Category Archives: Fashion

Dog walking essential wear for frosty days

One of my favourite things in the world is taking the dog out for a long walk by the river. We live near the River Mersey in South Manchester and we’re lucky enough to have woodlands, meadows, fields and riverbank to explore. It’s perfect dog walking territory and all just a few minutes walk from our house. Of course, we’re none of us altogether thrilled at the idea of going out while it’s lashing down. But as the rain turns to a more acceptable drizzle, the dog starts looking at her lead, and then at me. So it’s boots and raincoat on and out the door we go.

Dog walking essential wear for frosty days

Our dog, Penny is two years old now. She’s supposed to be a sprocker (a cocker spaniel, springer spaniel cross), but she didn’t stop growing and her fur is much longer and curlier than it should be, so we think there’s a bit of standard poodle in there somewhere. Whatever she is, she is an absolutely beauty. She’s as sharp as a tack and really loving. We got her to keep me company as I work from home. We also hoped that’s she’d encourage me away from my desk and into the great outdoors. She has done that alright!

Dog walking essential wear for frosty days

My husband takes her out each morning and sometimes after work if she’s still got too much bounce about her. I take her out most afternoons, so she gets two or three walks a day. At weekends she gets longer walks down by the river, through the woods and across the meadows. Penny lives for tennis balls and would chase them until her legs fell off if you’d let her. She doesn’t really run, she leaps like a gazelle. She is pure unadulterated joy in dog form. She’s the best.

Dog walking essential wear for frosty days

When you’re dog walking in the winter, you really need to wrap up and wear all the right gear. The wind along the river cuts right through you, the paths are muddy and slippery and it’s so very cold out there. A good thick waterproof coat is an essential and I don’t go anywhere without a hat. An umbrella is pointless but good sturdy boots like these men’s walking boots and some good gloves like these men’s North Face gloves are an essential.

The dog doesn’t care what you wear. She just wants a run, and if it’s not too cold, she will have a dip in the river too. A good shake and she’s off galloping again. She’s great fun to walk, but it’s not so much fun if you’ve got a hole in your ancient boots or a not quite cosy enough coat. I would suggest that now is exactly the right time to take a look at what your winter dog walking gear including men’s gloves such as Men’s North Face gloves is and go out and make any updates required. Like I did when I got my new gloves like these from Women’s North Face accessories.

Dog walking essential wear for frosty days

My husband needed new men’s hiking boots and a pair of men’s gloves. The boy needs a thick winter coat and I definitely need a new dog walking hat. Mine saw better days at least two years ago. I’ve got new boots too and it’s so nice to have dry feet again. It really does pay to have good dog walking gear throughout the winter.

As famous walker Alfred Wainwright once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”.

Dog walking essential wear for frosty days

I was sent these products for review purposes. The brands included in this post asked for our opinion on the products featured from their range. All images and opinions are our own.

Outdoors: Women’s Walking Boots & Gloves

The clocks have gone back, the heating is on and my summer dog walking boots have been put away in favour of something a bit more suitable for the muddy fields and riverbanks the pup and I walk down each afternoon. The dog has made us into outdoorsy people and that’s no bad thing, but my old walking boots are now falling apart and I’m in need of an upgrade.

These boots are made for walking!

I bought my old boots from a walking shop in the Lake District in 2001. They’ve put some very serious miles in, but they’re past their best and I need something a bit more fit for purpose. I love walking the dog down by the river and through the woods, but even on a fine day there’s often thick mud to clamber through and uneven ground to negotiate. I’ve upgraded to these Women’s Brasher walking boots and they’re a serious boot for serious dog walking.

Outdoors: Women's Walking Boots & Gloves

The Brasher Country Master walking boots are made from durable leather which has waterproof eVent technology which keeps your feet dry. I’ve worn them on a few dog walks and they’re really, really comfortable. The boots are really padded around the ankles, so they’re comfortable and I’ve not experienced any rubbing or blisters.

Outdoors: Women's Walking Boots & Gloves

They feel tough, with a good thick grippy sole which I know will serve me well as I scramble through the woods after my dog. Plus they look so darn smart, I love them and I can’t fault them. They’re not cheap, but I think with walking boots, you get what you pay for. I had a bad accident when I was walking as a teenager and I was told if I hadn’t been wearing the good boots I was walking in, then my broken ankle would have been shattered and would have needed to be pinned.

I do feel that other people would probably wear them for more serious walking, up huge hills in the Peak District and such like, but I know these women’s walking boots will serve me well and if I can get 17 years out of them, then I’ll be a very happy dog walker indeed.

Outdoors: Women's Walking Boots & Gloves

Good gloves!

I’ve also got myself a pair of The North Face Etip Women’s Gloves. I really struggle to find gloves that I like. As cosy as thick gloves are, they drive me up the wall. When I’m out and about I need my hands for all kinds of things, so if my gloves are too thick then I spend most of my time taking them off and putting them back on again.

Outdoors: Women's Walking Boots & Gloves

These North Face Etip gloves are great. They’re not thick, but they are cosy and they have X-Static fingertips which means I can use my phone without having to take them off. I use my camera a lot when I’m out too, and these gloves are thin enough for me to adjust my camera settings while I’ve got them on.

They also have a silicone grip palm pattern which means even if I’m being especially butter fingered, the chances of my phone slipping out of my gloved hands is much less. It’s fair to say I’m delighted with my new women’s gloves, which you can find in the Women’s North Face accessories section on the Blacks website. They even clip together so there’s less chance of me losing one.

Outdoors: Women's Walking Boots & Gloves

I am really pleased with both my new walking boots and my new gloves. They’re just the thing for some winter dog walking and they’ll make going out on a cold wet day an awful lot more tolerable.

I was sent these products for review purposes. The brands included in this post asked for our opinion on the products featured from their range. All images and opinions are our own.

Beautiful Maxi Dresses for this Autumn

This summer I have properly fallen for the charms of the maxi dress. We’ve had weeks of wonderful sunshine and a real heatwave. It’s been such a treat, but I’ve found it even a little bit hot for my usual wardrobe of shorts and t-shirts. Wearing a floaty maxi dress on the hottest days had helped me keep cool and look pretty smart and stylish too.

Although the temperature is starting to drop a little as we move towards autumn, I’m loathe to put away my maxi dresses for good, in fact I’m planning on investing in a couple more to see me through autumn and maybe an especially smart one to wear out at Christmas. I’ve fallen for the maxi dress, they hide some of the lumps and bumps I’m less keen on, without looking like I’m trying to hide anything at all.

Simply Be is a great place to start with shopping for Maxi Dresses, they have a great range of styles and something for all budgets.

I love the look of this Mela London Curve Floral Maxi Dress, it’s just £30 and would look just as home at work with a smart jacket as it would on holiday. I love the cut around the bust which would be super flattering.Beautiful Maxi Dresses for this Autumn

The oriental style neckline and the small gather on the waist on this lovely Joanna Hope Multi Print Maxi Dress really catches my eye. It’s currently reduced to £49.50 on the Simply Be website and it would be the thing to wear on a nice night out, perhaps with a cosy wrap. Beautiful Maxi Dresses for this Autumn

In the run up to Christmas you need a good dress or two in the wardrobe. This Together Beaded Maxi Dress is simply stunning. With an elasticated waistband, mesh netted skirt and cap sleeve, this dress falls beautifully and creates a gorgeous silhouette. It’s also jersey lined for comfort. If that’s not enough, it’s currently reduced to just £52.25.

Beautiful Maxi Dresses for this Autumn

Lastly, I absolutely love this Coast Macie Maxi Dress. It has striking contrasting monochrome panels with an asymmetric neckline, fitted bodice and sweeping skirt for an eye-catching evening dress. Love, Love, love this.

Beautiful Maxi Dresses for this Autumn

What do you look for in a maxi dress? Do you just wear them in the summer or do you wear them year round?

This is a collaborative post.

Review: Vionic Shoes Denim Midi Slip-On Sneakers

Back in May I went to the Blog On Conference in Manchester and I was the lucky winner of a pair of Vionic Shoes. They let me choose whatever shoes I wanted, and having tried on and loved their Midi slip-on shoes, I decided that they were the ones that I just had to have. The only problem was they had sold out of the leopard print in my size.

I chose instead a pair of their Denim Midi sneakers. I thought they’d look great with jeans and I could easily dress them up or down. Thankfully I was right on both counts. The Midi sneakers are one of their best sellers. They come in a range of different looks; leopard, snake, grey, denim, champagne and black. I still covert the leopard, but I’m very happy indeed with my denim pair.

Review: Vionic Shoes Denim Midi Slip-On Sneakers

The denim is dark blue, it works so well with my jeans, I am in love with how they look. They have a durable rubber sole and they’re really comfortable to wear as soon as you get them out of the box.

Vionic Shoes recommend that you wear your new shoes for just a few hours for the first few days to allow your feet to adjust to your new orthotic shoes. Within one to two weeks they should be fully broken in and they should be completely comfortable and supportive.

Their shoes are designed by podiatrists to give superior orthotic support as well as stability which helps realign the feet back to their natural position. This can help relieve common aches and pains, such as heel pain (plantar fasciitis), knee pain and lower back pain. They may be orthotic shoes; but they look stylish and you’d never know to look at them that they’re primarily designed to do your feet and your posture the world of good.

As the owner of a bad back, I really notice the difference to my pain levels depending on what kind of shoes I’m wearing. I need lots of cushioning and I always wear flat shoes; which can make dressing up for a nice night out tricky. I’ve worn my Denim Midi Slip-On Sneakers on a few evenings out; not dressy affairs, but enough to warrant wearing a nice pair of shoes. These have really fit the bill, they look smart, I look smart, I’m very happy with them.

Review: Vionic Shoes Denim Midi Slip-On Sneakers

The Denim Midi Slip-On Sneakers cost £100 (at the time of writing they have been reduced to £70 in the sale). I will not rest until I get my hands on a pair of the leopard print Midis; but for now I am more than content with my lovely denim pair.

If you struggle with back pain; poor posture or conditions like plantar fasciitis, it can be hard to find fashionable shoes which are comfortable to wear. I can recommend Vionic Shoes, they’ve really helped me feel comfortable and look fashionable too.

For more information about Vionic Shoes, visit their website.

Disclosure: Although I won these Vionic Shoes, I was under no obligation to review them. I liked them a lot, so I thought I’d share that with you.

Review: Brooke Royal Edition Hotter Shoes

Back in May I attended the Blog On Conference in Manchester. I met up with friends, attended some blogging sessions, ate cake and met Prince Charming and tried some shoes on at the Hotter Shoes stand. I then had the good fortune to have my name pulled out of a hat and I was the lucky winner of a pair of Brooke Royal Edition deck shoes.

The Brooke Royal Edition shoes from Hotter are limited edition and were designed to celebrate this year’s Royal Wedding. They are a bright and snazzy pair of deck shoes, boldly emblazoned with a colourful print dedicated to the star-spangled banner.

Review: Brooke Royal Edition Hotter Shoes

Made from premium soft grain nubuck and velvet nubuck uppers are boldly printed with the star-spangled banner. Inside, the padded collar and tongue along with a breathable cushioned insole are designed for maximum comfort. Once shoe has a Union Jack inner, the other has the Star Spangled Banner, it’s a nice hidden touch. They have a lovely grippy sole so you won’t slip and slide on any deck.

At the Blog On Conference, the Hotter Shoes team were on hand to measure our feet. I’ve not had my feet properly measured since I was about 14, so this was a bit of a revelation. All my adult life I’ve been wearing a size 7. When they measured me it turns out that I’m actually a 6 and a half. But as I like to wear thick sports socks I figured I’d continue with a & with anything which needs socks, but for sandals I would change down to a 6 and a half.

It’s probably worth popping into your local Hotter Shoes store to get your feet measured; especially if you’ve not had it done for 25 years like me!

Review: Brooke Royal Edition Hotter Shoes

These Brooke Royal Edition Hotter Shoes cost £75 but at the time of writing you can get 20% off on the Hotter Shoes website.

These Brooke Royal Edition deck shoes really make a statement. They’re bright and they’re bold, but they’re also a lot of fun! They are also really comfortable and a great style of shoe to wear in the summer. I’ll be packing these in my suitcase for my holidays, that’s for sure!

Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Brooke Royal Edition Deck Shoes by Hotter Shoes in exchange for this review.

New Year, New Look for my husband from Jacamo

2017 saw some changes for my husband. He picked up an arm injury and had to give up the gym and his beloved kettlebells and so instead, he took up running and has started to become competitive with himself. He’s signed up to do a few 10k races, and knowing him, he will be doing half marathons before we know it. A change in his physical activity levels means he’s feeling good about himself again, and that alone deserves a new outfit. We took a look at what men’s fashion experts Jacamo had to offer.

New Year, New Look for my husband from Jacamo

Before we became parents he was a dedicated follower of fashion. He had a thing for Ben Sherman shirts and good blue jeans, a look he was keen to revisit. He chose this short sleeved check shirt from Ben Sherman. It’s made from navy and green checked cotton with a buttoned down collar. It cost £50 which is about average for a Ben Sherman shirt and I think it’s reignited his love for the brand (which will make buying birthday presents easier this year).

As it’s winter, he needs a nice warm jumper to keep him cosy. I picked out this twist texture knit by Label J (£20.35) in charcoal. It’s a great addition to his wardrobe and can be dressed up or down. It looks good over his new shirt and is great with jeans. It’s really comfortable and I’m slightly regretting only getting one jumper now. He will wear this to death over winter.

New Year, New Look for my husband from Jacamo

No new outfit is complete without a new pair of jeans. I do love him in dark jeans, I think they look so much smarter. These Delta tapered jeans from Union Blues have a little bit of stretch in them, making them a little bit more forgiving than jeans usually are. The jeans also come with a leather belt, a really good range of sizes (and half sizes) and are just £25 a pair. He’s pleased as punch with them and they look brilliant with his nice Jacamo boots.

New Year, New Look for my husband from Jacamo

It’s so nice to see him in new clothes and feeling good about what he’s wearing. The range of sizes which Jacamo stock, means that he can find jeans which actually fit him well without having to spend a fortune. He’s delighted with his new outfit for the New Year. What do you think?

New Year, New Look for my husband from Jacamo

Check out the new season of men’s fashion on the Jacamo website.

Note: I was sent these items from Jacamo for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Review: Storm Bloc Socks – specialist sports socks

Storm Bloc socks are designed for strenuous outdoor and sporting activities. Whether you’re walking, running or down the gym, these socks have been designed to be comfortable and hard-wearing. My husband has recently taken up running and he’s out walking the dog several times a day; so he put these Storm Bloc Socks to the test to see if they were as good as they say they are.

Review: Storm Bloc Socks - specialist walking socks

These Storm Bloc socks have been made with BlueGuard – an industry-beating anti-abrasion yarn that has been scientifically shown to last 46 times as long as a standard branded sports socks. Sold by the Sock Shop, they are so confident that these socks will last the distance, that they offer a lifetime guarantee on Storm Bloc socks. The socks are perfect for sports, running, walks, hikes and camping.

The cotton rich Storm Bloc with BlueGuard Sports Crew Socks are terry cushioned for comfort. They’re designed to help absorb impacts and reduce fatigue. They have ribbed, elastic legs, reinforced toe seams, extended heel areas and a built-in arch support. Breathable woven panels are positioned help regulate moisture and heat during activity.

What did my husband think? They were certainly comfortable and well cushioned. He liked the ribbing and the seams which helped stop the socks from slipping and “walking off” his feet when he walked and ran. He said it was hard to say if they did absorb much of the shock of running, but he did feel they added a little bit of bounce.

Review: Storm Bloc Socks - specialist sports socks

They certainly look the part. They are warm and comfortable for walking and running without being too hot, sweaty and synthetic. The socks do wash well and haven’t gone baggy or anything after the few wears and washes they’ve had.

They cost £13.99 for two pairs from the Sock Shop, but they do come with a lifetime guarantee.

See the full range of Storm Bloc Socks on The Sock Shop website.

Note: We were sent these Storm Bloc socks for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Shaking up my Mum Wardrobe with JD Williams

My Mum wardrobe is pretty pedestrian. I like to stick to a selection of basics which I can mix and match without having to think too hard about things. I like to be comfortable and I like things which aren’t too fussy. I’m weirdly hard to please when it comes to clothes and if I’m ever going on a nice night out, stepping out of my uniform puts me in a right “does my bum look big in this” panic. 

With the changing of the seasons, I knew I needed to freshen up my wardrobe. I definitely needed a new nice top to wear on nights out and some shoes for my recent break away to Ribby Hall in Lancashire. I had a look at what JD Williams had to offer and I was pretty pleased with what I chose and what good value for money everything was.

First up was ladies footwear. I confess to being a little bit sniffy about Crocs, they’re not known for being the most attractive shoe in the world, but I’d heard very good things about Crocs Flip-Flops. Having spied them on the JD Williams website for just £24 for the pair and I couldn’t resist. 

Shaking up my Mum Wardrobe with JD Williams

I chose the navy Crocs Kadee II Ladies flip-flops because I knew they would go with everything. They are so comfortable and they have little raised beads which feel like they’re giving your feet a little massage. I’m a total crocs convert now and they’ve had so many compliments. 

My next little footwear treat were these lovely Lotus ladies Portelli trainers which were reduced from £51 to £36 – a total bargain! Lotus shoes have a great reputation for style and quality. I really loved the look of these trainers. They’re stylish and colourful but understated. They will also go with almost anything.

Shaking up my Mum Wardrobe with JD Williams

For the last few years I’ve been looking at Joe Browns tops and thinking about buying one. I have ummed and ahhed for so long because I am so fussy. What will the quality and material be like? How are the sizes? Will they be as good as they look? After much deliberation I opted for the Joe Browns Winter Floral Gypsy Blouse (£39).

Shaking up my Mum Wardrobe with JD Williams

This Joe Browns blouse is similar to something I already have, so it wasn’t too much of a leap into the unknown for me. It fits really well and the quality is great. I’d be very happy to buy another Joe Browns top in the future. It is as my friend said, something that I’d not normally wear, but she said I looked nice in it, so I’ll take that and wear it to my birthday bash next weekend!

I was pretty pleased with my little splurge at JD Williams. I’ve got some lovely new things which I can save for nice relaxed nights out over the autumn. What do you think about what I’ve chosen?

Note: I was sent these items for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Review: Spider-Man Marvel Heat Holders Socks

Now that the nights are drawing in and summer is giving way to autumn we are starting to wrap up a bit more against the autumn chill. The small-ish boy has a good selection of slippers and slipper-socks in various styles and with different characters on them. He loves them and so do I because they keep his toes warm on our cold floors. We’ve spent the last few days on holiday at Ribby Hall in Lancashire and whilst we were there we put a pair of Spider-Man Marvel Heat Holders Socks to the test.

Review: Spider-Man Marvel Heat Holders Socks

This newly licensed sock range from Heat Holders includes two Marvel favourites – Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. The Spider-Man socks are bright red with a fleecy brushed lining on the inside. They are adorned with the spidery superhero’s famed iconic spider symbol. They also have Spider-Man symbols on the soles of the socks which provide extra grip for kids who like to run about on my wooden floors.  

Review: Spider-Man Marvel Heat Holders Socks

The boy really loved these. He’s a big Spider-Man fan so they hit the spot before he’d even put them on his feet. He really enjoyed the grippy soles and put them to the test in our holiday cottage. I knew they were a hit when I discovered him wearing them in bed. Plus they were the first thing he put on his feet when we got back to the cottage after a busy day. 

These Spider-Man Marvel Heat Holders socks are available in kids sizes and cost between £7.99-£9.99 (on Amazon) depending on the size you need. Heat Holders are supposed to be the warmest socks in the world. They have a tog rating of 3.1 which is pretty cosy!

Review: Spider-Man Marvel Heat Holders Socks

With the release of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” over the summer; these cosy socks are the perfect present for spidey fans, especially now there’s an autumnal chill in the air.

Find out more about Heat Holders on their website.

Note: We were sent these Heat Holders for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own. This blog post contains affiliate links.

Back to School with Debenhams School Uniform

The small boy, who these days is not so small, starts Year 2 in just under a fortnight (where has the time gone etc etc). He needs new school uniform, but the thought of spending hours of our precious summer together trawling through various shops buying various bits of uniform and kit fills me with horror. Better to buy it all, or almost all in the same place at the same time. Last week we popped to Debenhams and did just that.

If I was fancy I’d talk about our Debenhams School Uniform “haul”, but I’m old-fashioned for that. Instead we just went shopping and bought a big bag of school uniform. Hopefully enough to see him through until his next growth spurt. Debenhams School Uniforms are currently 20% off in store and online, something we took full advantage of.

Back to School with Debenhams School Uniform

This will be his fourth “school year” (School Nursery, Reception, Year 1 etc) so this is not our first time at the school uniform rodeo. We know what he likes and what he doesn’t like.

We bought a new warm padded school coat (£18), 6 pristine white polo shirts (£5.60 for a pack of two), 2 pairs of slim fit trousers (£8.80), 2 pairs of flat fronted trousers (£9) and 10 new pairs of grey socks (£4 per pack of 5 pairs). All we need are a couple of jumpers with the school logo on and we are ready for the start of the year. Our shopping trip cost us just under £63, that’s including the 20% off!

I was really pleased to find some nice slim fit trousers. I always think the flat fronted ones make him look like a junior accountant, so we bought some slim fit to try out. Like most children, he is very hard on the knees of his trousers. If he’s not falling over and grazing his knees, he’s crawling along being a ninja superhero or something.

Back to School with Debenhams School Uniform

He’s six and whilst he’s grasped the rudimentaries of getting himself dressed. If he’s rushing he can still get frustrated with fiddly buttons on trousers, especially if he’s getting himself changed for PE or nipping to the loo. We like to adjust the waistband on his trousers so they’re loose enough to just pull them up in a rush if he needs to, but not loose enough to fall down, obviously. Both the flat front and slim fit styles we chose have adjustable waistbands. Phew.

He is also very hard on the white polo shirts he has to wear for school. I’m enjoying them now in their pristine white state before term starts. His polo shirts get washed to death. We like to buy enough so he has a clean one each day and a couple of spares waiting to be brought into circulation once he starts destroying them.

We have tended to buy cheap supermarket polo shirts which often shrink in the wash a bit. I’m hopeful these will stand up to regular washing a bit better than their supermarket counterparts. They do feel like they’re a cut above in terms of quality and doesn’t he look smart (and clean)!

Back to School with Debenhams School Uniform

As for his new coat, it’s light to carry and nicely padded for the winter months. With an easy zip up the front and zipped pockets so his treasures won’t fall out. He’s thrilled with it and at £18 we have no complaints either.

We have high hopes that our “haul” of Debenhams school uniform will last the year; or until he grows out of it. I am impressed with the price and quality. Everything seems well designed with sturdy stitching and made from good quality material. Even the socks are thicker, stretchier and more comfortable than the cheap supermarket ones I’ve made him wear.

If I have one regret, it’s not buying more polo shirts, another couple of packets couldn’t hurt, could it?

Debenhams currently have 20% off school uniform online and in-store now. Visit their website to have a look at their range.

Back to School with Debenhams School Uniform

Note: This post is in collaboration with Debenhams as part of their Back to School Campaign. All images and opinions are our own.