economy on the school shoes front. This year I’m trying a different tactic, I’m going to see if a pair of virtually indestructible Kickers from Jake Shoes will survive the year, or at least a term.

Back to School: Tough school shoes from Jake Shoes

We chose the “Kick lo velcro kids” from Jake Shoes. They are a mini version of a of the classic Kick Lo shoes. The Kick lo velcro kids have velcro straps so he can get them on and off easily. They are made from really good quality black leather and have a thick, grippy sole. The leather is really thick hard leather so they will need to be broken in over the summer. He will wear them for a couple of hours here and there and they should be just right by the time he starts back at school in September. 

Back to School: Tough school shoes from Jake Shoes

I think they look really smart. He is really pleased with them and was desperate to get them on and run about in them. With the shoes being made from real leather we will need to give them a polish every so often to keep them looking good, especially with his habit of scuffing the tops of his shoes.

What I like about them is one shoe has a green label and the other a red label on the shoe, which will help him to remember which shoe goes on which foot. Something he does still struggle with when he’s not concentrating on what he’s doing. 

Back to School: Tough school shoes from Jake Shoes

Jake Shoes have two high street stores, one in the Manchester Arndale Centre and one in Stockport Town Centre. Both of them are local to me, but for convenience I ordered online. It’s good to know that they do have high street stores so close to me, sometimes it’s good to be able to get his feet measured and have him try on a few pairs before we choose a favourite. 

The Jake Shoes website is really easy to use, the shoes were delivered quickly and in perfect condition. We chose the Kick lo velcro kids shoes in size 13.5 kids and they cost £53. The price varies depending on the size, starting from £45.

Jake Shoes are specialists in kids shoes. They stock a large range of school shoes, including Kickers, Geox and Timberland, as well as other popular kids shoes like Converse, Vans and Lelli Kelly. Will these Kickers survive the rigours of life on the feet of a six year old? I have high hopes that they will!

See the full range of Jake Shoes school shoes here.

Back to School: Tough school shoes from Jake Shoes

Note: We received these shoes for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Outdoors: Putting Trespass walking boots to the test

We are a family who walks a lot. We love the countryside and although we live in Manchester we have a local nature reserve on our doorstep. Most weekends we go for a walk by the river, or through the woods; and we often take trips further afield. My husband loves to go walking in the Lake District, Derbyshire and Devon whenever he can.

We all own good stout walking boots for when we go out for an amble. When I broke my ankle when I was hill walking in 1994, the A&E Doctor told me if I’d not been wearing my good boots I would have shattered my ankle completely. His words have stayed with me and I always wear them when I’m walking.

Outdoors: Putting Trespass walking boots to the test

My husband goes on an annual walking weekend in the Lake District each June. His old walking boots had seen better days. He decided to invest in a new pair to break in now in readiness for his miniature expedition. After some careful consideration he opted for the “Source men’s brown boots” from Trespass.

Trespass sell a broad range of walking boots, clothing and accessories, so there were plenty of boots to choose from. Knowing he’d get several years of walking trips out of the boots, he went for a top of the range boot. They cost £79.99, but Trespass had discounted them from £159.99 so he was very happy with that.

Outdoors: Putting Trespass walking boots to the test

The Source men’s walking boots are a sturdy pair of boots. The upper is breathable leather and has been designed using tres-tex technology, which helps to prevent moisture seeping into your boots.

The boots have a steel shank inside the sole, this helps stop any sharp edges from rocks or fragments from piercing the sole and injuring your foot. The sole of these sturdy boots is made from Vibram rubber which is known for being hard-wearing and is ideal for tackling rough and tough terrain.

Outdoors: Putting Trespass walking boots to the test

But are they comfortable? Yes, as he was lacing them up for the first time he said they were really comfortable. He took himself off on a walk down by the river and through the woods and came back smiling. The boots were comfortable, fit really well (he’s a size 10) and didn’t rub. Of course it’s going to take a few local walks to break them in and mould them to his feet properly, but he’s excited about wearing these on his walking weekend in June.

He’s worn them every day since they arrived, just for an hour each morning when he takes the dog out, but he’s had no complaints. He’s walked through puddles, mud and muddy puddles in our local woodland, down by the river and in the nature reserve.

Outdoors: Putting Trespass walking boots to the test

He’s given his boots a quick clean when he’s returned home (because if you look after your boots, they’ll look after you) and he’s had no blisters or rubbed bits on his feet. They’re cushioned around the ankle, comfortable for him to wear and they look great on. He’s very happy.

It pays to invest in good boots. Not only will they help protect you if you take a tumble; but they’re designed to look after your feet, keeping them dry and comfortable over long distances. I’m certain his new Trespass walking boots will be good for several thousand miles.

Visit the Trespass website to find out more about their range of walking boots and accessories.

Outdoors: Putting Trespass walking boots to the test

We were sent these walking boots from Trespass for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Mindfun Tees – Adult Colouring T-Shirts

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’ve had a tough time of things lately. I’ve been struggling to keep my spirits up and to start to heal my grieving heart. Just before my dad died I was sent a Mindfun Tee to review. It sat waiting for me on the kitchen table for a few weeks whilst I was being swept away and dragged under by waves of grief and emotion. 

One day I walked into the kitchen, opened the package and took a closer look at it. I immediately sat down and began colouring.


Adult colouring books have been huge in recent years and this is a similar thing but on a t-shirt. Mindfun Tees are unique t-shirts designed to help people relax and unwind. There are lots of designs to choose from and they come with a selection of coloured fabric pens and some simple instructions.

To start, put the instruction card inside the t-shirt so the ink from the pens doesn’t leak through to the other side of the t-shirt. My top tip would be do one colour at a time and leave it to dry. Where I coloured in different colours next to each other while the ink was still wet the colour sometimes leaked a little across the line. It wasn’t a disaster, but if you’re a perfectionist you might get a bit twitchy.

Over a few days I would wander into the kitchen and do some colouring in each day. It really did help me take my mind off things and mentally zone out for a little while. Although I had a whole skull design to colour in, I quite liked just picking out some of the details and colouring them in. 

Once I’d finished and I was happy with it, I ironed the reverse of the t-shirt and it was good to go. Here’s the finished article as modelled by my lovely husband.

Mindfun Tees

I think it looks pretty cool.

The t-shirts they use are lovely, good quality t-shirts. The material is nice and thick, made from 100% cotton and the stitching looks good. There are a huge range of designs to choose from and the prices are £11.99-£23.99 depending on the size and design you choose. The price includes everything you will need, including the fabric pens.

As the t-shirts come in both child and adult sizes, with a number of appealing designs suitable for children, I think these would make an interesting gift for a child, and it would be something kids would enjoy doing, especially if they can let their imaginations run wild with the colouring of it.

Mindfun Tees are launching a campaign called “Outside The Lines”. The idea behind “Outside The Lines” is to promote a sense of not staying inside the box, it allows people to express who they are while helping them to switch off and unwind after a long day. They offer a safe space for people to share their story through their creativity and the Mindfun Tees designs.

The Mindfun Tees are a lovely product at a good price. The simple act of focusing on a creative activity, even for a few minutes a day has been a great help to me at a time when I needed a little distraction. I was pleased with what I produced and hubs liked his t-shirt too. It was a winner!

For more information about Mindfun Tees visit their website.


Five Hot Summer Sales Picks

The summer holidays are upon us. Like most people I’m staring into the dark wintery abyss of my wardrobe and wondering what to pack for my summer holidays. It’s time to go shopping for something a bit more summery and a bit less cardigany. I’ve been checking out the Joules sale at and I’ve picked out my 5 hot summer sales picks for 2016.

Every summer holiday needs a new summer dress. Something you can just as easily throw on over your costume on the beach, or wear of an evening sitting in the hotel bar with a glass of something cold and refreshing. This Sade midi dress from the Joules sale caught my eye. It’s been reduced to just £19.95 and it’s bang on trend with the crochet detail and I do love navy.

joules sale

I love this chic Joules amaris top, it is a loose fitting casual style blouse . This shirt features a rounded collar with frill detail and cuff sleeves. It’s just £24 and could be dressed up or down very easily.joules sale

I live in flip flops over the summer and these are just beautiful. These “Sandy Flip Flops” are just £9.99 and would brighten up any beach wear and look great with jeans too. joules sale

This Joules Lizzie Empire Line Jersey Tunic is just the job for a casual evening out. The panel detailing in this empire line jersey tunic makes it a truly flattering piece that’s great for wearing with bare legs and layering up with tights or skinny jeans once the weather turns chillier. It’s reduced to just £32.95 in the Joules sale – which is a bargain for such a lovely tunic top.

joules sale

My last pick is a new swimming costume. I really like this one the flattering tummy control and adjustable ties give this all-in-one swimsuit a made to measure feel. Very flattering this one-piece wonder perfect for the beach or pool. This is a lovely dark denim colour and it’s a beach bargain at £22.95.

joules sale

There are some really lovely bargains to be had in the Joules sale at with some items having up to 80% off. Joules is known for it’s bright, colourful eclectic range, and quality clothing, perfect for a summer holiday shop!

= Disclosure: via lovethesales =

Review: Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet

When hubs recently reviewed a Scruffs Expedition Tech Jacket he fell a little bit in love with the brand. He really liked the quality of his jacket and how cosy it was despite being very lightweight. He’s worn it to death over the winter and it’s still looking smart. He was sent a Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet to try out, which was ideal now that we’re moving into (hopefully) warmer weather, here’s what we thought.

Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet

One surprisingly springy day we headed off to our local community farm. It wasn’t warm enough for shirt sleeves so he chose to put on his Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet. It’s a cosy but thin padded gilet which looks great with jeans and is easy to wear.

Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet

There are lots of large pockets which are handy regardless of whether you’re out with the family or at work needing to keep useful things close at hand. It has a large hood which when pulled up would keep his head warm and snug against the elements if need be. Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet is generously sized, this is an XL and we thought there was plenty of room underneath for a nice thick bulky jumper.

The Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet uses 3M Thinsulate technology which provides a lightweight solution to keep your body warm. It is made with hard wearing mini ripstop fabric making this lightweight bodywarmer more durable. The gilet is available in black or blue, we chose the blue with the orange detailing. The stitching is good quality and it seems like a robust bodywarmer.

Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet

Matthew works in a building without heating, so in the winter it gets quite cold and never really seems to warm up until the hot hot days of summer. This is ideal for him to wear whilst he is at work, warm enough to help maintain his body temperature, but thin enough so that he can move about freely without it getting in the way. I think it’s pretty smart looking too, ideal for casual days out with the family as well as for work.

The Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet is priced at £39.95 which we thought was good value for a gilet of this quality. With the thinsulate and ripstop fabric this should last longer than a high street equivalent and will keep him warm at work until summer eventually decides to arrive.

For more information, or to buy Scuffs Workwear, visit their website

Note: We were sent the Scruffs Expedition Thermo Gilet free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Scruffs Workwear for Men

When it comes to fashion my lovely husband is a creature of habit. His work clothes (he runs his own printing business in Didsbury) generally consists of sturdy boots, jeans and a black t-shirt or jumper. Despite considerable modernisation in the printing industry, it can still be a pretty dirty and physical job, so he wears clothes which are quite forgiving if splashed with ink or chemicals, as well as boots which will protect his feet from heavy machine parts and such like. 

He needs decent, hard-wearing clothes which can stand a bit of rough and tumble as well as being smart enough for him to do business in. He goes out and about a lot to meet clients, so a smart but practical coat is always a priority. He was asked by workwear brand Scruffs to put their Expedition Tech Jacket to the test.


The Expedition Tech Jacket is a black jacket with orange detail and an orange camo lining. The jacket is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and has taped seams and a waterproof membrane to provide high levels of protection from the rain when working outdoors.

The orange camo lining is made with 3M Thinsulate which makes it extra cosy, but still thin enough for you to be able to move about in it easily. The Expedition Tech Jacket has lots of pockets of varying sizes and includes a defender array torch, a super bright LED torch which is made from tough aircraft grade aluminium. This would be handy if you ever need to inspect something in low light, or in his case, fumble in the dark putting the key in the door.



The jacket has been well thought out and has been carefully designed to meet the needs of people who work outside a lot. Plus it’s smart enough to be worn ordinarily too. The jacket also has adjustable cuffs, hem and hood which help it to be a snug and weatherproof fit.

But what did he think of the jacket? He is a man of few words but he said it was very warm and cosy, he tested it on a very cold, damp and snowy weekend in Manchester and he was the only one of us who wasn’t red nosed and shivering, so I believe him. He also liked the array of pockets and thought the torch was a nice touch and handy to have especially during these darker winter nights.


He ordered the large size and although he’s packing a little extra post-Christmas timber, it fits him well. The material has been designed to be hard-wearing and it is, it seems robust and I think this jacket will last him for a few winters at least. I think it’s pretty smart looking and looks great with jeans.

He wore it while shopping in the village, he wore it on a night out, he wore it when he took the small boy sledging and he now wears it to work every day. He looks very smart in it and I know that he’s warm and comfortable too. 

Note: We were sent the Scruffs Expedition Tech Jacket for review purposes. All Images and opinions are our own.

Review: My Glasses Guru Sunglasses

I’m not a massive one for accessories, I don’t wear much jewellery and my handbag is a rucksack. My tastes have always been on the practical side of things rather than high fashion, more so since I became a mum. One thing I always carry with me and wear even in the depths of winter are sunglasses.

I have it in my head that wearing sunglasses will stop me squinting into the sunlight, and as a result they are my first defence against wrinkles and crows feet. So far, so good. I’ve found sunglasses were also good for hiding the fact I’ve not slept properly since 2010. I don’t mind spending a bit of money on a decent pair of sunglasses, given I’ll wear them most days, it’s an expense I can easily justify.

It was time for an upgrade so I had a look at the My Glasses Guru website. My eye was instantly drawn to the O’Neill Runa sunglasses in tortoiseshell and mint – my kind of colours. They have an extra large plastic frame and are unisex sunglasses. They were £45 which was a good price for O’Neill sunglasses and they had a really good range of other makes to choose from.

My Glasses Guru

The sunglasses arrived within a few days and came in a padded glasses case, wrapped in tissue paper and packaged in a sturdy box. I decided to take a few selfies and them take my self out for a walk to test them out properly.

My Glasses Guru

The glasses are very comfortable to wear, seem lightweight but robust, and left no marks across my nose or by my ears like some glasses do. I love the mint colour and the tortoiseshell is subtle but stylish. The glasses are big, which suits me and my anti-crows feet mission but I love them. A male friend of mine tried them on and they really suited him too, so I think this is a style most people could carry off easily.

The sunglasses are smoked glass and have a UV400 lens which offers a high level of protection for your eye. I really like the padded case which is great for throwing in my bag when I’m out and about. There’s nothing I don’t like about them. They’re really comfortable to wear and I can see me wearing these most sunny days. 

Note: I was sent these sunglasses free of charge for review purposes from My Glasses Guru. All images and opinions are my own.

Buckle up! The small boy tries out velcro Easybelts

The small boy is four and a half (he’s very keen on that half all of a sudden) and he’s very much like his dad. He’s starting to dress like him and when we go shopping points out things his dad would wear so he can wear them too. It’s all very sweet and part of growing up. This summer he’s fully embraced the belt – his dad is never without his belt, so the boy wanted something similar. His little fingers aren’t ready for a proper grown up belt, so we got him an easy to use velcro Easybelt.

velcro easybelts

We chose this lovely blue belt, it’s in the school colours so he can wear it for school if he wants, but it also looks brilliant with his normal casual trousers.

The velcro Easybelts are so easy to use. You just put them through the belt loops on your trousers and pull the velcro end back and press against the other velcro bit. There are no fiddly buckles or anything to mess about with. He understood how it worked instantly, had no problems undoing it by himself and could take himself off to the loo quite happily and without our help.

velcro easybelts

As you can see (Manchester’s next top model) he was pretty proud of his belt, which I think looks great with those shorts. He’s also worn it with jeans and other trousers and he cuts quite a dash. The belt somehow makes him look smarter and more grown up at the same time.

Easybelts have a huge range of belts for children, with different designs and motifs for boys and girls as well as unisex options. They also make belts for adults who may struggle with the tricky fastenings of normal belts (seriously, those canvas belts with the funny buckle – I have no chance!).

The velcro Easybelts cost around £6 and are easily washed and easy to use. The small boy is a big fan!

Note: We were sent the Easybelt free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Hotter Shoes Livvy – My perfect summer pair

It may be summer, but there’s a part of me which still feels reluctant to fully cast aside my winter boots. Maybe it’s because they look great with my leggings, maybe it’s because they’re so darn comfy, but probably it’s because apart from one sultry week, we’re still enjoying frequent showers of rain, with the odd wintery deluge of hailstones. Despite this I have dusted down a few old summer faithfuls and I’ve got myself a fancy new pair of Hotter Shoes – Livvy. Check out these beauties, they’re new in and I adore the colour.

Hotter Shoes Livvy

I fell in love with them on the website and once they were in my hands I loved them even more! I chose the stunning turquoise colour, but they’re also available in mustard, putty, magenta and light taupe. These cost £59 and they are beautifully soft and comfortable.

Hotter Shoes Livvy

As you can see from the inside of the shoe, there is plenty of padding which means they are so comfortable to wear. There are little holes punched in the sides and all over which allow your feet to breathe, making them ideal for hot summer days.

They look really stylish and eye-catching too. I wore them casually with some leggings and the next day I wore them with a nice summer dress, they looked equally lovely with both outfits.

Hotter Shoes Livvy

They are available in three width fittings, standard, extra wide and slim fit. I went for standard and I will say that they are quite roomy, perhaps this is because I’m not wearing my socks with them, so that’s worth taking into consideration if you are treating yourself to a pair.

The soles are quite nice and grippy as well as being quite thick, which for me is a good thing, I often find summer shoes have quite thin and flimsy soles, these are obviously well made and robust, which is what you’d expect from Hotter. They are really, really good quality and they’ll last me for years.

It’s fair to say I love them, and they really stand out against my increasingly ancient selection of boring black and cream sandals. These gorgeous, colourful Hotter Shoes are my perfect summer pair!

Note: I won these gorgeous shoes from Hotter and loved them so much I wrote about them.

Is it ever ok to wear sandals and socks?

This afternoon there was a knock at the door, a nice man handed me a bag of lovely summery things I’d ordered off the interweb. I scampered upstairs to try them on. I ooohed and ahhhed over a few things, then upon spying the lovely pair of gladiator sandals I’d ordered, choirs of heavenly angels did sing. It was shoe love. I’d found the one (pair) I’d been dreaming of.

Slipping them on I declared them to be perfect, that was until I took my first few steps and the agony of a new leathery shoe rubbing against my tender cankle was too much to bear. I took to Twitter to crowd source a solution. There was a resounding “dunno”, with a few people suggesting plasters. To me, the solution was obvious.

sandals and socks

I spend most of my days sat in my work chair at home, tapping on my keyboard. No one sees me, no one of consequence anyway, so I popped some socks on and slipped into my sandals. Let the breaking in process commence. I sat and wiggled my toes while I worked. My feet seemed excessively comfortable and warm, but not too hot. Wait! My feet were the perfect temperature. My feet might have been the happiest they’ve ever been.

I got up and moved about. The sandals didn’t rub, my feet felt amazing, they didn’t look like they should sashay down a catwalk any-time soon, but they felt AMAZING. Could sandals and socks be the future?

I have a friend, an older retired gentleman who had a lengthy career in the legal profession. He tells me gleefully that during the summer months he was known for wearing sandals and socks, even in court. He tells me that sandals and socks are both hygienic and cool (cool in the temperature sense though, we know sandals and socks are NEVER cool). He styles it out by wearing crazy, brightly coloured socks and I salute him for that. He thinks sandals and socks are the future too.

I am awfully, awfully torn by this situation. On one hand, sandals and socks feel glorious, I truly believe my feet have never been happier. Happy feet equal a happy person, and for one all too brief afternoon I was happy. Happier than I’ve been in a long time. But on the other hand, sandals and socks. Sandals AND socks. I’m not sure I’ve got the stones to leave the house in sandals and socks without irony or for fancy dress purposes.

So for now, with deep and considerable regret, I will remain a closet wearer of sandals and socks. Try it, I urge you in the privacy of your own home to experience the seductive joy of sandals and socks. If you do enjoy it, please spread the love and share the word. I truly believe that sandals and socks ARE the future.

Can I get a Hell Yeah!