We're more than half way through November folks and I may have finally found my winter coat. Normally, I would have had it in the bag by the first week of August if I was really on the case. Done and dusted by the third week if I was lagging a bit. But this year? This year has been an epic fail. It has taken me till now to find it. And I originally started this post in September and updated it and updated it and updated it. And it has taken till now but I think we have reached a conclusion. Do you want to know about my coat journey? Well, make yourself a beverage, sit down, get comfy. This may take some time. Let's begin .....

Well, I have dillied and dallied with the following :

River Island Coat.

At the end of August when the temperatures were high, I ordered this rather bright coat. I ordered it in an 8 and couldn't decide whether it was still a touch too big on me despite it meaning to be oversized and then I decided I no longer liked the colour as it wasn't raspberry red enough and erred more to raspberry pinkness. On the River Island site, it looks raspberry red. On ASOS, it looks raspberry pink. The ASOS pictures are more true on the colour. I actually already have a bright pink coat (yes really) in my wardrobe in a very similar shade so I couldn't warrant another. Now if it had been raspberry red - we would have been talking and wearing.

Result : Returned.

H&M Coat
I have toyed with leopard coats for a number of years. The full on furry ones are a touch too scary for me and I remember standing in the Mango outlet a year or so ago with a bargain price furry leopard coat similar to this one in my hand. I walked up to a mirror with it and as I approached the mirror, I caught sight of someone who looked a little like me but not me. I didn't get even as far as trying it on as I could basically see it just wasn't me. However, undefeated on the leopard front, I decided, I need to try with the softer woollen blends rather than the super furry ones and this H&M leopard coat caught my eye. Anyway, after getting it home and trying it on with a few things, I returned it - I declared it too dark for me. Other than that, it wasn't a bad little coat. I did also try the lovely M&S leopard cocoon coat which looks so good on Michelle and did me no favours at all or I think that one would have ticked my leopard cravings once and for all if it had worked out. Onwards and forwards in to the coat jungle.

Result : Returned.

J Crew Utility Jacket

J Crew Utility Jacket

Not technically a winter coat but it's still outerwear so let's put this in. When the NAP sales were in full flow, this JCrew Utility jacket got reduced to an acceptable price and I put in the online shopping basket and left it there. It went and sold out but whilst having a browse on NAP, I noticed that I still had something in my basket so I had a little look and the jacket must have come back online in my size. Hmmmm. Given that I didn't hit the button in the first place, I should have left it anyway but no, I went and ordered it to give it the once over. It came, it went. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. It was okay and honestly speaking, a little roomy. So back it went because I decided okay wasn't good enough.

Result : Returned.

Fur Jackets Galore!

On the first day the boys went back to school in September, I winged it in to town to get myself a little shopping fix - 6 weeks school hols was a little too much abstinence for this shopping mama (I know there is an online app called Cooking Mama - I wonder if there is one for Shopping Mama?) and tried on all the fur coats I could get my hands on. Zara, H&M and Mark & Spencer. Hilarious and hot. And then I found a fur coat which was not too big, not overwhelming, quite a nice fit in the most delicious ..... poo brown.

Who in their right mind, thought this was a good colour for a coat? I must have done because I picked it up and tried it on. Anyway, you can breathe a sigh of relief, I didn't buy the poo brown coat and you don't have to pretend that it's really nice and say things like "in the right light, it's a gorgeous cocoa colour". It's not, it's poo brown (and apologies to anyone who may have bought this coat).

Result : Not bought but I did like it for the fit.

Zara Smokey Grey Fur Jacket

Another attempt at a fur coat. I know that fur coats are big this year especially the more funky coloured ones but I'm not sure I really want my coats to scream circa 2014 in a few years time. This smokey grey one came online and I ummed and aahed over it as ideally I'd like a fur coat which hits below my hips. This one doesn't but the colour is delightful and so I gave it a whirl. Softer than a full on black which makes it much more acceptable in the daytime, I actually really liked this one a LOT and declared it keepers and then changed my mind as there was this funny faux leather trim on the inside which annoyed me and kept peeking out. This is me convincing myself ...

.... and I do still really like it ... can I ignore that little pleather trim? Should I have kept it?

Result : Returned

New Look Fur Coat

I waited nearly 6 weeks for this to come in to stock - I really thought this might be the one fur coat I could do - it's usually the sleeves on the fur coats which make you all Yeti like so I thought slimmer fitted sleeves - problem sorted. It arrived, I tried it on, I put it back in the bag. I just didn't like it.

Result : Returned.

Marks & Spencer Camel Coat

Ahhh. A camel coat. So I have hunted high and low for the perfect camel coat for the last few years and I thought this M&S one might be the one but after having it in my possession for a whole 3 weeks, I decided that it wasn't even though I became quite the little fashion bloodhound tracking this little baby down. I bought it in a size 8 and it hits just below the knee and I am 5ft 1.5". I did take a couple of pictures of me trying it on at home (this was in September when I could still get the toes out) ...

... and I did try to convince myself how I was going to wear it with skate pumps/trainers and dress it down and everything but honestly speaking, I knew this baby just wasn't right for me. But it's a nice looking coat, lovely shape and style but I wasn't overly keen on the fabric. Yes, it's an Italian fabric or so it says on the label which makes it sound oh so glamorous but in all honesty, it's just not got that luxe feeling that camel coats should have - it needs a little cashmere thrown in the mix, a little bit of softness. So basically I sent it back because

(1) It is a little bit big even though I sized down to an 8 (the size 10 would have been too boxy)
(2) The fabric was just not quite right for me.
(3) I won't honestly get my wear out of it
(4) I can't buy a coat purely to tick a camel coat box and I've lived without one for this long so what's another year?
(5) It really only looks good when I wear heels with it. It doesn't look bad with skate pumps but I just need to grow a couple of inches to carry it off convincingly.

Result : Returned.

Hobbs Duffle Coat

Remember this was on my very short wish list? My wish list just got shorter. I ordered it to get it over and done with and when it arrived, I cooed over it as I unwrapped it from it's box. It was as lovely as I remembered it but also not as comfortable. Harumph. Never mind - I didn't want to look like Paddington anyway.

Uniqlo Camel Coat

Uniqlo Camel Chester Coat

Back to camel coat territory. I was swayed by the simple cut and the fact that it was 90% wool and 10% cashmere. It came and I didn't like it at all on me. I think part of me thinks that I'm pursuing the camel coat dream for the sake of it and I shouldn't try so hard as I know when the time comes, it will jump out and punch me in the face.... hard. But this one is not it. It feels lovely and soft but I just didn't get on with it. I felt 80% better in the M&S one and I didn't keep that one so this was definitely going back.

Uniqlo Navy Coat

And I ordered the navy as well as half way through the coat process, I fancied a sharp navy coat. And I returned this for the same reasons as above. It's just not the coat for me in terms of cut and fabric. If I were a few inches taller, we might have been talking.

So where does that leave me? Well it leaves me with this ......

Topshop Slouchy Wool Boyfriend Coat

Now I did see this at the beginning of the season and I thought I'd missed out because they had the odd size left (none of which were mine) but then all of a sudden, all sizes appeared again. So you'd think I'd hit that button pronto and did I? Of course not, I fannied around of course and still kept on looking at other coats! But what I did do was go in to a store and try it on. And left it. And tried it on again. And left it. Until I was finally done with all the above coats and I now finally have this one in my possession. Phew! It's the most delicious shade of khaki swamp as you can see but as they say, it looks better in real life - honest. This is a more casual coat but it works better for me and my lifestyle. I sized down to a size 8 and there is plenty of room for a chunky jumper without feeling restricted in the arms or anything. And the khaki swamp colour is actually pretty neutral - it goes well with harder blacks and softer browns so I can swing whichever way I please this winter in this.

Topshop Coat, Topshop Jamie Jeans, Adidas Stan Smiths, Toast Jumper, Jigsaw Duffle Bag

So, I've thoroughly exhausted myself on the old coat front this year. I'm telling you - it's been a pretty tough assignment - I normally breeze through this exercise but this year I have struggled - maybe it's because I've reached saturation point and I don't actually need any more coats in my life? Did I really just say that? I must be coming down with something ....


Last Note :

  • Apologies if some of the links to the coats say sold out now. It has taken me that long to get this post out.
  • And you know what they say about buses? Well it applies to coats too. But that's another post for another day.
  • If anyone is still looking for the M&S camel coat or something similar - French Connection do one which caused me to swerve in to their store the other day to check it out. It's very nice and it's available here.

Who doesn't love being given a bunch of flowers? It's such a lovely gesture and I'm not being ungrateful here but sometimes, you think I'm not really a yellow and orange coloured flower girl or I'm not a carnation girl. I'm not this or I'm not that but I think we all have our own personal preferences don't we?  My personal preference is peonies, hydrangeas and I'm quite partial to parrot tulips too if anyone wants to buy me flowers ;o) Put it this way, the Grumps thinks twice before he comes home with a bunch of floribunda for me. 

I was recently given a bunch with the following colours in. Crimson, orange, yellow, purple and fuchsia. Together, they were very colourful and to be honest, I struggled with how to arrange them  as a collective bunch and then I hit on the brainwave of splitting them.

I extracted the carnations/dianthus and purple thistle and arranged them like this.

And they went on my kitchen window sill next to Snowy from Tin Tin.

I then separated the fuchsia gerberas and the peachy orange roses. And arranged them like so .....

.... before I took them round to a friend's as a quickie birthday present ;o) I was honest and fessed up to not buying the flowers and she was okay with that as it was a rather impromptu out of the blue invite.

And last but not least, I extracted the remaining yellow flowers (no idea of their name) along with some of the green foliage and arranged them like this ..... as I had no idea what to do with these :o(

And in a simple setting ... they don't look so bad. Just plain and clean.

So, together, they are not so hot but separated, I thought they looked the business and this way, you get three lots of flower arrangements. 

Sometimes, you just need to think outside the box.


Last Note :

  • Carnations/dianthus generally get a bad rap. They tend to be cheap and cheerful, found on petrol station forecourts and generally thought of as a little boring. But buy yourself a bunch some time and try something like arranging a single carnation in a single bud vase. Put two or three of these together and suddenly we are talking something modern and funky instead of the usual carnation sprig in a vase on the table at the local curry house. Have a look at H&M homewares - they have some beautiful little vases there which I will be ordering.

Source (Pinterest)

  • Or cluster them tightly together in a vase with a small opening so they fan out of the top like a little explosion.

Source (Pinterest)

  • Strange but true. But my little instagram pic of my carnations has garnered the most likes ever in my Instagram history. Granted I don't have a huge following but I love that a little pot of much maligned flowers got so much love!

This Friday, the following are floating my boat.

1. Zara Fringed Bag

I bought the H&M fringed bag (in pale grey) earlier this year which a number of fellow bloggers have but I returned it as I didn't get on with the gold hardware on it. I also didn't manage to bag (ha ha) the lovely navy and black fringed Zara bag which I saw in the summer as I thought I would wait till the sales and when the sales came, it sold out like that - poof! But look what's just popped in to Zara? I think I just fell in love. This is sexy brown fringed loveliness at it's best. Fringe is in. Fringe on your skirts. Fringe on your jumpers, Fringe on your jackets. So fringe seems to be everywhere. Or are they called tassels?

2. Lulu & Co Rainbow Intarsia Jumper

Lulu & Co Sweater                                           Source

Up above the streets and houses, 
Rainbow flying high, 
Everyone can see it smiling - over the sky, 
Paint the whole world with a rainbow!

Remember Geoffrey, Zippy, George and Bungle? Yes? You're showing your age then :o)

Anyway, I was looking through one of the Saturday Telegraph supplements and came across an article featuring Lulu Kennedy, the lady behind the company Lulu & Co. Wearing the above jumper with a pair of blue jeans and a pair of funky shoes. Sold. Well it was easy wasn't it? You've got a lady with a grey jumper on, a pair of jeans and a pair of funky shoes? Sounds like me most days albeit not quite as cool and the shoes not so funky! But this is a look I can certainly picture myself wearing with or without funky shoes sipping my Earl Grey sat at home (see previous post). Let's keep playing that lottery!

3. Zara Boots

I tried these on in store and now I have a hankering for them. I think these could be the perfect school run boots! Now these are not for the uber glam people out there but they are perfectly good for the likes of little ol' me who wants to wear a pair of not totally flat boots which I can actually do the school run in. By school run, I don't mean, crash out of the car with the boys in tow, leg it across the road 200 yards and then back in the car again. I mean the proper 15-20 minute one foot in front of the other school run stomp. And back again! My first impressions of these are they are mega. Honestly go in to a store and try them on. Walk around in them. Let your feet be cosseted and caressed by the woolly fleece lining which are going to keep your tootsies so warm. Feel yourself bounce across the floor because of the crepe soles which provides that little bit of extra comfort. And I was thinking that if Acne were to make the low version of their shearling lined Pistols ... I think they would look a lot like these. What say you?

Well, I've read and absorbed all the fashion advice of what trends are current this year and I've chosen to go along with some of it and blatantly ignore other bits. Some trends I'm adapting like the fun fur trend - I think it's all a matter of it's got to suit you and your lifestyle. So to bring my wardrobe up to date for A/W 2014, I have decided to go with the following :

Faux Fur

Right, so I'm passing on the turquoise fur coat which makes me look like Sully and infact I'm avoiding faux fur coats all together as they basically make me look mahoosive. I did try and I failed spectacularly. Instead, I have an inky blue pom pom dangling off my bag which makes me smile .....

... and a faux fur snood thingy which seems current and fun but isn't some scary colour which gives me panic attacks and doesn't add pounds on to you. It does however swivel around a little so if you end up with one of these, don't forget to cut off the inside tags or they will eventually end up on the outside and annoy you.

Patchwork Jeans

I can't afford the MiH Phoebes - I'm not sure I would buy them even if I could because if truth be told, I have a total love hate relationship with my existing pair. I just think I have more flattering jeans but then again, I don't have many pairs which are as comfortable. You with me? For some reason, they just look like a pair of baggy jeans on me and on everyone else, they look great. Hmm. But back to the patchwork jeans - I like them as they inject a little something to the normal pair of blue jeans. They add interest. You've already seen my own diy pair below.

Jigsaw Silk Shirt, Zara Jeans (patched up), H&M Shoes & Bag

Skate Pumps

I had the cheetah pony hair skate pumps from Next last year and I've gone for the ASOS felted wool skate pumps this year. They're grey - they blend seamlessly in to my dishwater coloured wardrobe. Enough said.

Adidas Stan Smiths

This is my autumn footwear fad following on from the summer Birks footwear fad. Sometimes, you have to acknowledge that having the right pair of shoes just pulls your look together and makes you look that little more current. Let's also factor in the major comfort factor and that they somehow miraculously seem to go with everything. Love.

Big Cardigan

Mine is a cheapy from Primark. I scoured various shops but many were too big, too bulky and basically did very little for me. I chose mine on the grounds that it was neater fitting around the shoulders and I went for the smallest size they had. It's not too long, it has pockets and I'm happy. However, mental note to self not to wear it on Bonfire night #firehazard as it is acrylic. But in it's defence, it works for me, it's light, it's warm and it gives me the look I want. When it pills like crazy, it will become a housecoat for those cold winter mornings and besides I'm not allowed the heating on just yet. 

Primark Cardi, Uniqlo Shirt, Mih Paris Jeans

Blanket Scarf

Popular last year and popular again this year. I picked up a cheap and cheerful from Primark this year. and it probably won't be the last I pick up this season. Mine's acrylic but it was £5. I looked at the equivalent in Zara and they are £20+ and also acrylic. So I figured, I can spend £5 on my scarf and I will beat myself up less when it looks truly awful at the end of it's shelf life at which point I will donate it to a friend as cat bedding #upcycling

Primark Scarf, Hush Goldie 2 Jumper

Pointy Statement Shoes 

Pointy toes are still going strong so I nabbed my Office Kaos pair on in the summer when they went in the sales - one benefit of having hay fever preventing you from sleeping at 4am in the morning! Some people have gone with the Office Vibrant and New Look Aquazurra lookalike lace up lovelies - I've gone with witchy poo shoes #Halloween

Office Kaos Shoes, Will-I-Am (neighbour's cat)


I actually really like hats. But I don't like wearing them that much. Some make my forehead itch and because I have a fringe, this usually gets pushed down over my eyes and I end up looking Cousin Itt. But I still buy them and I still keep trying but I just don't spend a lot on them. They usually add a little flourish to an outfit and take it from boring to less boring.

Primark Fedora (similar here)

Puffa Jackets 

I'm not going for full on puffa wuffa style - I'm sticking to the old tried and tested Uniqlo Ultra Light Down jackets. I have my existing black collarless one which has been pulled out again and is dragged on morning, noon and night currently. This has definitely proved to be one of my best buys .... and my sister facetimed me from Hong Kong to say she had bought me a navy collared one as well which she is bringing me back as a present #lovesisters  By the way, these are so light and squish down so well, they are brilliant for layering under inadequate but fashionable winter coats.

Plaid Shirt

This is technically a replacement after handing over an old one to my god-daughter as it no longer fitted me. #ohwheredidmywaistlinego? Mine is from Uniqlo and I've basically replaced like for like in terms of colour. This is my shirt alternative when I don't fancy wearing one of my regular blue ones besides plaid seems so right at this time of year.

Uniqlo Plaid Shirt

Burgundy Boots

I just fancied a pair of burgundy boots. I've done the beige suede ones for the last few years, I don't particularly get on with black ones, so a happy compromise in my books is a pair of burgundy boots. Apart from the colour, they looked like they were a heeled boot which I could actually wear and walk around in comfortably. The sole is quite cushy which makes them a pure joy to walk in and the slightly banana shaped heel also helps me look a little taller. And the leather? Oh you should know  by now how much I like shoes which are made of squidgy soft leather and these are most definitely that. Basically, I like them for their slight quirkiness. I found these on Yoox - I spend far far too much time on there browsing shoes #dangerous.

Web by Gaimo Boots (sold out)

Grey Jumper

Grey jumpers - they're basically a wardrobe staple but not all grey jumpers are the same and so I can justify this one because I don't have one that looks like this. Besides which, I wear them all the time and I never tire of them!  And this one is gorgeous and soft which was a very welcome surprise as it didn't look like it would be. I like the moss stitch front with the contrast sleeves. It's on the right side of slouchy without overwhelming. I can't tell you how well it wears and washes as yet as it is a bit of a newbie and I'm going easy on it ... because I love it. And you will see it a lot on this blog as and when I blog as I have just realised I have not blogged for nearly 10 days #lazybones

And I think that's it! Oh yes ... and a few outfits which I've worn featuring some of the mentioned items.

Hush Jumper, Zara DIY Patchwork Jeans, ASOS Dialog Plimsolls

Uniqlo ULD Jacket, Adidas Stan Smiths

Primark Blanket Scarf, Hush Jumper Burgundy Boots

Primark Fedora, Adidas Stan Smiths

ASOS Dialog Plimsolls

Uniqlo Plaid Shirt, Adidas Stan Smiths


And the things which I'm passing on (or rather I'm not having much luck or have decided it's not for me).

  • Faux Fur. They don't really suit me or I've just not found the one. (Disclaimer - I have the right to retract that statement should you see me in a faux fur jacket/coat).
  • Culottes. I don't know how to wear them when it gets really cold but I'm not sure they are really me. I know knee high boots are one way round how to wear them and can look fab but realistically speaking - I don't have the energy to go there. (Disclaimer - I have the right to retract that statement should you see me in a pair of culottes).
  • Pleather/leather jeggings/pants. I've not found a flattering pair yet. (Disclaimer - I have the right to retract that statement should you see me in a pair of pleather/leather jeggings/pants).
  • Pointy Boots. The ones I like are too expensive. So I'll leave that one alone. (Disclaimer - I have the right to retract that statement should you see me in a pair of pointy boots because I caved).
  • Statement Coat. Not bothered. (Disclaimer - I have the right to retract that statement when it turns up).

Last thing. Before you go with a trend or get sucked in to buying a garment that you love which you have seen on someone else, take a step back and breathe. I have one thing that I do before I hit the button usually, I picture myself in the said garment sat at home and picture myself objectively and say "does that look like me?". "Is that me in a pink dress/yellow coat/cowboy boots/neon jumper sitting there sipping my Earl Grey (insert preferred beverage)?" If it's not .... walk away. It's saved me from a couple of unnecessary purchases.

Or you could buy it and return it after you've realised it's not you. Which is also what I do :o/

Right. We're in mid October, the temperatures have dropped and the shops are now filling up with Christmas jumpers. To get the best of the pick, you need to start now. Personally I'm not going down the Christmas pudding or robin on the front kind of jumper but I'm partial to a bit of Norwegian, Scandi, Sarah Lund chic. Or even a bit of Fair Isle. A bit like the one  Talisker is getting (but maybe a little less colourful). 

Now that's class don't you think?

Photo Credit : Debs (Talisker's owner)

Alternatively, I would be quite happy with this one ....

Cheer up love! It might never happen!


Last Note :

  • Debs - do you take human orders?

Hi there!

Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.


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